Monday, May 28, 2012

Gordon Flowerdew, VC, and the Mystery of his Headstone

Gordon Flowerdew, of Norfolk, England; Duck Lake, Saskatchewan; and Wallachin, BC, lies buried at Namps-au-Val British Cemetary, the Somme, France. Flowerdew has passed into history as the man that led "C" Squadron, Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) in their ill-fated charge against German rifles, machine guns, and artillery at Moreuil Wood in March, 1918.
Flowerdew died of his wounds the day after the battle. His marker, maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, lists his rank as "captain". I am informed by a member of his family that he was promoted to captain by the Canadian Cavalry Brigade's commander, Brigadier Seely, on the day he died; although his military records refer to him as "lieutenant" throughout. At least one author has referred to Flowerdew being promoted the same day he died, but (so far) I am not aware of any documentation in that regard--except for the headstone itself.

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