Bob the Soldier
'Hill 60'

Captain Robert Henderson-Bland

Lieutenant Graham Hilary Clarendon-Hyde Lieutenant Graham Hilary Clarendon-Hyde (circa 1914)


"Hill 6o* in 1914 was merely a low ridge some 250 feet high, and 250 yds. from end to end, formed artificially when the railway cutting was dug. . . Its military importance was due to its being the highest point in this area and consequently commanding views in every direction." The Battle Book of Ypres.

(Written after a visit to Hill 6o - June 4th, 1933)

     So bravely breaks the golden broom
       Upon the hill again
     That we can see in Nature's mood
       An easement of all pain.

     Ah! who could guess when standing here
       That men in fury fought,
     And held their wills, and gave their lives,
       To hold a place long sought?

    This little hill that any child
       With careless, happy laughter
    Could make in one long, gallant run,
       Is left to fame hereafter.

    Here late was mud, and long churned earth,
       But also roots that bore
    A flaming bush to victory
       From out the insensate maw.

       (printed in the Ypres Times)
*Several V.C.'s were awarded for Valour on this hill.

I wrote to my wife Maud (nee Hyde) regularly in diary form. Two examples:

June 2nd. 1917 Only got two hours sleep yesterday: didn't take off my things so I am a little tired. Yes, I saw Graham's name in the list of awards. I am sure that he deserved it. It is a mere farce in many cases. (Graham was Maud's half brother)

June 5th. 1917 I have no news of any importance. Of course we are very busy as you can guess. Things are getting very warm. Have both the Shepherds been killed? Saw obituary notice of Colonel ---, father of Scottie's wife. Enclosed you will find a note of congratulation to G --- C--- on getting his M.C.

(David's father, Lieutenant Graham Clarendon-Hyde, appears to have been awarded the Military Cross, but never mentioned it to his family. He died at the age of 94.)

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