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The Killing of the Iron Twelve

The Killing of the Iron Twelve

The Killing of the Iron Twelve by Hedley Malloch Written by Hedley Malloch, this meticulously researched account, grippingly and vividly recounts the events and fate of the soldiers on the run and the French civilians who helped them. The story is one of dramatic...

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Torn Apart

Torn Apart

Torn Apart, a novel by David Arrowsmith This novel, based on the Iron12 story, is available from Amazon  in paperback and Kindle Edition. The central character, Charlie, depicts Fred Innocent, one of the soldiers executed as a spy by the Germans on February 25th,...

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Iron12
Iron127 months ago
Last week we were back, possibly for the final time, visiting Etreux, Iron and Guise in the Aisne region of France. This was the scene of the BEF rearguard action right at the outset of WW1 and the local aftermath that ensued. We cleaned the monument dedicated to the Iron12, in the village of Iron, and checked out the war graves of the 11 soldiers. Click on the photo of the soldiers’ graves below and high on the horizon, you will see Guise Chateau where they were executed by the Germans. That view always brings lump in my throat. Nearby, also in view of the Chateau, is the newly refurbished gravestone of the mill owner who was executed along with the soldiers. Our website www.Iron12.org has the full story of the Iron12. Our job is done.
Iron12
Iron1210 months ago
Following on from our last post, the plaque on M. Chaldre’s gravestone has been regilded and reinstated at a slight angle to aid rainwater runoff. His grave in Guise cemetery is just yards from the graves of the soldiers he so gallantly helped in Iron in 1915. His bravery cost him his life. This major restoration work will be one of our last tasks before custody of the monuments is transferred to local organisations. More on this shortly. If you don’t know, arguably the most intriguing story of WW1, I highly recommend reading it here https://iron12.org/the-story-part-1/
Iron12
Iron1210 months ago
Following on from our last post, the plaque on M. Chaldre’s gravestone has been regilded and reinstated at a slight angle to aid rainwater runoff. His grave in Guise cemetery is just yards from the graves of the soldiers he so gallantly helped in Iron in 1915. His bravery cost him his life. This major restoration work will be one of our last tasks before custody of the monuments is transferred to local organisations. More on this shortly. If you don’t know, arguably the most intriguing story of WW1, I highly recommend reading it here https://iron12.org/the-story-part-1/
Iron12
Iron121 Year ago
M Chalandre, if you know the Iron 12 story, was the mill owner who helped shelter the eleven Allied soldiers trapped behind enemy lines and kept them safe from the occupying Germans. In February 1915, their luck ran out. They were betrayed, tried and the eleven soldiers and M. Chalndre were executed. The soldiers were eventually buried in a Commonwealth War Grave in Guise cemetery. We eventually discovered the unmarked mill owner’s grave, coincidentally nearby to that of the soldiers’ graves. His was a pauper’s grave. This was such an ignominious end for someone who had bravely, and selflessly, given up their life to help others. Some of the Iron Memorial funds we raised paid for a headstone with an inscription which belatedly recognised M. Chalandre for what he did.

The original gravestone plaques are shown below. Twelve years later, the elements have taken their toll and the gold lettering is faded, and in some places, missing. We have decided to spend a further sum to bring back M. Chalandre’s headstone to its former glory. This will be one of the final acts of the Iron Memorial Fund, but more about that in future posts.