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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

William James Clark 2nd Bat Rifle brigade

David F Marks

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I am researching on behalf of a friend (his grandson) William James Clarke s/31447 of the 2nd Batn of the Rifle Brigade. He was killed on 31st March 1918 and is commemorated on the Poznieres monument which we recently visited.

It seems likely from research so far that he died in one of the battles in or near Villers-Bretonneux. I have purchased Pederson's book on Villers - Bretonneux but am somewhat confused about the reference to divisions etc. Can any kind soul give me some idea of where the 2nd Batn. would have been on the 31st March. My friend is visiting again next year with his son and it would be nice to give him some advance info to make his visit more worthwhile.

May I also take this opportunity of thanking those of you who have been following my blog of the recently discovered diary of Private Lewis Kilcoin (www.greatwardiary.com).(Now in the 1914 special exhibition at the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres)

The diary has now drawn to a close and in my last post I am asking for help in finding out where he was (with the RE) in the later stages of the war.... any suggestions would be welcome ..Thanks in advance

David Marks

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Soldiers Died in the Great War says he was killed in action on the 31st, which may well be the case, but I think the date lies between 8th Division actions at Rosières and the defence of Villers-Bretonneux and I wonder if he might have died of wounds or, as he has no grave, been reported missing. His Medal Index Card doesn't report his death.

You could download the war diaries here at the National Archives (£3.30 or free to view at Kew..). Although it's unlikely to mention Wililiam by name, it may confirm whether the battalion was in action that day - and, if so, where...


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Thanks Mike.Have downloades the diary and it looks as if you are right. They had not yet arrived at Villers-Bretonneux.They appear to have come under heavy shellfire outside the village of Castel some 15 k SW and suffered 20 casualties on the evening of the 30th but reported no action on the 31st. . Looks likely that William was one of them . For some reason it would seem that most of the Rifle Brigade casualties were commemorated on the m,emorial at Pozieres. Many thanks again for your help.


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