Poppy cross could hold a clue …
In the month of Remembrance, I look at a road outside the Gloucestershire Regiment’s former Horfield Barracks which is named Dorian. This can be assumed to be an example of careless misnaming; I say this advisedly because every November someone, very poignantly, places a Royal British Legion wooden poppy cross overmarked ‘Doiran’ beneath the road sign. This name relates to First World War Balkan Battles that took place near Lake Doiran.
It is important, firstly, that this mourner’s ancestor’s sacrifice is recognised. Secondly, I hope that publicity in this and other publications might lead Bristol City Council into correcting this unfortunate ‘typo’.
In an attempt to find out more, I contacted Matthew Holden, director of the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum. Matthew kindly sent me the following information from his forthcoming book, with permission to use extracts related to the Doiran battles, in which we can only assume an ancestor of the placer of the Poppy Cross was one of the many ‘Glorious Glosters’ who lost their life.
The chapter in Matthew’s book details the battles and why the Gloucestershire Regiment won so many costly and hard-won honours.
“In autumn of 1915, the Allies landed in Macedonia to help Serbia in their conflict with Bulgaria, who by now had been officially incorporated into the Central Powers alliance. The allied strategy was to break through an area, west of Lake Doiran, and then press on to Sofia thus knocking the Bulgarians out of the war … On the 8 th May 1917, the British opened up another huge bombardment of the enemies positions. …The 9th Battalion were held in reserve on this occasion, yet it was not long until they were called up at midnight to take their place at the front. The Black Watch were to consolidate a line of Bulgarian trenches that had been taken and the Glosters would support them … At 02:00 on the 9th May, the Glosters, along with the Royal Scots Fusiliers, were ordered over the top.”
Subsequently to my noticing the RBL Poppy Cross I have been told that others have also noticed a cross placed there in previous years.
I am hoping that readers will be able to help solve the mystery and perhaps give the annual placer of the cross some solace by letting them realise that others also care.
(Perhaps the article may come to the attention of the placer of the cross, who may then get in touch).