You might remember that in early February I received an impromptu telephone call which had me driving and crawling around the old Western Front in France to do a video for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission who had seen my blog posts and were inspired and touched by the story of my relation, Reuel Dunn; and my efforts to follow in the footsteps of the man who impressed the Red Baron so much that the German legend is said to have visited the dying man in a field hospital to honour is bravery.
The link below explains how I first found the battle sight and his final resting place and there are various links that go on from there.
Well the good news is that it was a great success and we all had more material than there is an immediate need for. Better news is that I’ve been given full permission to use the video here on my blog and Youtube channels.
The sad part is that this Sunday, 2nd April 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of his death just a few hundred yards east of Givenchy En Gohelle, in Arras during his photography mission in preparation for the famous Canadian push at Vimy Ridge.
So now seems as good a time as ever to show everyone my hard work… and those who helped create the video of course, especially the fantastic Tim with whom I ‘ve spent several days with far more laughs than you could ever imagine when you think what we’ve been doing.
First of all, I’ve unearthed a few final unmentioned details about Reuel. Below is his house, 88 Harrington Road in Workington, Cumbria. When I went there in October, I wasn’t able to stop due to parking restrictions and a very observation traffic warden. So, I approached a complete stranger by the name of Jon Joe who takes plenty of great photos on a Workington Facebook group and as a typical friendly resident of the town where my mother and grandparents came from, was very happy to help.
This is the house that Ruel lived in and left for the last time most likely in the middle of June 1917. It hasn’t changed at all from the outside, except perhaps for double-glazed windows and a satellite dish. I’m sure he would recognise it immediately.
Below are copies of his Service Record.
On his Attestation sheet below, you can see Reuel was a Draughtsman and his actual signature towards the bottom of the form.
Finally below, you can see that Reuel actually gained promotion several times before his death was recorded on the 2nd April 1917.
So here it is, my video for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. You can find plenty more great videos on their Facebook pages. Let me know what you think! I was told that I was a natural and from the beginning managed to avoid the cardinal sin of staring at the camera or behind the scenes folk. As is the way with television, my best moment was cut due to excess noise but apparently in 30 seconds I managed to do what Chris Evans failed in an entire year of Top Gear and that is drive a car and talk to the cameraman in the passenger seat in a natural way…. and in someone else’s Automatic car on the wrong side of the road in France. Somebody snap me up!
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.
Don’t forget my WW1 Concise History book, Lest We Forget… the CWGC don’t use just anyone!
And my simple photo book guide to the highlights of the Western Front, In The Footsteps Of Heroes