Passchendaele: Counting the Cost
On this day in 1917, the Battle of Passchendaele came to an end after three months, one week and three days. The battle would go down as one of the bloodiest in history and while the number of casualties is disputed to this day, it is estimated that Passchendaele resulted in around 585,000 casualties. These included the physically injured, some who would have lived on to tell their tale, others however, would die later.
Over the next month we will be exploring the story of one of our builders' ancestors, a man named Wilfred Pegrum, who sadly numbered among these casualties. The exact details of the events leading to Wilfred's death are unknown, however certain records lead to a rough chronology and so a simple model that was originally intended to commemorate the start of the battle on July 31st, turned into a investigation into James Pegrum' family history.
With the anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele approaching, James decided to investigate his family's involvement in the First World War. Having spoken with his family it seemed that there were no direct members that had served in World War One, on his mother or fathers side. As a result the net spread further, with a focus on the male Pegrum line, a somewhat unusual surname, with the family in past years predominantly coming from a village in Essex called Nazing. It was discovered that fourteen Pergum's had died during the War, one of them, Wilfred, was known to James' father, as his name was on a memorial plaque on a church in Nazing. Wilfred died shortly after the to Battle of Passchendale, however, how he died was not clear.
In our next blog we will look a little more at what might have happened to Wilfred Pegrum, depicted in our model being carried on a stretcher. Through the series we will also be looking more broadly at how the war wounded were treated at the time.
James was keen to include his two sons in the research process and to think about what might have happened to their long dead ancestor. As part of this he asked them to imagine what they thought might have happened to Wilfred during the final days of the Battle of Passchendale.
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On LEGO, History and other things by Brick to the Past