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Remembered Today:

Grovetown


alantwo

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Hi Everyone

My first post so bear with me.

Does anyone know if there is a war diary for:

No34 CCS for the period they were at Grovetown 11 September to 18 September 1916.

No55 2/2nd London CCS for the period they were at Grovetown 11 September to 3 April 1917 or

No56 CCS (also South Midlands CCS) for the period they were at Grovetown 16 October to 22 October 1916

As I understand it a Casualty Clearing Station was only for short term treatment and longer term treatment for more serious casualties would take place in base hospitals. But how long would a casualty be likely to spend in a CCS? Would it only be a day, a few days or could it be longer. Clearly the time spent at the CCS would depend upon the wound but could a casualty spend say a month there having wounds treated?

Many thanks in advance

Alan

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Hello Alan, and welcome to the Forum!

The War Diaries are in the National Archives at Kew in the following files:

WO 95/415 34 Casualty Clearing Station 1915 Nov. - 1919 June

WO 95/501 55 Casualty Clearing Station 1916 June - 1919 Nov.

WO 95/417 56 Casualty Clearing Station 1915 Apr. - 1919 Mar.

However, you will not find the records of individual patients in CCS War Diaries.

How long a man remained at a CCS could vary considerably. If major operations were in progress, as on the Somme in the second half of 1916, CCS casualties were normally passed further back down the evacuation chain as soon as their conditions permitted, so as to leave capacity for subsequent incoming casualties. When no major actions were taking place, a man might be treated at a CCS until he was able to return to duty, or was sent to a convalescent camp.

Ron

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Hi Ron

Thanks for taking the time to reply I really appreciate it. I'm going to Kew the week after next, I'll add those to all the other things I need to do. I'm aware that individuals, such as 'other ranks', are unlikely to be mentioned by name rather like any of the War Diaries of Battalions, however I'm trying to understand how long a casualty could stay in a CCS. A casualty, 'died of wounds', buried in Meaulte, France is more than likely to have been received by Grovetown. Yet as far as I can tell from the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards War Diary they were in action at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (15-22 September 1916) where they suffered 414 casualties, and the Battle of Morval (25-28 September 1916) where there were 136 casualties, therefore is it likely that a casualty from these battles could have survived and remained at Grovetown until 16 December 1916? The Battalion appears to have spent most of its time at Selincourt during October, and although returning intermittently to the trenches during November no other casualties are mentioned as far as I can tell. The 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards War Diary is slightly more detailed and does mention singular 'other ranks' casualties; do you think it could be the same for the 3rd Battalion during November or December and they were simply not mentioned?

Thanks again.

Kind regards

Alan

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Hello Alan

Most of the fighting on the Somme in late Oct/Nov 1916 was north of the Albert-Bapaume road, and as I think Grovetown was south of this (close to the river Somme) matters would have been less hectic there during that time, and hence more relatively lightly wounded men might be reatained at a CCS rather than sent further back. Conversely, a man so badly wounded that he could not be moved safely might have stayed at the CCS until he died.

In case you don't already have the references, the War Diaries of 2/CG and 3/CG are in the same file:

WO 95/1215 2 Battalion Coldstream Guards 1915 Aug. - 1919 Jan.

WO 95/1215 3 Battalion Coldstream Guards 1915 Aug. - 1918 Jan.

Good hunting!

Ron

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Hi Ron

Many thanks for your help. I thought if I could see a War Diary for one of the CCS's for Grovetown it may paint a picture of what the scene was like. Your comments make sense and a War Diary is likely to reflect the busy and quiet times. It may help.

I have the War Diaries mentioned, the reference also contains the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards War Diary for the same period. The narratives contained within are illuminating.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

Kind regards

Alan

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Alan

There are a few references to 34 and 2/2 London CCSs in the Matron-in-Chief's war diary (below), and it seems to me that the underlying message is that they were indeed rather busy at that time. However, I honestly feel that three months is far too long for a casualty to be retained at a CCS - a man would certainly be kept until his condition was stabilised for travel, or until he died, but I haven't ever found that to be much more than three weeks or so. You can never say never, but it just seems too long to me. The M-in-C always uses 'Drovetown' - she is very exact in her writing, so I do wonder whether it was used fairly commonly at that time.

Sue

20 September 1916

Left for 4th Army at 11a.m. Arrived at Headquarters in time for lunch. After lunch, in heavy rain, visited two new CCS – 34 and 2/2 London, just opened at Drovetown, close to Albert. Found them in great state of discomfort, busy getting things in order, ready for heavy work expected in 24 hours; lot of mud; equipment and supplies just arriving. These two stations are close to the railway siding so that the question of evacuation will not be difficult, provided ambulance trains are not delayed by transport.

26 September 1916

Sister i/c, 2/2 London CCS, at Drovetown, telephoned to say that her theatre sister who had only been up a few days was knocked up – the work was very heavy and she was not able to carry on. Asked for another theatre sister as soon as possible. Arranged this, and ordered Miss Rushforth to return to 3 General Hospital from which she had been withdrawn for temporary duty during the rush. Telephoned to DMS, 4th Army, to send Miss West from 39 CCS to fill post and undertook to send another nurse to the infectious unit without delay.

21 October 1916

After lunch went to Drovetown where I inspected the 2/2 London CCS and 34 CCS. These Units are now fully established and in good working order, and their Staffs are complete and quite prepared for heavy work expected. In both units there were a large number of badly wounded Officers and men too seriously ill to be moved. The Nursing Staffs are well accommodated and have comfortable Messes, and although so far forward they have no difficulty in obtaining provisions. These two Units are in sight of Albert, and while I was there a heavy bombardment was taking place and the sky was filled with both enemy and allied machines.

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Alan

A small sample of RAMC units (usually two or three of each type) had their patients' details kept in the Ministry of Health files. As luck would have it, these include the following:

Subseries within MH 106 HOSPITAL ADMISSION AND DISCHARGE REGISTERS

Subsubseries within MH 106 No.34 Casualty Clearing Station

MH 106/703 British other ranks 1916 Aug.31-Sept.1

MH 106/704 British other ranks 1916 Sept.1-Sept.3

MH 106/705 British other ranks 1916 Sept.3-Sept.4

MH 106/706 British other ranks 1916 Sept.5-Sept.15

MH 106/707 British other ranks 1916 Sept.15

MH 106/708 British other ranks 1916 Sept.15-Sept.19

MH 106/709 British other ranks 1916 Sept.19-Sept.26

MH 106/710 British other ranks 1916 Sept.26-Oct.2

MH 106/711 British other ranks 1916 Oct.2-Oct.9

MH 106/712 British other ranks 1916 Oct.9-Oct.16

MH 106/713 British other ranks 1916 Oct.16-Oct.24

MH 106/714 British other ranks 1916 Oct.24-Nov.2

It's a very long shot indeed, but if you are going to Kew anyway you might like to look at these as well. There are, alas, no similar records for either 55 or 56 CCS. The range MH106/680 to 721 covers the whole of the second half of 1916.

Ron

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Hi Everyone

Thank you all for taking the time to reply and for the further reading. I have it in my mind that Sue's comments regarding the length of time may be correct, hence my original query. Thus the casualty may have survived the mayhem in September only to have sucumbed whilst on the few occasions that the Battalion returned to the trenches in November or early December. The 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards War Diary does refer to other rank casualties of 7, 1 and 1, for example, for the 11th, 12th and 13th December respectively when they were in the trenches, but not the 3rd Battalion. As you indicate Ron it is a long shot looking in the subsubseries but if I don't I'll never know. Many thanks for letting me know.

I have another question regarding a Casualty Clearing Station but for a different theatre of war. Having not done this before, I assume I just need to start another post.

Kind regards

Alan

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  • 2 weeks later...

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to reply. I thought I would add a note about what I found at the National Archive which may be of help to someone.

The War Diary for the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards does not list the names of other ranks casualties, only officers are mentioned by name and rank. In my particular case the casualty wasn't even noted on the day he was wounded. It would appear that he was the only one from the battalion on that day and it simply wasn't recorded. However the Admissions and Discharge Book for 34 Casualty Clearing Station at Grovetown MH 106/716 does list casualties by name, rank, regimental number, battalion and the wound they suffered. Squadron Battery or Company, Religion and what action was taken are also recorded as are age and length of service. I also looked at the War Diary for 34 CCS WO 95/415 and the deaths of casualties are noted by name and rank. I regret that I didn't have time to check the other CCS War Diaries suggested so I am unable to say whether names and ranks are recorded in those diaries, however I am extremely grateful to Ron for pointing out both series and subsubseries, it was definitely worth a look. As you will see from previous posts Sue thought it unlikely that a casualty would be held in a clearing station for any prolonged length of time and indeed my research showed that this was the case. Private Fred Picker, Regimental Number 11384, 2nd Company, 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards, received a penetrating gunshot wound to the abdomen on the 11 December 1916 and died the following day. His length of service is listed as two years and three months. He is buried in Grovetown Cemetery, Meaulte, France.

It is only a small point but the medal card held by the National Archive has Private Picker as serving in the Grenadier Guards. It is an easy mistake as the handwritting is a little unclear, however I have dropped them a line to see if it can be corrected.

Thanks again

Alan

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  • 8 years later...
On ‎03‎/‎07‎/‎2011 at 21:00, alantwo said:

Hi Ron

Thanks for taking the time to reply I really appreciate it. I'm going to Kew the week after next, I'll add those to all the other things I need to do. I'm aware that individuals, such as 'other ranks', are unlikely to be mentioned by name rather like any of the War Diaries of Battalions, however I'm trying to understand how long a casualty could stay in a CCS. A casualty, 'died of wounds', buried in Meaulte, France is more than likely to have been received by Grovetown. Yet as far as I can tell from the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards War Diary they were in action at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (15-22 September 1916) where they suffered 414 casualties, and the Battle of Morval (25-28 September 1916) where there were 136 casualties, therefore is it likely that a casualty from these battles could have survived and remained at Grovetown until 16 December 1916? The Battalion appears to have spent most of its time at Selincourt during October, and although returning intermittently to the trenches during November no other casualties are mentioned as far as I can tell. The 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards War Diary is slightly more detailed and does mention singular 'other ranks' casualties; do you think it could be the same for the 3rd Battalion during November or December and they were simply not mentioned?

Thanks again.

Kind regards

Alan

Alan

My great uncle served with the 136th siege battery R.G.A and I think was connected to a Canadian unit (I'm researching that at the moment), and died at Grovetown Meaulte on the 20th December 1916, in the 2/2nd London Casualty Clearing Station (55CSS) of shrapnel wounds. Oddly enough there is a gap missing in the war diaries at the moment for me covering November and December 1916 for that unit, but I've been prompted to expand my research for snippets of information in the Canadian units. It could be a long shot but look further afield and you may get a few jigsaw pieces covering the use and duration of CCS's. I'd be interested in the 55CCS.

Kind regards

Nick

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Nick

 

Thanks for your post. You have commented on the very first post I made on the Forum, where did those nine years go! My question was primarily concerned with a family relative Private Picker, of the Coldstream Guards, and trying to understand the circumstances of his death. On the 100th anniversary in 2016 we visited Grovetown Cemetery and placed a cross of remembrance that we had obtained from the Guards Museum in London on his grave. Since that time I have not carried out any further research on European Casualty Clearing Stations only those at Gallipoli.

 

I hope your own research goes well.

 

Kind regards

Alan

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  • 3 months later...

lan,

 

An old thread but I was looking at the C.C.S. at Grovetown a little while ago. This was from WO95/485-3

 

Andy

Screenshot 2020-07-02 at 09.39.24.png

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