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Remembered Today:

Where/how did my grandfather's brother die?


janj

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My grandfather's brother was George Fraser born 1895 in Ealing Middx.

Info from his medal index card shows he was a private in the the Middlesex regiment. His Reg nos were 5414 and G/41563.

I knew he died during WW1 and managed to find him on the CWGC site with the following information:

Private George Fraser

41503 (should 41563) 2nd Bn. Middlesex Regiment died age 21 on 22nd October 1918

Son of James and S A Fraser of 14 Avenue Road, West Ealing, Middx.

Remembered with honour Neiderwhehren Cemetary

I know this is in Germany and that the cemetary was established in 1915 for the burial of POWs who died at the local camp and that in 1922/23 soldiers who died in other parts of Germany were brought to this cemetary.

Is there anyone who can help me find out more information about him e.g. how he ended up in Germany? Was he a POW, or was he fighting in the final phase of the war and was KIA? How did he die?

I have one more piece of information about his time in the army - he was in a Military hospital at Bishopstoke, Hants in July 1917 - I have his red cross bible with an inscription:

From

Captain The Hon R Moreton (I think this is correct, it is a bit difficult to read)

Bishopstoke Hants, July 25th 1917

to

George Fraser

John iii 16

Is there any chance of finding out how he ended up here e.g. what happended to him, where/when was he wounded?

The more I find out the more questions there are to ask!

Regards, Jan

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Jan,

He died as a prisoner of war. We can be sure of this because 22nd October, 1918 was prior to the Armistice and the front lines were not in Germany prior to the Armistice being signed.

He had a previous service number: 5414, later G/41563

Ken

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For what it is worth, I googled the 2nd Middlesex and the following link may help in understanding how your grandfathers brother became a PoW. http://freespace.virgin.net/howard.anderso...ofaisne1918.htm

The 2nd Middlesex fought hard at the Somme, and it is likely that he was wounded seriously enough to be evacuated to England where he received his Bible.

It may well be that Captain Moreton was also in the 2nd Battalion and might have sent him the Bible as some token of appreciation (saving his life?) in view of the specific reference to John 3 v16. He obviously recovered and returned to the Front.

In May 1918 the 2nd Middlesex were sent to relieve French forces along the Aisne and most of the 2nd Middlesex were overwhelmed in a large scale German attack. The inference is that he was again wounded, this time severely, and subsequently died of wounds or perhaps pneumonia which was rife in the camps.

The BBC has just been screening "My Family at War"tracing various relatives. One of those was captured (Matthew Kelly?) and died at around the same time in Geissen. It was possible to trace the PoW Camp records, so it might be possible for you to find out more. I'm sure other pals on this forum will be able to give you helpful information as to how to locate as many records as possible, War Diary entries, medals etc.

I hope this encourages you and helps in some way.

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For what it is worth, I googled the 2nd Middlesex and the following link may help in understanding how your grandfathers brother became a PoW. http://freespace.virgin.net/howard.anderso...ofaisne1918.htm

The 2nd Middlesex fought hard at the Somme, and it is likely that he was wounded seriously enough to be evacuated to England where he received his Bible.

It may well be that Captain Moreton was also in the 2nd Battalion and might have sent him the Bible as some token of appreciation (saving his life?) in view of the specific reference to John 3 v16. He obviously recovered and returned to the Front.

In May 1918 the 2nd Middlesex were sent to relieve French forces along the Aisne and most of the 2nd Middlesex were overwhelmed in a large scale German attack. The inference is that he was again wounded, this time severely, and subsequently died of wounds or perhaps pneumonia which was rife in the camps.

The BBC has just been screening "My Family at War"tracing various relatives. One of those was captured (Matthew Kelly?) and died at around the same time in Geissen. It was possible to trace the PoW Camp records, so it might be possible for you to find out more. I'm sure other pals on this forum will be able to give you helpful information as to how to locate as many records as possible, War Diary entries, medals etc.

I hope this encourages you and helps in some way.

Kevin

Thank you so much. I will look at the account of the 2nd bn in more detail but just a quick look gives a vivid picture of the extent of the battle and where he could have been captured. Watching the Matthew Kelly episode was what spurred me on to look at this forum (mentioned in Your Family Tree Magazine) to see if I could find out more about George. If anyone does have any ideas I would be very greatful.

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Jan,

He died as a prisoner of war. We can be sure of this because 22nd October, 1918 was prior to the Armistice and the front lines were not in Germany prior to the Armistice being signed.

He had a previous service number: 5414, later G/41563

Ken

Ken, thank you very much for this information. I can now be certain to follow the POW line of enquiry.

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This may not be the same person of course but Moreton might have been a member of Harrogate Cricket Club.

See this RootsWeb page.

Neil

Neil, thank you. I will try to follow up this Captain Moreton to see if he links to my George. Jan

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Are you quite sure that the inscription in the Bible is actually Captain The Hon R Moreton?

There was a Captain The Hon Reynolds Reynolds-Moreton (RN rank) but he was born in 1835 and died aged 83 in 1919.

It would therefore seem strange for him to gift a Bible to a soldier, at first glance.

I googled Capt Moreton and there is another link to a CAPEL Henry Berkeley Reynolds Moreton (b 1875) who became 5th Earl of Ducie in 1924. is it possible that the inscription could read as his name, Capel Henry R Moreton, rather than as Capt The Hon??

It still doesn't explain the connection, but perhaps another pal on here may have the answer.

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Are you quite sure that the inscription in the Bible is actually Captain The Hon R Moreton?

There was a Captain The Hon Reynolds Reynolds-Moreton (RN rank) but he was born in 1835 and died aged 83 in 1919.

It would therefore seem strange for him to gift a Bible to a soldier, at first glance.

I googled Capt Moreton and there is another link to a CAPEL Henry Berkeley Reynolds Moreton (b 1875) who became 5th Earl of Ducie in 1924. is it possible that the inscription could read as his name, Capel Henry R Moreton, rather than as Capt The Hon??

It still doesn't explain the connection, but perhaps another pal on here may have the answer.

Kevin

I've attached a copy of the inscription. I don't think it is the name you suggest but see what you think.

Jan

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janj: Thanks for the scanned inscription, and withdraw suggestion as it is quite clearly "Captain etc".

I read the date of presentation as 1912, though, not 1917 as initially posted. Do I need glasses??? :D

Only posted out of sheer interest, I can't really speak with any knowledge or authority, just an interested member of the forum.

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janj: Thanks for the scanned inscription, and withdraw suggestion as it is quite clearly "Captain etc".

I read the date of presentation as 1912, though, not 1917 as initially posted. Do I need glasses??? :D

Only posted out of sheer interest, I can't really speak with any knowledge or authority, just an interested member of the forum.

Kevin

Thanks for your interest. I too thought it was 1912 at first but looking at the original with a magnifying glass there seems to be a slight gap between the downstroke of the seven and then a full stop making 1917. In addition, if it were 1912 George would only be 17 years old making him a bit young to be in the army wouldn't it? If any records were available for Bishopstoke I may be able to find out why he was there and if I have the correct date. I am going to try to get to TNA at the end of the month to look up the medal roll to see if it throws any light on it e.g. when he enlisted. If he were in the army prior to 1914 wouldn't this show on his medal index card which it doesn't?

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