In a well-attended talk in the Memorial Hall on the 29th of May, Tony Goddard concentrated on what was known of the first three WW1 casualties from our area.
When war was declared Captain Liebert had already left the Army and was involved with managing Wincanton Race-course and as a keen horseman, was Master of the local Hunt and well known in the area. He had served in India so when war came as a reserve officer he was called up and died in 1914 in one of the first battles. The other two, Charlie Lodge and Alner were both already professional soldiers when the war broke out and so were quickly shipped out to Europe.
All three took part in the first battles when the German Army over-ran Belgium and with overwhelming numbers attacked France. There they faced a small, professional British Army who fought valiantly and skilfully, but suffered heavy losses and were forced to retreat. It was in these battles our three men died, in fact Tony pointed out there were 87 from Wincanton who served in the first battles. Tony illustrated his talk with fascinating and sobering photographs showing troops drawn up by Wincanton Station ready to embark on a war they thought would be “over by Christmas” but which was to drag on for four years. He also laid out a selection of battle-field mementos, shell casings and shards of shrapnel. These grim reminders brought the reality of the war home to us as we sat marvelling at what our great grandparents had gone through and how many had never come back. Tony is devoted to his subject and is in the middle of a book on Wincanton’s casualties and survivors and his passion and knowledge of his subject shone through. We look forward to reading it when it comes out as he hopes, later this year.