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Remembered Today:

Locating position of a casualty


amelialongcroft

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This feels like a bit of a long shot, but can anyone tell me if it's possible to locate the position of a casualty by looking at a Field Ambulance war diary?

I'm trying to locate my great-uncle on the day he died. I have his regiment's war diary, but their exact position isn't given on that day (he was shot while in a trench near Ypres between 10 and 1200 hrs - that's all the war diary tells me).

However, I have the details from his casualty form which contains the following two entries:

From: DDMS 3 Cavalry Division

Place: No. 2 London Field Ambulance

Details: G S W Head

Date: 6/2/1915

From: Telegram No. A.7. 3 Cavalry Division

Place: 2nd London Field Ambulance

Details: Died

Date: 7.30 pm 6/2/1915

Could I locate his position via the 2nd London Field Ambulance war diary (or some other casualty documentation)?

I am going to Ypres next February to pay my respects and I really would like to know if possible.

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AL

You might get a grid reference for the Field Ambulance's position,or merely the name of the place they were set up. I was looking at one in the last month and can remember only a place name used,but I expect they also used grid. If you are hoping for a named list of casualties they treated don't be too optimistic,the one I dealt with merely showed the place,staff movements,number of casualties treated,etc but no names or units.

Let's hope they weren't all the same !

Sotonmate

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Thanks sotonmate, as always your help is much appreciated - glad to know it's worth a look for a grid ref or place name ... now to negotiate the labyrinthine NA catalogue for the diary in question. I was there today and had a quick look, but couldn't find any war diary for the 2nd London Field Ambulance before spring 1915, but it must be there somewhere.

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You're brilliant, ta for that: I was just ploughing through a (to me, at any rate) incomprehensible list of FA war diaries on the NA website. I'll check this one out ASAP :)

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if it's possible to locate the position of a casualty by looking at a Field Ambulance war diary?

Depends if you're trying to locate where he died or where he was wounded. If the former, then possibly. If the latter then not with any useful degree of accuracy in my view.

The Advanced Dressing Station is going to be getting on for a mile behind the front line; the Main Dressing Station further. Both run by the FA, but you won't know exactly where he died - although it's possible you may be able to make a good guess if you can locate where the various DSs were and then see if one of them is very close to where he's buried.

If you're trying to ID where he was wounded (which is what I guess you are after by your reference to the war diary not being helpful), then you might have more success checking the war diaries of neighbouring units and/or (in particular), the diary/diaries of the unit they relieved or, later, were relieved by. It's very possible that these diaries give a more helpful location description.

John

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To add to the list, I would check the war diaries of the Brigade and Division to which your battalion of interest belonged - they usually have more of an 'organisational' flavour to them.

All the best,

Stuart

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John - I'd like to find out both, if I can, although I realise this is probably unrealistic (but worth a go, I think). I knew that he died from a gun shot wound to the head, but until I saw the casualty form I had always assumed that he died where he was wounded. I'll look at the FA war diary for any clues as to the location of dressing stations (he is buried in Ramparts Cemetery at Ypres, so he didn't travel far). Thanks also for the advice re: checking the positions of neighbouring units and those they relieved/were relieved by. I hadn't thought of doing that.

Stuart - I hadn't thought of doing that either, thanks for the tip.

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The war diaries of the Assistant Director Medical Services for the Division in question often has the grid references/maps for the chain of evacuation. This should allow you to plot the locations of Regimental Aid Post and respective dressing stations.

Regards

Ali

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I agree with Stuart that the Brigade and Divisional diaries often (in my limited experience) give many more specific map references for the positions of units than those of the units themselves. I suppose this is because of the Brigade's and Division's role in identifying the boundaries and areas of responsibility of each of the units under their command.

Ken

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Claire

The only ones I have seen are part and parcel of a soldier's service record. If that was destroyed in 1940 then the Casualty form isn't there either. There are a few Casualty Clearing Station records at Kew under MH106,I looked them up last night. They are CCS 3 ;11;31;34;39 and 82. You will need to establish where and when your GGF was wounded and if it was near to any of these CCS operating zones. It would then be a question of ploughing through anything which might match your facts,but it is a slim chance. The apparently most complete one appears to be CCS3 at HAZEBROUCK,there are quite a few files for that. That's 15 miles E of ST OMER and the same SW of YPRES.

Sotonmate

PS You need to look in the Long Long Trail for the location of CCSs:

http://www.1914-1918.net/ccs.htm

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Claire

The only ones I have seen are part and parcel of a soldier's service record. If that was destroyed in 1940 then the Casualty form isn't there either. There are a few Casualty Clearing Station records at Kew under MH106,I looked them up last night. They are CCS 3 ;11;31;34;39 and 82. You will need to establish where and when your GGF was wounded and if it was near to any of these CCS operating zones. It would then be a question of ploughing through anything which might match your facts,but it is a slim chance. The apparently most complete one appears to be CCS3 at HAZEBROUCK,there are quite a few files for that. That's 15 miles E of ST OMER and the same SW of YPRES.

Sotonmate

PS You need to look in the Long Long Trail for the location of CCSs:

http://www.1914-1918.net/ccs.htm

Thanks for your help

Claire

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Hi

if you look at my post

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...c=77519&hl=

you will find the link to photobucket for copies i have of the Field ambulance war diary, i am sure it goes from Feb 1915. My Great Grandfather was an ambulance driver (DCM 2nd Ypres), hope they are of assistance (Go to the last picture posted as they are in reverse order

Best regards

Bob

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