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Remembered Today:

25715 Private Edgar Capel, 8th Bn Somerset Light Infantry


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Hi all

I am trying to write a bio of this chap, but unfortunately no service papers seem to have survived and his MIC only records the award of a BWM/Victory medal without a date of entry into France.

He was KIA on 18th Nov. 1916 serving with B Company.

Is there any way to pin down when he went out presumably as part of a draft to the Bn?



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As the MIC was an aid to which medals a man was entitled to, the absence of any reference to the 1915 Star indicates he wasn't in France until 1916, so from 1 Jan to Nov 1916 is best guess at present. Sometimes looking for casualties with a similar number may give an indication of an earlier date in France, unfortunately Edgar was the earliest in the 275xx series I found.

There were 4 deaths that day, shortly after Beaumont Hamel was taken on 13/14 November.

FITZMAURICE, L. Rank: Captain. Date of Death: 18/11/1916.

Regiment/Service: Somerset Light Infantry. 8th Bn.


Historical Information

The village of Beaumont-Hamel was attacked on 1 July 1916 by the 29th Division, with the 4th on its left and the 36th (Ulster) on its right, but without success. On 3 September a further attack was delivered between Hamel and Beaumont-Hamel and on 13 and 14 November, the 51st (Highland), 63rd (Royal Naval), 39th and 19th (Western) Divisions finally succeeded in capturing Beaumont-Hamel, Beaucourt-sur-Ancre and St. Pierre-Divion.

Following the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line in the spring of 1917, V Corps cleared this battlefield and created a number of cemeteries, of which Ancre British Cemetery (then called Ancre River No.1 British Cemetery, V Corps Cemetery No.26) was one. There were originally 517 burials almost all of the 63rd (Naval) and 36th Divisions, but after the Armistice the cemetery was greatly enlarged when many more graves from the same battlefields and from the following smaller burial grounds:-

ANCRE RIVER BRITISH CEMETERY No.2 (V Corps Cemetery No.27), about 400 metres East of No.1, containing the graves of 64 officers and men from the United Kingdom (mainly 1st H.A.C., 11th Royal Sussex, and Hood Battalion) who fell in September and November 1916.

BEAUCOURT STATION CEMETERY, begun after the capture of Beaucourt by the R.N.D. on the 14th November 1916, and containing the graves of 85 officers and men from the United Kingdom who fell in November 1916 - March 1917. It was close to Beaucourt-Hamel station.

GREEN DUMP CEMETERY, on the South-West side of "Station Road", between Beaumont-Hamel and the station. It was used from November 1916, to March 1917, and it contained the graves of 45 soldiers and one Marine from the United Kingdom.

R.N.D. CEMETERY (V Corps Cemetery No.21), in the open country midway between Beaumont-Hamel and Hamel. It contained the graves of 336 officers and men from the United Kingdom, mainly of the Royal Naval Division.

SHERWOOD CEMETERY (V Corps Cemetery No.20), about 700 metres North-West of the R.N.D. Cemetery. It contained the graves of 176 officers and men from the United Kingdom, belonging chiefly to the 36th and Royal Naval Divisions, the 17th Sherwood Foresters and the 17th King's Royal Rifles.

STATION ROAD CEMETERY, on the South side of "Station Road", 500 metres West of the railway. This cemetery was used, from November 1916, to March 1917, for the burial of 82 officers and men from the United Kingdom.

"Y" RAVINE CEMETERY No. 2 (V Corps Cemetery No.18), about 300 metres South-East of the present "Y" Ravine Cemetery. Here were buried 140 officers and men from the United Kingdom and two from Newfoundland, who fell in July, September and November 1916.

The majority of those buried in the cemetery died on 1 July, 3 September or 13 November 1916.

CAPEL, EDGAR. Rank: Private. Service No: 25715. Date of Death: 18/11/1916. Age: 29

Regiment/Service: Somerset Light Infantry. "D" Coy. 8th Bn.

Grave Reference: III. B. 3. Cemetery: QUEENS CEMETERY, BUCQUOY

Additional Information: Son of George and Minnie Capel, of Coombe Cottage, Compton Bishop, Axbridge; husband of Ethel Maria Capel, of Chard's Farm, Blackford, Cheddar, Somerset. Born at Compton Bishop.

Historical Information

Bucquoy was taken by the 7th Division in March, 1917. It was partly lost in April 1918, after a prolonged and gallant defence by the 62nd (West Riding), 37th and 42nd (East Lancashire) Divisions; and it was cleared on the following 21st August.

The cemetery was begun in March 1917, when 23 men of the 2nd Queen's were buried in what is now Plot II, Row A. Thirteen graves of April-August 1918 were added (Plot II, Row B ) in September 1918 by the 5th Division Burial Officer. The remainder of the cemetery was made after the Armistice, by the concentration of British and French graves and one American from the battlefields of the Ancre and from small cemeteries in the neighbourhood, including:-

BAILLESCOURT FARM CEMETERY, BEAUCOURT-SUR-ANCRE, was made by V Corps as Cemetery No.16 in 1917 whilst clearing the battlefields. It was in marshy ground between the Farm and the Ancre, and it contained the graves of 64 sailors and soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in the winter of 1916-17, and in August and September 1918. The Farm was taken by the H.A.C. in February 1917.

MIRAUMONT CHURCHYARD, in which nine men of the R.F.A. and an Infantry officer were buried in February and March 1917.

MIRAUMONT GERMAN CEMETERY, in which six soldiers from the United Kingdom were buried in 1915-16.

RIVER TRENCH CEMETERY, PUISIEUX, was made by V Corps in 1917 in clearing the battlefields. It contained the graves of 117 officers and men, almost all of the R.N.D., who fell in February 1917. It was in the open country between Grandcourt and Puisieux.

SWAN TRENCH CEMETERY, PUISIEUX, was created by V Corps as Cemetery No.14, and contained the graves of 27 officers and men of the R.N.D. who fell in February 1917. It was near the Grandcourt-Puisieux road.

TRIANGLE CEMETERY, MIRAUMONT, was 800 metres North-East of Petit-Miraumont village on the road to Pys. This was a German cemetery containing the graves of 181 German soldiers and eight soldiers from the United Kingdom.

COLLINS, ALBERT STANLEY. Rank: Private. Service No: 20752. Date of Death: 18/11/1916. Age: 19

Regiment/Service: Somerset Light Infantry. "D" Coy. 8th Bn.

Panel Reference: Pier and Face 2 A. Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

Additional Information: Son of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Collins, of 6, Peter St., Shepton Mallet, Somerset.

MAVIN, ROBERT. Rank: Private. Service No: 15844. Date of Death: 18/11/1916. Age: 28

Regiment/Service: Somerset Light Infantry. 8th Bn.

Panel Reference: Pier and Face 2 A. Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

Additional Information: Son of James and Isabella Mavin, of 18, Sixth Row, Choppington Colliery, Northumberland.

You'll note that one of the 4 was a Captain and in all probability he could have been the commander of the Company. One other chap was also in D Company, and it may have been a random shell burst that got all 4. My guess is that Edgar was initially buried at one of the smaller cemeteries that were later concentrated into Queens, as Queens was not constructed until 1917. The 8th Somerset War Diary for the period may contain a reference to the death of Captain Fitzmaurice and if other men died at the same time.

It may be worth enquiring of the CWGC if they have earlier burial details for Edgar. It may explain why his other 2 comrades have not been identified, due to damage to their original resting places in the years of fighting over the same patch of ground.

At this remove in time, it may be no consolation, but it appears Edgar was Killed in Action and not Died of Wounds sustained perhaps days earlier.

Name: Edgar Capel. Birth Place: Wedmore, Somerset. Residence: Wedmore, Somerset

Death Date: 18 Nov 1916. Death Location: France & Flanders. Enlistment Location: Weston-super-mare

Rank: Private. Regiment: Prince Albert's (Somerset Light Infantry). Battalion: 8th Battalion. Number: 25715

Type of Casualty: Killed in action. Theatre of War: Western European Theatre

Our sister site, the Long, Long Trail (see link on masthead) has this:-

8th (Service) Battalion: Formed at Taunton in October 1914 as part of K3 and came under command of 63rd Brigade, 21st Division.

10 September 1915 : landed at Le Havre.

8 July 1916 : transferred with Brigade to 37th Division and the 8th Battalion SLI were still in 63rd Brigade.

Attacks on the 18th November were hampered by heavy snow and sleet, but the relative few casualties in 8th SLI may indicate that D Company were only being used as supply or support and not in the forefront of any attack.

There are better experts who may be able to tell you more specifically what happened that day and when Edgar arrived in France.

I hope this is of some help in the meantime.

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If you can send me a private message with an email address I can send you the war diary pages for this time. It would seem that the battalion attacked on the 18th but the majority of casualties were recorded as being on the 19th; presumably the day they were recovered from the battlefield.

Kind regards


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  • 10 months later...

A long shot, but are there any service number block experts on the Forum?

Is it possible to pin down Edgar Capel's enlistment date by his service number?



(grasping at straws…)

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