Published by Carole McT Books

Books published by Carole McT Books

 Paul Chapman

The grandson of a survivor of the First World War; one who served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force on the Western Front throughout. A man who seeing it to be his duty to care for the graves of those who died, immediately after being demobilised, was one of the first to join the Imperial War Graves Commission. A man who had seen it all, witnessed the carnage and the horror. A gentle, caring and kindly man who was, whilst scarred psychologically, unlike so many who returned from the war, quite willing to talk about his experiences, share his memories with his grandson. Very much influenced by his grandfather’s stories, so the author’s interest began; from him and his grandmother – born and raised in the Belgian town of Poperinghe – he was raised on tales of life in the First World War both in the trenches and behind the lines. Always keenly interested, in later life, as the ability to travel afforded, so began over thirty years’ experience of walking the fields, roads, and tracks of the Ypres salient building up a knowledge of the region very few can match. As a freelance guide, the author has a reputation for being one who is capable of drawing on a wealth of personally compiled and meticulously researched details relative to individual casualties that is literally second to none. And, well-known throughout the locality, his professional manner of delivery, sense of propriety, humour and easy going personality have earned him well-deserved acknowledgement and recognition.

 

        In Memory & In Mourning Ypres Salient Cemeteries Series

 

The concept of the series of books – ‘In Memory & In Mourning: Ypres Salient Cemeteries’ – is to provide not only the visitor to a particular cemetery, or memorial – all within the confines of the region are included – with information never previously available; there is equal interest for the student, the historian and general reader. Details, extended accounts, stories, anecdotes that enable the individual to identify with the casualty on a personal level. Often a coincidental aside will add another dimension which, when put into perspective asks – If it were related on site – Would it make a difference to the visit, enhance it? Add a dimension without which the visit would otherwise be no more than just another visit to another site; the overall related without mention of the individual personal? Therein lies the purpose, and intent.

The accounts compiled cover not only virtually every manner by which these men died; they record personal details of who they were, where they came from, occupations, etc. Stories of political, artistic, literary, historical, famous and infamous connections: Death in all forms grotesque, macabre, unbelievable, surreal – Blown apart, decapitated, multiple mortal wounds, shot through the head, throat, heart, killed accidentally, dragged along a road by a runaway mule, shot by a comrade cleaning a rifle, disarming a grenade, burnt to death in a house fire, run over by a lorry, drowned, hit by falling debris, impaled by a fence; train derailments, disease, frozen, suicides, heart attacks, executions including that of a fourteen year old, men who after their death were reported unknown by those who they had designated next-of-kin, underage and over, burials and exhumations: The list is endless. The result of over thirty years research and dedication: Unique – None of them have ever been previously published.

Volume 1

In Death’s Dark Shadow: Brandhoek – Vlamertinghe & Elverdinghe

From personal experience by utilising extended details and accounts of casualties when guiding people around the Ypres salient, the stories of individuals have always made a significant difference. To visit, walk around the cemeteries of the First World War, is a sobering and emotive experience in itself; the serried ranks of headstones standing silent witness to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of the land in which they rest eternal. When walking among them whilst their names, ages, regiments, dates of death are all clearly displayed, uniformly recorded in stone, the circumstances of their deaths can be no more than assumed: Killed in action? Died of wounds? Men died but, unless personal knowledge or informative documentation is available to enlighten otherwise, to walk among them is little more than an act of respectful remembrance in contemplation of the collective loss.

Volume II

In Sound Of The Guns: Meteren – Godewaersvelde & Poperinghe

In the region surrounding the Belgian town of Poperinghe and Meteren, a short distance across the border in France, an area of little more than fifteen square miles, 22,400 British and Commonwealth servicemen and women who died in the service of their country during the First World War, each marked with a Portland stone headstone, are buried in 15 Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries. In the homes they left behind a place would be forever vacant, a grief inconsolable; a smile, a touch, the sound of a voice once familiar fondly remembered forever stilled. Not Forgotten.

Sadly, as the years passed and those who once loved and knew them passed away, recollections handed down recalled in remembrance became faded and lost; their graves in foreign fields unvisited and unknown. Forgotten.

Meticulously researched and compiled this volume reveals the stories, the lives – who they were, where they came from, the everyday, and how they met their deaths – individual and collective of over 2,000 of those who are buried in this region. Lest We Forget.

Volume III

In Flanders Fields: Boesinghe – Poelcapelle / Langemarck & Passchendaele

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow, Between the crosses row on row… Familiar words from a poem well-associated with remembrance of the fallen. Written in a region where the debris of recent bombardments, the landscape pitted with huge shell craters brimming with liquid mud and slime, and the sickly odour of death, constant and repulsive, were part of the everyday. Cut down by machine-gun and rifle fire, bodies tossed into all manner of macabre and grotesque postures, torn to shreds by the artillery shells that continually screamed overhead and pitched into them; swallowed by the mud.

From 1914 and the fighting around Langemarck to the Second Battle of Ypres and the introduction of gas as a weapon of warfare in 1915; the stalemate of the trenches in 1916 where acts of everyday attrition and localised attacks served only to continue and increase the loss of lives; the ‘slaughter in the mud’ the Third Battle of Ypres, 1917, through to the breakout of the salient in 1918. The region between Boesinghe and Passchendaele – a name that became synonymous, associated with the very worst aspects of the war on the Western Front – was a place of dread, the very mention of it enough to strike fear into the stoutest of hearts. A sector that witnessed a combination of some of the most awful conditions and bitter fighting imaginable where death was a constant companion. A veritable killing ground, a charnel house, where thousands of men died; their enemy just as much the awful conditions this region afforded them as the enemy in their trenches and reinforced strongpoints facing them across fields once green which, over four years of constant warfare, had become a seemingly never-ending morass of thick glutinous mud.

Within these pages, from the twenty-four cemeteries across this sector, are to be found extended details, accounts and stories of the circumstances that cut short the lives of over 1,400 whose headstones stand in testimony to their loss, their sacrifice. In Flanders Fields…

Volume IV

Sacred Soil – Hallowed Ground: Ypres, La Brique, Potijze & Zonnebeke

Volume V

Nightmare Beyond Description: Menin Road, Hooge & Zillebeke

Volume VI

The Road To Hell And Back: Voormezeele – Dickebusch, Hill 60 & Zandvoorde

Volume VII

 Fields Of Death & Glory: Reninghelst – Locre, Kemmel & Vierstraat

Volume VIII

At The Going Down Of The Sun: Messines, Neuve Eglise, Wulverghem & Bailleul

Volume IX  

Service and Sacrifice: Ploegsteert

Volume X

Service and Sacrifice: Ploegsteert Memorial