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Remembered Today:

St James' churchyard, Audley, Staffordshire. Soliders graves.


Danrowley2601
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Hi all,

I've been for a browse around one of the local (massive considering it serves a small area!) cemetries today hoping to find any links to my GGF who is buried in an unmarked plot.. Whilst there, I came across the graves of the following soldiers:

39021 . Pte J.E Topham of Royal Wst Kent Reg. Died 28th May 1918, age 30

Arthur Colin Thacker. 2nd Batt. Grenadier Guards, killed in action in france, Sept 25th 1916 aged 24. (Not buried with a soldier's headstone but this info is inscribed on a family grave)

43990 Pte W.Oliver, Lincolnshire regt, died 1st March 1920, age 36.

Does anybody have any information that they can share on these soldiers or suggest possible ways that I could find out a little more.

Thanks

Dan

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That's absolutely great, thanks very much Graeme. Arthur Thacker was originally from my village then-interesting to see him enlist in Warwick.

Thanks very much

Dan

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William Oliver and Ernest Topham are both on Audley's memorial, A.C. Thacker is on Chesterton's in the Memorial Park.

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Brilliant, will have a walk down to the park in a bit to have a look at that.

Thanks :)

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Hi Dan

Re Thacker

On the day before his death his battalion assembled in trenches in front of Ginchy, preparatory to an assault the following day. The attack commenced at 12.35pm in the direction of Lesbœufs but was held up by the uncut German wire. Four officers ordered the men to lie down and then cut a gap through the wire through which the battalion charged to take their objectives.

Losses amounted to 351 men, 88 being killed.

The War Diary (in part) records,

“24 to 26 September 1916 - On the night of September 24th the battalion moved from Bernafay Wood and relieved the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards in the front line, our right being on the Ginchy-Les Bœufs road.

At 12.35pm September 25th our barrage opened and we advanced in two waves of two companies each. The Germans evidently knew that an attack was imminent as within one minute they began putting heavy shell into the waves and at the same time a terrific barrage was opened on our front line.

About 12.40pm the first objective was gained with a certain amount of difficulty as our artillery had entirely failed to cut a single strand of the wire. While the companies were cutting it and making their way through the Germans picked off almost all our officers with the rifle. Many Germans were killed in this line.

At 1.35pm we moved forward to the edge of the village of Les Bœufs, killing more Germans who emerged from dug outs in the sunken roads and taking some prisoners.

At 2.35pm we advanced through the village meeting with little opposition and taking a few more prisoners. We gained the eastern edge of the village and consolidated. While we were consolidating we were sniped at heavily by a few Germans in a trench in the hollow to our immediate front, casing some casualties.

During the evening the village was severely shelled. Sniping and shelling continued all night and the next morning.

During the afternoon of the 26th we were heavily shelled.

We were relieved on the night of the 26th by the 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards.”

Regards,

Graeme

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Again, absolutely great information. Thanks so much for taking the time to do that. Really nice to be able to put a bit of a story for the local men who served. Really appreciate this :)

Dan

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Searching CWGC site shows Private Thacker buried at Guards cemetery Lesboefs, France. Recording information of relatives killed, but buried elsewhere, on a parents or siblings stone became a common practice after the War. The policy of the Imperial War Graves Commission, approved by parliament and Royal Charter was no repatriation of remains. Private Topham died at home within the UK. In those circumstances bodies were released to relatives, if any, for burial where they deemed appropriate. Private Oliver died in 1920. If deemed to be as a result of his war service , ie wounds, illness, effects of gas etc, he would have been entitled to an IWGC burial and stone, at their expense.

See my article on Erdington Churchyard Birmingham on Tom Morgans Hellfire Corner site for similar examples.

Regards SG

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Searching CWGC site shows Private Thacker buried at Guards cemetery Lesboefs, France. Recording information of relatives killed, but buried elsewhere, on a parents or siblings stone became a common practice after the War. The policy of the Imperial War Graves Commission, approved by parliament and Royal Charter was no repatriation of remains. Private Topham died at home within the UK. In those circumstances bodies were released to relatives, if any, for burial where they deemed appropriate. Private Oliver died in 1920. If deemed to be as a result of his war service , ie wounds, illness, effects of gas etc, he would have been entitled to an IWGC burial and stone, at their expense.

See my article on Erdington Churchyard Birmingham on Tom Morgans Hellfire Corner site for similar examples.

Regards SG

I apologise for going off-topic (if anyone can point me to the correct thread elsewhere, my thanks) but yesterday I came across the grave of an American Expeditionary Force soldier who died and was buried in France on 10.1.1919 and his remains were re-interred in a UK cemetery on 10.2.1922. Presumably his parents were English or, if American, were living in England so the ruling didn't apply in this case.

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Hi Bereniceuk, Indeed the Imperial War Graves Commision was not responsible for American personnel and I believe families of Americans were offered the choice of repatriation , usually to the USA, or burial in the theatre of war. I have a local record of an American pilot killed at Castle Bromwich aerodrome Birmingham in 1917 whose body was returned to New York in the early 20,s. But for all British and Empire casualties the no repatriation rule was strictly enforced. I think I have only heard of 1 or 2 examples where strings were pulled and this rule was flouted.

If a casualty was evacuated back to the UK and died of wounds here then, as above, their body would be released for burial here. That sometimes causes confusion. SG

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