Walter Marlborough Pryor – Derelict Tank on edge of R. Steenbeek at St. Julien

Interesting post from archaeologist Francis Pryor on a painting by his grandfather, Lieutenant Colonel Walter Marlborough Pryor DSO & Bar, DL, JP, of a derelict tank on the edge of the Steenbeck, St Julien. The view is from Battalion H.Q. in the line during 3rd Battle of Ypres and was painted in August 1917. From Pryor’s London Gazette entry – 19th January 1918 – he was an acting Lieutenant Colonel from 7th September 1917, so this may have been painted while he was still a Captain (acting Major) with the Hertfordshire Regiment.

Francis’ full blog entry is here.


Xmas 1917 – the Engineer-in-Chief’s Christmas card

I came across this in Douglas Haig’s diary files at the National Archives on Saturday – it is described in the file index as the “Xmas card 1917” and is one of the more bizarre illustrations I have seen used as a Christmas card.

The “Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe” appears to have collected up twenty-two children who are busy in a range of activities – including the cherub releasing gas from the back of his miniature railway wagon; the road builder with his pickaxe; the forestry worker chopping down a tree and the inland water imp pulling his SRD jars across in a barrel.

The explanation behind the activities is that this was the Christmas card sent out by the Engineer-in-Chief – who can be seen on the left intently studying his dinner menu while his men labour on.

Now if anyone can explain what is going on in the background where a man in a striped jacket is following a zebra with an apple on its back…

Memorial Plaques – St Nicholas Church, Harpenden

A nice set of brass memorial plaques from St Nicholas Church in Harpenden including a member of the Boer War Imperial Yeomanry. The two Lydekker brothers both served with the 1/5th Bedfordshires with Cyril dying at Suvla Bay in August 1915 while Gerard died at Alexandria in June 1917.