Wiltshire Publications

Active Retirement Club

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If you think this summer’s weather is unseasonal, spare a thought for the soldiers at the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917.

For over three months, beginning on 31st July, the battle to capture a German-held ridge overlooking the Ypres Salient was fought in unremitting rain. The ground over which soldiers and horses were trying to advance turned into a quagmire, and the heavy artillery following the infantry became impossibly bogged down. At the time, weather-forecasting was unavailable, and the strategists were simply relying on the fact that August is usually a dry and sunny month in Flanders. The cost in casualties on both sides was terrible.

 All this was explained to members of the Active Retirement Club (ARC) by Larry Bohana, an expert on the history of the First World War. With the aid of relief maps and photographs, he held his audience in thrall, in spite of the harrowing nature of his material.

ARC Westbury meets fortnightly, and details of the programme can be found at www.arcwestbury.co.uk (please note the new web address) or from Bruce on 07968 662593.

Picture: Larry Bohana (left) chats with ARC member John Harrison.