Greg Lance – Watkins
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my Grandfather Jim Watkins was an Old Contemptible part of what the German Kaiser described as ‘a Contemptible little army’ which was in the field of battle from Britain, long before Christmas 1914.
Jim Watkins was a West Country lad born in Iron Acton where his father was the local blacksmith, whilst Jim’s brother remained in Iron Acton and eventually lived on the hill by Westerly Common Jim went to live with relations in Tonypandy where he started work as a pony boy in the pits.
Jim did well in the pits and although married, to Daisy Knight with a child on the way, Jim signed up for the army. Within days he was kitted and shipped to Flanders!
Jim’s career with The Gloucesters was one of staggering commitment where surrounded by death in many of the great battles Ypres 1, 2 & 3, Marne, Vimmy, The Somme and many more – somehow caught up in troop movements he found himself in The Dardanelles with a long walk ahead that crossed to Afghanistan they yomped across the country via Kabul to the Northwest Frontier – returning long after the war was won via Doolali demob (another story), to his wife and a son Kenneth Loraine (named Loraine as Jim was serving there when he was born) born in 1915 at his maternal father’s home in Station Road, Llewnipia, a son he had not seen until he was almost 5.
My grandfather spent many hours with me telling me details of his war and his belief that it was his duty to ensure that Germany and their allies did not overun Europe, and beyond, to create one massive German dominated military empire destroying countries as they seized power.
After such a brutal war and incredible survival Jim saw his two eldest sons off to war, all too well aware of the horrors that lay ahead of them, and well aware that Ken in REME with the 8th. Army, first in North Africa on tank recovery and then up through Italy and on to such famous actions as The Battle of the Reichswald Forest and Des as a fighter pilot CLICK HERE – Jim was well aware of the political bungling that had led to the victory his generation had given their youth and lives to gaining to prevent a military German dominance of a controlled and subjugated Europe had been squandered and WWII was an inevitable consequence to protect Europe and Britain from the self same evils.
The pucilanimity and greed of a self styled political elite has led back to that same need to defend Britain from a morte cunningly presented and deviously imposed Franco German dream of dominance of Europe with one anthem, one central power, destruction of democracy, an anthem and a burgeoning military ambition to control!
Politically Correct policies and aesopian language have led us to the point where those who understand our patriotic duty and debt to mankind leaves us with no option but to seek BreXit – twice before we have taken the difficult route to liberty and twice before the costs were high but there is no doubt that morally and ethically we are doing the right thing – however beguilled may be those seeking rides on the alluring gravy train, a gravy train Britain is being milked dry and now bullied and blackmailed to fund!
I ahve opposed membership of the EU since I first started to understand politics in the late 1950s – how could I not when I realised the sacrifices made by not just my family but many millions of others, to defend the world against such evil.
For a different presentation of much the same read on:
And profanation of the dead
Once more we have a commemoration of a First World War Battle. We have reached 1917 and the so called “Battle of Passchendaele”. What we haven’t reached is any sort of understanding of what the battle was about, what happened and why. This is reflected even in the name of the battle. The First Battle of Passchendaele didn’t begin until October. The Second Battle of Passchendaele began in late October and continued into November. What we are commemorating on the 31st of July is the beginning of the Third Battle of Ypres. This campaign began with the Battle of Pilckem Ridge. Of course, no-one will mention anything about this. All we will get is cliché about mud and futility.
The Third Battle of Ypres was not futile, nor was it defeat for the allied powers. It was part of a series of battles that ultimately defeated Germany. Each of these battles involved enormous loss of life. But this was not because the Germans, the French or the British were stupid. It was simply because we had reached a stage in the history of warfare where defence was massively stronger than attack.
One hundred years earlier during Napoleon’s campaign soldiers were mainly armed with muskets and a large mass of men could charge a defensive position and expect to succeed. This meant that a Generals task was to manoeuvre his troops so that he it would be able to successfully attack his opponent. The General who did this best won. But during the nineteenth century this changed because of the invention of breech loading rifles and latterly machine guns. Even by the end of the American Civil War, defence had become so strong that armies were reduced to trench warfare. Fifty years later with the development of the machine gun it became simply impossible for a large mass of men to charge a defensive position and expect to meet success.
Why didn’t we have a repeat of trench warfare in the years between 1939 and 1945? The answer is that in the period in between technology developed again so that we had effective aircraft capable of supporting attacking troops and we had effective tanks capable of breaking through a defensive line. This brought manoeuvre back into warfare.
The Generals of the First World War had neither effective aircraft nor effective tanks that could operate in all conditions. These things were developed during the course of the First World War, but they had not yet reached the stage of being able to break through a defensive line on their own. The only effective ways of breaking a defensive line that these generals had were artillery and troops.
During the course of the First World War the various armies developed and changed artillery and attack tactics. These became progressively more effective. Unfortunately they had to learn by experience. This experience, otherwise known as battles, was not futile. Only by fighting the Battle of the Somme and later battles such as Third Ypres did the British Army learn how to win. By November of 1917 when the Second Battle of Passchendaele ended with Allied Victory the British had developed “bite and hold” tactics for which the Germans had no answer. In desperation the Germans attacked in March 1918. Their attack met with initial success and they too developed innovative tactics. But their offensive ultimately failed, because they could not finally break the allied line.
By 1918 the Allied Armies had more or less perfected the method by which they could break the German line and they proceeded to do so from July 1918 until November. In this way the Allies decisively defeated the German Army in the field. But they didn’t do out of the blue. They did so because of the battles that had gone before. Without these, there would have been no victory in 1918.
I tire of commemorations that show zero understanding of the First World War. They are not commemorating anything as they don’t even know what happened. How can you remember if you don’t know what you are remembering? I’m sorry this is not remembrance it is “profanation of the dead.”
These men did not die in vain. Instead they won the greatest victory in British history. The British Army of 1918 was the best Army we have ever had. It had the most up to date tactics, the most brilliant and brave soldiers and it succeeded.
We have become so used to defeatism and pacifism that we forget what we were fighting for between 1914 and 1918. We were fighting for exactly the same thing between 1939 and 1945. The First World War was about preventing an undemocratic tyranny (Germany) from ruling Europe. The Second World War in essence was about exactly the same thing.
We went to war in 1914 because we wanted Belgium to free. We went to war in 1939 so that Poland should be free. We did not want either of these places to be ruled by Germany. We wanted them remain free, sovereign nation states who had the right to say to Germany No.
Preventing undemocratic powers from ruling in Europe was our war aim in 1917 and in 1944. That is why we fought. Unfortunately we lost the peace. Poland and Belgium are part of an undemocratic Empire that is in effect ruled by Germany. The German war aims of 1914 and 1939 have more or less been achieved. Germany dominates and what Germany wants more or less happens. The Governments of small countries are overruled. Their Prime Ministers are appointed and in the end they have to do what they are told. We have the illusion of democracy in Brussels but it is no more than the illusion of democracy that could be found in Berlin in 1914.
We must remember what our soldiers fought for at Ypres and why it mattered that they succeeded. They fought so that Britain would not be ruled by any tyranny and would not be dominated by foreign powers. That is why these wars mattered.
Europe is once again dominated and democracy threatened. Poland is once more part of an Empire only now that Empire is from the West rather than the East. But once more the British have escaped. We got into are small boats and we crowded onto the piers that stretched into the channel and pointed to our island home that would allow us to fight on for all those who had seen their freedom crushed.
We do so again. So let us remember this. Brexit was a great victory. It was a continuation of the same fight that we have been engaged in for over a century. Unfortunately there are still those who wish to side with our opponents and would prevent our example from freeing Europe once more. Some of these people pretend to remember our dead today. They do not remember them, they do not know them or understand them. They only profane them.
Posted by Effie Deans at 09:03
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