Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery - Rededication of Sgt Maj Andrew Gale
Rededication service for Company Serjeant Major (CSM) Andrew Gale
With the signing of the Armistice Agreement to end World War I just weeks away, Company Serjeant Major (CSM) Andrew Gale, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment tragically lost his life and was buried in a grave marked ‘Known unto God’. Nearly a century later his bravery and sacrifice to his country was honoured during a rededication service which was held at Belgian Battery Corner Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium on Friday 30 September 2016 at 10.00am.
The service, organised by the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC), part of Defence Business Services was performed by the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment Chaplain The Reverend Roy Burley. CSM Gale’s great grandson Gary Boxall will attend to represent the family and will read the poem ‘The soldier’ during the service.
CSM Gale was born on 1 September 1877 in Hammersmith, Middlesex. He enlisted on 28 July 1915 and after spending 3 years and 63 days serving in the Great War, he was killed on 28 September 1918 aged 41, just six weeks before it ended. Andrew was married to Olivia and they had five children Lily, David, Frederick, William and Beatrice.
Family members were in attendance as well as representatives from the current Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (the successor to CSM Gale’s), the British Embassy in The Netherlands, the local Mayor and CWGC representatives.
Gary Boxall, great grandson of CSM Gale said: "The Gale family are delighted to find out about Andrew Gale who was killed in the First World War. They are pleased that the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission have made this possible and honoured to be able to attend the Rededication Service in the military cemetery in Belgian Battery Corner, Ypres on 30 September."
The Reverend Roy Burley, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment Chaplain who conducted the service said: "In recent years families have been able to say a proper "goodbye" to their loved ones who have been killed on military operations, and it is just as important that today, the family of Company Serjeant Major Andrew Gale are able, after nearly a century, to finally know where his remains are buried."
Sue Raftree, from the JCCC said: "It is a privilege to be involved in this case to find the family of Andrew and organise the Rededication Service in Belgium. For 98 years he has been missing and now his family finally have closure."
A new headstone bearing CSM Gale’s name has been provided by The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), who will now care for his final resting place in perpetuity.