On the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Geel we remember those members of the Irish Guards and others buried in the CWGC cemetery in Geel.

They were killed in the advance across Belgium (following D-day in June 1944) establishing a bridgehead across the Albert and the Meuse canals in Geel in September 1944. Fourteen are buried at the CWGC British cemetery in Geel. Twelve headstones are pictured here. They include a Guardsman Simpson from Portadown Co. Armagh. Thanks for the pictures Leo Haeseldonckx We will remember them.

Guardsman E. Shearer

21 yr old Guardsman Edward Shearer (no family details) died on 14/09/44 3rd Battalion Irish Guards.

Guardsman William Simpson from Portadown

Guardsman William Simpson aged 20 from Portadown 3rd Bn Irish Guards died 07/09/44.

Guardsman J. Barlow

24 yr old Guardsman Jack Barlow from Macclesfield 3rd Bn Irish Guards died 07/09/44.

Guardsman E. J. Breslin

28 yr old Guardsman Edward Joseph Breslin 3rd Bn Irish Guards (a Donegal name).

Captain William R.R. Bruce, aged 32, 3rd Bn Irish Guards died 07/09/44.

Lance Serjeant T. Davidson

Lance Serjeant Thomas Davidson aged 29 from Nottingham 3rd Bn Irish Guards died 07/09/44.

Lance Corporal W. Houghton

Lance Corporal Wilfred Houghton, aged 24, 3rd Bn Irish Guards died 14/09/44.

Guardsman L. Hutchman

Guardsman Lawrence Hutchman aged 35 from Pontypridd 3rd Bn Irish Guards died 14/09/44.

Sgt Tom Johns aged 28 3rd Bn Irish Guards died 07/09/44.

Lt Humphrey O. C. Kennard

Lt Humphrey Oscar Coleridge Kennard from Chelsea, London 3rd Bn Irish Guards died 14/09/44.

Lance Corporal JJ O’Neill

Lance Corporal John James O’Neill aged 22 from Liverpool 3rd Bn Irish Guards died 14/09/44.

Guardsman Alan Parsons aged 22 3rd Bn Irish Guards of Tydd St Giles Cambridgeshire died 07/09/44.

Lance Serjeant John Proe

Lance Serjeant John Proe of Whiston, Lancashire aged 23 died 07/09/44 3rd Bn Irish Guards buried in Geel.

Guardsman Rudolph Edwin John Stone died 3rd Bn Irish Guards (no age or family details) died 07/09/44. We will never forget them.


Piper’s Memorial at Longueval

A Scottish soldier playing the bagpipes is depicted as stepping forward over the parapet of a trench to pipe forward the troops for an array on German lines. The Pipers’ Memorial was unveiled in July 2002 in the centre of the village of Longueval, not far from Ginchy and Guillemont.

Pipers’ Memorial at Longueval

The statue itself by sculptor Andrew de Comyn received some criticism at the time it was unveiled because it is composed of a bright white alabaster stone about 3m in height. However when the sun is shining on it, as it was on the day of our visit when temperatures reached a record high of over 42C, this made it more spectacular. In contrast to the white figure of the soldier, the bagpipes are jet black in colour.

Inscription on Piper’s Memorial

Crests of various regiments that had pipers

The crests of various Scottish and Irish regiments that had pipers are incorporated in a wall beside the statue. They include the Irish Guards and the Royal Irish Regiment.

Crest of the Irish Guards

Crest of the Royal Irish Regiment


Our visit to the memorial was brief and unfortunately we missed the group from Campbell College Belfast CCF Pipe Band who stopped off there just before us. Pipe Sergeant Matthew played a lament. (Reproduced by kind permission of Campbell College CCF Pipe Band).

Pipe Sergeant Matthew of Campbell College Pipe Band at Longueval