"The attack on the 9th April 1917 was launched at 5.30 a.m. under cover of an effective artillery barrage. Closely following the shell fire,  infantry troops poured across the German lines, overwhelming their garrisons.Within forty minutes of the opening of the battle, practically the whole of the German front line system on the front attacked had been stormed and taken. Only on the extreme left fierce fighting was still taking place for the possession of the enemy’s trenches on the slopes at the northern end of the Vimy Ridge. At 7.30 a.m. the advance was resumed against the second objectives. Somewhat greater opposition was now encountered, and at the hour at which these objectives were timed to have been captured strong parties of the enemy were still holding out on the high ground north at Observation Ridge, and in Railway Triangle. By 12 noon they had captured Observation Ridge and, with the exception of Railway Triangle, the whole of the second objectives were in our possession.A large number of prisoners had already been taken, including practically a whole battalion of the 162nd German Regiment at the Harp". The battle at Arras  on 9 April 1917 in military terms was deemed successful as Haig's description of events above eludes,  but the human cost of these battles was immense. Men from the Dorsetshire regiment who had been absorbed into the 1st Wiltshire regiment were in the midst of the fighting.                                            14 April 2017, exactly 100 years to the day that Wilf Burden died a small church in rural Dorset commemorated his sacrifice;  participants were told how the events of the day unfolded by Pte Bradshaw's son, Tony Bradshaw. He explained that his father was severely injured in the battle of Arras on 9 April 1917 after being hit by shrapnel in his mouth and throat. He would have died without the quick thinking of an Officer, who instructed captured German prisoners of war to evacuate injured men to the field hospitals. Wilf Burden from Osmington  and Alfred Bradshaw were both severely injured during the fighting at the Battle of Arras on 9 April 1917 and neither would fight in a battle again.    On 14 April 2017 accompanied by representatives of both Wilf Burden's family and Alfred Bradshaw's family, local residents of Osmington (and neighbouring villages) and Osmington history representative Lucy Wyman, the local team vicar Rev Brian Ellis lead a service of remembrance for Private Wilfred Burden.  Wilf Burden and Alfred Bradshaw had been evacuated back to Britain to war hospitals in the north of the country.  Sadly Wilf died on 14 April in Bradford War hospital and his body was returned for burial in Osmington but Alfred recovered;  spending the next two years recovering from his injuries, eventually he was well enough to leave hospital.  The photograph shown is of Tony Bradshaw, son of Pte Bradshaw who paid a touching tribute to Wilf and men like him at the service.

Lucy Wyman