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First published as "With the Black Watch - The Story of the Marne" in 1917, the book has been reprinted with different titles in the years since. As "The Black Watch - A Record in Action", the abridged "The Black Watch", and the lengthy "Stand and Fall - A soldier's recollections of the "Contemptible Little Army" and the Retreat form Mons to the Marne, 1914".
Joseph Samuel Cassells Joined the Black Watch in 1905. At the outbreak of war in 1914 he was a reservist, whereupon he was recalled and went abroad with the first cohort of the 1st Bn Royal Highlanders (The Black Watch) on August 13th.
Cassells lived in the small town of Crossgates, near Cowdenbeath in Fife. A brief newspaper article mentions his returning home invalided in mid February, 1915. His family and background are unclear. On his American naturalisation papers he gives his date of birth as 1887 at Dunfermline. However no entry in the birth register can be found, not can his entries in the 1891 and 1901 census returns. He may have been born elsewhere in the UK or abroad, or gave incorrect details on his American documents. Alternatively he may have went by an assumed name on joining the army and continued to use it later in life.
Much like the holes in Cassells background, there are questions over his memoirs veracity.
What known is that he returned to the UK in February, 1915, was discharged from the Army medically unfit due to "sickness" in August, 1915. He then emigrated to the U.S.A. in February 1916, was married in 1917 and published his book while the war was still being fought.
The book is a mixture of memoir and novel. Without the war diary and three other personal accounts to go by, it would be less clear what parts are real events or fabrications.
A look at the events as given in the first two chapters will be suffice to give an idea of Cassells addition to known events, in his six months of fighting.
The arrival at the regiments barracks in Perth as a reservist, their week of training then arrival on the continent aboard the Italian Prince is all correct. The place name of villages passed through and when all add up.
Where things begin to stray is the account of the attack by Uhlan cavalry. A "superior force" chased the retreating Scots Guards across open country, which the Black Watch engaged in a protracted encounter of attacks, while at the same time saving a Scots Guards water cart.
There's nothing to back up this version of events and it seems an exaggeration of a very minor incident, which is recorded consistently by others.
The killing of a cow or calves and its preparation by the battalion cooks is backed up in other accounts, however the interruption of their being able to consume the meat by the landing of shells among them, attack by aeroplanes and hasty burial of their dead in unmarked graves, is not mentioned in other accounts. These merely state it began to rain heavily and the sudden sound of heavy fighting nearby, which was the near destruction of the Munster Fusiliers. This caused the early disposal of their barely eaten meal and the continuation of the retreat. Furthermore no fatal casualties were recorded by the battalion before September, and this occurred on the 27th of August.
Cassells recounts a conversation with a wounded Munsters officer, found lying in the road by Cassells on scouting duty to make contact with the regiment, who ordered him to return to his battalion as it was hopeless to go on ahead. This results in his being put under arrest for disobeying an order to make contact with the Munsters, only to have the Munsters officer explain to the Black Watch C.O. he'd ordered Cassells to not continue on. This seems most unlikely as in other accounts it's one platoon of escaping Munsters passing through their lines that informed them of events.
Evidence of outrages on the civilian population in Grand Reng when they arrived sound a lot like propaganda of the time, a baby hung from a door with a nail, a woman having her breasts cut off and fed to dogs. He describes street fighting there with the Prussians and capturing prisoners. There's no other accounts backing up fighting taking place in the village. They were billeted when first passing through it, then simply retired through the village on the retreat, without any fighting of note.
In summary it's a pity Cassells chose to write a semi fictional version of his war, it would have been a better lasting account otherwise.
It is only of use as a warning to those who read primary sources, that people can and do make things up, even relatively soon after events they experienced.
Joe Cassells died in New York in 1945 aged 57, his wife Charlotte died there too in 1978 aged 91.
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During the war, women knitted millions of socks for soldiers. The task of ensuring the quality of these socks fell to organisations such as the Red Cross. To guarantee "a perfect standard of sock for our boys," they faced more challenges than you might imagine.
“The best reason for knitting for the soldiers is that it is hardly possible to make an uncomfortable hand-knitted sock,” wrote a Canadian journalist in 1915. In fact, as anyone who has ever knitted a sock (or attempted to knit one) will know, there are a multitude of ways in which one can make a very uncomfortable handknitted sock indeed. And in the midst of the Great War, with knitters of all ages and skills recruited to “the great army of defense against the unspeakable evil which threatens the world,” these “misfit socks” proliferated.
To be fair, one could hardly expect new or inexperienced knitters to meet the exacting requirements for soldiers’ socks. At the same time, it was imperative that they do so. As the British Red Cross wrote in a letter to Canadian volunteers in 1915, “It is a waste of time and material to make dressings and garments that are useless and we cannot afford to waste either at this time.”
Thus, in order to assist knitters in the production of high-quality, well-fitting socks, the Red Cross and other comforts committees began providing standardized sock patterns together with long lists of do’s and don’ts. A sock had pass three tests to be deemed suitable for a soldier: colour, size, and craftsmanship.
Patterns from all countries specified grey or natural-coloured wool. In Germany, “feldgrau” or field grey — a kind of greenish-grey — was the official colour of military uniforms and everything was meant to be knitted to match. However, during the autumn of 1914, German producers were unable to meet demand for grey yarn. Allowances were then made for socks in other colours. Grey could not be foregone for gloves, mittens, and wristwarmers, however; Black and other colours were highly visible and resulted in many soldiers being shot in the hand by the enemy. “So only grey wool should be used for such items. On the other hand, it is not absolutely necessary that the stockings also be knitted from grey wool.” Austrian knitters were told to use grey and “any other colour that is as similar as possible to the colour of the field uniform (absolutely not black or red or white or otherwise bright).”
These socks very clearly do not conform to the colour palette demanded by armies around the world. From a pattern for soldiers' socks published in 1915 in Kangaroo Island, Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article189507637
Bright colours were to be avoided not only because they provided an easy target. “Almost any article of clothing may murder you,” Australian newspapers reported in 1915. “The perspiration of the body is apt to dissolve and absorb the colouring dyes, which often contain aniline poisons.” Therefore, another article said, when choosing a yarn for soldiers’ socks, “a wool that has much dyeing matter should be avoided, as it might easily cause blood poisoning if there were even a slight injury to the foot.” Today these assertions may seem oddball at best and conspiratorial at worst. However, documented cases of aniline dye poisoning in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries lent credence to the concern at the time. This fear went far beyond Australia, but in the case of Austria-Hungary and Germany, newspapers refuted rather than propagated those claims.
For all the anxiety over dye, “ringed socks” among Australian troops featured a bright stripe; whether on the cuff or the foot of the sock is unclear. Nevertheless, “It is certain that men whose socks have a ring of vivid purple or green can quickly pick them out of a mass in a tent in the early morning, which probably accounts for their popularity.” Stripes were said to be popular among New Zealanders too, though for a different reason. As a writer for the Thames Star remarked in December 1918, “There was a keen demand for striped socks at the front…the theory being that hardly any dead or even wounded men were found to wear them. The real reason for this of course was that very few of this class of footgear was sent out.”
The same belief about the power of striped socks spread among American troops too: “In the trenches there is a pet superstition that the soldier who has a red stripe in his socks will never be hit by bullets.” For this reason, some Red Cross branches encouraged the inclusion of a red stripe. Stripes also served several practical purposes. Firstly, they relieved the monotony of knitting with grey yarn, described by one writer as a “vision of gray, betokening the gray of life, a vision of serene sadness.” They were also an easy way to use up scrap yarn. Finally, Americans, like Australians, used stripes to keep their socks “mated and identified.”
In the early months of the war, some Welsh knitters were told that “heels and toes should be knitted with white wool.” S. Minwel Tibbott documented this style of stocking in rural Wales during the nineteenth century; men’s stockings featured blue-grey as the main colour, while women’s stockings were knitted in black with white as a contrast colour. Why instructions for military socks should specify heels and toes in a contrast colour is unclear; in other countries, contrasting heels and toes rendered a sock unfit for a service.
An acceptable colour having been selected, the sock now had to be knitted to the proper size. Gauge measurements—nowadays calculated as the number of stitches per 4"/10 cm — never appear in these patterns, and this lack of specification caused a plethora of problems. As the Offenbacher Abendblatt lamented, “Everyone knits according to the same pattern, and yet one pair [of socks] hardly resembles another.”
Newspapers frequently printed articles to inform knitters of the correct measurements. In Victoria, Canada, the Daughters of the Empire found it necessary to “call attention to the fact that many socks now being handed in to headquarters are either too short or too long. The following are the correct dimensions…when finished, eleven or eleven and a half inches in length.” While socks of somewhat smaller dimensions were still acceptable, the Toronto branch of the Daughters of the Empire observed that “we do not find the smaller socks as good as those that are more ample.” Australian patterns attempted to provide knitters with some leeway by listing different sizes that could be made ranging from 10½ inches to 11½ inches. These instructions did not eliminate problems, however; Red Cross branches in all combatant countries commonly complained that they received so-called pairs in which each sock differed in length.
According to a German volunteer at a field hospital, socks were usually too small. “We have observed…that the feet of the stockings are knitted much too short, and become uncomfortable. When these stockings are washed, they shrink so much that they become unusable and the soldiers can no longer wear them….We have never seen a stocking knitted too large.” Meanwhile, Austrian newspapers gave precise instructions for measuring socks: “The feet of the socks must be measured as follows: lay them flat on the table and measure from the middle of the heel to the toe. The average size of a man’s foot is 29 centimeters.”
In New Zealand, overly large socks presented problems of their own. “The foot of the average N.Z. soldier is usually medium size, and if the foot of the sock is kept from 10 to 11 inches it will fit the average man. As some very large specimens have lately arrived measuring 12 inches and a little more, it might be well for knitters to keep the inch-tape handy, as eyes are not always to be trusted. One slim young soldier, not long returned, was heard to say that when he put on the socks given to him, the heels went half-way up the leg.”
Although most length-related concerns focused on the feet of the socks, the cuff— from the top of the leg to the beginning of the heel — also received scrutiny. An acceptable cuff ranged from 10½" in some American patterns to 15" in Germany (between 26.5–38 cm). Sometimes pattern writers took pains to point out that this measurement included the ribbing at the very top, which may indicate that some knitters misinterpreted the instructions and made overly long cuffs. In all countries, wool shortages required knitters to use their yarn as economically as possible; “be sparing with the yarn” was even one of the “Ten Commandments of Knitting” published by the German Patriotic Women’s Association.
Day Socks from the British Red Cross. I shortened the cuffs to only 7"/ 18 cm — much too short for any self-respecting soldier! https://www.scribd.com/doc/69579200/Needlework-and-Knitting-Instructions-for-First-World-War-volunteers
Knitters also had to ensure that their socks were not “narrower than 3½ inches or wider than 4½ inches in either foot or leg, when measured double.” For inexperienced knitters, this was easier said than done. Cläre Preisner, who knitted as a schoolgirl in Germany during the war, later recalled her efforts with some wryness: “My father always said, well, now, isn’t that crazy, those socks, they’re more suited for an elephant than a soldier.”
In May 1918, the state of soldiers’ socks plunged The Sun of Sydney, Australia, into deep despair. “Even after all these years of war there are still women who don’t know how to knit socks. That is not to say that they don’t know how to manipulate the needles, but the result is such an appalling spectacle that one wonders who on earth was the guiding spirit that shaped the sock.” The article went on to include a pattern for a “soldier’s sock in thick wool” and three paragraphs about “ERRORS OF KNITTERS” that one should endeavour to avoid at all costs.
Such problems of craftsmanship — the quality of the knitting — were not limited to any one country. American newspapers printed similar articles to their Australian counterparts. Lists like the one of “Important Red Cross Don’ts” from the Sauk Centre Herald in Minneapolis, USA, reveal a wide variety of problems ranging from the cuff to the toe. Reading these litanies of potential monstrosities, it is hard to work up the courage to knit a sock. (As The Sun snarked in another article, “If you would be a knitter of socks be a perfect one, or pass on your wool to someone more experienced.”)
“Important Red Cross Don’ts,” Sauk Centre Herald, Minneapolis, USA, 11 April 1918. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89064489/1918-04-11/ed-1/seq-6/
In fact, just two things generated the majority of complaints: the finishing of sock toes and the joining of new yarn. It was here that the twin horrors of knots and seams most frequently occurred. Preventing them became a near obsession.
The goal of completely eliminating knots and seams may at first appear unrealistic and perhaps even unnecessary. However, it seems to have been a commonly held belief that that knots and seams could kill a soldier. As the Daily Gate City and Constitution Democrat of Keokuk, Iowa, USA, warned its readers, “…a lump or knot brings a blister. If the blister breaks, blood poison sets in and may result in the loss of a foot or life.”
Thus, to save soldiers’ lives and limbs, knitters were instructed to splice the end of the old yarn with the beginning of the new yarn. To do so, “The two ends to be joined should be shredded, breaking in each one strand about 3in back, another 2in, and so on, according to the number of strands or plies in the wool; then overlap the one strand of the one end over the original wool of the other end, and, holding both ends firmly, twist the wool several times, repeating the twist until the length of the break is knitted.” Knitters could also avail themselves of this simpler alternate method: “The best way to join wool is to put the ends side by side for two or three inches, and knit together for half a dozen stitches.” (If it is not obvious, this method is simpler than splicing, and as such it is my preferred way of joining yarn.)
As wearers of modern commercial socks will know, the toe is often finished with a thick seam in which the top and bottom of the sock are sewn together. While this seam may not trouble civilians, soldiers were not so lucky. Like knots, seams led to chafing, especially during long marches. In fact, they caused such acute problems that in 1915, Lord Herbert Kitchener popularised a way of weaving together the remaining stitches to close the sock toe without a seam. That method is known today as Kitchener stitch. Some contemporaries called it the “military toe,” a nod to its widespread use in military socks. All agreed that “This finishing is far superior to the ordinary method of finishing off, which sometimes leaves a ridge which may be very uncomfortable.”
The Red Cross chapter in Olympia, Washington, USA, admitted that it was, in fact, “possible to make a good toe that is not a Kitchener toe.” Indeed, while the Kitchener toe might have been the preferred method of finishing a sock, patterns from New Zealand to Wales to North Dakota in the United States nevertheless contained instructions for round toes.
The “round toe” decreases to a point and does not require Kitchener stitch to close. Pattern from the Grand Forks Herald (North Dakota, USA), 29 August 1917 https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85042414/1917-08-29/ed-1/seq-2/
By using a different rate of decreases, the round toe diminishes to a point. The remaining stitches are so few in number that they can be finished off by running the yarn through them and pulling tight to close. It was used in Germany and Austria throughout the war. Even if the Kitchener toe technique had been known in Germany, it may not have been deemed acceptable for use. Patriotism had reached a fevered pitch and all things German were in, while all things foreign were decidedly out. This purge did not stop at mere physical objects (or the heckling and deportation of foreigners). Language, fashion, and culture were to be cleansed of foreign influences: “German customs, German styles, and the German language must become prevalent everywhere…they belong to the rebirth of our people!” In such an environment, a technique named after a British field marshal could hardly be expected to gain popularity.
When socks arrived at Red Cross depots and comforts committee headquarters, volunteers double-checked them for flaws. “Every pair of socks is felt all over for fear there are knots or ends of wool or rough ridges left.” If they discovered a knot, they unpicked it and darned it over.
One American Red Cross branch estimated that 10% of all socks that they received contained faulty toes. These and other “deformed socks” required reknitting — “a waste of time and labor entailed in the uncongenial task of undoing the bad knitting.” There was no way around it, however, and after being deemed suitable, the socks were at last sent on their way.
While it may be a stretch to claim that fresh socks won the war, they certainly played a role in keeping soldiers healthy and in good spirits. As Sergeant-Major Porter of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry told a Red Cross gathering in Toronto: “The minute you stop knitting socks and sewing shirts some Tommy at the front will go needy. Keep plugging. The boys think more of the things you make than they’ll ever tell you.”
My latest project is researching the holder of a BWM and bi-lingual VM Duo to: T.C. JUBBER. S.A.F.A.
All the normal ways via the National Archives, ANCESTRY etc. seem to be unsuccessful and I have the feeling I must go back to an archive in South Africa to find a trace of the man. Does anyone have suggestions as to where I could start?
Remembered Today: Second Lieutenant Herbert LUMB A Bty. 66th Bde. Royal Field Artillery who died 08/10/1915 HELLES MEMORIAL Turkey (including Gallipoli)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2nd Lieut. Herbert Lumb RFA
Herbert Lumb was born in 1887, the youngest son of James Lumb, a barrister and justice of the peace, and his wife Isabella. 
He was educated at Harrow from 1901 to 1905, his athletic ability earning him a place in the Gymnasium VIII, 1903-4-5. He then attended Clare College Cambridge where he was in the 1908 Gymnasium VIII. He became well known in the rowing world being Captain of the Clare College Boat Club in 1909, joining the London Rowing Club on leaving Cambridge. 
Lumb was Called to the Bar of the Inner Temple, and joined the Northern Circuit. He was also rowing correspondent for the Times. On the outbreak of the War Herbert Lumb enlisted in the Artists Rifles. 
He was commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery as a temporary Second Lieutenant on 12th September 1914.  Second Lieutenant Lumb was posted to 66th Brigade Royal Field Artillery on it's formation. 
The 66th Brigade RFA were part of the 13th (Western) Division, a Kitchener K1 division of the First New Army. Originally consisting of three gun batteries, it re-organised to four batteries in February 1915. The Division were allocated to the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force as part of the reinforcement of the Gallipoli theatre. They landed at Cape Helles (Gallipoli) 26-28 July 1915. 
Herbert Lumb died of Peritonitis  on the 8th October 1915 and was buried at sea. 
The 66th Brigade RFA received news of Herbert Lumb's death on 21st November, the war diary recording; 
"News received privately from relations of the death of 2nd LIEUT. H. LUMB, A/66 who was admitted to Hospital and evacuated on OCTOBER 9th. This officer was in that Battery from its formation and had done most excellent work throughout"
Second Lieutenant Herbert Lumb is recorded on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey (Panel 21 to 23). 
CWGC Information: SECOND LIEUTENANT HERBERT LUMB
Herbert is commemorated on the Harrow School Shrine, Clare College Cambridge War Memorial and the London Rowing Club Memorial Book.
 Harrow School Roll of Honour book
 Reading Mercury 23 October 1915
 Harrow School Memorial Book
 London Gazette Publication date: 11 September 1914 Issue: 28899 Page: 7222
 War Diary 66th brigade RFA November 21st 1915
 Long Long Trail - Royal Field Artillery (13th Divisional Artillery)
 UK Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929
 MIC WO 372/12/161462
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Many will be familiar with the name John Linton Treloar, who during the First World War took on the organisation of the fledgling Australian War Records Section that formed the basis of the Australian War Memorial’s WW1 collection. Perhaps not so well-known was his older brother William Harold Treloar, who became the first member of the Australian Flying Corps to be taken prisoner in WW1.
Harold, as he was known throughout his life, was one of Australia’s early aviators. He had begun life on the 8th of August 1889 at Fairfield Park, Victoria, as the first born child of William and Jane Treloar, whose marriage had taken place the year before. At the time of his birth his father William was running a Grocery business in nearby Fitzroy, and was also in partnership as a Land Agent. However, in the November of that same year, he auctioned off all his stock, and by 1892 had a Grocery store in Auburn Rd, Hawthorn, which was later followed by Port Melbourne. It was during these years that Harold gained three new siblings, one of those being the above mentioned John.
The family eventually moved to Hamilton in country Victoria, where William was the Manager of A. Miller and Co.’s ‘Mutual Store’ from at least 1898 to 1901, and in 1905 purchased his own store, the ‘Little Wonder’ Cash Store. While the family continued to grow, Harold attended the local State School, followed by the Hamilton Academy, before following a career as a Chauffeur and Motor Mechanic. By 1909 his family had returned to the city and were living in Albert Park, while William was employed as a Commercial Traveller with the Melbourne Merchants, Clark and Co. Pty Ltd.
Remaining in the country, Harold was in the employ of Messrs Young Brothers, Auctioneers, Stock, Station and Commission Agents in Horsham, and was apparently the first man to drive a motor car for them. He remained with them for three years, until the July of 1911, and during that time drove many different types of cars throughout Victoria, NSW and South Australia. They found him to be a “first-class Chauffeur, obedient, punctual and obliging.”
Further employment included some time as a chauffeur and instructor with J.R. Wotherspoon & Co. General Merchants, Beaufort, and driver and mechanic with N. McDonald Motor Works and Garage, Hamilton.
In 1912 Harold was living and working in his mother’s childhood town of Ballarat, and having befriended the Hooley family, he eventually became engaged to their daughter Lilian. He was employed with the Ballarat Motor Works from 1912 to 1913, during which time he was a chauffeur and mechanic from May 1912 to February 1913 with Mr Robert Carstairs Bell of Mooramong, Skipton, who stated:
“I found him a most reliable & steady man and about the best driver I have ever known. He also was a first class mechanic & well able to make any ordinary repairs to a motor car.
We were all sorry when he left to better himself.”
He also found employment with Mr Jasper Coghlan as chauffeur to his 40 h.p. Daimler lorry; and was associated with Messrs Loveland and Haslem’s Garage in 1914.
After nine years’ experience as a chauffeur and motor mechanic, Harold felt that his prospects for the future weren’t the best, and in 1914 he decided to change careers and follow his ambition to become an aviator. Fuelled by a visit to Ballarat in early April of the aviator Harry Hawker, he promptly booked his passage to England and sailed on the Orsova on the 15th of the same month.
On landing in London on the 16th of May he first spent a couple of weeks at the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company. “He had been advised by the military representative at the High Commissioner’s office to undergo a course at the company’s school at Brooklands. He witnessed the building of numerous machines for the Royal Flying Corps, as well as Bristol biplanes both of the tractor and propeller types.”
With this grounding, he then moved on to the Bristol flying school which was also at the Brooklands Aerodrome, Weybridge. His first trip in the air was with Billy Stutt, an Australian pilot, who had gained his Royal Aero Certificate in February that year.
Harold obtained his Royal Aero Club Aviator’s Certificate No. 835 at The Bristol School in a Bristol Biplane on the 9th of July 1914, “after only three weeks’ tuition under very unsettled weather conditions.” He then took an extended course at the Bleriot Monoplane School, also at Brooklands.
In a letter home dated the 16th of July 1914 he wrote: “So far I have not broken the least thing through any fault of my own. One morning I had just landed when an overstrained wire broke, and caught the propeller, which, of course, burst. The pieces broke the rudder and elevator wires, which, if it had happened in the air, would have meant a big fall and bad bump, as I had been up 300ft. However, it shows what can happen and what luck means.”
Following the outbreak of war at the beginning of August, civilian flying in England came to a standstill and joining the Royal Flying Corps would not guarantee much flying as there were “four pilots already available for every machine.” So, on hearing that instruction had commenced at the Australian Flying School, Harold quickly returned home. He departed London on the Osterley on the 28th of August 1914 and arrived back in Melbourne on the 6th of October.
As soon as he landed, Harold, who was already a 2nd Lieutenant in the 70th (Ballarat) Infantry Regiment, immediately set about securing an appointment with the Australian Flying Corps (AFC). Having completed a two week course in aerial observation at Point Cook in February 1915, this was followed up by a three week course for a further pilot’s certificate in the March.
On the 8th of February 1915 the Indian Government had requested pilots, transport staff and equipment from Australia to serve with the Indian Army in the campaign against the Turks in the Tigris Valley, Mesopotamia. Having agreed to send what became known as a ‘Half Flight’ (half the strength of a standard Flight), four pilots were selected from the few that were available. Under the command of Captain Henry Petre would be Captain Thomas White, Lieutenant George Merz and Harold. His commission as a 2nd Lieutenant with the AFC came through on the 12th of April 1915. Capt Petre sailed on the Orontes on the 14th of April in order to make advance arrangements, and Harold flew over his ship in a farewell gesture.
Having received his final leave Harold travelled to Ballarat the following day of the 15th, where he married his fiancé Alice Lilian HOOLEY in the Christ Church Cathedral on the 17th of April 1915.
Four days later on the 20th of April 1915 he left his new bride with her mother in Ballarat, and returned to Melbourne where together with Thomas White and most of the other members of the Half Flight he embarked on the RMS Morea for India. George Merz who had been temporarily detained on instruction duties at Point Cook, followed Harold’s earlier gesture and flew over their ship as it left the pier, signalling his farewell. From Bombay the Half Flight then travelled to Basra arriving on the 26th of May 1915, where they were joined in June by Merz. “The four Officers were gazetted temporarily into the Indian Army, and on 11th June 1915 were gazetted into the Royal Air [Flying] Corps.”
On the 3rd of June Harold wrote home:
“Everything is O.K. We have two Maurice-Farman fighting biplanes going, and I have been over the Turkish lines at Kurna, acting as pilot and observer. We fly at 5000 feet, so if they hit us, good luck to them. These machines carry a passenger and fuel for four hours, and do a little less than 60 miles an hour ground speed. We have dropped bombs, but with little success. But we have done some good reconnaissance, locating trenches, guns and so forth. We advance to Barham Island to-morrow, and start a new depot there. It is fearfully hot, about 110 to 120 degrees in the shade, and when there is no breeze it is simply a real Turkish bath. I was the first Australian member of the Australian Flying Corps to fly over the enemy’s lines, and also the first Australian to fly in this country.”
This was followed up on the 25th of June with:
“Just a line to let you know I am still in the land of the living, and going strong. Had several exciting times lately, through engine failure, mainly through the heat making the oil inefficient.
I had to come down in the desert, stay there all day till they sent out a strong party to guard the machine, and I thought it best to stay there, for I am sure the Arabs would have destroyed the machine. On a later occasion the engine stopped when we were over water, and it took me all my time to coax it back to our island base. The Arabs shoot at us repeatedly, but so far they have not registered on us. I have been given the piloting of No.1 Maurice Farman biplane, fitted with bomb droppers, but have not seen any large Turkish force yet to try my hand.”
“I have flown about 900 miles, and not so far felt any ill-effects, but it is a strain, for the wind here is so strong at times that we fly only about 20 feet or so from the ground to make any headway at all; in fact, at one place we have been blown backwards.”
By September they had received more planes and while piloting Caudron 1 during a reconnaissance flight on the 16th of that month, its engine gave out and Harold was forced to land about 80 yards in front of the enemy position at Essin, south of Kut-el-Amara. A Turkish officer (later taken prisoner by the British) watched through his binoculars as the event unfolded. The information gleaned from him was that:
“The machine came down quite slowly and bumped once or twice gently on the ground before it stopped.
At first the officers tried to make a bolt for it, but saw it was impossible and returned to the machine. They were both unhurt. After they (the Turks) had taken the two officers from the machine our (British) guns opened fire on it and tried to smash it, whereupon they (the Turks) led one of them (the officers) back in its direction and the guns ceased fire, and they (the Turks) were then able to get it away.”
Harold and his observer Captain Basil Atkins of the Indian Army were the first two officers to be captured in Mesopotamia. They were actually lucky, as two of their former colleagues, Lieut George Merz (AFC) and his pilot passenger Lieut William Burn (NZSC att RFC) had previously been killed by Arabs under similar circumstances.
Following their safe landing, excerpts of Harold’s description of their capture and incarceration are as follows:
“They opened fire on us with machine guns and rifles, and, though the firing was kept up for 10 to 15 minutes, we were both captured unhurt. Until the Turkish officers came up to us, we had a hand-to-hand fight with the Arabs, who would have killed us but for the intervention of the Turks. We were stripped and taken before the Turkish commander, Nurredin Pasha, who told us that if we did not give him all the information he desired we would be shot. I asked him if he would tell the British anything if he were a prisoner. He answered ‘No,’ and did not continue the questioning, but gave us coffee and cigarettes. We were very surprised later to get tea and biscuits made in Melbourne.
Captain Atkins and I were subsequently sent by river steamer to Bagdad. At every town or village along the river the Arab Sheik with his followers, came on board to look at us and at our 80 h.p. Caudron biplane, which had been riddled with rifle and shrapnel bullets. On our arrival in Bagdad, the machine was exhibited for the benefit of the Red Crescent – the Turkish equivalent of our Red Cross. We were royally received in Bagdad. Fully 50 officers came on board to see us, and crowds of people lined the banks of the Tigris. We entered the ‘Abode of Peace,’ once the most brilliant city in the Moslem world, with flags flying, and the steamer’s whistle blowing. We were put in a large hospital, and a strong guard was placed over us. We were given permission to buy clothes and to have a bath, a real Turkish bath. The director of the Red Crescent was very kind to us, and saw that we received good food. The commandant, Huckle Bey, took us for several drives, but, as he could not get any information out of us, the drives were discontinued.”
“After remaining 10 days in Bagdad, where we were treated with the utmost kindness and civility, we were sent to Stamboul, by way of Mosul. The party that accompanied us to Mosul consisted of 15 Indian sepoys and a guard of 20 mounted gendarmes, with one officer. The Indians travelled in open carts, but we were given an Arabarner, a closed carriage, in which you lie down. The officer in charge could speak a little French, so we were able to find out a little about the country we travelled through. After two days we reached Samara, and Tickereet was our next halting place.
On our arrival at Mosul we were handed over to the military authorities, and placed in an old dirty barracks. From now on their treatment of us changed for the worse. It was winter, and the very small room in which we were confined had bare floors. The windows had no glass, and, to keep warm, we had to huddle together in a corner. After a few days, Captain Atkins became very ill with dysentery and fever. We could not eat the hotel food, because of its oiliness and filth, and we lived for a few weeks on boiled fowl and rice.”
“About six weeks after our arrival in Mosul, Captain T.W. White and Captain Yeats Brown, both of the Australian Flying Corps, joined us.
Shortly afterwards Major Reilly, our flight commander, and Lieutenant Fulton arrived. Thus by the irony of fate six flying officers who had messed together at Busra were now prisoners of war.”
Thomas White (who had been captured on the 13/11/1915) later described his first impressions of both Harold and Atkins as being so wasted and feeble with fever and dysentery that they were hardly recognizable. But they began to show improvement straight away, the only possible reason being a lift in morale.
The treatment of the men here was far worse than that of the officers, and as much as Harold and his fellow officers tried to help them, there was not a lot they could do, and subsequently many died.
Harold went on to say:
“You can imagine our joy when, after five months, we heard that we were to be sent to Aleppo. [They departed Mosul on the 20/2/1916] Our great trouble was to get cash as nobody would accept Turkish notes. The German consul finally changed some of our notes thus enabling us to pay our debts and to give the men a little money to spend en route. The few German officers we met in Turkey were very good to us. Two hundred men were sent with us from Mosul, but only 30 arrived at Aleppo. Here we were allowed to stay at the Hotel America, the nearest approach to civilization we had experienced since our capture.
While at Aleppo Harold developed severe rheumatism in his knees and was granted permission to visit the hospital for treatment.
“After spending 10 days in Aleppo we again entrained for a destination unknown. On our way we passed through Marmure, Tersus, and Byzanti, finally reaching Afion Karahissar [on the 24/3/1916], where we were placed in an empty house which was new and clean. That same night three British officers escaped from another house, with the result that we were placed in an Armenian church with all the other British, French, and Russian prisoners. The treatment we received here was good. Moreover we began to hear talk of peace. Our evenings were spent in attending our ‘theatre’ or else in mock trials and debates.”
Six weeks after their crowded incarceration in the church they were transferred to houses in the town.
“In March, 1917, in company with four other British officers, I was sent to Constantinople, as a reprisal for alleged mistreatment of five Turkish officers in Cairo. We were placed in a filthy underground cell for 63 days, no exercise whatever being allowed. [They were held in Seraskerat Prison]
After 101 days we were released owing to the efforts of the American consul, and were allowed to return to Afion Karahissar, where we remained till the signing of the armistice.
Thanks to the Australian Red Cross Society and the Royal Flying Corps Aid Committee we received many parcels, but I think only about 30 per cent of those sent.”
All the officers and men were very grateful to the Australian Red Cross Prisoner of War Department run by Miss M.E.M. Chomley, not only for the parcels of food and clothing sent by them, but also for their untiring attempts to do anything that was asked of them.
Although still a prisoner of war, Harold was promoted to Lieutenant on the 15th of August 1918.
Following Turkey’s unconditional surrender on the 30th of October 1918 he was finally repatriated after 3 years and 2 months of incarceration, embarking at Smyrna on the 19th of November and arriving at Alexandria, Egypt, on the 21st. He was then returned to Australia on the Aeneas, embarking on the 2nd of January 1919 and disembarking in Melbourne on the 5th of February. His appointment was terminated on the 30th of March 1919, and on the 1st of July 1920 he was transferred to the Reserve of Officers, and eventually placed on the Retired List on the 27th of November 1943.
Unfortunately Harold’s homecoming was not a joyous one. During his years of absence he and his wife had kept up a regular correspondence, and he was given no indication that anything was untoward. However, before leaving Egypt he had received a letter from his father explaining that his wife had recently given birth to a child. Although she asked him for a second chance, he filed for a divorce in the March and the marriage was dissolved in the May.
A great believer in the future of Commercial Aviation before the outbreak of war, Harold stepped straight into this new industry on his return home. When the Defence Department began selling off their planes in 1919, Messrs Fenton and Carey bought four Maurice Farmans with the intention of opening a flying school and passenger service from their property in Port Melbourne. Harold with three other pilots from the Central Flying School at Point Cook delivered the planes to them on the 11th of April, and part of the purchasing deal was that he would provide instruction on the operation and maintenance of the planes. They also employed him as a pilot and during his time with them he flew 270 passengers.
Harold’s personal life also took a turn for the better when on the 23rd of August 1919 at Echuca, he married Ida Emmerson TREWIN from Albert Park. The couple at first lived with Harold’s parents in Albert Park before setting up house in Ivanhoe, and over the years they had three children together.
During the month before his marriage, Harold had gone into partnership with air mechanic Hector Lord and flight sergeant Richard Lonsdale, both of whom had served with him in the Half Flight in Mesopotamia, and they purchased their own plane from the Defence Department, a 100 horsepower De Haviland 6 bi-plane for £500. They then toured Victoria giving passenger flights and exhibitions. By mid-December 1919 they had visited 34 towns, having flown 6000 miles and taken up more than 700 passengers. Mid-May 1920 had brought the distance travelled to more than 15,000 miles, while carrying 1900 passengers. Following each flight they issued their passengers with a certificate to show that they had made the flight.
In August 1920 Harold was one of the pilots who took part in the aerial Tour of Victoria to raise awareness for the Second Peace Loan campaign. The Peace Loans were established by the Government to raise money to carry out their obligations to resettle the returning army. The opening ceremony took place at the Melbourne Town Hall on Friday the 6th of August, and was followed by a procession through the city, while the four Avro planes taking part in the tour, flew overhead dropping leaflets urging subscriptions to the loan. The following Monday together with Mechanic Flight Sgt Cecil Hazlitt, Harold set off on his allocated tour route, which involved visiting the towns in North-Western Victoria.
However, he was dogged by trouble from day one: “We headed for Clunes and Learmonth. We had a very hard time. Ballarat and district were enveloped in a thick white mist which rendered flying very difficult. The bad weather continued until Friday and our plane had to face rain, hail and snow, in addition to heavy wind. So thick was the rain at one stage that we had to descend to within 100 feet of the ground in order to pick out a paddock in which we could land.”
Having returned to Point Cook, they set off again on Tuesday 17th August for Kyneton, and on landing later that day an unfortunate accident occurred. On the ground Police-Sergeant Hore who was keeping back the crowd was knocked down by one of the back wings of the plane, suffering a badly bruised shoulder and shock. Things got worse the following morning as they took off to head to Bendigo, when only 100 feet off the ground the engine failed. The plane plummeted to the ground and was totally wrecked, but miraculously Harold and Hazlitt were able to walk away with nothing more than a severe shaking. They returned to Melbourne that night.
Flying a new plane, Harold and Hazlitt set off again on Monday the 23rd of August, having taken over a section of the North-Eastern district so that that area could be completed by the Wednesday. The Tour of the State finished on the following Friday, the 27th, with an Aerial Derby; the four pilots who had taken part in the Tour, competing to see who could fly the fastest from Serpentine (near Bendigo) to the Melbourne Town Hall. Carrying bags of mail to be dropped on arrival, they took off from the racecourse at two minute intervals and circled the township before continuing on their way. Harold’s plane won the day, travelling the 116 miles in one hour and fifteen minutes, the other three planes not far behind. After a few circuits of the city two of the planes then flew on while Harold and Capt McKenzie had to land at the Port Melbourne aerodrome to refuel, their tanks being almost empty. Early in October Silver cups were presented to the winners by the president of the East Loddon Shire Council.
In October 1920 Harold was given the job of delivering the ‘Sunraysia Daily’ newspaper throughout the Mildura and Riverina districts. Three weeks into the run and he struck engine trouble. Although he managed to land safely, he subsequently crashed into a fence, damaging one of the plane’s wings, but escaped injury himself. Flying with the Shaw-Ross Aviation Company in the December, he took part in the delivery of ‘The Herald’ to all the bayside resorts between Port Melbourne and San Remo. That month also saw the running of the first Australian Aerial Derby and Flying Carnival, in which Harold won the opening event by managing to drop a small parachute within 25 yards of a white triangle marked in the centre of the Epsom racecourse at Mordialloc.
Having obtained his Civil Aviation Licence in June 1921, with the early number of 20, Harold was then employed as a Representative of the Aviation Department of the Shell Company of Australia Ltd (British Imperial Oil Coy). At the end of November he escaped injury following a successful landing in windy weather, when a sudden gust then flipped his plane over, causing considerable damage. A week later his Ivanhoe home was broken in to by thieves, who stole jewellery, clothing and a pair of binoculars.
Late 1924 early 1925 Harold was transferred to Bendigo where he spent the next five years as the Superintendent for the District, before being transferred to the Adelaide branch in March 1930.
It was noted that: “While in Adelaide, Captain Treloar, in accordance with the Shell Company’s policy, will devote his attention to stimulating public interest in aviation.”
Before leaving Bendigo he became one of the founders of the Bendigo Aero Club which was established in 1929.
By 1934 he had returned to Victoria and continued working with the Shell Company until 1940 (as a Salesman) at which time he was appointed to the State Liquid Fuel Control Board. The final three months of 1942 saw him employed with the State Taxation Department.
Harold died suddenly on the 11th of October 1950 in Bendigo where he was employed as a Motor Salesman – he was 61 years old. He is buried in the Warringal Cemetery, Heidelberg, and was joined by his wife Ida in 1982.
Harold’s parents: William Henry TRELOAR and Jane Freeman CADDY married in Vic in 1988.
William who had been born at Linton (near Ballarat) died on the 7/1/1930 at his home in Heidelberg, aged 65. Jane who had been born and bred in Ballarat, died on the 18/8/1942 also at home in Heidelberg, aged 72.
Harold’s Siblings: *Reginald Claremont b.21/6/1891 Hawthorn (Grocer’s Assistant) – WW1: Cpl 609 (MM), 4th MG Bn – WW2 – d.1969 Heidelberg; Grace Beatrice b.1893 Melb – d.1894 (5M); *John Linton b.10/12/1894 Port Melb (Military Staff Clerk) marr Clarissa M W Aldridge 5/11/1918 Notting Hill, UK – WW1: Maj (O.B.E.) 1st Div HQ (Aust War Records Sect) – WW2 – d.28/1/1952 Canberra; Vera Grace Larewance b.1898 Warrnambool – marr L.R. OATES 25/10/1924 – d.1954; Alexander Glenroy b.1900 Hamilton (Salesman, Warehouseman); Mary Thelma b.1901 Hamilton – marr BARKWAY – d.1974; Arthur Charles Caddy b.1902 Hamilton (Mechanic) – d.8/2/1963 WA.
Harold’s Children (3): *William Herbert Ross b.18/8/1922 Ivanhoe (Wireless Operator) – WW2: Merchant Navy – d.2002, *Eric John (Draughtsman) b.1925 – d.1998, *Janette Mary – marr K.B. IRESON – d.2016
For more in-depth detail in regard to:
*Half Flights time in Mesopotamia: – The Official History, Vol VIII The A.F.C.; “Fire in the Sky” by Michael Molkentin
*Harold’s incarceration – “Guests of the Unspeakable” by Thomas W. White
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Tilloy British Cemetery, Tilloy-Les-Mofflaines. Tilloy-Les-Mofflaines was taken by Commonwealth troops on 9 April 1917, but it was partly in German hands again from March to August 1918. The cemetery was begun in April 1917 by fighting units and burial officers, and Rows A to H in Plot I largely represent burials from the battlefield. The remaining graves in Plot I, and others in the first three rows of Plot II, represent later fighting in 1917 and the first three months of 1918, and the clearing of the village in August 1918. These 390 original burials were increased after the Armistice when graves were brought in from a wide area east of Arras and from smaller burial grounds. The cemetery now contains 1,642 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the Great War, 611 of the burials are unidentified, but there are special memorials to 14 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials commemorate 11 men of the 6th Bn. K.O.S.B., buried in Tees Trench Cemetery No.2, whose graves were destroyed by shell fire. The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.
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A unique A-Z revealing how hundreds of members of one Devon family fought and died at war has just been completed.
It gives a detailed insight into more than 350 men and women of the Roberts family who served in the two world wars and the Second Boer War.
They are all connected to me – either as direct ancestors or through marriage to members of my family.
Fifteen years ago, I only knew of one ancestor who had gone to war – my grandfather George Burnett Roberts.
As a boy, I was given a picture of him – taken just after he had enlisted in the Army Service Corps – and a dozen brass buttons from his uniform.
A chance discovery revealed that he was one of a record 30 grandsons of Witheridge farm worker John Roberts who served in the Great War.
John’s remarkable story – told in two editions of the book History Maker – provided the inspiration for this new research project.
The Great War Forum has played a key role in turning the A-Z into reality.
Many 'mystery soldiers' have been identified - and their war service revealed - thanks to help from members of this brilliant forum.
The A-Z shows how 75 members of my family lost their lives – 50 in the First World War, 24 in the Second World War and one in the Second Boer War.
Of those who died, the vast majority were killed in infantry attacks on the front line or died from wounds sustained in action.
One soldier lost his life as a prisoner of war. Three succumbed to sickness. Six died at sea – in warship and submarine attacks. One was killed in a flying accident.
Five – including a mother and her two daughters – were killed in Blitz and ‘Doodlebug’ attacks on London and Portsmouth.
The youngest who went to war was Frederick ‘Fred’ Facey, who was just 14 when he served as a bugler in South Africa.
Many who fought and died served in the New Zealand, Australian, Canadian and United States Army and Navy.
Of the women who went to war, many served in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and Auxiliary Territorial Service. One was attached to a secret operations unit at Westward Ho!
The stories of the many who did not make it home – and of those who survived, some with horrific injuries – are highlighted in a series of special features.
· How five members of the Roberts family fought together on a remote battlefield on the darkest day in the history of the 16th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment
· How a young soldier died in the worst maritime disaster in British History
· The men decorated for their extraordinary courage in the First and Second World Wars
· The eight men held as prisoners of war in Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan
· How a soldier turned out to be alive and well when his ‘death’ in the Great War was announced in his local newspaper
The A-Z is now available on a special custom-made USB flash drive. Any proceeds from sales will go to hospice charities.
The picture shows 24 members of the Roberts family who fought in - and in many cases - died in the two world wars.
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Continuing the diary of Corporal John Sangway, dispatch rider with XVII Corps.
Came into hospital with “special” flu a week ago, 23rd. Damnable. If this is typical of hospitals out here, Florence Nightingale never finished her job. I have seen disinfectant once. I have had my medicine half the times ordered. I have slept on the floor all the time in verminous and dirty blankets. There is no ventilation at night & it stinks. People play horribly on pianos outside your door. The latrine arrangements are foul & frightfully inadequate & there is no water at night to wet your parched tongue. Can’t think of any more horrors at the moment. And yet I am feeling better. God knows why!
Left hospital, God be thanked. When shall I get free of vermin!
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I have put together a digital talk for the Petersfield Museum to mark 100 years since the death of Lt-Col Gerard Leachman on August 12th.
Available free on YouTube for one night only, but you will need to register via the museum website. Lots of photographs and maybe some controversial viewpoints. 😀
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Any one seen a library card for CEF troops WWI that reads University of Vimy Ridge ~ somewhere in France this was used to educate Canadian Troops while engaged in combat.
This is most interesting however there is simply no data that I have seen ~ although these library cards did exist
More info is required on this unknown subject
Le Treport Miscellaneous depots and camps
No 3 General Hospital (opened Dec 1914).
No 16 General Hospital (opened Feb 1915).
No 2 Canadian General Hospital (opened Feb 1915).
No 3 Convalescent Depot (opened June 1915).
No 16 General Hospital (Isolation Division) (opened Dec 1915).
No 7 Canadian Hospital (opened 1916).
No 47 British General Hospital (opened 1916).
No 10 BRC Hospital
VAD Camp (opened May 1917)
RE Workshops & Stores (Mar 1915).
Horse Rest Camp (EU) (opened Mar 1917).
Horse Rest Camp (MERS) (opened 1917).
Tanks Camp (opened Sep 1917)
POW Camp (Pont et Marais) (opened 1917).
Army Ordnance Camp (Mers) (opened Oct 1917).
Rifle Range (opened 1918).
Chinese Labour Camp (Mers) (opened Jan 1918).
Chinese Labour Camp (Criel) (opened Jan 1918).
PoW Compound, Isolation Hospital (opened 1918).
PoW Compound (Le Treport) (opened 1918).
No 2 E F Canteens
No 2 YMCA Recreation Huts
No 1 YMCA Cinema
No 1 Canadian RCS Recreation Hut
No 1 Salvation Army Hut
No 1 BRCS Recreation Hut
No 1 Church Army Hut
No 1 RC Church Hut
No 4 Base Supply Depot (MT)
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These are the categories that I have on my computer in bookmarks. I will update this page on a regular basis, particularly during the early phase of the "sorting into categories".
These are ONLY for the British cases here on the GWF. They do not include any of the cases on the CEFSG (here).
I was initially posting this information for the benefit of GWF PALS that wanted to investigate the case further and possibly take it to the reporting stage. I was not familiar enough with the Regiments and did not have access to the UK War Diaries, so I could not finish the case. With the assistance of the Long, Long Trail and now with Ance$try Worldwide, I am able to proceed. There are a number of these cases still listed in the final category below ("Other Cases Posted") and I am now in the process of working through these to move them to the other categories. Many may end up in the "Abandon or Hold" category, which I have now split. If you have looked at a report and believe it is in the wrong category, let me know.
Changes to this blog include:
- 23 November 2019 the details of acceptance or rejection during the Approvals Process have now been added, which are generally emails from the CWGC. Any team response or report updates are then uploaded to the site. This information, on how the process works, may be of benefit to other researchers.
- 12 February 2019 the topic lists that have multiple nationalities have been sorted and classified as to their nationality
- 25 January 2018 addition for "Short Listed Candidates". Those are the cases where is there is more than one person that fits the characteristics for the grave but the list is very short. The reason for this category is for FAMILY who may be researching an UNKNOWN, so they now know it may be their relative in that grave - but it is not a positive identification. This category has also been used where one or more of the candidates has been identified elsewhere, thus shortening the list.
- 5 July 2018 addition of "CWGC Reports to be Submitted / Possibly Incorrect Identifications". It appears that the named person is "clearly" (not a minor question) in that grave. This has not been applied yet to cases where a recent submission (post 2000) may have misidentified an UNKNOWN (i.e. Kipling Case).
- 8 July 2018 added "A member is looking for this soldier".
- 22 July 2018 added "The Approvals Process", in concert with the 1st "Phase I" Approval.
- 27 October 2018 added "Abandon or Hold / Accounted for by Special Memorial(s)" - men are listed missing but may be on a Special Memorial within a cemetery
The cases are now also posted to TWITTER as:
As always, I appreciate the assistance of any member who wishes to participate in these investigations. If a draft report is prepared, any member is welcome to review the document and provide comments, corrections or criticisms. If the report goes to the Submission Stage, any member that participated in the process can have their name added to the report. For that I need your Real Name, Affiliation (can be as simple as "Private Researcher") and your email address (so the CWGC can contact you directly if they wish).
A list of both the Canadian and Commonwealth reports that I have submitted can be found here, with download links:
Main Page: http://laughton.ca/publications/unknown-project/
- Canadian Reports: http://cefresearch.ca/unknown-reports/
- Commonwealth Reports: http://laughton.ca/publications/unknown-project/commonwealth-unknowns/
The difference between the Canadian and Commonwealth reports is that initially the Canadian reports were submitted to the CWGC Canadian Agency in Ottawa for review first. If acceptable to Ottawa, they then were forwarded to the Maidenhead CWGC Office. This process was modified in January 2019 so that now all cases go directly to the CWGC Maidenhead.
As cases move through the process, their place on the list below is modified. A topic might go from "New Cases" to "Reports Submitted" and then up to the "Approvals Process". There it might stay for a considerable length of time, before being marked as "Approved" or "Rejected". Once in that part of the process, additional information is added, such as a direct link to the report or review documents received from the approvals authorities (including rejections). Under the new process, a "Commonwealth Case" must make it through all three (3) phases of the approvals process. There is no information at present to indicate a "Canadian Case" would move through the process in the UK or if it would then be sent back to Ottawa.
The Approvals Process:
Phase 4 - Approved for Rededication Service
12 June 2020 - Formal Adjudication from the Ministry of Defence - CASE ACCEPTED (based on appeal by others)
13 April 2020 - Submitted further evidence on the case of Serjeant P. H. Williams of 54 Squadron (also reported in "Officers Clothing")
19 December 2018 - CWGC Identification Case 86-2 - APPEAL REJECTED (original reports by Tom Tulloch-Marshall and John Hartley)
Report: Corporal BFG Jeffs RFC Douchy-Les-Ayette British Cemetery Plot 3 Row D Grave 7
Rejection Details: CWGC Email of 19 December 2018
Forum Topic: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/241174-unknown-rfc-corporal-b-f-g-jeffs-11th-sqd/
10 September 2019 bumped up to JCCC for the final decision - Approved 6 January 2020 - rededication week of 28 September 2020
19 October 2018 - CWGC Identification Case 352 - Captain Vivian Hastings Clay
Report: Captain Clay Warlencourt British Cemetery Plot 6 Row F Grave 34 (28 December 2016)
Phased Approval: MOD SO2 Email 10 September 2019; Final Approval 6 January 2020
- 12 June 2020 - Formal Adjudication from the Ministry of Defence - CASE ACCEPTED (based on appeal by others)
Phase 3 - Reviewed by Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre:
2 October 2018 - CWGC Identification 292 - 2nd Lieutenants (2) Clark and Noon
Report: 2nd Lieutenants (2) Clark and Noon Tyne Cot British Cemetery Plot 59 Row D Grave 46 & 47 (27 August 2016 Amended 7 October 2018)
AHB Request: MOD SO2 EMAIL 2 October 2018
Response: Team Email and Amended Data 7 October 2018
Forum Topic: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/242835-2nd-lts-e-v-clark-g-noon-rfc-found/
- 2 October 2018 - CWGC Identification 292 - 2nd Lieutenants (2) Clark and Noon
Phase 2 - Reviewed by Services Authorities (National Army Museum or Air Historical Branch):
Phase 1 - Approved by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (HQ Maidenhead):
21 September 2018 - CWGC Identification Case 365 - Lieutenant Alfred Eaves
Report: Lieutenant Eaves Warlencourt British Cemetery Plot 5 Row K Grave 20 (19 January 2017)
Phased Approval: CWGC Email 21 September 2018
Forum Topic: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/245104-lieutenant-the-queens-royal-west-surrey-regiment/
12 February 2019 - CWGC Identification Case 380 - Second Lieutenant Alick Guyer Aylmer (20 April 1917) @thetrenchrat22
Report: 2nd Lieutenant Alick Aylmore Assevillers New British Cemetery Plot 9 Row D Grave 6
Phased Approval: CWGC Email 12 February 2019
Forum Topic: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/249166-assevillers-new-british-cemetery/
- 21 September 2018 - CWGC Identification Case 365 - Lieutenant Alfred Eaves
Phase 1 - Rejected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (HQ Maidenhead)
22 November 2019 - CWGC Identification CASE 353 - Captain Fitzherbert & Lieutenant Battersby
Report: Captain Fitzherbert and Lieutenant Battersby Messines Ridge British Cemetery Plot 4 Row E Graves 38 & 39
Rejection Details: CWGC Email of 22 November 2019
Forum Topic: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/245856-lt-p-w-battersby-capt-w-w-fitzherbert-rfc-messines-ridge-british-cemetery-4e38-39/
- 22 November 2019 - CWGC Identification CASE 353 - Captain Fitzherbert & Lieutenant Battersby
Significant Correction Reports - Only CWGC Approval is required
Approved 28 March 2019: Correction Report - Private William Henry Hart
Report: Private Henry William Hart #2691: 23 August 1918, 7th Battalion Australian Infantry
Forum Topic: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/266046-correction-report-7th-bn-aif-on-menin-gate-memorial-instead-of-villers-bretonneux-memorial/
- Approved 28 March 2019: Correction Report - Private William Henry Hart
- Phase 4 - Approved for Rededication Service
Submitted to CWGC but not yet reviewed: (you can download PDF versions from my web site here)
https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/280412-marfaux-british-cemetery-case-1-new-zealand-cyclist-mclaughlin/ - NZ cyclist with dentures
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/280327-dormans-french-national-cemetery-case-1-unknown-aviators-b15-and-b16/ - Richard & Trevor Team
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/279263-jonchery-sur-vesle-british-cemetery-case-3 -lieutenant-aviator-at courthiézy/ - Richard & Trevor Team
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/279745-guards-cemetery-windy-corner-case-1-buried-by-germans-13-4-18-wood/ - Serjeant Wood
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/278469-zantvoorde-british-cemetery-case-5-company-serjeant-major-queens-own-royal-west-kent-regiment/ - CSM Traill
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/278418-unknown-canadian-soldier/ @Chesterboy - Higgins
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/262657-peronne-road-cemetery-case-1-csm-durham-light-infantry/ - CSM Thomas Blanchard
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/273969-lance-corporal-james-ohare-30257-25th-northumberland-fusiliers/ - Lance Corporal O'Hare
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/274606-rmli-hawke-bn-in-adanac-military-cemetery/ - Lieutenant Wainwright, Hawke Bn. (*see)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/261820-csm-royal-marine-light-infantry-serre-road-no-2/ - 19 August 2019
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/264973-epehy-wood-farm-cemetery-epehy-case-1-leicesters-captain-with-a-military-cross/ - (Spencer-Smith)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/268716-spoilbank-cemetery-case-2-negro-corporal/ - based on lead from @Becstar
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/264975-epehy-wood-farm-cemetery-epehy-case-2-lieutenant-royal-dublin-fusiliers/ (report by @dickaren - Heenan)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/254412-unknown-2nd-lt-e-c-northamptonshire-regiment-ovillers-11z1/ - (Cole)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/255493-captain-the-loyal-north-lancashire-regiment/ - (Harris)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/242217-unknown-sgt-major-recorded-royal-horse-guards/ - (Eales)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/255849-royal-welsh-fusilier-2nd-lt-8-may-1916/ - (Taggart & Osborne-Jones)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/274949-rmli-queens-cemetery-bucuoy/ - Private Hilton (RMLI) in Queens (*see)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/274606-rmli-hawke-bn-in-adanac-military-cemetery/ - Privates Dickinson (RMLI) in Adanac (*see)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/265061-the-wrong-lieutenant-colonel-hindle-or-stewart/ - the Serjeant is probably wrong as well
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/262911-zantvoorde-british-cemetery-case-1-pte-harry-lewis-8th-bn-royal-highlanders-black-watch/ - (not Lewis)
- Corrections Only
- Unknowns Identified
Draft Reports Posted for Review and Comment
Unknowns Identified (please post a request to comment on the topic if you have the time and interest to review a draft report)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/254911-unknown-officer-connaught-rangers-villers-faucon-ccext-3c14/ - (Crofton) - now marked to abandon 28 April 2019
- none at present
- Unknowns Identified (please post a request to comment on the topic if you have the time and interest to review a draft report)
To be Submitted:
Unknowns Identified (all checked to make sure NO CANDIDATES are listed on a SPECIAL MEMORIAL, 27-10-2018)
(now ranking these on secondary review to guess at success rate)
- Unknowns Identified (all checked to make sure NO CANDIDATES are listed on a SPECIAL MEMORIAL, 27-10-2018)
Possible CWGC Reports:
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/265656-heath-cemetery-harbonnieres-case-2-rfc-captain-and-serjeant/ - downgraded as missing absoluite proof @Cheshire22
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/263274-gordon-dump-cemetery-case-1-unknown-2nd-lt-4th-middlesex-regiment/ - was 2nd Lt. Paterson with 4th Bn.?
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/262411-templeux-le-guerard-british-cemetery-case-1-south-irish-horse/ - need confirmation of date of death
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/254224-unknown-rsm-the-queens-royal-west-surrey-regiment/ - could we sell this to the CWGC?
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/236950-unknown-captain-royal-irish-rifles-arras-road-cemetery-2m14/ - check the topic to see if anyone reporting this 15 Dec 2018
- New Zealand @jacksdad
Short Listed Candidates
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/277473-canadian-cemetery-no-2-case-1-rmli-company-sergeant-major/ - 2 RMLI CSMs now share a grave
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/265637-heath-cemetery-harbonnieres-case-1-london-regiment-serjeants/ - now share a grave
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/268636-spoilbank-cemetery-case-1-captain-leinster-regiment/ - based on lead from @Becstar now share a grave
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/270767-st-souplet-british-cemetery-case-1-unknown-captain-krrc/ - share a grave
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/268352-unknown-hli-corporal-arras-road-british-cemetery-2a3/ - share a grave
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/268329-unknown-middlesex-officer-arras-road-british-cemetery-3n8/ - has both 20th and 21st Officers in the precise area, closed
Abandon or Hold:
- Accounted for by Special Memorial (added 27-10-2018 - check all cases)
Hold for the Moment
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/271342-lance-corporal-alexander-peter-10726-scots-guards/ - very obvious! now questions 17 Nov 2019
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/263672-caterpillar-valley-cemetery-case-2-unknown-glasgow-highlander/ (possible 2 or 3 identifications!)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/255692-lt-2nd-lt-kings-royal-rifle-corps-found-together/ - active again April-May 2020
- These two are linked investigations as Northumberland Fusilier Officers. If the Unknown Captain is Lockie, then the Unknown Officer is a one of five (5) Second Lieutenants and the case for the Unknown Officer cannot be resolved:
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/276348-strand-military-cemetery-case-1-captain-officer-wiltshire-regiment/ - can't separate the Captains
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/263640-caterpillar-valley-cemetery-case-1-corporal-2nd-bn-leinster-regiment/ (location close but not absolute - had been high ranked!)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/264174-unknown-csm-royal-irish-regiment-la-laiterie-military-cemetery/ (only missing CSM not in that area of Kemmel)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/263022-zantvoorde-british-cemetery-case-4-captain-gordon-highlanders-1914/ - no Captains missing
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/262995-zantvoorde-british-cemetery-case-3-two-aviators-with-plane-serial-number/ - with Trevor Henshaw
- Casualty Already Identified:
Report Being Prepared by Others:
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/279780-guards-cemetery-windy-corner-case-2-worcestershire-regiment-5702/ (Alan @thetrenchrat22)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/276082-romeries-communal-cemetery-extension-case-2-british-airman-23-october-1918/ (Trevor @fetubi)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/264975-epehy-wood-farm-cemetery-epehy-case-2-lieutenant-royal-dublin-fusiliers/ (Richard @dickaren)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/247283-b20-duhallow-ads-cemetery-2-sets-of-airmen/ (Luc @LDT006)
Report Submitted by Others:
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/274060-rifleman-partiman-sunwar-1451/ @Dogflud
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/254937-icrc-records-of-british-dead/ (for case relating to Lt. H. R. Smith but there are other here - Ecoust M.C.)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/262964-zantvoorde-british-cemetery-case-2-captain-royal-berkshire-regiment-1914/ (questionable at this point)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/256961-lieutenant-royal-munster-fusiliers/ (reported approved by MOD - see this post on Lt. Gilbert Donnelly @Dr.Dan)
- Strong Leads Posted By Others via GWF Messenger:
New Cases Posted (to be sorted):
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/279790-sucrerie-military-cemetery-case-1-private-john-finlay-3751/ - John Finlay, have pinged @Becstar
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/279126-northumberland-fusiliers-may-1918-2nd-lt-collins-2nd-lt-davies-2nd-lt-jennings/ - Davies & Collins (case 2)
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/277473-canadian-cemetery-no-2-case-1-rmli-company-sergeant-major/ - linked case to CSM Rogers
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/277325-messines-ridge-british-cemetery-case-2-unknown-aviators-haller-foster/ @LDT006 Luc's case
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/277323-messines-ridge-british-cemetery-case-1-unknown-new-zealand-officer/ - one of two Auckland Lieutenants
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/276930-unknowns-battle-of-messines-7-june-1917/ - 2 possible men for identification
- https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/274208-2nd-bn-scots-guards-lance-corporals-cabaret-rouge-british-cemetery/ - Mel's number case
Interesting Puzzle Cases
- Two Lieutenants from the Royal Irish Regiment in October 1914 but three (3) sets of remains recovered: (duplicate topics - my mistake)
- A Member is Looking For This Soldier
Corporal Martin Carroll #55818, Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Plot 6 Row D Grave 3
2nd Division, 4th Infantry Brigade, 19th Infantry Battalion
CANADIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE
Killed in Action of 8 August 1918
Reported Found 29 May 2015
Rededication Service 1 December 2016
Looking for a reference book on Australian nurses in WW1? I recommend this book
'More than Bombs and Bandages - Australian Army nurses at work in World War I' (Big Sky, Newport NSW, 2011).
A review from a Queensland RN, Rev’d Dr Barbara Oudt:
What I enjoyed most about Dr Kirsty Harris’s book is her ability to reflect those nurses voices in a way that was so real – one could be there, the settings were so well understood from her research and the language kind of made a time warp in the reading. Very satisfying. As you know I have that Peter Rees book, but I could not get into it after reading the historical one. It was like comparing a great documentary to Face Book trivia!!!
Available from all good book shops, online via the publisher at http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/…/more-than-bombs-and-b…/, (at a very reasonable price for a hard back) or read or order for your local library.
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In December 1918 the Class Z system was introduced by the army. This system, which released huge numbers of men very quickly, created a reserve of soldiers who would be recalled quickly to the army if the armistice was to break down.
Many of the men who were discharged to the Class Z reserve had claims to pensions for disability - presumably an assessment was made that this disability would not prevent the man being useful to the army again in future.
The Class Z system lead to a new pension numbering format being used for these cases.
The reference under the Class Z system was in the format of Z / Corps or Regiment / Sequential Number of claim from Corps or Regiment / Surname Split.
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I have finally written up the story for my 3 x great grand father John Edwin Barnes, thanks again for everyone's help on here that have helped make this possible, cheers everyone.
One of my “Heroes” and Favourite Ancestors the fourth in my series of blogs about my 8 great-grandparents The Life and Times of John Edwin Barnes
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During the night of 30/31 July 1919, a relief column of 3rd Guides Infantry marched the 20+ miles from Parachinar to Sadda. Nearly 300 men strong, the column was based on B and D companies of 3rd Guides, supported by guns from 28th Mountain Battery and 40 additional mounted infantry from the Kurram Militia. The column was commanded by OC B Company Capt John Henry Jameson DSO.
The column reached Sadda on the morning of 31 July and, supported by machine guns from 22 Battery, went into action at around midday. Picquets were established on the high ground, the engine from the crashed Bristol Fighter was salvaged and the body of Lance Daffadar Miru Mian was recovered.
By the evening, reports indicated that the tribesmen were dispersing.
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A few have asked to be kept informed as to the publication of my diary, so here you are. It is available from Amazon as an ebook as well as in paperback format. It can be bought from Waterstones in Newcastle upon Tyne, Morpeth and Hexham, also at Cogito Books in Hexham or direct from email@example.com for £6.99 + p&p. It is available in the Newcastle City Library, The Newcastle University Library, and the Lit & Phil Library in Newcastle. So far it is being read in the US, Germany, Australia, Spain, and France. It has yet to have any major review, but all individual reviews by private individuals are very positive indeed. Many thanks for any interest shown to date and in the future.
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100 YEARS AGO TODAY: The March to the Rhine - Day 21.
King George V and General William Birdwood visit the graves of several notable soldiers including, the temporary grave of Prince Maurice of Battenburg, the King's one-time equerry Major Lord Charles Mercer-Nairne, Brigadier General Francis Aylmer Maxwell VC, CSI, DSO & Bar, and Major the Hon. William George Sidney Cadogan, the equerry to the Prince of Wales. Presentation of baton of the Marshal of France to Philippe Petain at Metz, 8 December 1918. Marshal Petain, Marshal Joseph Joffre, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, General Maxime Weygand (France), Field Marshal Douglas Haig (Britain), General John Pershing (USA), General Cyriaque Gillain (Belgium), General Alberico Albricci (Italy) and General Józef Haller (Poland) awaiting the arrival of French President Raymond Poincare.
General Staff - 1st Canadian Division, C.E.F.
13th Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada)
14th Battalion (The Royal Montreal Regiment)
15th Battlion (48th Highlanders of Canada), 3rd Inf. Bde, C.E.F.
16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish), 3rd Inf. Bde, C.E.F.
5th Canadian Divisional Artillery, C.E.F.
14th Brigade C.F.A., C.E.F.
61st Field Battery, C.F.A., 5th C.D.A., C.E.F.
Lt Abner Virtue - 6st Fld Bty
60th Field Battery, C.F.A., 5th C.D.A., C.E.F.
Outside Recht, Photo: Edward Walshe
Recht, Photo: Edward Walshe
Marcard, Photo: Edward Walshe
Railway Bridge Bonn and Kirke, Photo: Edward Walshe
Dedenburg & Bonn Railway Bridge, Photo: Edward Walshe
Outside Amel, Photo: Edward Walshe
Amel, Photo: Edward Walshe
Moderscheid, Photo: Edward Walshe
Outside Moderscheid, Photo: Edward Walshe
Bullingen, Photo: Edward Walshe
Outside Bullingen, Photo: Edward Walshe
Outside Wirtzfeld, Photo: Edward Walshe
Wirtzfeld, Photo: Edward Walshe
Outside Krinkelt, Photo: Edward Walshe
Krinkelt, Photo: Edward Walshe
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MIKAN 3329308: Amiens Front - Ecourt St. Quentin, Apr. & May 1919.
Église St.Léger, dating from the twelfth century, Saudemont, 19th April 2018 at 8:49 AM.
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IWM 319: PONT REMY SPORTS [MAIN TITLE]
Click here for the video.
The competition between Army Forestry Companies from Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand at the Forestry Camp at Pont-Remy, France, 15th September 1918.
The soldiers watch several forms of contest. A pillow fight between two men sitting astride a log suspended over water. A tree-stump felling contest, in which the four representatives each have to cut down a stump about three metres high. A similar competition to cut through a short log lying on the ground, won by the Australian whose fellows rush forward to cheer him. He poses in his shirt, shorts and bush hat with his axe beside the trunk. A third contest, including New Zealand Maoris, in chopping down medium-sized trees. Finally a 'log rolling' contest for men keeping balance standing on a log on the river, which they cross by rolling the log forward.
whole: Number Of Items/reels/tapes 1
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Obituary for my Grand Father Company Sergeant Major Fred Seaman No.5572, Of The 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards
It's been a long time since my last post in this blog, so here is one interesting article.
The Romanian 2nd Army's success at Marasti forced the Central Powers to revise their plans. The offensive planned in the Namoloasa area was abandoned and the bulk of the forces were moved in the Focsani area. The new offensive was going to be launched west of the Siret River, on the Focsani – Marasesti – Adjud direction, with the German 9th Army (general Johannes von Eben) and on the Oituz Valley with the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army (Archduke Joseph). The objective was to encircle and destroy the 2nd Army.
On the other side, the Romanian General Headquarters decided to cancel its attack in the Namoloasa area. The Russian 4th Army had to be pulled out from the front in southern Moldavia and moved north, where it could threaten the flank of the Austro-German forces advancing in Galicia. The Romanian 1st Army was going to replace the Russian troops departing the area.
For the offensive, the German 9th Army was strengthened with units brought from the French (the Alpine Corps, which arrived on 6 August) or Italian fronts. General von Eben decided to deliver the main blow with the German 1st Corps (6 divisions), while to its left the German 18th Reserve Corps (3 divisions) had to pin down the Entente troops opposite it. The right wing of the 9th Army was manned by the Ramnic Group (2 divisions). The reserve was made up of one German and one Austro-Hungarian divisions and the Alpine Corps, which arrived in the area during the first day of the battle. The German forces in the attack sector were 102 infantry battalions, 10 cavalry squadrons, 24 pioneer companies, 2 armored cars, 1,135 machine-guns, 356 mortars, 223 field guns and 122 heavy guns and howitzers.
Opposite the German 1st Corps was the Russian 4th Army, which had in contact with the enemy only two corps: on the right the 8th (3 divisions) and on the left the 7th (2 divisions). The reserve was made up of one infantry and one cavalry divisions. These totaled 84 infantry battalions, 52 cavalry squadrons, 280 field guns and 36 heavy guns. The bulk of the Romanian 1st Army was at Tecuci and was getting to cross the Siret River and replace the Russians.
The German 9th Army's offensive was preceded by a powerful artillery preparation, which began at 0430 hours on 6 August 1917. At 0730 hours the 1st Corps (general Kurt von Morgen) started the attack, with the 12th Bavarian, 76th and 89th Infantry Divisions in the first line and with another two divisions in the second echelon. The front defended by the Russian 13th and 34th Infantry Divisions was broken and 10 km breach was created. The Russians started a disorderly retreat east of the Siret River. At the request of the Russian command, general Constantin Christescu, CO of the 1st Army, ordered maj. general Eremia Grigorescu, CO of the Romanian 6th Corps, to intervene west of the Siret with the 5th Infantry Division and with the 9th Infantry Division to defend the river's eastern bank. The 32nd Dorobanti Regiment Mircea and the 8th Dorobanti Regiment Buzau counterattacked and stopped the Central Powers offensive on the line Moara Alba – Doaga – Furceni.
Seeing that the chances to force the crossing over the river are minimal, in the morning of 7 August, the German command redirected the offensive to the north, with four divisions. The effort was concentrated against the Romanian 5th Infantry Division, but the assault was repulsed. However, a bulge was created at the junction with the Russian troops, but the situation was saved by the counterattack of two battalions from the division's reserve. At noon, after a short artillery preparation, the enemy renewed the attack enjoying a 3 to 1 numerical superiority. The 3rd Vanatori Regiment held out in the Doaga village against an entire German division. The same thing happened in the sector of the 32nd Dorobanti Regiment Mircea. The soldiers in this unit made several bayonet charges only in their shirts, because of the suffocating heat, managing to push back the Germans to their positions. In the evening, the 1st Corps attacked and broke through the front of the Russian division on the right flank of the Romanian 5th Division. Threatened with the encirclement, the 32nd Regiment retreated to the Cosmesti Bridge. To fill the gap created, the Romanian 9th Infantry Division was introduced west of the Siret River. It was continuously attacked. In the evening of 7 August, under the cover of darkness, a German group approached and assaulted the 9th Division's flank, engaging into hand-to-hand fights. The Romanians abandoned Doaga and retreated to the outskirts of the Prisaca Forest, where a new defensive line was established. That day the 5th Division lost 44 officers and 1,770 soldiers (dead, wounded and missing). The front moved back 2-3 km.
On 8 August, general von Eben changed the attack sector to the west, on the front held by Russian units. In the evening, during the second assault, they were forced to retreat. A Russian regiment was almost completely destroyed. The Romanian front was bombarded and the attack on the 5th and 9th Infantry Divisions resumed the following day. On 9 August 1917, the German effort was increased. The assault started at 1900 hours, after a powerful artillery preparation, which caused many casualties to the 9th Division. Its troops were only able to dig foxholes, because the ground was very dry and hard to dig. The Germans again took heavy casualties because of the Romanian and Russian artillery situated on the eastern bank of the Siret River, which was firing directing into the attackers' flank. However, the first line of the Romanian defense was pierced in several spots, but reserves intervened and repulsed them after some very violent fighting. The 34th Regiment, which faced the 12th Bavarian Division, held out against three consecutive assaults. Only the 2nd Battalion, under the command of Major Gheorghe Mihail, the future Chief of the General Staff in 1940 and 1944, remained in the first line. It counterattacked and captured 62 prisoners and two machine-guns. The unit's battle flag was decorated later with Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class. The same award was bestowed upon the regiment's CO, colonel Virgiliu Dumbrava, as well the 2nd Battalion's CO. But the casualties were heavy: 35 officers and 1,551 soldiers. The 36th Regiment lost 36 officers and 954 soldiers. Also, the 7th and 32nd Dorobanti Regiments suffered many casualties. During the night, at 0200 hours, another assault took place and the Germans managed to push back for several hundred meters the 9th Division and the right wing of the 5th Division. The neighboring Russian division was also forced to retreat, but the Russian 4th Army counterattacked and captured 2,500 prisoners and recovered the lost ground.
The last failures had weakened the German 9th Army. Thus, general von Eben strengthened the 1st Corps with a new division and the 18th Reserve Corps with the Alpine Corps.
On 10 August, it was the Entente's turn to attack. General Christescu and general Ragoza, the CO of the Russian 4th Army, decided to strike each with a corps of two divisions the bulge in the German line. During the morning, the 9th Army attacked the Russian sector, but gained little ground. At 1700 hours, the allied infantry started the assault, after a long artillery preparation. The 9th Infantry Division took the first German trenches, but because of the losses it had to abandon them. Reinforced with a regiment form the Romanian 13th Infantry Division, it resumed the attack, but again without success. The 5th Infantry Division and a regiment of the 14th Infantry Division managed to get inside the German positions, but could keep them. The 8th Dorobanti and 3rd Vanatori Regiments managed to enter the Doaga village, but were repulsed. The situation was similar in the sector of the Russian 4th Army. However the offensive had reduced the combat potential of the German 76th, 89th and 115th Infantry Divisions, which had suffered the brunt of the assault. These were already exhausted after several days of failed attacks. The report of general von Eben to the Army Group CO, marshal von Mackensen, mentions the fact that the 216th Infantry Division had suffered many casualties because of the flank bombardment of the Romanian artillery yon the eastern bank of the Siret.
For the following day, general Christescu imposed a limited objective to the 6th Corps: the Doaga – Susita Valley. The Russian 4th Army had decided to remain on the defensive. The Germans attacked in its sector at 1600 hours, after a three hour artillery preparation, and again forced the Russian troops to retreat. At 1630 hours, the Romanian 9th Infantry Division began the assault without knowing the situation in the neighboring sector. After the Russian retreat the flank was exposed. The division's CO sent a battalion to extend the line. The Germans were advancing on Marasesti and the situation became extremely dangerous for the Entente.
The 9th Vanatori Regiment, which was in the division's reserve, was quickly brought in and set up positions in the factory north of the town. It managed to stop the German troops that were threatening to encircle the 9th Infantry Division. For this action, lt. col. Gheorghe Rasoviceanu, the regiment's CO, was awarded the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class. A regiment of the 13th Infantry Division, from the 6th Crops' reserve, established the link with the Russians. The 5th Infantry Division attacked in the Doaga area, but the 7th and 8th Dorobanti Regiments failed to enter the village. The same day, maj. general Eremia Grigorescu was named at the command of the 1st Army.
Noticing that the troops of the German 1st Corps were exhausted, general von Eben decided to assign the main strike to the 18th Reserve Corps of maj. gen. Kurt von Wenniger, which had suffered fewer losses and was less tired. Thus, on 12 August, the 9th German Army attacked with small forces the 5th Infantry Division, in order to pin it down, and concentrated its forces against the Russian 4th Army, taking Panciu. Following this failure, general Ragoza wanted to retreat the Russian-Romanian front north of Marasesti., but abandoned the idea at maj. gen. Eremia Grigorescu's pleas. Lt. gen. Constantin Prezan, the Chief of the General Staff, decided to replace the Russian 7th Corps with the Romanian 5th Corps (10th and 13th Infantry Divisions) and to put the Russian 8th Corps under the command of the Romanian 1st Army. The staff of the Russian 4th Army was retreated to Bacau from where it was reassigned to another front.
On 13 August, the 18th Reserve Corps attacked the Russian troops north of Panciu, but failed to make any breakthrough. The following day, general von Eben ordered the 1st Corps to eliminate the Romanian bulge in the area of the Prisaca Forest and take the bridge over the Siret River at Cozmesti. In the same time, the 18th Reserve Corps had to attack on the Zabraut Valley. After powerful artillery preparation commenced the assault on the Russian 8th Corps' positions. Brig. gen. Henri Cihoski, CO of the 10th Infantry Division, sent the 10th Vanatori Regiment as help. It surprised the Alpine Corps and caused it important casualties, some in vicious hand-to-hand combat.
The vanatori managed to take Hill 334, but were forced to retreat following a powerful artillery bombardment. The 38th Infantry Regiment Neagoe Basarab also intervened and its CO, col. Gheorghe Cornescu, received the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class for the counterattack that stopped the German offensive, which threatened to penetrate in the Susita Valley, behind the Romanian 2nd Army. The Russian 8th Corps was forced to pull back north of Iresti and Straoani.
The 5th Infantry Division, at the other end of the front, had been reduced to one third of its initial size during the last days of fighting. The positions in the Prisaca Forest were heavily bombarded by German artillery. At 1700 hours the assault began with two divisions and forced the Romanian troops to retreat. The division's reserves, as well as a regiment form the 14th Infantry Division, in the army's reserve, intervened and stopped the German advance north of the Prisaca Forest. The bridge at Cozmesti was blown up, as the Romanian engineers had built another two to the north. The exhausted 5th Infantry Division was pulled out of the first line.
On 15 August, the 18th Reserve Corps continued the offensive and managed to create a breach at the junction between the 10th Infantry Division and the Russian division to its right. The 10th Vanatori Regiment, supported by 10 Romanian and 3 Russian batteries, counterattacked and reestablished the situation. However, with its left wing, the 18th Corps took Muncel, forcing theRussians to pull back. Thus the link between the two Romanian armies was threatened. The 2ndArmy attacked with the "Colonel Alexiu" Detachment made up of 2 vanatori battalions, 2 infantry battalions and 3 artillery batteries, which, together with a Russian cavalry division, retook control of the village. The following day, the Germans occupiued half of Muncel, but were again forced to retreat after the assault of col. Alexandru Alexiu's men.
The days of 17 and 18 August were calm. The losses suffered by both sides, forced the commanders to reorganize their units. Maj. gen. Eremia Grigorescu replaced the 14th Infantry Division, which was deployed east of the Siret River, with the 1st and 6th Rosiori Brigades and the hard pressed 5th Infantry Division with the 2nd Cavalry Division. The latter and the two brigades formed the Cavalry Corps. The 14th Infantry Division was moved on the northern bank of the Siret River in the Cozmestii de Vale area. Also, the army's heavy artillery was redeployed so that it could better cover the sector of the 5th Corps (10th, 13th and 9th Infantry Divisions). The 1st Army's reserve was made up of the 15th Infantry Division and of the 5th Infantry Division, under reorganization. On the other side, at the intervention of marshal von Mackensen, general von Eben grouped 7 infantry divisions under the command of the German 1st Corps and subordinated almost all the heavy artillery of the 9th Army to it. These forces totalized 55 battalions and 95 batteries.
On 19 August, the Germans resumed the offensive, attacking with the 1st Corps towards Marasesti and with 18th Reserve Corps on the Panciu-Muncel direction. The main effort was concentrated in the sector between Marasesti and the Razoare Forest, defended by the Romanian 9th and 13th Infantry Divisions, the latter being assaulted by three enemy divisions. The artillery preparation started at 0630 hours in the area of the trenches of the 47/72nd, 51/52nd and 50/64th Infantry Regiments, from the first line of the 13th Infantry Division, and at the western outskirts of Marasesti, where the 9th Vanatori Regiment of the 9th Infantry Division was located. It lasted for two hours and was the most violent artillery bombardment of the entire battle. At 0900 hours the first assaults small scale began and were easily repulsed. After 1100 hours a very powerful attack started. The main blow was delivered north of the Razoare Forest, at the junction of the 13th and 10th Infantry Divisions. The 10th Infantry Division was attacked by the 13th Austro-Hungarian Division, which failed to breakthrough the Romanian lines.
The 13th Infantry Division, commanded by brig. gen. Ioan Popescu, was the Romanian unit that saw the most action that day. It occupied a front 6 km wide, with the 47/72nd Infantry Regiment at the south-western edge of the Razoare Forest, the 50/64th Infantry Regiment in the Negroponte Vineyards and the 51/52nd Infantry Regiment in the middle. The reserve was made up of one battalion of the 50/64th Regiment and the 48/49th Regiment. 15 Romanian and 15 Russian batteries provided artillery support.
The attack started at 0900 hours. In the sector of the 47/72nd Infantry Regiment, the German assaults failed one after another. The 1st Battalion was situated on the left wing, south of the Razoare Forest. It was attacked by the 28th Bavarian Infantry Regiment (from the 12th Bavarian Division) and by units of the German 89th and 115th Divisions. The 2nd Battalion, on the right wing, was assaulted by the Austro-Hungarian 13th Infantry Division. The 3rd Battalion was kept in reserve. The regiment's CO, lt. col. Radu Rosetti, the former chief of the Operations Bureau of the General Staff in 1916, was wounded at a leg during the fighting. At the center, the 51/52nd Regiment was situated in an open position ands was also powerfully attacked. It had to pull back. The Germans tried to use the momentum and infiltrate behind the positions of the two regiments on the flanks of the Romanian 13th Infantry Division. The 3rd Battalion/47/72nd Infantry Regiment, under the command of maj. Draganescu counterattacked and stopped their advance. The reserves of the 51/52nd Regiment joined the fight directed by the unit's CO, lt. col. Ioan Cristofor, buying time for the reinforcements sent by the division to arrive. The 1st Machine-gun Company commanded by cpt. Grigore Ignat, stubbornly held its position, being almost totally destroyed. Its CO was posthumously awarded the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class. However, the Germans advanced towards Hill 100, behind which the allied artillery was situated. The 50/64th Regiment had to pull back its right wing, because of the enemy advance in the sector of the 51/52nd Regiment. Lt. col. Diamandi Genuneanu, the 50/64th Regiment's CO, organized the defense south of Hill 100 and managed to hold out against two Bavarian regiments for two hours.
General Popescu organized the counterattack against the German forces closing in on Hill 100. The 2 battalions in reserve, together with the 3rd Battalion/47/72nd Regiment and other units attacked from several different directions the German 115th Infantry Division, which had infiltrated between the Razoare Forest and the Negroponte Vineyards. The artillery of the 10th Infantry Division also intervened in the fighting at that moment, at the orders of the army's CO. The 1st Battalion/50/64th Regiment, commanded by cpt. Nicolae Miclescu, emerged from the Negroponte Vineyards and surprised the German infantry in the area and pushed it back to towards the Razoare Forest. Cpt. Miclescu was wounded during the action. He was later awarded the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class. The 3rd Battalion/47/72nd Infantry Regiment and the 2nd Battalion/48/49th Infantry Regiment joined the battle. The resistance at the edge of the Razoare Forest was broken following a violent bayonet charge. The Germans started a disorderly retreat. The entire 47/72nd Infantry Regiment started a counterattack, followed soon by the 39th Infantry Regiment (from 10th Infantry Division). The German troops retreated towards the Susita Valley, dragging along the units of the Austro-Hungarian 13th Division. The Romanians captured the first line of the enemy positions, but the advanced was stopped by maj. general Eremia Grigorescu, because von Eben had already started to deploy his reserves.
The 10th Division and, especially, the 13th Division had achieved a great victory. The commanders of the two divisions, as well as the commanders of the 47/72nd, 50/64th and 51/52nd Regiments were awarded the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class. Another 7 officers received this high distinction for the fighting on 19 August. The 39th Infantry Regiment Petru Rares captured 376 POWs and 7 machine-guns and advanced 500 m on a 4 km wide front. The 47/72nd Infantry Regiment took 209 POWs and 4 machine-guns. But the losses were high. The same regiment lost 880 men (99 killed, 300 wounded and 481 missing). The regiment's flag, as well as those of the other hard pressed units on 19 August were also decorated with the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class.
The same day, the Germans attacked the sector of the 9th Infantry Division, situated south of the 13th Division. It had been reduced to 4,500 men in the previous days of hard fighting. In the first line were the 9th Vanatori Regiment on the right wing and the 40th Infantry Regiment Calugareni on the left wing. After a powerful artillery preparation, two German infantry divisions started their attack. Following some heavy fighting in the ruins of the factory north of Marasesti, the 9th Vanatori Regiment was forced to fall back towards the city. The 40th Infantry Regiment also abandoned its first positions. The 9th Division reformed the front on the line south Negroponte Vineyards – Marasesti Railroad Station – south Marasesti, which it held against the enemy assaults, with the help of the artillery of the 14th Infantry Division from the eastern bank of the Siret River, firing directly in the German flank.
Because of the failure of its army to take the objectives on 19 August, general von Eben decided that the continuation of the offensive was no longer possible. A week of pause followed, which both sides used for reorganizing. The 9th Army again changed the attack sector. The 18th Reserve Corps was strengthened with 3 divisions and the entire heavy artillery at the army's disposal. The Romanian 1st Army received the 11th Infantry Divison. Maj. general Eremia Grigorescu redeployed his forces. Thus, the Russian 8th Corps formed the army's right wing in the Muncelul area. It had two divisions in the first line and another two reforming in the back. The Romanian 5th Corps (10th and 15th Infantry Divisions) held the front all the way to Marasesti Railroad Station, where it linked up with the 3rd Corps (14th Infantry Division), situated between Marasesti and the Siret River. East of the river was the Cavalry Corps (1st and 6th Rosiori Brigades, 2nd Cavalry Division and one brigade of the 5th Infantry Division). The army's reserve was made up of the 9th, 11th and 13th Infantry Divisions and the other brigade of the 5th Division.
The offensive of the 18th Corps started in the sector of the Russian 8th Corps on 28 August. At 0900 hours the German troops infiltrated between the two Russian divisions and forced them to retreat. Two regiments of the Romanian 3rd Infantry Division from the 2nd Army intervened and managed to stop the German advance together with the Russian reserves. The following day, general Grigorescu prepared an attack in the Muncelul area, aimed at eliminating the bulge created by the Germans. He put at the disposal of the Russian 8th Corps another Russian division, as well as the Romanian 9th Infantry Division, a regiment from the 13th and another from the 15th Division. The two regiments from the 2nd Army were also supposed to participate in this action.
The assault started at 0800 hours, from the north and west, but found the Germans ready for an attack of their own and it was repulsed. The second one, around 1700 hours, was also repulsed. The Germans forced the right wing of the Russian 124th Division to pull back. Two battalions from the 2nd Army intervened and managed to stop the enemy advance during the night. The 11th and 13th Infantry Divisions were brought behind the threatened areas. The 5th Division crossed to on the western bank of the Siret River. On 30 August, the German 18th Reserve Corps resumed the attack and its troops managed to get between the 18th Dorobanti Regiment Gorj and the 2nd Vanatori Regiment of the 2nd Army. The 34th Infantry Regiment Constanta, belonging to the 9th Division from the 1st Army, counterattacked and plucked in the breach.
The Russian 8th Corps was strengthened with the 13th Infantry Division on 31 August, when, because of the weather, there was no fighting. General Eremia Grigorescu subordinated the 9th Infantry Division and a Russian division to the CO of the 13th Division, brig. general Ioan Popescu. This group attacked on 1 September. The artillery preparation started at 0600 hours, with all the artillery available to the group, as well as with the artillery of the other two Russian divisions and the army's heavy artillery. After one hour, the 9th and 13th Divisions attacked from the west and the 3rd Infantry Division (belonging to the 2nd Army), commanded by brig. general Alexandru Margineanu, from the north. After some heavy fighting, the 13th Division advanced up t o200 m of Muncelul. The 18th Corps counterattacked in the sector of the 3rd Infantry Division, but was repulsed. The following day, the same 3rd Division suffered the brunt of the 9th Army's strike. The main objective was the Porcului Hill, defended by the 30th Dorobanti Regiment Muscel. It lost the positions, but they were retaken following the counterattack of the division's reserves and of a Russian regiment. It was the last major operation of the German 9th Army in the Marasesti sector.
The offensive of the 1st Army in the Muncelul area was resumed on 3 September. The 11th Infantry Division was subordinated to the General Popescu Group, entering the first line beside the 9th and 13th Divisions. The Russian division and the regiments of the 2nd Army formed the reserve. The plan was to attack frontally with the 9th Division and a brigade of the 11th, while the 13th Division and the other brigade of the 11th Division were going to attack the Muncelul village, threatening the enemy flank. The artillery preparation started at 0630 hours and at 0800 hours the 13th Infantry Division started the assault, but could not make any progress. The same happened in the sector of the 9th Division. A second artillery preparation, which lasted for an hour and a half, and some violent hand-to-hand fighting were necessary for the 13th Infantry Division to occupy the eastern edge of the Muncelul village. But the Romanian losses that day were heavy: about 2,700 men.
This was the last day of the battle of Marasesti, both sides deciding to adopt a defensive attitude on the entire front. The Romanian 1st Army had lost 610 officers and 26,800 NCOs and soldiers, while the German 9th Army had lost about 47,000. Forty Mihai Viteazul Orders 3rd class were awarded for deeds accomplished during the fighting around Marasesti. Maj. general Eremia Grigorescu received the Mihai Viteazul 2nd class. Also, the flags of no less than 9 regiments were decorated with the Mihai Viteazul 3rd class. The fighting continued with little intensity the following days, with local attacks and counterattacks. In one of these clashes, on the Secuiului Hill on 5 September, the volunteer Ecaterina Teodoroiu was killed by machine-gun fire, while leading her platoon. On the other side, on 8 September, maj. general Kurt von Wenniger, CO of the German 18th Reserve Corps, was killed by an artillery shell in the Muncelul area.
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