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Remembered Today:

Alexander Elwell Hampshire Regiment


Guest bjslim

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Guest bjslim

I have been researching my great uncle's military history and have ended up with a puzzle which I hope somebody here can help me with.

Alexander Elwell Pte 16412 of 1st Battalion (37th Foot) Hampshire Regiment was killed in action on 30th August 1915.

According to the CWGC he is buried at Hamel Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel in France.

According to a recently discovered obituary he was killed in action at Hooge, in Belgium. That being the case why would he be buried some distance away in France?

Does anybody know what action was actually being fought on the date he died?

Thank you

Brenda

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Hello Brenda,

I can confirm that your great uncle was killed in action on 30th August 1915 - 1/Hants were in trenches north of Hamel at the time. A diary entry in the Regimental Journal for 31st August 1915 tells us:

"The Germans are getting very warlike. Last night [30th/31st] they fired rifle grenades and 'wizz bangs' at working parties of the right and centre companies. There were some casualties in 'C' Company."

The casualty list indicates that 2 men from 1/Hants were killed on 30th August:

10612 Pte A. Collyer

16412 Pte A. Elwell

Although there is a good chance that your great uncle was one of the 'C' Company casualties mentioned in the narrative above it cannot be taken for granted as casualties may have been incurred by1/Hants at other times on the 30th but have not been mentioned in surviving narrative. The official Battalion War Diary entry for this date does not provide any further detail.

As to the obituary recording your great uncles death at Hooge, from my experience, references such as this are far from rare occurences. I have encountered many erroneous newspaper references etc to 1/Hants men who were apparently killed at Hill 60 or Hooge etc. With hindsight it is all too easy to discount these accounts but at the time this is where many relatives believed their loved ones to have been killed.

I do have a photograph of your great uncles headstone in Hamel Military Cemetery which I would be pleased to send on to you. Let me know if you are interested and I will send you through an e-mail.

Regards

Marc

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Guest bjslim
Hello Brenda,

I can confirm that your great uncle was killed in action on 30th August 1915 - 1/Hants were in trenches north of Hamel at the time. A diary entry in the Regimental Journal for 31st August 1915 tells us:

"The Germans are getting very warlike. Last night [30th/31st] they fired rifle grenades and 'wizz bangs' at working parties of the right and centre companies. There were some casualties in 'C' Company."

The casualty list indicates that 2 men from 1/Hants were killed on 30th August:

10612 Pte A. Collyer

16412 Pte A. Elwell

Although there is a good chance that your great uncle was one of the 'C' Company casualties mentioned in the narrative above it cannot be taken for granted as casualties may have been incurred by1/Hants at other times on the 30th but have not been mentioned in surviving narrative. The official Battalion War Diary entry for this date does not provide any further detail.

As to the obituary recording your great uncles death at Hooge, from my experience, references such as this are far from rare occurences. I have encountered many erroneous newspaper references etc to 1/Hants men who were apparently killed at Hill 60 or Hooge etc. With hindsight it is all too easy to discount these accounts but at the time this is where many relatives believed their loved ones to have been killed.

I do have a photograph of your great uncles headstone in Hamel Military Cemetery which I would be pleased to send on to you. Let me know if you are interested and I will send you through an e-mail.

Regards

Marc

Thank you Marc. Brilliant! I would love to have a photograph but am unable to send a PM. I have contacted the administrators and will be in touch asp. Thank you so much for your help. Brenda.

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