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Remembered Today:

G Battalion Tank Corps - 31 July 1917.


Spud Trevor
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Hello,

I'm interested in a G Battalion soldier killed on the 31st July 1917. The man was 40245 Alexander Sylvester Barlow. I have the Tanks & Trenches book which details actions involving G Battalion tanks and have read a number of detailed discussions regarding the events of the day on old threads. My problem is I don't know which tank AS Barlow was serving in on 31/07/1917. Is this information available anywhere ? I'd also be interested in which role he may have played within the tank, again I'm not sure if or where this info could be found. Any help or pointers would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Spud

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Meantime G Battalion, (later 7 RTR) had formed and been brought out to the theatre. On 19 August 1917 the Battalion (Lt Col Hankey) was quickly into action on the Gheluvelt Plateau near Ypres. Throughout the previous three weeks an enemy strongpoint had frustrated attacks by two infantry divisions operating without tanks; the staff forecast casualties of 600 to 1000 in renewed attacks. But in a baptism of fire G Battalion cleared the strongpoint very quickly, and with the loss of only two killed.

From 4and7tankregiment;com

If this was the first battle they were involved in your man may have died other than being in a tank.

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Spud

If you speak to the Bovington Tank Museum archive they may be able to find a crew list in the G Bn boxes, they exist for some of the Bns but it is all very hit and miss (many more misses than hits). I have seen very detailed records of all soldiers in a Company, neatly written in to a pocket book by the Company Commander, but I have only seen a couple of these, and even these don't always say which tank each individual was in.

We can help narrow it down a bit I think, as I am pretty sure only 19 Company went in to action on 31 Jul 17. Of the 12 tanks in the Coy, 11 set off (1 failed to start), 10 engaged the enemy, 5 ditched or broke down, and 4 were hit and knocked out. Some of the ditched tanks' crews dismounted with their Lewis guns in support of the infantry. Some were pinned down by enemy fire, and at least one tank crew suffered injuries due to being attacked by a German aircraft as the tank attempted to retire. As Barlow's body was never found (he is commemorated on the Menin Gate) I would guess that he was in one of the 9 ditched/destroyed tanks. I realise that this is still some way short of answering your question.

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Thank you for the suggestions. I've read accounts of G Battalion tanks in action, but as Gareth points out it would seem just the one coy. Its frustrating David Fletchers Tank & Trenches does give some detailed accounts (as summarised by Gareth) of a number of the G battalion tanks - G1,G3, G4,G7, G9, G11 etc on the day in question, but only lists the respective officers, it would be nice to be able to place my man in one of them as well.

Thanks to you both for the info and suggestions.

Spud

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Not that it helps, but re Gareth's post #3, according to the google landships site 21 Company was also in action on 31/7/17. Muddies the waters even further,

David

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David is right, I am wrong. Which sadly makes it even harder to narrow it down.

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Spud please allow me to confirm that just because your man is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, it doesn't mean his body was not recovered! His name is also commemorated by the the Tank Memorial Ypres Salient and the on site register book also lists 3 Tank Corps burials "Known unto God" and the cemeteries they rest in. He also could of course been recovered but with base level KUG ID. The TMYS legacy CD lists every single HBMGC/Tank Corps buried or commemorated in Belgium with applicable photo and CWGC details. Best of luck anyway.

Chris

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Chris

Slightly off topic this but I see from your post #9 above that The TMYS has a memorial CD. I went onto TMYS website to see if I could purchase a copy and am a little confused. Do I need to contact the tank museum to get a copy? Do you know the cost?

Tanks3

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Just visit the web site and either contact the memorial by email or via the auto server with your request and all will be revealed. ;-)

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Thanks for the additional pointers and suggestions. You've certainly given me some food for thought, and I'm learning things I didn't know.

Regards,

Spud

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  • 2 years later...

 

Alexander Sylvester Barlow 1896-1917                               I

IMG_1511.JPG

Edited by Guest
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Alexander was indeed in G Bn and he was killed on 31 July 1917.  He is commemorated on the Menin Gate.

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