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sarahtrinity

October 1918 23rd Division

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sarahtrinity

Hi,

I'm researching James Blackwood Hay, 2nd Lieut York & Lanc Regt, attached 8th Service Battalion which moved with 23rd Division to Italy in Nov 1917. He died 29th October 1918 and is buried in Genoa. I think that he died in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto.

I don't really understand what was going on here. Wikipedia wasn't much help it seems to have been a huge multinational battle with very few British involved. Can anyone explain what the 23rd division were doing? Any info would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Sarah

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Charpoi Warrior

Sarah

The 8th Y&L was part of 70th Infantry Brigade of the 23rd Division which took part in a series of attacks in late October to clear the Austro-Hungarian Army from the west of the River Piave and then to keep them retreating. This was retrospectively named the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. The actions are covered in some detail in the 23rd Divisional history which your local library should be able to get for you, or if you're keen Naval & Military Press sell reprints. Lt Hay isn't mentioned by name in it and on the 29th October 70th Brigade were in reserve having crossed the Piave that morning. The history also has a couple of maps of the battle though they aren't particularly clear.

It is possible the Lt Hay was wounded earlier and died that day, either way he nearly made it as the Armistice in Italy came into force on 4th November.

I'll rake through it later and see what I can find. It might be worth trying to find the battalion war diary as officers often get mentioned in it.

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Greenwoodman

Hi Sarah, If you are still monitoring this post, Genoa was a burial ground in the rear area, used by a General and two stationary hospitals.

A quick look through the cemetery register will reveal several causes of death, such as "Died of influenza", "Died of pneumonia" and "Died of nephritis", as well as "Died of wounds". Hay doesn't have cause of death in his details, so he could be either. His death certificate may explain further.

Alternatively, the war diary may record him as admitted to hospital, or left the battalion as a result of sickness, which would obviously point to illness as opposed to a battle casualty.

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