It is always a wonderful thing when you reap the rewards of your research, when you realise the opportunity to see it through to a conclusion, or at least to a point where the sense comes off the page and into the field.
It is very satisfying. Last year I had the opportunity to stand in the spot where a cousin, Spencer Parkes, met his end on 13th October 1917, 1st Passchendaele, 3rd Ypres. Next year, on a visit to Gallipoli, I intend to stand in the footsteps of my grandfather, Malcolm, whose exploits are well recorded on this website.
This year, I found it equally thrilling to witness a close friend’s fulfilment as he stood and sat in the steps of his grandfather in 1918.
Leonard Seel was the maternal grandfather of my very close friend, Stephen Dismorr. Stephen has been researching him for some time. On our annual Somme visit he draw up a fascinating day for us: a visit to Bresle, a tour and talk at Bertangles Airfield and Cemetery, and finally a visit to Bertangles Château where, because of his connections below, we were shown round by the owner.
Acting Major Leonard Seel
Acting Major Leonard Seel commanded the 200th Siege Battery (Royal Garrison Artillery) from the middle of June 1918 (at that time part of the Australian Heavy Artillery Corps) through, Stephen thinks, to the end of the War. The 200th consisted of six 26cwt Howitzer guns . Prior to commanding the 200th Leonard Seel had been in command of the 146th Siege Battery which was a four gun battery.
He was with the 109th Siege Battery when he won his MC for action he was involved in just north of Villers-Faucon (Nr Peronne) on the March 21st 1918.
Below – we stood where the Battery was emplaced in the village of Bresle, just off the D929 Albert-Amiens road.
Above and below – Bresle, site of the the guns of the 109th and 146th Siege Batteries.
You will notice from the second photograph that Stephen took the opportunity to exercise his ‘Somme Neck’ just to see if his grandfather had left any mementos behind!
Later we visited Bertangles Château. The first picture is how it is today.
Below is of the 200th Siege Battery in front of the Château in 1918. Acting Major Leonard Seel is seated, front row, centre.
Below, Stephen sits in the very same spot – Thursday 16th August 2012, about 1.30pm.