Mid July 2018, the memorial stone bought by Harry Patch, one of the final Great War veterans, went missing. We aim to provide a copy of the stone so that Harry's story keeps on being told.
On 16 August, Harry Patch went over the top at the Steenbeek in an attack on Langemark. Later that summer, he lost three good comrades and was wounded himself by shell fire. 91 years later, aged a 110, his memories were as painful as back then.
Having visited the site in 2007, he had mentioned the possibility of erecting a memorial to his comrades in the 7thDuke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry at the exact spot in which he had gone into action . The following year, in September 2008 , his wish was granted at a small ceremony during which he unveiled the memorial stone he had himself paid for.
He later would visit the German cemetery in the nearby village to show his respect to his former foe as well as meet up with one of the final German veterans of the Great War. Harry became our last living link with the war in the trenches. Through his autobiography, The Last Fighting Tommy and the BBC Series he reached out to future generations.
Mid July 2018, the memorial stone was reported missing to the community of Langemark. Police were notified but no trace of the stone could be found. Hence late July, the initiative is taken by the Peace Village to crowd fund resources to replace the stone.
The Peace Village Hostel in Messines not only provides group accommodation on the former battlefields but also offers education advice and activities. We frequently refer to Harry's message of peace and reconciliation in the work we do with youth groups. Through this crowd fund, we would like to do our bit to keep Harry's memory and message alive.
The money we raise will go towards the funding of the new memorial stone. The engraving will be carried out by a local stonemason from Langemark. The community of Langemark - Poelkapelle has kindly offered assistance in purchasing the stone and the installation on site.
Any possible surplus donations will go to one of Harry's favourite charities and one of his sole good war memories, the garden of Talbot House . The Every Man's Club, run as a charity today, still offers a home from home to pilgrims who visit the battlefields. The garden of the House is due to undergo some renovations later this year.
- Nick Mol
- Hans Koningsveld
- Marc De Cuyper
- Johan Vandewalle
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