Thursday, 27 October 2011

Eternally remembered - The 53rd Welsh Division



The first time I laid eyes on this monument I just got so annoyed. SO annoyed.

Not because of the Celtic Cross itself though. I think it's rather a nice thing actually. Bit austere and somber looking but that fits its purpose.

This is the 53rd Welsh Division Memorial.

On the 27th of October 1944, after 4 days of bitter fighting, the 53rd Welsh (Welch) Division succeeded in liberating the city of 's-Hertogenbosch, a.k.a. Den Bosch, from German occupying forces. In the fighting, 146 of the Division's men lost their lives and another 705 were injured.



At the base of the memorial cross the following inscription is carved:
To those who deserve to be eternally remembered.

And that's what set me off. First time I actually saw the monument with my own eyes I couldn't believe where they had put it. Some out of the way, obscure little corner of Den Bosch. I remember thinking to myself: eternal remembrance, HERE??

I was less than impressed. And started muttering and spluttering that if the city council had wanted the sacrifice of these men to be remembered, they should have bloody well put the memorial in a place where people would actually have more than an ultra-slim chance of seeing it - and be reminded to remember.

Not too long after that I had to swallow my words. Bloody wells included. I found out there was actually a good reason for it to be put in that specific location. The Division's survivors themselves felt this was the right place for the memorial, because it happened to be the exact spot from which they launched their attack to liberate the city. Which makes it a place that holds very special meaning to them. And us obviously. Um. That sort of took the wind out of my sails of indignation. Sometimes I even manage to annoy myself with my little miss know-it-all attitude.

Have a look at the below picture.




Doesn't the veteran in the photo have the most fabulous smile in the world?

And what do you know, he doesn't seem to mind being in an out of the way, obscure little corner of Den Bosch.

Picture of the 53rd Welsh Division Memorial was taken with my iPhone.
The other pictures were found here and here.

9 comments:

  1. Love it ~ thanks for sharing xoxo

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  2. Did you ever see the "Who Do You Think You Are" with Rory Bremner on the beeb. Part of the program was done in Den Bosch
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1254084/My-family-heroes-Rory-Bremner-discovers-bravery-father-barely-knew.html

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  3. Wow - great read. I never did see that episode although I love 'Who do you think you are'. I should try and see if I can get my hands on it now. Bit of a pity though he said Den Bosch is in the North of Holland whereas we're in the heart of the South. Thx for sending me the link!

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  4. The veteran with the flag is a good friend of our family.
    We go every year to the commemoration at that monument in Den Bosch!

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    1. Oh, how lovely! I'm glad to hear he's still doing well! Hopefully he'll manage to come to Den Bosch in the years ahead, there are so few veterans left these days who are well enough to make the trip...

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    2. Is the veteran in question Emrys Davies by any chance? I thought I recognised his face, but the website I got the photo from mentioned an entirely different name, so that got me confused.

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  5. anyone know how to get to the monument from the station?

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    1. In theory, you could walk it - but it'll take a good 45 minutes as it's outside the city centre - but not all that far.

      You could take a taxi from the taxi stand by the station (by the fountain, centre-side), fare should be something between 15-20 euros? Alternatively, the number 63 bus (direction Rosmalen) departing from the station only takes 15 minutes to get to the Rubensstraat (ask the driver to let you know which stop it is), and from there is only a couple of minutes walk.

      If you plan on going, obviously 27 October would be a good time :-)

      One more thing: the official address is '53rd Welsh Divisionplein' so if you have a smartphone with you, you can use google maps to show you how to walk from Rubensstraat. Or you could look it up before you go.

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    2. My uncle was in 4th Battalion The Welch Regiment and was quite badly wounded in this battle. The physical scars eventually healed but the mental trauma remained. He went to two reunions and said it was very moving. I believe that they stayed with local people. I passed through on the train one sunny Friday evening a few years ago. Everyone was out enjoying the fine weather - walking, cycling, rowing or cooking in the garden. It was hard to imagine that a terrible struggle had gone on there not so many years before.

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