I\’m sat killing time in the sun after visiting the wounded warriors stand at Canada day in Trafalgar Square, before a meeting later today.
In 1916, almost certainly by this time of the day, my Great-Great Uncle David Bryant lay dead on the battlefield of the Somme.
Although he was known of by family then, my grandfather never spoke of his namesake Uncle (both David Albert) to my father, and it was only in 2009 when my mother found some interesting names on her family history trawl that GGUncle Bryant and his brother (Arthur George) came to light.
Since then we\’ve pieced together bits and pieces, spoken to the CWGC and the regimental museum.
David Albert was in the Rifles Brigade just north of Beaumont Hamel, and just south-west of the infamous German quadrilateral which dominated the area. 1st RB on the map below.
Corporal Bryant (he had been recently promoted from L/Cpl although his name is listed as L/Cpl at CWGC) went into attack, and was one of 20,000 casualties on that first day. As with over 72,000 other in the whole Somme Campaign, his body was never identified. He might be a \”Known Unto God\” burial, or he might have been lost in the Somme killing fields for ever.
Somewhere in the distance here:
Three years ago I took my father for the first and last time to Thiepval to pay our respects at the place where he is remembered, and then to Bernafay Wood where his brother (3/9/1916) lies. The following year my wife and I went to repeat the visits.
Last year with Help for Heroes I visited him again, and had the honour to be part of the wreath laying ceremony (in my head it was for him), and all the others.
This year again with Help for Heroes I took custom poppy crosses for them and laid them at Thiepval.
Today, in good weather and having met again with Wounded Warriors of Canada it is time to reflect and remember.
Twenty thousand, in one day. What were we thinking of?
As WW say \” Honour the Fallen, Help the Living\”