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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

James Mason Cawthra Royal Engineers


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James Mason Cawthra is buried in Terlincthun British Cemetery Near Boulogne. He was a distant earlier generation cousin of mine.

Before visiting his grave a few months ago I had assumed that he had perhaps been killed in an accident - he was in the Road Construction Unit of the REs. However when I visited his grave I noticed a substantial number of soldiers alonside his grave had all died in the same month - May 1919. This suggested an epidemic and I had heard of an influenza epidemic but was unsure when that was. Since then I have come across the records of another Cawthra wo was in the Dublin General Hospital in Boulogne with influenza in March 1919. He was sent to the UK and spent time in Hospital and then in convalescence at Squires Gate Blackpool where he made a complete recovery. This would indicate that there was indeed an epidemic at the time.

Does anyone know more about how many were affected and how many died and also whether many were sent back to England for treatment?

Many thanks,

David Cawthra

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I have read that overall the Flu pandemic of that time accounted for more casualties, worldwide, in a few months than the Great War did in four years.


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