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Remembered Today:

York and Lancaster Regiment


Kevin O'Marah
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The wife's Great uncle Bob "Robert Christmas Jones" 33349 was shot on 8/10/17 and died of his wounds the following day, and is buried at Polecapelle British Cemetery, Belgium.He was in the 1st/4th. Halesmere? Battalion, and we have a copy of the letter written to his mother by the chaplain(with the NZ army) who was with him when he died at the field hospital at Waterloo Farm. Could any one tell me what action they were participating in on that day and also how a 19 year old boy from Blaenau Ffestiniog, north Wales became inlisted in the York and Lancs, rather than the RWF. I also believe that he enlisted in London and possibly was in the transport corps before his new posting.

Kevin

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Kevin,

It's the 1/4th Hallamshire Battalion of the Y&L - see here http://www.1914-1918.net/yorkslancs.htm

There are numerous reasons why a North Walian might be in the Y&L, but some of the more likely are:

- originally recruited to a different regiment but reassigned upon arrival at a war front as a new draft to an understrength battalion that was rebuilding.

- originally recruited to a different regiment but reassigned following return from illness / wounding to an understrength battalion that was rebuilding.

- actually wanted to be in the Y&L, perhaps a friend went with him.

His online medal index card (here http://www.documentsonline.nationalarchive...&resultcount=11) doesn't list a prior regiment, however Soldiers Died in the Great War records that he was formerly in the Army Service Corps, number 227073. It also notes his enlistment at Grove Park, London.

49th Division (to which the Hallamshire's belonged) were in the battle of Poelcapelle on the 9th October 1917. Soldiers Died in the Great War records that he was Killed in Action on that date, not that he died of wounds.

I hope that helps a little,

Andrew

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Kevin,

far from being a definitive answer, I would suggest it likely that Private Jones was transferred from a support Corps such as the ASC to the infantry due to his age and medical status; the CWGC database gives his age at death as 19, and, as we all know, the period from late 1917 onwards was typified by an ever-deepening manpower crisis for the British; the need to juggle human resources between the competing demands of the War Office, the Admralty (both in order to combat submarine attacks and to refit those vessels involved in this campaign), domestic industry (remember how much of France and Belgium's industrial heartlands were under enemy domination), to say nothing of the inevitable strain caused by casualties; it was only logical, therefore, for the Army to divert fit young men from non-fighting units to those where their services would best be utilised, particularly to the infantry. The old adage that units from traditionally highly-populated areas such as Yorkshire did not need 'outside' recruits is simply not true; how many potential recruits from that great industrial county were actually exempted due to their skills as miners and engineers? A battalion, after all, needed to be 800 strong whether it marched from Sheffield or rural Norfolk. That said, it is probable that 'rural' regiments relied far more on these seemingly odd transfers than some of their urban counterparts; for example, 'Soldiers Died...' shows an awful lot of ex-ASC, RAMC, AOC, etc men from other parts of the country transferred for front-line service with the Devons and DCLI

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Please read following quote, that suggest he died of wounds and not KIA

"Headquarters,

New Zealand Discharge Depot.

Torquay

November 29th 1917

Dear Mrs Jones,

I am writing to express my deep sympathy with you in the loss of your son, 33349, Robert Jones. He was wounded in action in an attack upon a strongly fortified ridge that barred the way to Passchendale, and was brought to the Dressing Station at a place called Waterloo Farm, where he passed away. I laid him to rest and his grave has been marked, and will receive every attention. Unfortunately I cannot tell you how he was wounded. It was before I arrived on the scene with the New Zealand troops. There were a number of wounded in the Dressing Station when we arrived, and your son was one of them. Owing to the fact that I have been moving about in France and England until now, I have not been able to write sooner. I have been transferred here, and this is my first opportunity of writing.

Your sorrow will be very great, but you have the memory of a noble death in a great cause. May God have you in His care and keeping, comfort you and give you peace. Especially may He comfort you in the Blessed Hope of Life Immortal, and the glad prospects of one day meeting again all those you have loved long since and lost a while.

Yours

In sorrow and sympathy

W McLean

Chaplain"

There was also an "Englyn" of five verses written for the family.

Kevin

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Kevin,

I would be inclined to believe the letter rather than 'Soldiers Died' for cause of death, but this does sound like Poelcapelle on the 9th.

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