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adam180

L/Sgt James Henry Saunders MM

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adam180

James Henry Saunders MM

11614, "A" Company

10th Battalion

Royal West Kent Regiment

Hello everyone

James was my wifes great grandfather and we was hoping we could have his name read out at the tower of london as part of the poppies display, she fill out the online form which said we would be contacted with the date his name would be read out, but nothing happened.

We know its to late now but would still like to know what happened.

Could it be because that depending where you look, he is recorded as dieing on 2 different dates, the 11th Feb & 12th Feb, everything we have points to the 12th Feb which is the date we used, but the CWGC site records it as the 11th Feb.

LasS0Wl.jpg?1

U9CZ9Zb.jpg?1

b59MADQ.jpg?1

the 4 &1 seem to be round the wrong way?

The other thing that would be interesting to find out if possable is the cirumstances of him being killed, we thought he fought in the battle of the somme, then died at the battle of Passchendaele, because hes burried at Dickebusch, but the battle didnt start till 4-5 months after he died, I cant find anything happening on the date he died with the west kents.

If anyone is interested we have got some more paperwork on him.

Thanks Adam

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GraemeClarke

Hi Adam

The War Diary is available for just over 3 quid for May 1916 to October 1917 here

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354388

There is very little in the Diary for the week you are interested in as the battalion was in reserve at Dickebusch. It looks, however, that he was killed on a work party or during a relief.

11 Feb - Situation normal. During above period whilst in reserve the battalion furnished working parties for R.E. constructing and reclaiming trenches, carrying parties to front line.

11.30am. The battalion relieved by 15th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, this operation was carried out successfully. Platoons as relieved marched back to Chippewa Camp."

Strangely the daily strength numbers do not alter at this time ie 43 officers and 1018 men. The only recorded casualties are on the 9th. (1 killed, 1 wounded).

Regards,

Graeme

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adam180

Hello Graeme

Thanks for the information.

So it was just a accident while not in a battle or perhaps some shelling got him, what a shame after him winning the MM, I always thought it would be in some other battle.

thanks again.

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elewis

Graeme,

sorry to question somebody with your experience but are you sure about the info that you posted?.

Adam,

I am using the Naval and Military Archive site, and for the 10th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment for 11th - 17th Feb 1917 has them at "centre-left-sub-sector"

and what I am seeing is the following

10th 7 AM. "A" Coy to front line.

11th 11 AM. Stokes gun fired on an enemy snipper post, the shooting was good, enemy retaliated heavily with minenwerfer [looks like that to me but could be wrong] on our front line.

Enemy snipers less active. Killed OR 2, wounded OR 2.

Unit only had 1 OR killed on the 12th.

As L/Sgt James Henry Saunders was in "A" Coy and the letter says about "buried with a comrade that also fell in action" to me it strongly looks as if he was one of the 2 ORs (Other Ranks) that was killed on the 11th.

I can imagine that the letter writer did at least the 3 letters for the men killed on the 11th and 12th at the same time and as such could easily have got the date wrong on this letter.

Evan

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IPT

The author of the letter would appear to be Rev. Charles Sebastian Dunn, Army Chaplain's Department, who survived the war and died in Leeds in 1952.

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adam180

Hello Evan

Thank you for the extra information, that seems to fit perfect, I always thought the war diarys were the war diary's, so I am not sure why it's not mentioned in the other one, but I expect there's lots of different paperwork on a regiment, they are probably 2 different documents.

So basiclly the Royal west kent regiment was having a few skirmishes with the germans in the trenches, firing mortar rounds at each other and he probably got killed in that.

Your reasoning on the dates fits nicely as well, I didn't realise the C S Dunn who wrote the letter was a reverend (thank you IPT), when he said he buried him and a comrade I thought he literally buried them, when he probably did a little service for them.

Does anyone know if the date he died (that area of time) has got a name, or do I just say he died at "Passchendaele" even though "The battle of Passchendaele" is over 5 months away.

Also does anyone know what this piece of paper below is, I found it with his paperwork, I think I have seen the gird trench on the maps.

Fa9oiyD.jpg?2

its a small notepad size piece of paper

fnevDW8.jpg?1

James Henry Saunders MM

thanks Adam

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elewis

Here are the locations of the 10th Btn Royal West Kent Regiment from the War diary in October 1916

N.E. Of Flers 01 October
Muntauban 02 - 03 October
S Of Mametz Wood 04 - 07 October
Girdtrench 07 - 10 October
Girdtrench De Maitetz Wood 11 - 13 October

Sadly the quality of the copy on NMA for 7-8 Oct is very poor. Others might be able to make sense of it but sadly I can not.

Evan

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Vivien

On a personal note i think that Adam's wife's Great Grandmother may have been Alice Balcombe.  She married James Henry Saunders at St James' church North Cray in 1900.  This was the 'family church".  I believe that Alice was my Great Aunt.  Her sister, my Grandmother, was Ada Charlotte Balcombe.  If Adam's wife has any information about the family I would love to hear it.

My husbands great Grandfather was Frederick Joseph Colton MC MM. He was in the Boer War in the Royal Scots. We know about his Military History for this period and are also aware of why he was awarded the MC ( London Gazettte 26/7/1918). I was told that the MM records were destroyed in the Blitz and thus we do not know why he was awarded the MM.  Can anyone help?

Vivien

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Mark1959

Welcome Vivien

The MM Citation records were not destroyed in the Blitz. They were actually thrown away in a thinning of WW1 records between the wars. Seems an appalling thing to have done but clearly made sense to someone at the time. Struggling to find the Gazette record of the date of Colton's MM. 

edit

Here it is

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/31173/supplement/2098 (bottom left). The heading (several pages) back does say for bravery in the field but when and where?

A biography here https://www.angloboerwar.com/forum/5-medals-and-awards/6650-unusual-medal-combinations-that-include-a-qsa?start=162 (scroll down)

In the 2nd Battaliion R Scots War Diary he appears in a list of 15 men awarded the MM. The entry appears to be dated 12/10/18. The dates of the entries in the WD appear jumbled. It does not state the reason the men have been awarded the MM

If you have ancestry it is here. It appears to be the end of a list of awards earlier in the diary dated 12/10/18. This includes several MCs and 2 DCMs. Looking these up may hint at the action Colton's MM was earned at. 

Edited by Mark1959

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clk

Hi Vivien,

 

On ‎13‎/‎06‎/‎2019 at 10:35, Vivien said:

Frederick Joseph Colton...he was awarded the MC ( London Gazettte 26/7/1918)

 

For his actions on 21.3.1918

image.png.bb8a75848a866f2fe741170d3623a598.png

Image sourced from The National Archives

 

Regards

Chris

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Mark1959

Have found several of the locations for the MCs listed in the War Diary. They are all consistent. Relating to the 2 R. Scots actions in the Courcelles-le-Comte, Ervilliers, Behanges area (North of Bapaume, South of Arras). One MC is for actions 21-24 Aug 1918. The others specifically for actions on 23/8/18. The diary contains a lengthy report of the battalion's attack on 23/8/18. So this strongly suggests Colton's MM was won during this action. What for, we will probably never know. I will try to find the locations of more to give a stronger circumstantial case but the pattern appears clear.

It is the action where Hugh McIver won his VC. Killed 2/9/18.

Edited by Mark1959

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GraemeClarke

Hi

 

Something odd here.

 

I know about the rules re posting diaries etc but I post this as the diary I have from the NA states what I posted above.

 

Evan's copy seems to have something different.

 

Regards,

 

Graeme

 

 

 

 

Image1.jpg

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corisande

The War Diary is on Ancestry - click if you have a subscription

 

The Ancestry Diary is exactly the same as the one Graeme has posted (as you might expect)

west-kent.jpg.5f05bffb3ba0986cc22a1d2885b0d523.jpg

 

Graeme wrote above

11 Feb - Situation normal. During above period whilst in reserve the battalion furnished working parties for R.E. constructing and reclaiming trenches, carrying parties to front line.

11.30am. The battalion relieved by 15th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, this operation was carried out successfully. Platoons as relieved marched back to Chippewa Camp."

Strangely the daily strength numbers do not alter at this time ie 43 officers and 1018 men. The only recorded casualties are on the 9th. (1 killed, 1 wounded).

 

As this does not agree with the War Diary, can I suggest that Graeme has just mis-transcribed the wrong piece of the diary - easily done - as his post #2 does not agree with the War Diry that he published in post #12

 

 

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GraemeClarke

apologies, I appear to have made the same mistake twice !!!

 

Regards,

 

Graeme

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