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Inverness War Memorial (iii)

Left Hand Battle Honours Pillar. 1914,1915, Somme 1916-1918:-

Inverness War Memorial Left Hand Battle Honours Pillar

Left Hand Battle Honours Pillar. Naval Actions, 1914 Land Actions:-

Inverness War Memorial Side of Left Hand Battle Honours Pillar

Right Hand Battle Honours Pillar. 1917, 1918:-

War Memorial Inverness, Right Hand Battle Honours Pillar

Right Hand Battle Honours Pillar. France 1918, Gallipoli, Egypt, Romania, Macedonia:-

Side of Right Hand Battle Honours Pillar Inverness War Memorial 11

Right Hand Battle Honours Pillar. Mesopotamia, Palestine, Italy, Russia (Archangel and Murman, ie Murmansk):-

Rear Right Hand Battle Honours Pillar,

Great War Names (i):-

Invernes War Memorial, Great War Names (i)

Great War Names (ii):-

Inverness War Memorial, Great War Names (ii)

Berriedale and Braemore War Memorial

This memorial is situated just off the A 9 at Berriedale (almost at the lowest point of the Berriedale Braes, a particularly hair-raising descent to and ascent from a river valley containing the Berriedale Water and the Langwell Water.)

The main aspect of the memorial faces north:-

Berriedale War Memorial

The photograph below shows the World War 2 dedication. Names on left here are for the Great War, those killed or died of wounds and – unusually – those wounded. The smaller list on right names World War 2 dead and the memorial’s architects are named at the bottom:-

Berriedale War Memorial Showing World War 2 Dedication

The memorial from the west. In another unusual touch the names on this side of the memorial are of those who served in the Great War (and presumably survived it):-

Dunbeath and Berriedale War Memorial from West

From west to north to east the pillar is surmountd by the words “Their Name Liveth Evermore” with the theatres of war Palestine, Salonika, France, Belgium, Egypt and Gallipoli, engraved towards the base.

Dedication. “Honor et Gloria. To commemorate the patriotism of the men of Berriedale and Braemore who fought on land and sea some of them giving their lives for their king and country during the Great War 1914-1918 and in thankfulness to God for the victory their valour helped to win”:-

Berriedale War Memorial Dedication

Inverness. Memorial to the Egyptian Wars

I must confess to feeling some unease at viewing and photographing these memorials to colonial wars such as the ones on Stirling and Edinburgh Castle esplanades.

This one is in Station Square, Inverness, facing on to Academy Street and seems to commemorate both the Anglo-Egyptian and the Mahdist Wars. The front is marked for Tel-el-Kebir.

Egypt War Memorial, Inverness

These two sides are marked with Khartoum, Egypt and Ginniss:-

Inverness, Egypt War Memorial

As well as Tel-el-Kebir we have Atbara and Khosheh:-

Egypt War Memorial, Inverness

The Memorial has a sphinx squatting at the soldier’s foot.

Inverness Egypt War Memorial

Rommel by Desmond Young

Fontana, 2012, 387p.

Rommel

To anyone familiar with the film The Desert Fox, starring James Mason, the outlines of Rommel’s story will be familiar. The movie, though based on this book – the author even plays himself in the film – concentrates less on Rommel’s military career than his last days; with Rommel’s unwitting contacts with the July plotters leading to his forced suicide.

This biography, written after contact with Rommel’s family and first published in 1950, inevitably tends to be admiring. The author’s personal experience of Rommel’s conduct towards him as a PoW helps in this regard and there were no accusations of war crimes committed by the Afrika Korps. Winston Churchill himself regarded Rommel as a worthy opponent. Rommel’s anti-Nazi credentials are taken for granted by Young. (However recent reassessments in Germany have called this into question.)

In a military sense Rommel’s career speaks for itself. Though criticised as lacking in the strategic sense, his tactical ability, his capacity to see an opportunity and exploit it, to take risks even (especially?) when on the back foot paid off time and again. He had what the Germans call Fingerspitzengefühl, “intuition in his fingers” and a sort of sixth sense for avoiding death.

Not a typical Prussian General (he was in fact a Württemberger and liked nothing better than talking to soldiers from the locality in the thick Swabian dialect) and not from a military family, in the Great War he won the Pour le Mérite for exploits on the Italian Front where he first displayed the qualities which made his troops so willing to follow him. He was in the forefront of the German breakthroughs in the defeat of France in 1940, but his commanders and colleagues thought him too reckless and/or selfish – and too willing to take credit for wider success. Part of this may, of course, have been professional jealousy. It was the Western Desert, with its wide open spaces, that allowed him to show himself as a master of motorised/armoured warfare. He recognised that such battles were more akin to sea warfare than land and he criticised the British for their more rigid approach while acknowledging that their training for more static warfare was excellent.

I had not realised before how nearly General Auchinleck’s Operation Crusader came to defeating Rommel completely a year earlier than Alamein. That the British/Empire forces did so well considering their inferior equipment (poorer anti-tank guns, lower quality tanks – some Grants were available at this time but Shermans not until the next year) speaks volumes for their tenacity and endeavour. Rommell eventually turned the tables but his race to Egypt seriously overstretched both his army and his supply lines.

It was his contention that reinforcement could have resulted in him capturing Egypt and the Suez Canal. Once held at Alamein, and facing a well supplied and trained opponent with overwhelming superiority, he and his staff knew the jig was up.

He was bitterly aggrieved that, in the subsequent retreat and the aftermath of Operation Torch, reinforcements were then rushed in to Tunisia in what was by the time a lost cause.

After his first inspections of it he also knew that the much vaunted Atlantic Wall was anything but impregnable yet nevertheless – even through his disillusionment with Hitler and the upper General Staff (he had inspired the emnity of Kietel and Jodl in particular) – he threw himself into efforts to improve it.

British people who lived through the Second World War have a tendency to refer to the Italian army as a byword for uselessness (making jokes about tanks with only reverse gears for example.) It is noteworthy that Rommel himself had a greater appreciation of their qualities. “The Italian soldier was willing, unselfish and a good comrade and, considering his circumstances, his achievement was far above the average.” He goes on to add that their army’s performance exceeded anything the Italian Army had done for over 100 years. He attributes any failure to their military and state system, their poor equipment and lack of interest from Italian politicians.

Interesting Times

Sometimes I feel that we live in a Chinese curse.

Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and now Libya. Where will it end?

Of course I thought the world had gone to hell in a handcart when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands (Las Malvinas if you prefer.) In my whole memory up to then the British Army had not been involved in a full blown shooting war. (Now it seems they’ll never be out of one.)

Then there was the fall of the Berlin Wall and all that followed.

I remember once seeing Enoch Powell on Parkinson and laughing at the old codger when he referred to the “Dutch East Indies.”

Now it’s me who is a bit of an old codger. I still think of St Petersburg as Leningrad as that was its name when I visited on a school cruise in the 1970s.

I have to scoff though when Mr Irresponsible and his sidekick William Hague stand up for the rights of street protestors.

That’ll be fine except when it occurs in the UK then, eh?

OK, arrest people who break the law by smashing windows or throw stuff and the like, but what is kettling and thumps on the head or back with a truncheon if not repression?

And kettles boil, do they not? Or is that the object of the exercise?

Friday On My Mind 45: Wooly Bully

Believe it or not a lad at my school got himself the nickname Sham, aka Shambles, because of this song.

I hadn’t been planning to feature it but somehow today it seemed (in)appropriate.

Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs: Wooly Bully

Boer War Memorial, Edinburgh

On a sudden impulse we went to Edinburgh on Sunday morning. (Well the good lady wanted to return an item to a shop.)

It was a pleasure not to have to fight our way through crowds on Princes Street as we would have on a Saturday.

I had the camera along and ended up taking 46 photos.

This is the war memorial that stands on North Bridge (the one above Waverley Station.) The uniforms are of the South African War/Wars.

If you read the writing (click on the picture to enlarge) it’s not just to commemorate those wars but also engagements in Afghanistan (nothing changes, eh?) Egypt, Chin Lusha, Chitral and Tirah.

This bottom picture is of the plaque below the memorial. It commemorates the laying of the foundation stone of the North Bridge by some local worthy.

Ghana 0-1 Egypt

Africa Cup of Nations, Final, 11th November National Stadium, Luanda, 31/1/10

A forgettable first half, followed by an upturn in the last twenty minutes as Ghana started to push forward having restricted Egypt and making them resort to handballs and falling over in the penalty area.

The goal when it came was a beauty, though; exquisitely taken by Gedo.

Ghana may be dark horses in the World Cup if they forsake the caution they showed here. They’ll have a fair few experienced players back by then.

Strange that Egypt are so strong in the Cup of Nations and can’t seem to qualify for the bigger event.

Algeria 0-4 Egypt

Africa Cup of Nations, Semi-final, Ombaka National Stadium, Benguela, 28/1/10

Well: if the first sending-off ruined the game, the second killed it as a spectacle.

Full of incident of course:-
four goals, three sendings off, a player seeming to try to headbutt the ref. I’ve never seen that before. (But I don’t frequent the parks much.)

Egypt were the better team in the first half but only because Algeria were happy to sit back and not take the game to them. The last ten minutes of the half were something else.

Seems like refs are refs the world over.

The first sending off was harsh as the booking before had been for nothing. It was compounded by the way the penalty was taken, though. I was under the impression that the taker could not stop in the run-up to the kick; which Hosny did. The Algerian keeper appealed for the infringement which wasn’t given, while the goal was. (He should have played to the whistle of course.) I’ve looked at the law relating to penalties on FIFA’s site. No mention of the taker not being allowed to feint in the run-up. Did they change this sometime recently?

The keeper lost the heid, which he then tried to put on the ref but he was only booked.

At the start of the second half Algeria were looking quite good to make a game of it, pushing forward in a way they hadn’t at eleven men apiece, but the Egyptian second goal – lovely finish by Zidan – obviously made Belhadj lose his cool. At nine men and two goals down there’s not much hope. The game was done.

By the end it had degenerated into farce with the ref making up for not sending the keeper off by …… sending him off.

“Football. Bloody Hell.”

World Cup Finals Draw

No sooner had the tedious process finished than Motty was at it again. England willl win it, he said.

At least Alan Shearer and Mark Lawrenson went for Spain and Brazil – though, historically, Spain have an even poorer World Cup record than England. (Not so in European Championships, of course.)

There was a degree of unseemly euphoria at England’s “good” draw and first place in the group was taken for granted. Already it was so-and-so (possibly Germany, though the likely alternatives, Australia – even Serbia and Ghana – could be tough prospects) in the last sixteen and France in the quarter finals.

Let us be clear about this. The USA are no mugs. They could have won the Confederations Cup last summer. If the USA play to form, England will be stretched to beat them. Algeria beat the African Nations champions, Egypt, to qualify and Slovenia may well spring a surprise.

[By the way, judging by how France struggled to qualify, they will only get to the last sixteen if Uruguay and South Africa are mince. I expect at least one of them to be tougher.]

As for the quarter finals, that will be your lot. Overseas it usually is.

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