AN act of remembrance on the 107th anniversary of the Battle of Gheluvelt takes place this weekend in Worcester.

It will commemorate the achievements of the men of The 2nd Battalion The Worcestershire Regiment October 31 1914, whose counter-attack saved Ypres from capture and the British Army from defeat.

On October 31 in 1914, after 10 days of battle, nearly every unit had been drawn into the battle line and had been broken beyond recovery.

The 2nd Battalion The Worcestershire Regiment was the last available reserve of the British defence.

At 12.45pm A Company advanced to a railway embankment to prevent the enemy advancing up the Menin Road.

At 1pm, Major Hankey was given orders to counterattack and At 2pm with bayonets fixed, the battalion moved off in file.

Everywhere there were signs of retreat. The Worcesters alone were moving towards the enemy.      

Three Companies, B, C and D, numbering 370 in total, tramped grimly forward down into a valley.

The two leading Companies broke into a steady double and swept forward – the officers leading and, behind them, their men with fixed bayonets in one long irregular line.


Plaque at memorial arch

Plaque at memorial arch


They scrambled across the light railway, through hedges and wire fences and then, in the grounds of Gheluvelt Chateau, they closed with the enemy.

The South Wales Borderers had made a wonderful stand: all day, they held their ground at the chateau. Their resistance had delayed and diverted the German advance and the success of the counter-attack was largely due to their brave defence.

Major Hankey sent fighting patrols into the village to drive back snipers and to take some prisoners.

The village was secured but it was not possible to hold it permanently. 

Nevertheless, the  main force of the enemy had been driven out and the peril of a collapse of the British defence about the Menin Road had been averted.

The 2nd Battalion held firm on the ground which they had won.

Behind them, General FitzClarence reorganised his troops and made preparation for further resistance.

It stands to the perpetual credit of the Regiment that, at the darkest hour of that great battle when others around them were in retreat, the war-worn officers and men went forward unflinching to meet unknown odds and, by their devotion, saved  the day. 

The day’s fighting had cost the 2nd Battalion dearly.  A third of the Battalion’s remaining strength, 187 all ranks, had been killed or wounded.


Gheluvelt Park memorial arch

Gheluvelt Park memorial arch


Gheluvelt Park, Worcester, came about in recognition of the importance and significance of this battle. The Memorial Arch gateway entrance to the park has plaques attesting to this.

The commemoration service, organised by The Worcester Branch of The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Association in partnership with Worcester City Council, will be conducted by Rev Colin Butler at Gheluvelt Park on Sunday, October 31, beginning at 11.30am.


Gheluvelt interpretive feature

Gheluvelt interpretive feature


The commemoration service will be held at the interpretative feature and members of the public are welcome to attend.

You can visit the Worcestershire Soldier Gallery of the Regimental Museum in Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum in Foregate Street.