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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Lateral thinking?


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Hi all,

I've been interested in trying to find out what happened to my maternal grandfather for quite a long time now. The story told by my mother was that he was shot by an enemy sniper while he was leading an attack - first through the hedge and all that, and that he was killed just before she was born in June 1918.

Through the wonders of this new-fangled internet I found his last resting place via the commonwealth War Graves Commission a few years ago, but beyond the fact that he was killed on 4th September 1918 and his personal details I can find no more. Of course, I have the details of the cemetery and his grave number; armed with this information I intend to visit him one day and make his acquaintance and pay my respects.

My sister has recently become an internet user and has been asking some questions (how do I find out about Grandad, for one) so it's re-kindled my interest in the subject. Looking over the details yet again I note from the Cemetery Details that the cemetery is in fact a collection of other burial sites, and wonder if there is a way I could get more information.

His details can be found at http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_detail...casualty=448463 ; and since the records say he was killed on 4/9/18 perhaps I could discover what his regiment was doing, or where it was at that time? Perhaps if I could find which burial site he was brought to Wytschaete from it might shed some light on what action he was involved in at that time? Or not? Has anybody been down this road, and is it likely to work?

Any advice welcome - particularly positive advice :rolleyes:

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The following is what The Long, Long Trail website says the 1/4 Cheshires did during the war:

1/4th Battalion

August 1914: in Birkenhead. Part of Cheshire Brigade, Welsh Division. Moved immediately on mobilisation to Shrewsbury and Church Stretton but by the end of August 1914 had moved to Northampton. In December 1914 moved again to Cambridge and by March 1915 was at Bedford.

13 May 1915: formation became 159th Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division. ailed in July 1915 from Devonport, going via Alexandria to Gallipoli where it landed on 9 August 1915.

December 1915: withdrawn from Gallipoli and moved to Egypt.

31 May 1918: left the Division and moved to France.

1 July 1918: attached to 102nd Brigade in 34th Division.

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The battalion war diary will tell you what the battalion was doing on the day your relative died. They are held at the National Archives, Kew, London and may also be available at the Cheshire Regt. Museum.

You grandfather's death may have been reported (with additional details of his life) in his local newspaper.

And we may have a resident 'expert' on the Cheshires who can help you. I suggest you post your query again in the 'Soldiers' section and make sure you include "Cheshire Regiment" in the title to catch the attention of the Cheshire researchers.

If you write to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission they may search their files for you and might be able to tell you where your grandfather's body was brought to its current resting place from.

Good luck,


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Some details of the day on this page of my website. I'm afraid this is as good as its going to get - the war diary has only very minimal information and there's nothing in the regimental history

Glad to be of service, even if not much help.


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Soldiers Died Great War records:

Name: George Cosgrove

Rank: C.S.M.

Number: 8544

Regiment: Cheshire regiment

Battalion: 1/4th Battalion

Born: Bloomsbury, London

Enlisted: London

Died Date: 4 Sep 18

Died How: Killed in action

Theatre of war: Francec & Flanders

His service record is on Ancestry - supposedly there are 58 images.

Ancestry.com.uk allow free access to these records for the month of November - happy downloading.

I could not find him in De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour 1914-1918 or the National Roll of the Great War


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It'll be interesting to see what his background was. The service number is interesting. By 1918, you'd expect a Territorial to have a six-digit number. As he hasnt, then he must have been transferred to them from elsewhere (a service or regular battalion). I reckon, withhis number being in the 8*** range, he's going to show up as prewar regular. Please let us know, trukker, when you've downloaded the papers.


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Had a read at his service history - very interesting and sobering reading.

He appears to have been a pre war regular joining in 1907 and transferring to reserve in 1914 before re-enlisting on the outbreak of war. He sustains a gun shot wound early on, from which he recovers and spends some time with the Liverpool regiment and various battalions of the Cheshires earning promotion to CSM.

Pre war he was stationed mainly in (what is now) Northern Ireland. 1909 - Belfast, 1911 - Ballykinler (Co Down), 1913 Magilligan (Co. Londonderry) and Londonderry itself in 1914 before moving to England.

It's interesting to note he went awol to Belfast in 1911. On file is a letter from his wife Sarah (dated Sept 1914) with an address of 6 Courtai Street, Belfast. There is a record of a George Cosgrove marrying a Sarah Houston at the Trinity Church of Ireland in 1911. (Don't know for sure that this is the right GC). Sarah is referred to in the records by George as 'Sadie' which is well and truly Belfast! A check of the certificate at PRONI would confirm this. (Possibly there this week).

Children of George and Sarah listed as Albert, George and Myrtle. George's father listed as George.

This is his medal index card.


regards and good luck


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Many thanks for all those replies - I'm absolutely blown away by your kindness.

I honestly had no idea where to start, apart from finding the Casualty Details and the location of the grave. I'm astonished at how much information seems to be available 90 years on - it's going to take me a little while to dig through everything but I'll definitely post my findings - be rude not to!

The Irish connection is interesting; my grandparents must have met while he was stationed in NI pre-war. I know very little about my grandfather - literally all I was ever told was that he came from Hertfordshire and died in WW1 just before my mother was born. We now know that the date was incorrect, my mother being born 30/6/1918 and my grandfather dying 4/9/1918. My grandmother was allegedly from Lurgan, NI, lived in Gwersyllt (not Giverzilt) near Wrexham at the time of his death and died in Wrexham when I was about 12 or 13 - that would be about 44-45 years ago. Their children were indeed Albert, George and Myrtle (no prizes for guessing which one was my mother ;) ) and yes, Nan was called Sadie Houston.

Now see what you've started - I'll not be able to rest until I know the full story :rolleyes:

Thanks again for everything - I'll post here again when I know more.

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