51st (Highland) Division Memorial (1924)

The 51st (Highland) Division Memorial near Y Ravine. (P. Ferguson image August 2018)

The 51st (Highland) Division Memorial near Y Ravine.
(P. Ferguson image, 9 August 2018)

Friends are good on the day of battle

Located near to Y Ravine, within the present day Newfoundland Park, the 51st Division Memorial commemorates their success during the Battle of the Ancre 13 November 1916. The memorial project was aided by the good work of  Lieutenant Colonel Nangle, the former Roman Catholic padre of the Newfoundland Regiment. Nangle was instrumental in the creation of the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial and when issues arose to site the 51st Memorial, due to poor ground, Nangle offered a position where the memorial would overlook the forked gully of Y Ravine, facing east towards the village of Beaumont-Hamel.

Approaching the 51st (Highland) Division Memorial near Y Ravine. (P. Ferguson image August 2018)

Approaching the 51st (Highland) Division Memorial near Y Ravine.
(P. Ferguson image, 9 August 2018)

George Henry Paulin was chosen as the memorial’s sculptor and the model for the statue was Company Sergeant Major Bob Rowan of the Glasgow Highlanders. However, for the face of the statue, Paulin chose to use that of his brother Charles Paulin. The statue was placed atop a pyramid of Rubislaw granite that came from Garden & Company of Aberdeen, Scotland.

The Gaelic inscription on the 51st Memorial, "La a 'Blair s'math n Cairdean (Friends are good on the day of battle)."

The Gaelic inscription on the 51st Memorial, LA A’ BHLAIR S MATH NA CAIRDEAN (Friends are good on the day of battle).
(P. Ferguson image, 9 August 2018)

Unveiled on 28 September 1924 by Ferdinand Foch the former Allied Supreme Commander, the memorial was dedicated by a Reverend Sinclair who served as a Chaplain within the Division.  During the dedication Flowers of the Forest was played by the pipers of the 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

Individuals Mentioned:

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Matthew Mary Nangle was ordained in 1913 and served throughout the Great War with the Newfoundland Regiment. In 1917 Nangle returned to St. John’s, Newfoundland where he delivered lectures about his experiences on the front-lines, whilst encouraging others to enlist. After the war Nangle was chosen Director of War Graves, Registration, Enquiries and Memorials and was Newfoundland’s representative to the Imperial War Graves Commission, London. In 1926 Nangle left the priesthood and emigrate to Rhodesia where he married and became a farmer and politician. Nangle died in 1972.

George Henry Paulin attended the Edinburgh College of Art and received his Diploma in Sculpture in 1912. He later attended L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and the spent four years in Florence at his own studio. Trooper Paulin served during the Great War with the Lothians and Border Horse but was discharged after being trampled by a horse. Captain Paulin next enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps serving as an Observer and subsequently joined the Royal Naval Air Service in January 1918. Paulin was often employed with Military Intelligence. Following the war Paulin established a Glasgow studio, later moving to London. During the Second World War Paulin attempted to rejoin the services but was rejected. Undeterred, Paulin served the war effort working in precision engineering at a munitions factory and subsequently joined a camouflage section. Paulin’s London studio was destroyed during the Blitz. He died in 1972.

Company Sergeant Bob Rowan was probably awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal during the Great War. It is interesting to note that Rowan’s unit was not part of the 51st Highland Division.

Charles Ross Paulin was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Indian Reserve. He died in Lucknow, India 18 February, 1916 and is commemorated on the Dollar Academy Memorial, Kirkcudbright, Scotland. His death is not recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Ferdinand Jean Marie Foch was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies 26 March 1918. On 11 November 1918 Foch accepted a request from German forces for an armistice. Afterwards Foch advocated for terms that would make Germany unable to pose a threat to France ever again. Foch believed the terms of the Treat of Versailles, signed 28 June 1919, were too lenient on Germany. Foch’s prophetic remark, This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years.

Reverend P. Sinclair DSO served with the 51st Highland Division attached to the artillery and frequently with various field ambulances. Sinclair, who was once wounded, was taken prisoner of war during the March offensive when he was captured at Doigines, 21 March 1918. His final rank was Colonel.

Link to the Great War units of the 51st (Highland) Division.

About The Author

Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was captivated by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Over time Paul became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography, narration and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was inspired when he learned Weir visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. "Gallipoli", the film, led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii, Gallipoli, North Macedonia and Salonika. When Paul first watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests was a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, Paul believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.


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