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Remembered Today:

FORENVILLE Military Cemetery


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Retired Dave

Hello All,

Well the centenaries roll-along and each one dear to somebody out there who wishes to commemorate a relative or family friend who fell in the Great War. Rightly we have had a splendid commemoration of the start of the Battle of the Somme with fitting events at Thiepval, in London and Manchester, as well as commemoration events in Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh.

 

Many though will have fallen in fighting away from the main, well known battles and local remembrance will need to be organised by those whose families were affected. To this end I would like to flag up, well ahead of time, a remembrance event at the Forenville Military Cemetery, near Cambrai in Northern France. Most of those in this cemetery were killed on the 8th October 1918 during the second battle of Cambrai, but a few were KIA on other dates and there are 6 WW2 airmen in there as well. Most are UK from several regiments, but at least 2 are Kiwis. The total number being just over 100.

 

I intend being at Forenville ( if I am spared) on the 8th October 2018 and wondered if anyone else with connections to those men would like to be there on the day. I have already made tentative enquiries with a local representative from Seranviller (just South of the Cemetery) (where my grandfather was KIA). Of course people around Cambrai will have the first battle (1917) in focus for next year.

 

CWGC have a list of those in the Forenville cemetery on their website at

 

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/59906/Forenville Military Cemetery

 

under "see casualty records" button

 

Although I have set the date as 08/10/2018, all connected to this cemetery are of course more than welcome.

 

Kind regards

 

Dave

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just wanted to add to this post the fact that I have communicated to CWGC that I am hoping to hold a small commemoration at Forenville on the 8th October 2018. An appropriate application to them will go in at a later date. I hope CWGC would be represented, especially those local people who keep the cemetery so beautifully tended.

 

Obviously with more than two years to go things are very much at an initial level but I will update on this thread if I have anything to broadcast. I am also exploring other ways of making the commemoration known to descendants of the men buried at Forenville.


Any suggestions as to how I could gain more "publicity" would be very welcome.

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  • 2 weeks later...

To add further to this thread - I have now placed a notice of this event on the New Zealand on-line cenotaph pages of the two Kiwis buried in Forenville in the hope of making the event known to their family. Neither man will have direct descendants but other family may still have remembrance of an uncle or cousin. News of the event has also been put elsewhere in NZ.

 

I hope eventually that someone descended/related to the UK soldiers in Forenville will see this thread.

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  • 4 weeks later...

No further news as yet, but I will keep posting and organise the event for 8th October 2018.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi All,

 

Nothing more to add really but wanted to raise it up the pile a bit again.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have had contact with family of the two New Zealanders buried at Forenville both KIA on the 9th Oct 1918. How ironic that my first reply came from those furthest away!! They are keen to come and hope to do so.

 

I mentioned in the original post that 6 WW2 airmen are also buried in Forenville cemetery. They were 6 members of a Lancaster crew of 408 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force shot down by a night fighter while on a raid in the Cambrai area on the evening of 12th June 1944. It came down close to Forenville. 2 members of the crew survived. One became a POW and the other evaded capture. His name suggests he was French-Canadian and I guess speaking the language would be a great asset. I have left a comment on the 408 Squadron Association website detailing the intended commemoration. Our remembrance will of course include them - they will never be forgotten.

 

I am still hoping for a contact from UK family/descendants of those buried in Forenville.

 

I am still looking for ways of spreading news of the centenary commemoration - Do you have any ideas?????

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  • 2 weeks later...

To spread this a little wider - The 100 or so men buried at Forenville come from the following regiments -  Quite a cross section in a small cemetery.

 

3 Coldream Guards (1st & 2nd Battalion)

1 Gordon Highlander (1st Battalion)

2 Grenadier Guards ( 3rd Battalion)

1 King's Own (Lancaster) (8th Battalion)

2 King's Royal Rifle Corps (1st & 20th Battalion)

21 Royal Fusiliers (4th, 17th & 23rd Battalion)

2 Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) (2nd Battalion)

1 New Zealand Army Service Corps

1 New Zealand Rifle Brigade

10 Northumberland Fusiliers (1st, 3rd & 8th Battalion)

20 Royal Berkshire (1st & 4th Battalion)

2 Royal Engineers

1 Royal Field Artillery

2 Royal Marine Light Infantry

1 Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

1 Royal Scots Fusiliers (1st Battalion)

1 Royal Warwickshire (12th/1st Battalion)

8 Suffolk (2nd Battalion)

17 King's Liverpool (13th Battalion)

 

Plus the 6 WW2 airman of 408 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force

 

If anyone has contact with the Associations etc. of these Regiments please pass this thread on - thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Hello - well little to add to this thread really.

 

Having had no further enquiries at all through GWF. I have approached the Associations of some of the Regiments with fallen soldiers at Forenville. I have also recently found a couple of soldiers who are listed on Ancestry.com and appear to have living relatives who maintain a family tree on there. I have, to begin with, concentrated on men who were married and may have had children (and therefore direct descendants). Thankfully, except for my purposes, they appear to be relatively few, although quite a few men have no next of kin listed.

 

I will keep trying to find living relatives of these men, but after more than 6 months so far, progress has been disappointingly slow.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have now had contact with a family member of one of the other men from the KLR. I sent a message through Ancestry.com as the soldier was listed in a family tree. It was great to get a positive and interested reply. I have sent 4 such messages and still hope for further replies.

 

I have also had a message from the King's Regiment Association Liverpool (KRAL) who will publicise the event in their newsletter.

 

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  • 2 months later...

Thank you to Eric Roper the Newsletter Editor of The King's Regiment Association, Liverpool Branch for including my letter about my intention to run this centenary event on 8th October 2018.

 

It is disappointing that I have not reached many relatives of those 100 or so men buried at Forenville. I will keep trying.

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  • 4 months later...

Hello All,

 

Forgive me for raising this to the top of the pile without too much to say - in the hope that someone will spot it and make contact.

 

I am about to open a Facebook page for this Centenary Commemoration at Forenville in the hope that it might have a life of its own.

 

 

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One of the R Berks casualties is on the Newbury memorial, but I haven't researched him as yet. 


Sgt Albert Illsley, 1st Bn, R Berks. As it happens he died 8 Oct 1918 aged 36.

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Hello Phil,

 

Thanks for pointing me towards Albert. I have searched for him on Ancestry and found a tree run by modern day Illsleys - at least they have listed his death and burial at Forenville. Quite a few Albert Illsley listed on Ancestry so care is needed.

 

I have messaged the owner of this tree to see if they have any interest in the centenary commemoration.

 

I am slowly going through other Ancestry listed trees in the hope of finding family of other men in Forenville.

 

Thanks once again.

 

Dave

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Born 1880, parents William and Emma (nee Palmer) - a pre-war regular with the 2nd R Berks, mobilised from the Reserve in 1914. An old contemptible (just), landed at Le Havre, 6 Nov 1914 with the 2 Berks, 8th Div.  Won an MM on 22 Aug '18. Almost made it through to the end.

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Hello Phil, Thanks for the info.

 

Now this is where it gets muddy - where did you get his year of birth and his parents from? A regimental record perhaps.

 

Ancestry is notorious for dodgy listing with people often copying other peoples mistakes. Three family trees on Ancestry claim that their Albert Illsley died 8th October 1918 and is buried at Forenville!!!

 

One claims that he was born 1884 in Reading, Berks and that his parents were George James Insley (sic) and Elizabeth (Cissie) Giltrow

 

Another one says born 1884 Reading, Berks but that his parents were George Illsley and Comfort James.

 

The third one agrees with the second

 

I think is likely that the owners of these trees are all wrong if your parents info for Albert is correct.

 

I can see Albert listed with parents William and Emma in Newbury at the 1891 and 1901 census. BUT he is listed as age 22 in 1901, but only 26 in the 1911 census where he is shown as in the 2nd Battn Royal Berkshire Regt. in India.

 

I will have to look deeper.

 

Thanks for your help Phil - I am still searching for more of those 100 men, including quite a few from the Royal Berks.

 

Dave

 

PS - I don't suppose it matters whether you are killed at the beginning or the end of a war but it seems worse close to the end. My Grandfather almost made it through. He didn't win any medals (other than the usual two) but he was wounded at least twice including the Somme and had been in since early 1915.

Edited by Retired Dave
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I never rely on Ancestry trees - they can be useful in shortcutting research, but you have to check everything, it is rare to find one with everthing accurate and even rarer to find one with everthing there is to be found.

 

Illsley was researched for me by a local family historian - which I then checked. The starting point was the announcement of his death in the local rag:

 

Newbury Weekly News, 28 November 1918 – Local War Notes

Mr  & Mrs George Illsley, of Raymond’s Cottages, Argyle-road, have been notified of the death of their brother, Sergt A Illsley, 1st Royal Berks, killed in action on Oct 9th, aged 36 years.

 

So a brother's name - add the birthplace from Soldiers' Who Died and the relatively rare surname and it's not difficult to find the family (though, having now looked at him on an Ancestry tree it does seem to be beyond some).  There is some doubt introduced by his variable age (36 in 1918, 26 in 1911, 22 in 1901, 11 in 1891 and 1 in 1881) but the Newbury link is consistent throughout, and there is no other Newbury born man of his name (ILLSLEY/ILSLEY).

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Phil,

Forgive me for the delay in replying to you - life is too busy for the retired isn't it. Still I wasn't in the obits this morning so that's a good sign.

 

Thanks for the further info. Yes I am always wary of anything on Ancestry without further source material. Like you say it can be useful as a pointer to where to look.

 

I will keep up the search - thanks again.

 

Dave

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  • 1 month later...

Well - Only a year to go now to this commemorative event and I have only made contact with a handful of people related to these 100 or so men. I will shortly go back to earlier contacts with CWGC and the Royal British Legion, as well the local Maire (Mayor) in Seranvillers-Forenville. The centenary of the first Battle of Cambrai is almost upon us now and after that my searching will begin again in earnest.

 

It has been suggested that I should form a Facebook page for the event next year but I have delayed until now. I have always stayed clear of social media, but I will have to get a personal Facebook page as one for the event can only be attached to your own page.

 

If anyone has any further ideas for reaching family of the men buried at Forenville, they will be gratefully received.

 

Dave

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  • 2 months later...

Hello All - I am now starting to organise this event in earnest during this month (January 2018).

 

Please note that I have opened a Facebook page for this event - please just search for   Forenville Centenary

 

I am Still hoping to contact more family of those men buried in Forenville Military Cemetery.

 

Many details in the thread or contact me through the Facebook page

 

The Very Best of Wishes to you all for 2018 and well beyond.

 

Dave

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello All,

 

I have made contact with one or two more families of the men buried in Forenville. I have also had very positive contact with the local Mayor (Marie) and they are intending to have a village commemoration which I have suggested we attend as a joint effort. The Marie's suggestions for the day are very humbling - obviously remembrance and gratitude are still strong in that part of France.

 

The date is likely to be Sunday 7th October 2018 to allow more to attend. I will be there on the morning of the 8th October 2018 anyway for my own remembrance on the due day.

 

Dave

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Very important.  Thanks for attending Dave.

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Hi ejwalshe,

 

Thank you for message of support. I feel it is coming together now, even though there may not be a big number of us, the local community is planning a fitting tribute.

 

Did you notice that there are 6 members of a Lancaster crew of the RCAF buried here at Forenville? They were 408 sqn and crashed near the cemetery in June 1944. I tried to contact the 408 sqn association but had no contacts.

 

Obviously the centenary is not for them but they will not be forgotten - they will never be forgotten.

 

Dave

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Dave, this must be one of the last cemeteries missing from my customized map - thank you for this.

 

There are four Canadians among that crew...the six are the only WWII graves in this otherwise Great War cemetery of 98 casualties.

 

I have to visit it this year!  Thanks to you and your post.

 

Cheers, Ted

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Ted,

I used to visit RAF Linton-on-Ouse several times a year in the 90's as part of my job. The Lancaster (EQ-Y) of 408 sqn was from Linton and there is a monument to the memory of the Sqn (and 426) on the base.

http://426sqdn.ca/remembrances/linton_on_ouse.html

I noticed during my short research on 408 - my focus is obviously on the WW1 guys with the centenary coming up soon - that two of the crew survived. One of them had a name that was obviously French-Canadian. He made a home run and evaded capture. I guess speaking French would be a big asset. The other survivor became a POW. I thought I had full details of the crew bookmarked, but it will not come to hand now. Of course I have the names of the 6 buried at Forenville. As I said above the they will not be forgotten.

 

cheers

Dave

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Thanks for this, Dave.  I had neglected to mention my dad served with both 408 Goose Squadron and 426 Thunderbird Squadron during the Cold War.

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