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Remembered Today:

15th London Regiment (Civil Service Rifles)


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I wondered if anyone could help with the following please?

I am interested in the circumstances of the death of Private 534929 Harry Dawson 15th London Regiment (Prince of Wales' Own Civil Service Rifles)

Killed in Action in France and Flanders on Sunday, 11th August 1918.

According to the War Diary, the PoW between, 6-11 August 1918 were billeted at Warloy/Baizieux (about 4 miles west of Albert and north of the Albert-Amiens D929 road). Summarising:

6 August, 1918: The usual trench routines with parties working to improve the line. Second Lieutenant Mills (Quartermaster) and Second Lieutenant Spencer (Assistant Adjunct) were both wounded by a bomb dropped on their billet at Warloy.

7 August: A very quiet day. Trench routine was carried out and work done to improve the area.

8 August, 1918: Early in the morning (4am), a big attack by the allies commenced, and the guns in the locality were busy all day. Corporal Shirley MM, whilst accompanying the Adjunct around the line was wounded by a bomb dropped by an aeroplane. Civil Service Rifles holding front line trenches just outside Albert on the N side of the Amiens-Albert Road but no attack was launched in this area. Increased artillery.

9 August, 1918: The usual trench routine was carried out. On our right, the allies attack recommenced at 5.30pm. The Battalion was relieved during the night by the 21st Londons and went into support in Darling Reserve, Hill Row, Dodo and Willie Trenches. 58th Division attacks with objective of Ville-sur-Ancre, Dernancourt and Morlancourt (5 miles S-SW of Albert). Notwithstanding ground mist, the attack was successful. The Civil Service Rifles were unaffected by this action but scouts were sent as spectators to a vantage point to watch further developments. German aircraft active at night bombing the billets at Warloy. The Civil Service Rifles lost their Acting Quartermaster and two Second Lieutenants.

10 August: The day was quiet and was spent in cleaning.

11 August, 1918: The Battalion was relieved by the 7th Bn Royal West Hants and moved back into billets at Baizieux (½ mile south of Warloy and 4 miles west of Albert).

On 13 August, the PoW was moved south of the Albert-Amiens D929 road:

13 August: The Depot moved to Bonnay (half way between Albert and Amiens, south of the Albert-Amiens D929 road). The position taken up by the Battalion was in the Old British Line west of Morlancourt (3 miles south west of Albert).

14/15 August: Collecting salvage.

16 August: Relieved at night in the Right Front Line, Bois Des Tailles (three woods on the D1, 2 miles west of Bray-sur-Somme (4 miles SE of Albert), north of Etinehem and north of the 6.5 distance marker on map). A and D Companies in Front Line, B Company in support and C Company in Reserve. The battalion spent the next five days there more-or-less under constant bombardment. Much digging was carried out under hazardous conditions to consolidate captured ground. 65 casualties including 14 killed and 8 missing.

17 August: The battalion was fairly heavily shelled during the day. At night, the two front line companies endeavoured to establish to advanced posts each on the Etinehem-Meaulte road (Meaulte is ½ mile south of Albert so this road runs north-south). Owing to hostile machine gun, only one – under 2nd Lieutenant Barnett – was established. Casualties were sustained as follows: 2nd Lieutenant RC Hughes and 1 other rank killed; 10 other ranks wounded and 4 other ranks missing, the bodies of the last named being recovered later.

18 August: At night, two further posts were established on the Etinehem-Meaulte road by parties under Lieutenant Upton and 2nd Lieutenant Battock. The sector was very heavily shelled during the day – total casualties being 9 other ranks killed and 32 other ranks wounded.

Harry Dawson is buried at Beacon Cemetery (on the D1 road 5 miles west of Bray).

I am at a loss to understand how, if he was KiA on 11 August when the PoW was 8 miles north and across the R. Ancre, he was buried at Beacon. My intuition is that he was killed later between 16-18 August; it could be 17 Aug (and 17 was confused with 11). I understand there was a CCS close to Beacon and he may have been wounded and moved there before he died. However, I am unable to find other Civil Service Riflemen killed in this period and buried at Beacon.


Phil Dawson


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Hi Phil,

Having had a cursory glance through the cemetery reports it would appear that there are a number of other 47th Division casualties from this period in early August 1918. However, as Beacon cemetery was not created (according to the CWGC records) until 15th August I think it is safe to assume that all these members of 47th Division were either in another cemetery that was absorbed into Beacon Cemetery after the war of were found during searches of the surrounding battlefields. As none of the other listed as being incorporated macth either the dates or mix of burials I would deduce that they well have been gathered in from close to where they fell.

I am sure someone else on the forum will be able to shed further light on this particular case, but, I hope this helps in the mean time.

Best wishes,


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Hi Phil,

One other possible explanation; according to the marvelous Geoff's Search Engine the following CSR casulaties fit the period in question:

CSR Casualties 5-14/8/1918

Of these half are listed as being attached to other units in the London Regiment, some of which were in the 58th Division (one of the founding divisions of Beacon Cemetery).

It may be that Harry Dawson was attached to another unit in another division and was killed much nearer to the cemetery than first thought.

All conjecture, of course, but a possibility with the evidence available.

Best wishes,


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