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Why is a man commemorated on the Menin Gate yet killed on the Somme?


potty5

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Dear forum members, researching my local war memorial and have come across 81986 Second Corporal EDWIN PLATT of 202nd Field Company, Royal Engineers. The Orbat states the 202nd were in the 30th division and at the time of his death on July 8, 1916 they were in action at Trones Wood on the Somme. So why is he commemorated on the Menin Gate as stated by the CWGC? Have I got my wires crossed somewhere? Thanks.

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Two possible reasons

  1. He was on temporary detachment to another unit at the time of his death
  2. He was a DOW who had been initially wounded some time before his unit moved to the Somme and his grave was later lost/destroyed

I'm sure other members will think of other possibilities.

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It is interesting that William Mariner VC 2 Kings Royal Rifle Corps was killed in action on a raid on the Loos triangle on 1st July 1916 and yet is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial. The account is in Giles M Eyres book "Somme Harvest" where he was actually hit by a shell if my memory serves me correct .

Jim

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An example can be found in the 4th Kings war diary for the 25th September 1917, when the German counter attacked near Polygon wood, two officers were killed one is on the Menin Gate, the other is recorded on Thiepval

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Another example is L-Cpl Harry Sewell G/18317 11th Royal West Kent Regiment killed on the 7th October 1916 during the Battle of Transloy on the Somme and commemorated upon the Menin Gate.

I did raise this with the CWGC some years ago but they reasoned it was a clerical error post war and as he had been upon the Menin Gate all this time so there he should stay.

Stuart

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Hi Jim yes you are correct the account of William Mariner VC death in action is in Somme Harvest my Grandfather was a regular in the same Bn what I also found strange was on a visit to London Cemetery and extension at High Wood there are two men of the 2/ KRRC buried there that according to thier dates of death on the headstones place them on the Aisne in 1914 Rifleman Tipping and an Unknown.

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Hi Jim yes you are correct the account of William Mariner VC death in action is in Somme Harvest my Grandfather was a regular in the same Bn what I also found strange was on a visit to London Cemetery and extension at High Wood there are two men of the 2/ KRRC buried there that according to thier dates of death on the headstones place them on the Aisne in 1914 Rifleman Tipping and an Unknown.

Now that is a strange one Keith!!

I also believe Mariner was not his real name . I have an old newspaper cutting somewhere telling Mariners story. Somme Harvest is a great read

Jim

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Hi Jim you are correct he was born in Chorley Lancashire on 29.5.1882 as William Wignall leaving school he moved to Salford as a miner and enlisted in the 2/KRRC in 1902, after 7 years with the Colours he transferred to the reserve in 1909 and was discharged in early 1914. As a civilian he got a criminal record for breaking and entering and at the outbreak of war re-enlisted in the 2/KRRC on 26.8.1914 under the assumed name of William Mariner.

Keith

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Thanks for the info Keith. I bet he was one hell of a character!!!

Jim

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Hi Jim yes you are correct the account of William Mariner VC death in action is in Somme Harvest my Grandfather was a regular in the same Bn what I also found strange was on a visit to London Cemetery and extension at High Wood there are two men of the 2/ KRRC buried there that according to thier dates of death on the headstones place them on the Aisne in 1914 Rifleman Tipping and an Unknown.

Keith.

It may be that their bodies were recovered some time after the war and this was one of the few 'open' cemeteries at the time. I think the policy of the CWGC has now changed and they try to bury men close to where they are found but that was not always the case.

Neil

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Hi Neil thank you for the explanation I always wondered why these two lads were on the Somme and not the Aisne, I stumbled across them in 2012 on a visit to High Wood and Wood Lane on a tour with Chris Baker following in the steps of my Grandfather who was a pre war regular with the 2/KRRC and his pals

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  • 4 months later...

Thanks for the info Keith. I bet he was one hell of a character!!!

Jim

Andy and I have added some more info on William Mariner, VC and some photos here: Cpl Mariner VC (Mariner was not a Corporal - this is an error by the OP)

Cheers,

Mark

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Took me a while to resolve quite a number of 6th Cheshires deaths during the summer of 1916. A not insignificant number were buried or commemorated well away from where the battalion was. Eventually it became clear they were all part of a large group who had trained with the 2/6th but were posted to several different units once they arrived in France but their units were never officially changed.

More recently, I've been looking at the battalion's deaths on 31 July 1917 and find there's a split between the Menin Gate and Tyne Cot. No reason that I can fathom - although there must be one.

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Potty5

81986 Edwin Platt arrived in France on 10/11/1915 according to his MRIC and SDGW shows that he was born in Williaston, enlisted in Manchester and died on 08/07/1916 serving with 202 FC. The WD for 202 FC (WO 95/2323) confirms that 202 disembarked at Le Havre on 10/11/1915. The entry for 08/07/1916 reads "Section 2 attached to 2nd Yorks and Section 4 to 2nd Wilts; many casualties while waiting with Bn supports. Section 4 found and cleared well in BRIQUETERIE; party from No 1 to BRIQUETERIE to clear out dugouts. Sections 1 and 3 in reserve at TALUS BOISE. Sects 2 and 4 withdrawn to NORD ALLEY, then GLATZ Redoubt, then concentrated all 4 sections at No 3 strong point GLATZ Redoubt". The entry for 11/07/1916, when the Co arrived in Bray for a rest, lists casualties from 01/07/1916 as "Killed O.R. 6. Wounded Officer 1 (shell shock). O.R. 19. Injured O.R. 3.". The Diary does not have an answer for your question unfortunately. I have checked from 11/10/1915 to 08/07/1917.

Brian

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It's interesting to see four other casualties from the Lancs County Pallatine (202nd) Engineers who were lost on 8/7/16. Two of these other men our commemorated at Thiepval and I think the other two were originally buried at Talus Bois Cemetery before relocation to Peronne Road. In the context that the majority of 30th Division July losses have no known grave or local cemeteries to Trones it is strange to see Edwin at Menin Gate. Looking forward to someone's bright idea.

Tim

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Regarding London Cemetery High Wood. If I remember rightly it was used up to 1939 to bury soldiers found elsewhere. Having said that the Aisne is a long way off.

Terry

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  • 1 month later...

The WD of the CRE 30 Div (WO 95/2320) in "Account of Operations (Technical Troops) 8th to 13th July 1916" records that on 08/07/1916 202 FC was placed at the disposal of 21st Infantry Brigade with 2 and 4 Sections of the FC attached to 2 Yorks and 2 Wilts respectively, the two battalions detailed for the assault of Trones Wood. The two sections came under heavy shell fire in Chimney Trench and because of casualties were moved back to Nord Alley and then Glatz Redoubt. It states "During the day the Company had the following casualties:- 5 killed and 14 wounded, all O.R.".

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