Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
Ken Lees

St. Souplet Cemetery

Recommended Posts

Ken Lees

A visit to St. Souplet British Cemetery last week raised a question that I would like to find the answer to. The village was obviously well behind the German lines in 1916 and there are a number of graves of men of the 55th (West Lancashire) Division, who died during the second half of August, 1916 when that division was in the line opposite Guillemont. It would appear that these men were casualties of the battle who were taken prisoner and who died at the German medical facility at St. Souplet.

There was no CWGC book at the cemetery, so on getting home, I checked the CWGC website in order to establish whether those 1916 burials were originally interred there or if they were re-buried at St. Souplet subsequently. Unfortunately, the cemetery information does not mention 1916, although there is considerable detail about other reburials there.

Would it be possible to find out more about these 1916 casualties?

Ken

From the CWGC website:

St. Souplet village was captured by the American 30th Division on the 10th October, 1918. The American troops made a cemetery of 371 American and seven British graves on the South-West side of the village, on the road to Vaux-Andigny; and a smaller British cemetery was made alongside. The American graves were removed after the Armistice, one being taken to the British cemetery with the seven British graves; and other British graves were brought in from other burial grounds and from the battlefields. There are now nearly 750, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, one-fifth are unidentified and special memorials are erected to 55 soldiers from the United Kingdom, buried in other cemeteries, whose graves could not be found. The cemetery covers an area of 2,504 square metres and is enclosed by a stone rubble wall. The following are brief particulars (including the numbers of British graves and their dates) of some of the cemeteries from which British graves were brought to St. Souplet: BOHAIN BRITISH CEMETERY (34, and one American and eleven German, Oct.-Nov. 1918), at the South-East end of the village, behind the Hotel Dieu. Bohain was taken by the 6th Division 9th Oct., 1918. CREVECOEUR-SUR-L'ESCAUT CHURCHYARD (8, and one Italian, 1917-18, all buried by the enemy). ESTREES COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION (Aisne) (6, March, 1918). FESMY CHURCHYARD (18, 1914 and 1918, all buried by the enemy). Fesmy was defeated by the 2nd Munsters Aug., 1914, and captured by the 1st Northants Nov., 1918. LANCHY CHURCHYARD FRENCH MILITARY EXTENSION (3, March, 1918). L'EPINE-DE-DALLON MILITARY CEMETERY (or ST. QUENTIN-ROUPY ROAD GERMAN CEMETERY). MAROILLES COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION (6, Nov., 1918, and Nov., 1919, all buried by British). MONTBREHAIN COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION (6, 1917-18) NOYELLES-SUR-L'ESCAUT GERMAN CEMETERY (10, May-Sept., 1917), close to the Communal Cemetery. OISY CHURCHYARD (one, Aug., 1914) ORIGNY-STE. BENOITE GERMAN CEMETERY (23, March-April, 1918), a permanent cemetery at the South-East end of the village. OVILLERS OLD COMMUNAL CEMETERY, SOLESMES (30, Oct.-Nov., 1918, buried, by the 38th Division in the North-East corner). PREMONT COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION (22, 1917-18). ST. MARTIN MILITARY CEMETERY, ST. QUENTIN (134), a great permanent cemetery of over 8,000 graves on the West side of the city, begun in 1914 and extended after the Armistice. ST. SOUPLET COMMUNAL CEMEMTERY (10, 1917-18). SAULZOIR COMMUNAL CEMEMTERY EXTENSION (one, Nov., 1917, and 33 buried by the 4th Division Oct.-Nov., 1918). SOLRE-LE-CHATEAU COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION (7, 1918; two buried by Germans and five by British). TROISVILLES COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION (18, Oct., 1918), made by British troops. URVILLERS MILITARY CEMETERY (14 of 14th (Light) Division, March, 1918), a large Franco-German cemetery North of the village. Urvillers was the scene of fighting in Aug., 1914 and March, 1918.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KevinBattle

Geoff's turns up 66 UK casualties from 1st Jan to 31st Dec 1916, from a fairly good scattering of Regiments. That might support the view of their being a Casualty station there at which wounded PoW's had died. It doesn't answer where their original burials were though...

The CWGC have obviously gone to great lengths to specify where the interments came from, perhaps a line has been omitted or a 1916 typed as 1918 somewhere?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ken Lees

Thanks Kevin.

An internet search suggests that there were German medical facilities there from 1914 until the Americans took the village in 1918. Was there a railway nearby?

Any maps available which show the likely location of the medical unit?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bmac

I have one or two Gommecourt PoW casualties who died in St Quentin buried at St Souplet for what it is worth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ken Lees

Thanks Bill,

I wonder if this was a normal casualty evacuation route or a POW route? Perhaps both.

Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bmac

Not sure whether this is relevant but the evacuation routes at the northern end were via Essarts or Bucquoy to an MDS at Courcelles then via rest stations at Mory and Ervillers to 45th Field Hospital at Vaulx-Vraucourt and 17th Field Hospital at Fremicourt. A lot then went to Cambrai before being transported to Germany. Other interim holding areas were le Cateau and St Quentin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Tulloch-Marshall
A visit to St. Souplet British Cemetery last week ................. There was no CWGC book at the cemetery,

Ken - I was at St Souplet earlier this year and encountered the same problem - see photo below. "No CWGC book" is a polite way of saying - yet another cemetery where the low-lifes have smashed the register box and stolen what they could.

I was there to visit two graves relevant to your question - I'll post again shortly - regards - Tom

post-108-1271246011.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Tulloch-Marshall

Ken - Bill's mention of Le Cateau as a holding area is interesting.

Two headstones below are side by side at St Souplet - Sgt William Thompson MM 1/8th King's Liverpool Regt Dow 23/8/16 was wounded and taken prisoner at Guillemont 8/8/16, and Capt John R Williams 1/10th KLR Dow 13/8/16 was captured wounded at Guillemont 9/8/16.

regards - Tom

post-108-1271246989.jpg

post-108-1271247006.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Tulloch-Marshall

Ken - William Thompson is buried at 2.AA.11, John Williams at 2.AA.10, and then at 2.AA.9 is 2nd Lt William DH Lilley of the 8th Bn KLR, Dow 11/8/16, also as a Pow.

I didnt know of William Lilley before I went to St Souplet and I havent had a chance to check him out yet, but again I wouldnt be surprised if he's another Guillemont wounded & Pow casualty.

regards - Tom

post-108-1271247626.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Promenade

Tom,

William Lilley was taken POW 8/8/16 at Guillemont and was reported killed by shell fire whilst in German hands. I have posted a more complete write up on him on my web site in the Ad hoc section.

Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Tulloch-Marshall
Tom, William Lilley was taken POW 8/8/16 at Guillemont and was reported killed by shell fire whilst in German hands. I have posted a more complete write up on him on my web site in the Ad hoc section.

Joe

Joe - I didnt think I was sticking my neck out too far by suggesting William Lilley may be a Guillemont casualty.

I note the reference to Capt Murphy's account on your website, - was that from Murphy's statement as to circumstances of capture after he was released ? - I see that he says that Lilley had been "killed by a shell" after capture at Guillemont. Its a long way from the environs of Guillemont to St Souplet, though I suppose that Murphy may have described Lilley as "killed", rather than mortally wounded, in order to spare Lilley's family the thought that he had suffered before he died. Quite understandable if that was the case.

Thanks for the info - Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
janhooker

Hi, I have researched William Lilley for many year having known of him through his elderly sister Eileen who was my neighbour. I visited St Souplet and Guillemont in 2005 and making an overdue return this year. Some of the Kingsmen who were taken POW at Guillemont and subsequently injured behind enemy lines by our own shelling  were hospitalised at St Quentin, including a Spargo who lost an arm but survived. He is mentioned in an account Promenade sent me many years ago (thank you Promenade) Spargo was moved to the Palace Hotel, Murren to recover with other officers of various nationalities, and I had the pleasure of exchanging information with a relative of his in South Africa, who kindly sent some photographs taken at Murren. I have recently posted an enquiry to identify the actual hospital the Kings were treated at St Quentin. Possibilities are Palais de Fervaques and Societe Academia. burials were originally at St Martins and later moved to St Souplet. Any updates on this subject including info on survivors of 8 August Guillemont most welcome! I have officer papers for most  8 KLR mentioned in the account.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
laughton

I recovered the burial records for this cemetery back in January 2017 and prepared the ZIP files. The records were found within the records for the London Cemetery Extension. You will find the files here on our CEFSG Shared MediaFire site:

 

F7 C2 CWGC Binders:

I find it useful to use the COG-BR documents to get the locations of the cemeteries (TMC) where the men were concentrated from historically. If they are not there, they may also be on the DAL (David Avery List). If they are not in BOLD it means I did not locate them!

  • BOHAIN BRITISH CEMETERY 62b.D.22.a.6.1 at the South-East end of the village, behind the Hotel Dieu, contained 34 British, one American and eleven German graves Oct.-Nov. 1918). Bohain was taken by the 6th Division 9th Oct. 1918.
  • CREVECOEUR-SUR-L'ESCAUT CHURCHYARD 57b.G.35.b.7.6, contained 8 British and one Italian grave 1917-18, all buried by the enemy.
  • ESTREES COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION (Aisne), contained 6 British graves from March 1918.
  • FESMY CHURCHYARD 57a.S.10.a.7.2, contained 18 British graves from 1914 and 1918, all buried by the enemy. Fesmy was defended by the 2nd Munsters August 1914 and captured by the 1st Northants November 1918.
  • LANCHY CHURCHYARD FRENCH MILITARY EXTENSION 62c.W.26.d.5.5, contained 3 British graves March 1918.
  • L'EPINE-DE-DALLON MILITARY CEMETERY (or ST. QUENTIN-ROUPY ROAD GERMAN CEMETERY) 66c.A.4.d.1.5.
  • MAROILLES COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION 57a.R.17.b.5.9, contained 6 British from Nov., 1918, and Nov., 1919, all buried by British.
  • MONTBREHAIN COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION 62b.C.25.c.1.0, 6 British graves from 1917-18.
  • NOYELLES-SUR-L'ESCAUT GERMAN CEMETERY 57c.L.5.c.6.1, close to the Communal Cemetery, contained 10 British graves from May-Sept. 1917.
  • OISY CHURCHYARD 57a.S.21.d.6.4, contained one British grave from Aug. 1914.
  • ORIGNY-STE. BENOITE GERMAN CEMETERY 62b.W.24.c.6.4, at the South-East end of the village, contained 23 British graves from March-April 1918.
  • OVILLERS OLD COMMUNAL CEMETERY, SOLESMES 57b.E.24.c.45.30, contained 30 British graves of Oct.-Nov. 1918, buried by the 38th Division in the North-East corner.
  • PREMONT COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION 57b.U.29.a.4.2, contained 22 British graves of 1917-18.
  • ST. MARTIN MILITARY CEMETERY, ST. QUENTIN 62b.S.23.c.5.4, a large cemetery of over 8,000 graves on the West side of the city, begun in 1914 and extended after the Armistice, contained 134 British graves.
  • ST. SOUPLET COMMUNAL CEMETERY 57b.Q.33.c.5.4, contained 10 British graves of 1917-18.
    • appears some of these are AIF
    • see below, this is where we find the Unknown Serjeant Major RNAS
  • SAULZOIR COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION 51a.P.27.d.7.8, contained one British grave of Nov., 1917 and 33 buried by the 4th Division Oct.-Nov. 1918.
  • SOLRE-LE-CHATEAU COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION 57?.A.7.d.5.4 57, contained 7 British graves of 1918; two buried by Germans and five by British.
    • RVL Note: there is a Chateau located at about that location on [Avesnes] 57a, but not on any of the other 57 series maps so it must be 57a.A.7.d.5.4
  • TROISVILLES COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION 57b.J.35.d.3.3, contained 18 British graves of Oct. 1918, made by British troops.
  • URVILLERS MILITARY CEMETERY 66c.B.28.a.1.7, a large Franco-German cemetery North of the village, contained 14 graves of the 14th (Light) Division, from March 1918. Urvillers was the scene of fighting in Aug. 1914 and March 1918. 
    • DAL 62c.H.5.d.2.4 also is named for that cemetery, but as German Military Cemetery?

These ones were not listed but on the COG-BR documents:

  • CUGNY COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION 66c.M.2.c.4.8
  • FAUBOURG D'ISLE COMMUNAL CEMETERY 62b.T.22.a.5.4
  • FOREST GERMAN CEMETERY 66d.E.17.a.5.7
  • LE NOUVION COMMUNAL CEMETERY 57a.T.30.a.6.5. - trench grave
  • MARCOING COMMUNAL CEMETERY 57c.L.22.a.2.5
  • SAINS DU NORD COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION 57a.Q.6.d.2.5
  • SUCRERIE GERMAN CEMETERY, AUBIGNY 66d.K.11.a.9.9
  • VIESLEY COMMUNAL CEMETERY 57b.D.29.c.4.

 

These may not be cemeteries:

  • OLLEZY 66d.R.7.a.9.9
  • GRICOURT 62b.M.21.d.6.3

 

There are five (5) Canadians known to be buried in this cemetery (CWGC Link), which sometimes gives us more clues because we can check their casualty cards:

  1. Lance Corporal Grant # 151707, concentrated from Marcoing Communal Cemetery 57c.L.22.a.2.5. He is not in the records that we found within the other cemetery, so now I know that there are more documents to be found around COG-BR 2615678 and GRRF 2615300. Balfour and Geernaert are on the same COG-BR and also recovered from that cemetery. Lance Corporal Grant's casualty record shows that died of wounds while a Prisoner of War. Same for Balfour and Geernaert (Osmond Glorieux Geernart on casualty record).
  2. Private Frederick Edward Meehan #649267 was concentrated from St. Martin's, but he too is on a sheet not in the original list. Same for Walker, they are together on COG-BR 2615653. Meehan and Walker were KIA in the HUNDRED DAYS of August 1918. Meehand was approaching Hallu and had no known grave at the time his casualty report was filed. Walker does not have a casualty file (lost as after SIMMS) but his E-13 says he died of wounds as a POW at St.Quentin. As he and Meehan are on the same page, I suspect Meehan was also a POW.

I will go fetch the missing documents for this cemetery, now that I have a clue as to where they are located. The others I found within the files of another cemetery, so they were a "coincidental find".

 

UPDATE: I found the new files and added them to the MediaFire location noted above. Look for the ones with the new names. That turned up some new cemetery locations so the list above has been updated as well.

 

@fetubi - solved, see below = Ormerod 5 Naval Squadron - got to love that book!

That added some more confusion to this cemetery. There was a SPEC-EXH 2615699 for an unknown airman of 16 March 1918 so I checked the list to see if they name him. Initially it appeared so, as they have a  Second Lieutenant J. L. Holt of 88 RFC listed. The cross says he died 18 March 1918 and was recovered from a different cemetery (SPEC-EXH 2615717). Then there is a Second Lieutenant J. A. McCudden of 84 RFC also 18 March 1918 (SPEC-EXH 2616038). That means we have three (3) airmen examined and only two (2) are named, and the dates may not be correct. The third man appears to RNAS (SPEC-EXH 2615699) and they say OFFICER but the cross was for a Sergeant Major "brought down in an air fight 16/3/18". It does not say he died that day! I checked Trevor's book and he has Holt in the Index for 16 March 1918 but I have not found him yet in the book!

 

There must be more sheets as I did not find: (maybe I just missed it!)

  • 132 for March 1918 in this cemetery (CWGC Link)
Quote

ESTREES COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION (Aisne), contained 6 British graves from March 1918

 

Edited by laughton
UPDATE - new files added

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...