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Webmatters : Household Cavalry Memorial at Zandvoorde

Household Cavalry

Household Cavalry Memorial at Zandvoorde
Household Cavalry Memorial


From Ieper town centre the Meenseweg is located via Torhoutstraat and right onto Basculestraat. Basculestraat ends at a main crossroads, directly over which begins the Meenseweg.

7.5 Km along the Meenseweg in the village of Geluveld lies the right hand turning onto Zandvoordestraat.

Once you reach Zandvoorde turn left at the church. On the right hand side near the last houses you will see a sign post leading up an alley between the houses to the monument.

The monument is not easy to photograph in one piece as you stand right under it. Take a look at the visitors’ book in the entrance pillar.

Just before the end of the Zandvoordestraat is a left hand turning onto Kruisekestraat which leads you to the British Cemetery.

GPS N E Wikimapia
Decimal 50.810708 2.982209 Map



Household Cavalry Memorial at Zandvoorde

By the 30th October 1914 the German Fourth and Sixth Armies were closing in on the town of Ypres (now Ieper). To the north-east the French IX Corps had made some progress in trying to advance on Passendale.

King Albert had ordered the sluices to be opened and the coastal area was flooding. There was a quiet confidence in the Allied camp that the worst had been weathered.

Then on the 29th October however the Germans had attacked along the Menen Road towards Ypres and succeeded in breaking part of the British Line.

The British held between Armentières and Broodseinde, The French from there to the coast, with the Belgian Army concentrated on the left.

On the right of the British line the Cavalry Corps was stretched very thinly. The 1st Cavalry Division was on the right covering the south of Messines (Mesen), then the 2nd Cavalry Division between Messines and Hollebeke.

Finally the 3rd Cavalry Division (Commanded by Major General Julian Byng) were reponsible for the sector between just in front of what would become Hill 60 as far as Zandvoorde.

A squadron of the 1st Royal Dragoons (from the 6th Cavalry Brigade) held Hollebeke Château and the remainder of the trench system was held by the 7th Brigade with the 1st and 2nd Life Guards and the remainder of the Royal Horse Guards. The main road at Gheluvelt (Geluveld) was held by the 7th Infantry Division.

The cavalry were supported by their own horse artillery batteries but that was pretty much all. As each squadron only consisted of about eighty rifles the Official History’s statement rings all too true:

The cavalrymen, in fact, scattered in small parties along the front, were almost invisible on account of their small numbers amid the houses, trees hedges and gardens…

Against them was General Fabeck’s Group consisting of two army corps supported by 260 heavy pieces of artillery. At 0645 hours on the 30th October 1914 the majority of these opened fire on the positions held by the Household Cavalry.

This was still a time of movement (not even three months into the war) and the flimsy trenches occupied by the troopers bore little resemblance to the well constructed positions that would arise within twelve months.

The trenches were on the forward slope of the ridge in full view of the German guns which took little time to obliterate them.

At 0800 hours the three hundred troopers were assaulted by the 39th Division. Although the order to retire was given the troopers on the left were cut off and annihilated. Amongst them were men from a squadron of each of the 1st and 2nd Life Guards as well as the Machine Gun crews of the Royal Horse Guards.

These casualties included Lord Worsley and the memorial was erected near his grave. The site was purchased by Lady Worsley.

Lord Worsley (Charles Pelham) is now buried in Ypres Town Cemetery, Grave II D 4.


The Memorial

Household Cavalry Memorial at Zandvoorde

The cross was unveiled by Lord Haig on 4th May 1924, and stands on the southern side of the village in the area where part of the Household Brigade suffered serious losses in late October 1914.

The inscription reads:

To those of the 1st and 2nd Life Guards and Royal Horse Guards
who died fighting in France and Flanders 1914.
Many of them fell in defence of the ridge upon which this cross stands.


Some photos from the 100th Anniversary

26th October 2014

Click on the thumbnail for a larger version


Other monuments in the area