On October 4th 2017, the friends of the TMYS organised a special centenary remembrance ceremony dedicated to Captain Clement Robertson VC of the Royal Tank Corps. At this occasion the bridge at the Reutelbeek was officially named "Robertson's Bridge' thanks to the kind cooperation of the Mayor and town of Zonnebeke. The ceremony was attended by relatives of Capt. Robertson and of Gunner Cyril Allen who also particapted in the tank action of Oct. 4th 1917. Civil and military officials attended as well. A Leopard tank drove on the route that the tanks of Robertson's A-company drove a100 years ago. A very special event this was.
Captain Robertson fell near the Reutel bridge, just near what is now the restaurant 'Merlijn'. For 3 days, from September 30th, 1917 on, he planned a safe route for his tanks of A-Company so that they would manage to advance and force a breakthrough near the 'Reutel' at the heavy German defences over there. Captain Robertson that 4th October, on foot, through the lower land, led his tanks along his planned route, so avoiding they would get bogged down in the muddy fields. He was assisted in this by his orderly Gunner Cyril Allen. Robertson succeeded in his goal but was killed by heavy German machine gun fire near the Reutel bridge. All of the tanks nevertheless succeeded in reaching their objectives. For this remarkable action Robertson was awarded the Victoria Cross. Gunner Allen received the DCM. Allen was killed later, on 20 November during the tankbattle of Cambrai. He has no known grave.
After this ceremony friends of the TMYS and the family paid tribute to Capt. Robertson at his graveside at Oxford Road Cemetery. The was concluded with a wreathlaying at the Menin Gate last Post at which a New Zealand delegation also was present seen the centenary commemoration of the Battle of Broodseinde.
Op 4 oktober 2017 organiseerden de Frends of TMYS een bijzondere eeuwherdenking voor Capt. Robertson VC van het toenmalige Royal Tank Corps. Bij deze gelegenheid, met de welwillende medewerking van de burgemeester en de gemeente Zonnebeke, werd de brug over de Reutelbeelk officieel ingewijd als “Robertson’s Bridge”. De plechtigheid werd bijgewoon door de familie van Capt. Robertson en van Gunner Allen die eveneens in deze actie van 4 oktober 1917 deelnam en werd onderscheiden. Verschillende burgerlijke en militaire vertegenwoordigers woonden de plechtigheid bij. Een Leopard tank reed na de inwijding dezelfde route die de tanks van Robertson’s
A-company reden honderd jaar geleden. Dit was een heel bijzondere gebeurtenis. Capt. Robertson seneuvelde nabij de brug ongeveer waar nu het restaurant Merlijn is. Drie dagen lang, van 30 september af, plande en markeerde hij de route die zijn tanks moesten rijden zodat ze veilig konde oprukken en een doorbraak forceren door de Duitse versterkingen. Op 4 oktober 1917 leidde Capt. Robertson, te voet zijn tanks langs deze route om te voorkomen dat de tanks zich zouden vastrijden in de modderpoel. Hij werd hierbij geholpen door zijn ordonnans Gunner Cyril Allen. De tanks bereikten hun doel en slaagden in hun opzet maar CApt. Robertson werd door Duits machinegeweer. Voor deze moedige actie ontving Robertson het Victoria Cross en Gunner Allen de Distinguished Conduct Medal. Allen werd later, op 20 november 1917, gedood in de tankslag bij Cambrai. Hij heeft geen gekend graf.
Na deze plechtigheid betoonden de Friends of the TMYS en de familie eer aan Capt. Robertson bij zijn graf op Oxford Road Cemetery. De dag werd besloten met een kranslegging tijdens de Last Post ceremonie aan de Menenpoort. Deze werd ook door een Nieuw Zeelandse delegatie bijgewoond gezien de eeuwherdening van de Slag bij Broodseinde.
Flag of the Royal tank Regiment flying at the Merlijn restaurant, Reutel, beselare (Zonnbeke)
the name plate to be unveiled and the new info panel telling the story of Capt. Robertson's
VC action of bravoury on 4 Oct. 1917
the standard of the TMYS alongside the nameplate and panel
people arriving at the ceremony
TMYS Vice President Lt. (Retd) Ian Robertson, relative of Capt. Robertson attending the ceremony,
a side of the Leopard tank
awaiting the ceremony to begin
wreaths that are to be laid
TMYS vice president Ian Robertson, President Lt. Gen (Retd) David Leakey and chairman Chris Lock
some more offcials, to the right the Mayor of Zonnebeke, Dirk Sioen, Col. Symoens and Col. Onraet,
Provincial Commander of West Flanders
Chris Lock welcomes everybody at this special centenary commemoration
address by Dirk Sioen, Mayor of Zonnebeke
address (in English) by Alderman Sabine Vanderhaegen of Zonnebeke
wreaths awaiting near the 'Robertson's bridge'
TMYS President Lt. Gen (Retd) David Leakey addresses the people with
a beautiful homage to Captain Robertson and Gunner Allen.
address by the great cousin of Capt. Robertson, TMYW Vice President Ian Robertson, who gives
a poignant account of the action of his great uncle today 100 years ago.
John Allen, relative of Gunner Cyril Allen also addresses the people telling a most
appealing account of the actions here a hundred years ago
the unveilig of the new name plate dedicated to Capt. Robertson VC
the new name plate at the bridge, now officially "Robertson's Bridge", a great tribute this is !
Ian Robertson, Alderman Vanderhaegen, Mayor Sioen, Lt. Gen. Leakey, Col. Symoens,
Col. Onraedt and John Allen who unveiled the nameplate
Revd. Gillian Trinder, honorary chaplain of the TMYS, leads in prayer
standard of the TMYS, the Royal British Legion Ypres, the RBLScotland Passchendaele
Revd. Gillian Trinder blesses the new name plate and info panel
Revd. Gillian Trinder blesses the Leopard tank
During the Last Post the Leopard tank salutes by turning aside turret and canon
standards lowered during Last Post
the Ode is recited
standards lowered during the sounding of the Belgian and British Anthems
local TV at the ceremony, a nice report of them was to follow.
wreath laying on behalf of the town of Zonnebeke
wreath laying by TMYS President Lt. Gen (Retd) David Leakey
wreath laying by Bekgian military: Col. Symoens and Col. Onraet
wreath laying on behalf of the Robertson family
wreath laying by John Allen, relative of Gunner Cyril Allen
wreath laying by TMYS chairman Chris Lock
the wreaths at the new memorial site
relatives of the Robertson family place poppy crosses
wreaths and poppy crosses remembering Capt. Robertson VC
The standards lowered
standards of ther Royal Entente Ypres
the lament, played by piper Eric Remy (YSPD) is played from the (German) bunker in the
Deputy Mayor of Ypres, Jef Verschoore and the Mayor of Zonnebeke Dirk Sioen
colour party and people marching uphill towards restaurant Merlijn
local tv interviews Ian Robertson about the story of his relative Capt. Robertson
Ian Robertson watching the Leopard tank approaching along the same
road his great uncle guided his tanks 100 years ago and who in this action got killed
the Leopard tank approaching on its historic ride
Chairman TMYS Chris Lock and standard bearer Wayne Evans, both former tankies
TMYS vice chairman Milena Lock interviewed by Focus-WTV
The memorial plaque at restaurant Merlijn commemorating the brave action of
Capt. Roberston VC and his orderly Gunner Cyril Allen DCM on 4 Oct 1917.
page made by / pagina aangemakt door: Frank Mahieu