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I am (once again) out of my comfort zone and need help from you knowledgeable folk please. I have a photograph with the handwritten caption 'A Sapper's Grave Hill 60' I believe dated around 1915. Some of the details on the cross are not clear. However, I do have a few clues to work on:

The letters 'NRE' appear at the top of the cross and having checked the LLT, I think he might have belonged to 1st Northumbrian Field Company. LLT shows they blew a mine(s) under Hill 60 February 1915. Hence the letters 'NRE' and the N possibly standing for Northumbrian.

http://www.1914-1918.net/tunnelcoyre.htm

http://www.1914-1918.net/28div.htm

His age given on the cross is 41 his name I am reading as 'Bent' with initials either 'CB' or 'GB'. So far, I have not managed to find anything on CWGC for this Sapper and any help would be appreciated. Unfortunately, I may not show the image as it is copyright. However, if I am unable to trace a grave or memorial for him I will email the owners and seek permission to show some of the image to elicit more help.

I will try looking for a medal card for him today on Ancestry and TNA. I don't have access to SDGW but wondered which book I would need to look in to search for him? I'm guessing Royal Engineers at the moment if anyone could confirm I can then try finding the appropriate book in the library.

Given the clues so far regarding LLT and his age I also feel that he might have been civilian miner by trade. I have seen the entire photograph album and I believe the photographs were all taken early 1915 as there is reference to gas being used for the first time as a caption to one of the other images.

I will also try and improve the image today to see if I can make any of the details any clearer. Date of death is even more difficult to read but before I went to the LLT, I felt it read 18 February 1915 and now having read the LLT - I feel fairly convinced I have the correct unit and dates for him.

I have elicited the assistance of another forum member who has and is trying variations of the name, ie Bond and Best but so far nothing that ties in with anything I have. Any help or advice would be much appreciated. I am just trying to ensure he either has a known grave or is commemorated on a memorial and so far, I can find neither. Thanks in advance.

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A possible from SDGW:

Name: George Brittain Bone

Birth Place: Middlesbrough, Yorks

Residence: Ashington, Northumberland

Death Date: 13 Feb 1915

Death Place: France and Flanders

Enlistment Place: Newcastle-on-tyne

Rank: SPR.

Regiment: Royal Engineers

Regimental Number: 1086

Type of Casualty: Killed in action

Theatre of War: Western European Theatre

Comments: 1St Northumberland Field Coy., R.E.

Will try to find more on him..

Mike

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His service record survived (again at Ancestry):

Name: George Brittain Bone

Gender: Male

Birth Date: abt 1877

Birth Place: Middlesbro, York, England

Age at Enlistment: 37

Document Year: 1914

Regimental Number: 1086

Regiment Name: Royal Engineers

Number of Images: 19

Form Title: Territorial Force Attestation

And could be him 1911 Census (but not a miner):

Name: George Brittain Bone

Age in 1911: 35

Estimated Birth Year: abt 1876

Relation to Head: Head

Gender: Male

Birth Place: Middlesbro, Yorkshire, England

Civil Parish: Hirst

County/Island: Northumberland

Country: England

Street address: 23 Juliet St

Marital Status: Married

Occupation: Bill Poster

Registration district: Morpeth

Registration District Number: 564

Sub-registration district: Ashington

ED, institution, or vessel: 9

Piece: 31042

Household Members:

Name Age

George Brittain Bone 35

Thomas Bone 6

Norman Bone 3

Thomas Bone 58

Jane Bone 55

Thomas Bone 24

And he is remembered with honour here:

Rank: Sapper Service No: 1086 Date of Death: 13/02/1915 Regiment/Service: Royal Engineers 1st (Northumbrian) Field Coy. Grave Reference: C. 27. Cemetery: RAMPARTS CEMETERY, LILLE GATE

Mike

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Just having a look at his records and 'Bill Poster' is crossed out and replaced with 'Miner'

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Can someone explain why I have no results on CWGC website when I enter :

No name

Belgium

First World War

United Kingdom

Army

and : Sapper

?

Sure a number of UK Sappers must have fallen in Belgium ?

Aurel

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Thanks for looking Mike, something for me to follow up if all else fails. Given his location he might well have had mining experience. I will check him out later on Ancestry. However, the last letter of his name seems to be a tall letter and looks like a 't' the small letters preceding it look like 'e' and 'n' with a capital letter 'B' at the start - hence the name 'Bent' I will try cropping down to just his initials and name. I don't think I can get into any hot water with posting that and and ack to the source. The letters 'NRE' are very clear on the upright of the the cross.

There are a couple of SD caps lying on the ground near the grave, one of which possibly blew from his cross but unfortunately no discernible cap badges to see. I will get onto the PC in a minute and do that...I haven't synchronised my hard drive with the iPad in a few weeks so will be quicker for me to fire up the PC than wait for it to sync new material...

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Courtesy the Hrs. Museum:

post-70679-0-84585700-1409483406_thumb.j

There is also an 'F' above the 'NRE'

So the upright is:

F

NRE

His age is given on the lower part of the upright.

Mike it's as promising for Bone being a miner although his age would make him a couple of years younger. However, given the date of his enlistment, he might have had to make himself under 40 to enlist if he was that keen but if the census age is correct he would be a couple of years too young. Have a look at the image though because I am sure the last letter has a tall ascender.

Aurel, I can get results for sapper if I put in a name and no location just WW1, Army, UK Forces and Sapper.

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Marjorie,

CWGC just doesn't make sense. One time over 400 records, and then, second attempt 1 minute later, with exactly the same filter : 0 results.

Also : When "Sapper" works, and I have over 400 records, then I can only see the first 30 pages ...

As to Bone. Looks nice (age too approx.), but I have a technical problem.

Ramparts Cemetery : is not a concentration cemetery. On the contrary, graves from there were later concentrated into ohter cemeteries elsewhere.

And for a sapper fallen near Hill 60, buried at Ramparts Cemetery immediately ?.... :-(

Aurel

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Well, maybe the man was not KIA but DOW ? (And did not die near Hill 60, but near Ramparts Cem. ?)

I just saw that, of that period (mid Feb1915 till mid March 1915) 4 more sappers were buried at Ramparts Cemetery.

C.21 - C.21 - C.28 - F.17

Aurel

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It's ok I was trying to keep to a minimum - I might be excommunicated or something :D Looking more closely (I was too focused on the details of the cross), the SD caps are not randomly on the ground. One is placed in front of his cross and the other is placed on a mound to the left of his mound. This must be another grave but seems not to be marked and both caps look the same or similar. Sandbags and high earthworks behind the mounds...perhaps buried behind the line rather than a cemetery? Also, Ramparts Cemetery, was this also known at some point as Ramparts Lille Gate?

Perhaps they had earthworks and sandbags in the cemetery to give some protection for carrying out funerals? But if DOW, would not the man next to him have a marked grave too? I think perhaps I need to investigate a diary for this unit to see if they recorded casualties over these few days.

Also above his date of death is possibly a service number which is why I need to try and make the image a little clearer...

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With Aurel's blow up, I would go with Mike and say it is Bone.

The top section is 1 NRE. The initials G B correspond as well.

The GRR shows four men from the same unit in consecutive graves from Feb / March 1915. There may be more on the preceding page.

post-20576-0-01335200-1409486678_thumb.j

Phil

Edit: Apart from C19, which was a French grave, the whole plot, C20 to C28, contained the graves of Northumbrian Division REs.

Edited by Phil Evans
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Thanks Phil, I am looking at Ramparts as Aurel and Mike posted (and noticed it had Lille Gate) and was reading the entry at C27 - Bone as you posted too. I was in between, looking for it on the old cemetery map. I can see how I have read the blurred date of death as 18th when Bone seems to have 13th given the quality of the image that was easy to misread but I still see 'Bent' even in a negative image and zoomed into pixel level, I can still see the tall 't' and not an 'e'. I have to say, it's driving me nuts that I cannot see an 'e'. Both you and Mike must have better eyesight than me!

Thank you all for unravelling that one. I will have a look at the Ancestry stuff on him. Given the deaths of the others around the same time indicates possibly an accident while tunnelling. I've also learned a little of how the cemeteries looked at that time and how difficult it is to estimate a grave location from the image details alone.

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Aurel's blow-up doesn't do yours justice! With yours I see the 'e' and the 't' but in his the 'e' could be an 'o' and the 't' has a thinner upper mark than the rest of the lettering on the cross..

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Oh I have just discovered SDGW on Ancestry! I have been going to the library and looking in the books! Doh!

It seems from the Service Record of Bone, he was called up having had 12 years previous service (National Reserve Class 2). The poor man had 5 children was only there a very short time before his death. MIC shows date of entry 19th January 1915 and buried 13th February so not even a month. However, this from Ancestry on his burial:

post-70679-0-32115800-1409490280_thumb.j

The burial location above I have not checked out yet so not sure how this pans out with Ramparts Cemetery but his record does not say DOW it says KIA...

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Aurel's blow-up doesn't do yours justice! With yours I see the 'e' and the 't' but in his the 'e' could be an 'o' and the 't' has a thinner upper mark than the rest of the lettering on the cross..

Mike - I concede it could be my eyes. His name looks clearer than the date of death - which I was able to read - well, almost. His name, I can clearly see the capital 'B' at the start and 't' at the end but the two letters in between initially looked like 'en' but could equally be something else. Try as I might, I cannot see an 'e' where I see a 't'. Don't tell me to go to Specsavers my new specs are only 6 months old!

I will still have a tinker with the image and see if I can get it any clearer...

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Also re-reading Phil's post again the others were March not February so not dying within a few days of him.

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Some distance I think between the location given on his service record near Verbrandenmolen shown here lower right and his final resting place at Ramparts Cemetery? How far apart I wonder?

bone_zps6ff7c972.jpg

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From 'Fortifications of the Western Front 1914-18' by Paddy Griffith - p.60: "Hill 60 is 1.5km south of Zillebecke, on a side road between Verbranden-Molen and Zwartleen.."

And according to Google Maps about 3.5-4km to Ramparts Cemetery.

Mike

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Marjorie,

It isn't so much my eyesight (which is dismal), as the level of acceptance, given all the pieces that have come together.

Does the original photo just show the one grave marker?

I have put together an edited version of the CWGC data for that distinct part plot in Pamparts Cemetery. As you can see, the graves cover February and March 1915, but not in strict date order. The diary would be useful, but I have a theory. If the Company were static for that period of time, I am hypothesising that they originally buried their casualties "in the field", possibly in the vicinity of the Company HQ. At some later date, possibly when they knew they were moving on, they brought them back to Ramparts Cemetery.

post-20576-0-75227800-1409497305_thumb.j

Phil

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Phil, that would make sense (sort of). It ties in with Aurel's post that it was not a concentration cemetery so they wouldn't be taken there after the war but moved before...why they didn't take them to Ramparts in the first place. To bury them and a short time later dig them up and move them is the bit that doesn't make sense to me. It wouldn't be very pleasant for them to have to disturb their comrades original burial place. However, before vanishing for two weeks, I was looking at a chap's burial and was puzzled because it too (according to CWGC) wasn't a concentration cemetery but the sheet at the top had written 'All Concentrations'. I thought it odd that it didn't give original burial information of where concentrated from.

Within my own limited knowledge, I have seen orders in diaries giving the location of nominated cemeteries to be used in the event of casualties in the area but whether they were doing this 6 months into the war, I don't know.

I can see that the original photo shows two distinct mounds, with a cap placed on each. Only one of these mounds has a cross marker the other does not just a cap at the same point as on the other mound which has the marker so presumably both caps at the 'head' of the grave.

I do not believe that the person that took the photograph belonged to the division there at the time. I was given the album to see because I had asked to see Seaforth photographs. Certainly there are Jocks in other photographs in this person's album. I don't know who the album belonged to either. Other photographs had captions of Sanctuary Wood, Slaughter Hill, etc. I do have the name of an officer that appears in two photographs identified by the caption and so might be able to roughly date the images from him (a Jock) of (at the moment) unknown regiment. Another image in the album was taken in Ypres and the caption stated just after the first use of gas.

I will do some digging around and see if I can tease out more information that way.

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From 'Fortifications of the Western Front 1914-18' by Paddy Griffith - p.60: "Hill 60 is 1.5km south of Zillebecke, on a side road between Verbranden-Molen and Zwartleen.."

And according to Google Maps about 3.5-4km to Ramparts Cemetery.

Mike

Thanks Mike, not so far apart then. I have some digging around to do re the album and I will also try and find some unit diaries via TNA. Perhaps they will be of the meticulous sort that recorded their casualties - even if it is just in terms of wounded/killed, it might help...

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If the Company were static for that period of time, I am hypothesising that they originally buried their casualties "in the field", possibly in the vicinity of the Company HQ. At some later date, possibly when they knew they were moving on, they brought them back to Ramparts Cemetery.

Hi Phil,

Yes, this is pretty much what happened to my 2nd East Lancs GU in early 1915 near Neuve Chapelle. From the C.O.'s diary: "At first, men killed in the trench line were buried in orchards behind their own sections. Later on all bodies were brought down to Bn HQ and buried in the orchard behind the farm. Seckham, Townsend (my GU) and Larkin our own subultans... were buried there. I saw the place in November '18 after the armistice. It had been heavily shelled and only the cross over Townsend's grave remained". Ivan (my avatar) was later reburied at the Cabaret-Rouge Cemetery at Souchez.

Mike

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This is not fair ! I was away for only 5 hours (this is Sunday you know, and wives have their rights too ! :-) ), and when back : more than a dozen new postings ! :-(

Serious.

Men buried provisionally and "later" exhumed and reburied elsewhere ? In theory possible, I agree. (Dependingf also on : where ? near the front lines ?) But in practice ? And : later = after how many days ?

***

I think I knowsomething about moved cemeteries, and this is what I found (good news, but actually in the end bad news.)

La Chapelle Farm Cemetery : near Verbrandemolenstraat

17 graves of febr.-march 1915 (interesting !)

But ... moved later (1920 ?) to ... Hooge Crater Cem.

Trench Railway Cem. : near Verbrande Molen (near Wood Cemetery)

21 graves (1915-16)

But ... moved later to ... Perth Cemetery (China Wall)

Verbrande Molen begraafplaats.

But that was ... French.

***

I am not a native speaker. But could some kind soul think of four-letter names beginning with a B-, and ending or not ending on a -t, in English ?

I could only think of Bert (appears to be a surname) and James 007.

Aurel

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