Op 20 augustus 2023 herdacht het "Genootschap Passchendaele Society" de Sk
lag bij Langermark van 1-20 Augustus 1917 en de inzet van de 36e Ulster en 16e Ierse Dicisie daarbij. Ook werd de Ierse Father Doyle herdacht die toen op 16 aug. sneuvelde. Johan De Jonghe deed het verhaal van de Ierse divisies en van Father Doyle. Piper en klaroenblazers van Field Marshall Haig's Own P & D verzorgden de muzikale kant van de herdenking.
Aansluitend werd op Dochy Farm New British Cemetery dan Sgt. Jimmy Speirs herdacht, dit op de verjaardag van zijn sterfdag, de dag dat hij in 1917 sneuvelde.
James Hamilton Speirs werd geboren in het Schotse Glasgow op 22 maart 1886. Hij was een bekend voetballer. In 1911 scoorde hij het winnende doelpunt voor Bradford City AFC in de finale van de FA Cup. Tijdens WO1 nam hij in 1915 dienst in bij de Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. Speirs sneuvelde op 31-jarige leeftijd tijdens 3e Slag bij Ieper, op 20 augustus bij de Slag bij Langemark. Jimmy ontving voor zijn bijzondere inzet tijdens de oorlog de Miitary Medal.
Jammergenoeg werd hij door de jaren heen vergeten tot het GPS enekel jaren geleden zijn verhaal prominent naar voor bracht. Bradford City hernam zo de gedachtenis aan Jimmy. Dec Schotse zanger Alan Brydon schreef ter herdenking van Jimmy het lied 'Sing for the Boys'. Ook vandaag weerklonk deze melodioe op de begraafplaats bij zijn graf op de tonen van de doedelzak.
On August 20, 2023, GPS (Genootschap Passchendaele Society) pays tribute to the fallen of the 36th Ulster Division and 16th Irish Division at the Irish Memorial Stone (Langemark). This commemorates the August 1917 battle of Langemark. The story of the events was told by Johan De Jonghe.
Subsequently tribute was paid to football player Sgt. Jimmy Speirs at Dochy Farm New British Cemetery, this at the anniversary of his death. Jimmy's story was told by Johan De Jonghe. It was an honour for me to be invited to recite the exhortation.
James Hamilton Speirs was born on the 22 March 1886 in the Govan area of Glasgow the 5th of 6 children of James Hamilton Speirs and Janet Shields Speirs, nee McLean. By 1901 the family had moved to Govan Hill where Jimmy worked as a clerk. It was in the Govanhill area that his footballing talent first came to be shown. At the age of 19 he joined Glasgow Rangers and then Clyde before moving south to sign for Bradford City in July 1909, making his debut against Manchester United on 1st September. Speirs was described as ‘a cultured and scheming inside-right’ who averaged a goal every two games during his Scottish career. In March 1908 Speirs won his only international cap for Scotland in a match against Wales. At City he played 86 League games scoring 29 times before moving to Leeds City (United) in December 1912 for a then huge fee of £1400. After a further 73 League games and 32 goals, Speirs played his last match in the final game of the 1914-15 season. Despite being married with two young children, he returned to Glasgow and volunteered to join the Cameron Highlanders and enlisted on 17 May 1915. Conscription was still over a year away and even then he would have been exempt through being married with a young family. In March 1916 Corporal Speirs was posted to France. He won the Military Medal for bravery in May 1917 during the Second Battle of Arras, though unfortunately the citation has not survived, and was then promoted to Sergeant. Later that year, shortly after returning from Scotland on leave Jimmy was killed on 20 August during the Battle Passchendaele, Speirs was reported wounded and missing, with his widow eventually being informed that he had died on or shortly after that date.
Piper and buglers of the Field Marshall Haig's Own P & D joined for the musical part of the ceremony.
Lest We Forget.
photos credit Franky Mahieu
remembering the Irish Divisions with explanation by Johan De Jonghe
oldtimers though passed through during the ceremony ....
these guys though at least waited untill the ceremony ended
Dochy Farm New British Cemetery
Remembering Bradford City footballer, Sgt Jimmy Speirs
Remembering Bradford City footballer, Sgt Jimmy Speirs, Killed in Action 20 Aug. 1917
pagina aangemaakt door / page made by Frank Mahieu
Page made by Frank Mahieu.