Monday, June 23, 2008

19th (Western) Division Memorial, Wytschaete, Belgium.

The 19th (Western) “Butterfly” Division memorial is located nearby Wytschaete. It shows the butterfly emblem of the Division at the top of the cross and commemorates the division's greatest achievement of the First World War.

On 7th June 1917 the Battle of Messines opened and the 19th Division was among the first to advance in the wake of the explosion of 19 mines which signified the start of the attack at 3.10am.

The Divisional memorial is sited at the crossroads which the division successfully reached within five hours of the start of the attack, which included the taking of the village of Oosttaverne nearby.

During the attack 19th Division lost 51 officers and some 1,358 other ranks. In their turn they captured 1,253 German prisoners.

The same site saw further action by 19th Division in April 1918 during the Battle of Lys.

The 19th Division Memorial has an identical memorial in design at la Boiselle on the Somme.

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