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PRIVATE ARTHUR POULTER VC
The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment
The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment’s association with Erquinghem- Lys began in April 1918 when the 1/4th Battalion fought in defence of the town during the final great German offensive of the war. During the fighting the Dukes, whose soldiers are affectionately known as ‘Havercake Lads’, suffered a total of 15 officers and 391 soldiers killed, wounded or missing. In the heat of the battle Private Arthur Poulter, a stretcher bearer with the Dukes, was awarded a Victoria Cross – Britain’s highest award for bravery – for carrying 10 wounded comrades to safety under heavy enemy fire.
When asked afterwards by a local journalist where he got his strength from he put
it down to his days working for Timothy Taylor’s maltings carrying heavy sacks
of barley. In November 1998, to mark the 80th anniversary of the Armistice, this
exceptional act of heroism was recognised by the town with the unveiling of a memorial
to Private Poulter VC. This was only the second time since 1918 that such a memorial
had been erected by a French town for an English soldier. The Duke of Wellington’s
Regiment provided the guard of honour that day and Timothy Taylor’s beer was
the ‘vin d’honeur’ at the reception. In November 2005 it was the
turn of the Regiment to be honoured as it returned to Erquinghem- Lys to receive
the ‘Keys’ of the town from the Mayor. Once again Timothy Taylor’s
traditional English beer was served at the reception.
His citation read: “When acting as a stretcher-bearer during the Battle of
Lys, carried badly wounded men on his back through heavy machine-gun and artillery
fire on ten separate occasions. During the withdrawal over the River Lys, he ran
back under fire and brought in a wounded man who had been left behind. He then bandaged
forty men under the same heavy fire and was dangerously wounded when attempting
Brewed to match the qualities of this famous West Riding Regiment (ABV 4.7%) – it has strength, balance, clarity and a good head!
The 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment is the County Regiment of the West Riding,
recruiting its soldiers from Settle in the North to Sheffield in the South and taking
in most of the major towns and cities in between, including Skipton, Keighley, Bradford,
Halifax, Huddersfield, Barnsley and Rotherham.
Recruiting Sergeant with Havercake, 33rd of Foot. Circa 1810.
The nickname Havercake Lads is derived from the oatmeal bread cake, which for centuries was a staple food of the Yorkshire Pennine towns and villages. Reputedly the recruiting sergeant would stick a Havercake on his bayonet when out looking for `volunteers`. It seems the promise they would be fed regularly on Havercakes which, no doubt, would be accompanied by plenty of ale, was a real bait. Haver is the Yorkshire dialect word for oats and is also thought to be the origins of the word haversack, an essential part of every soldiers` equipment that was originally used for carrying a ration of oatmeal.
The 3rd Battalion has been serving in Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK since mid-February and will return at the end of October. As you would expect, the battalion has been enormously busy. They have become experts in their own areas. Commanders have juggled the many challenges quite brilliantly and individual soldiers are showing the highest professionalism in the most demanding environments. Daytime temperatures regularly reach 45 degrees, the soldiers are carrying full combat loads and patrols remain long and arduous. They are to a man and woman, all highly motivated, be it on patrol in the Green Zone or in the mountains. They are, no doubt, spurred on by the thought of a cool pint of Havercake Ale!
Yorkshire Regiment Benevolent Fund
In the last 3 years, The Yorkshire Regiment has disbursed over £300,000 in benevolence. Over 1,000 separate grants have been made to those soldiers and their families, of the Regiment and all the antecedent Regiments, who have found themselves in difficulty or need. This assistance from the Yorkshire Regiment Benevolent Fund is increasing year on year, both in the number of cases it deals with and the amount of money it spends on grants.
Much of this work is done in association with ABF The Soldiers` Charity, which has been helping our soldiers, former soldiers and their families since 1944.
All donations, however small, can make a huge difference to the lives of those who need our help. Details can be found at:
Havercake Ale, which was first brewed in 2002 to celebrate the Tercentenary of the Regiment, will be available from selected pubs this Autumn.
3rd Yorks. Soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan.
Celebrating the return of Yorkshire’s finest
10p for every pint sold will be donated
to The Soldiers` Charity
Discover the taste of this robust Yorkshire ale, specially brewed to celebrate the return of the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment back from Afghanistan. Soldiers of the Regiment, formally the Duke of Wellington`s Regiment, have always been affectionately nicknamed `The Havercake Lads`.
You can also make a donation direct by texting ‘ARMY NEYORK’ to 70004 (to send a £3 donation)