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laughton

New Zealand: Recovering the Fallen

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laughton

I see a number of members here with New Zealand interests and connections. I am looking for a contact that deals with the New Zealand UNKNOWNS, as I have not dealt with them previously. We have made contact with South Africa and Australia, so adding to the list.

 

Here is a case in Achiet-le Grand Communal Cemetery Extension (reburied in 4.U.9) that was exhumed from the Achiet-le-Petit Communal Cemetery German Extension (6.A.34), for which there are considerable details but not an exact match, thus more information is needed.

 

Signaller, 2/N.Z. Infantry Brigade Head Quarters

Died 29 August 1918

Exhumed 24 July 1924

Details: see end of post for exhumation reports

 

The CWGC database information for the Grevilliers (New Zealand) Memorial around that date of death  has 7 listings and only 1 on the 29th so I expanded the dates:

 

surname forename death rank regiment Bn. #
DIGGS HUBERT JOHN EDWARD 30-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 1st Bn. '38361'
FARLAND CHARLES THOMAS 30-08-18 Corporal New Zealand Rifle Brigade 1st Bn. 3rd '41137'
HOWARD FRANK SPENCER 30-08-18 Private Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 1st Bn. '53494'
LOADER WILLIAM JAMES 28-08-18 Rifleman New Zealand Rifle Brigade 1st Bn. 3rd '69412'
SEMMENS ARTHUR BERNARD 30-08-18 Private Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F.   '12485'
WADSWORTH GEORGE ASHCROFT 29-08-18 Rifleman New Zealand Rifle Brigade 4th Bn. 3rd '26/647'
WALL ROBERT FRANCIS WILLIS 30-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '52516'

 

If I can rely on Wiki it tells me:

Quote

2nd Infantry Brigade: It was formed in Egypt in 1916 for service with the New Zealand Division on the Western Front. Its original commander was Brigadier General William Garnett Braithwaite, a British Army officer on secondment to the New Zealand Military Forces. Upon formation, the brigade consisted of four infantry battalions: the 2nd Battalion, Auckland Regiment; the 2nd Battalion, Wellington Regiment; the 2nd Battalion, Canterbury Regiment; and the 2nd Battalion, Otago Regiment.[1] This was later changed, though, when several battalions were swapped between the 1st and 2nd Brigades, resulting in the 1st Battalions of the Canterbury and Otago Regiments replacing the 2nd Battalions of the Auckland and Wellington Regiments. This placed all the North Island battalions in the 1st Brigade while all the South Island formations were in the 2nd Brigade.[2]

 

Perhaps this is a better source: http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-WH1-Fran-t1-body1-d1-d8.html

Quote

2nd NEW ZEALAND INFANTRY BRIGADE

Commander—Lt.-Col. (Temp. Brig.-Gen.) W. G. Braithwaite, D.S.O. (Royal Welsh Fusiliers)

Brigade Major—Major F. H. Lampen, N.Z.S.C.

Staff Captain—Major E. Puttick

2nd Bn., Auckland Regiment—Lt.-Col. W. W. Alderman, A.I.F. Staff

2nd Bn., Canterbury Regiment—Lt.-Col. H. Stewart, M.C.PAGE 16

2nd Bn., Otaga Regiment—Lt.-Col. A. Moore, D.S.O. (Royal Dublin Fusiliers)

2nd Bn., Wellington Regiment—Lt.-Col. W. H. Cunningham

New Zealand Pioneer Bu.,—Lt.-Col. G. A. king, N.Z.S.C.

3 Machine Gun Companies

New Zealand Divisional Train—Lt.-Col. N. C. Hamilton, R.A.S.C.

1st New Zealand Field Ambulance—Lt.-Col. E. J. O'Neill, D.S.O.

2nd New Zealand Field Ambulance—Lt.-Col. D. N. W. Murray

3rd New Zealand Field Ambulance—Lt.-Col. J. Hardie Neil

New Zealand Sanitary Section.

New Zealand Mobile Veterinary Section

 

That would appear to make Private Wall of the 2nd Bn. Auckland Regiment the more likely candidate, if he was assigned as a Signaller to H.Q.? If I was looking at a Canadian counterpart I would focus on the Lance Corporals and Corporals, as most Signallers appeared to be of that rank.

 

If I expand the dates to cover the period of August 25th to 31st and limit it to the 2nd Infantry Brigade, plus the man dead on the 29th (WADSWORTH - if he was attached as a Signaller) the list is:

December 21, 2016: I now believe that this is incorrect as listed below as this was the organization at the start but by the time of the event the 2nd Infantry Brigade was restructured, which I have drafted for the report as follows, based on what New Zealand Roger provided to Canadian Richard:

Quote

The military history of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force for August 1918 dictates that the person described as being with the 2nd New Zealand Infantry Brigade could only be a member of the 1st or 2nd Otago Battalion or the 1st or 2nd Canterbury Battalion, representing New Zealand’s south islands. For historical reference, the counterpart north islands made up the 1st Infantry Brigade from the 1st and 2nd Auckland Battalions and 1st & 2nd Wellington Battalions. The final component in the organization was the 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade (NZR shoulder patch) consisting of the 1st to 4th Rifle Battalions.

 

surname forename death rank regiment Bn. #
DYER WILLIAM 31-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '40531'
HAYES FRANK CLEMENT 31-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '56285'
LIST GORDON HAROLD FREDERICK 31-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. "E" Coy., 2nd Bn. '44748'
SMALL HERBERT EDWARD 31-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '49125'
WALL ROBERT FRANCIS WILLIS 30-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '52516'
BELL JOHN MCPEAKE 25-08-18 Private Canterbury Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '51257'
McHARG LESLIE HERBERT 25-08-18 Lance Corporal Canterbury Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '44066'
WADSWORTH GEORGE ASHCROFT 29-08-18 Rifleman New Zealand Rifle Brigade 4th Bn. 3rd '26/647'
EVANS WILLIAM JOHN 26-08-18 Private Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '36176'
SAVAGE ALBERT 25-08-18 Corporal Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '24/1807'
SEMMENS ARTHUR BERNARD 30-08-18 Private Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F. ? '12485'
WHITE ALEXANDER EBENEZER 26-08-18 Private Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '64184'

 

Perhaps there are records, such as we have in Canada, that would tell which was a Signaller and attached to Brigade H.Q.?

 

doc1962609.JPG

 

doc1962611.JPG

Edited by laughton
added correction to Brigade structure

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laughton

Turns out there was a Brigade Runner lost on the same date, so that would make it appear that it was the date of burial perhaps and not the date of death. I have seen that before in the German burial records:

 

doc1962607.JPG

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David_Underdown

The Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph database is usually the easiest way of locating NZ personnel records http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph.  The entry for each man should include a link to his (digitised) record in Archives New Zealand, and may also include other contextual info.

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laughton

Thanks a good start - link saved to collection :D

It had the Nominal Roll for Wadsworth and it shows he was a Farmer and then Pioneer.

It lists the Signallers, so I now hope I can check all the others.

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laughton

Looks like it was probably Lance Corporal Leslie Herbert McHarg #44066, a Clerk by trade assigned to the Signal Section of the 2nd Battalion, Canterbury Regiment. As noted, the rank fits the specialty.

 

DYER = Farmer : "A" Coy, Aukland Infantry Regiment http://api.aucklandmuseum.com/id/media/v/321287?rendering=original.jpg
HAYES = Engineer : "A" Coy, Aukland Infantry Regiment http://api.aucklandmuseum.com/id/media/v/321094?rendering=original.jpg
LIST = Platelayer - "E" Coy
SMALL = Milkman : "A" Coy, Aukland Infantry Regimemnt http://api.aucklandmuseum.com/id/media/v/321972?rendering=original.jpg
WALL = Farmer : "B" Coy http://api.aucklandmuseum.com/id/media/v/321932?rendering=original.jpg
BELL = Compositor : "C" Coy Canterbury Regiment http://api.aucklandmuseum.com/id/media/v/320825?rendering=original.jpg
McHARG = Clerk : Signal Section http://api.aucklandmuseum.com/id/media/v/320489?rendering=original.jpg
WADSWORTH = Farmer : Transport Section http://api.aucklandmuseum.com/id/media/v/321186?rendering=original.jpg
EVANS = Pattern Marker : Field Engineers http://api.aucklandmuseum.com/id/media/v/321360?rendering=original.jpg
SAVAGE = Blacksmith : "F" Coy, 2nd Battalion http://api.aucklandmuseum.com/id/media/v/321308?rendering=original.jpg
SEMMENS = Shepherd : "F" Coy, 2nd Battalion http://api.aucklandmuseum.com/id/media/v/320899?rendering=original.jpg
WHITE = Farm Labourer : "B" Coy Wellington Inf. Reg. http://api.aucklandmuseum.com/id/media/v/320619?rendering=original.jpg

 

McHarg's Papers:

- server crashes if I try to insert the media file ...... it is at the link above.

- 0555 EST Canada and it is all working fine again!

320489?rendering=original.jpg 

Edited by laughton
server crashed - reported

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laughton

This is the Concentration Report (COG-BR) for the New Zealand Signaller. His original location was the Achiet-Le-Petit Communal Cemetery German Extension in Plot 6 Row A Grave 34 (57c.G.14.a.6.1). The Brigade Runner is also at the top of the list. If it is Lance Serjeant McHarg (perhaps with Bell), then the correct date of death is 25 August 1918. It appears to be standard that the Germans put the date of burial on the cross and not the date of death. Perhaps they never knew the date of death if they found them on the battlefield?

 

I was surprised to see that the Achiet-Le-Petit cemetery still exists today. If you use the Converter you get GPS = 50.1228, 2.7572 and there you can see the rectangle. Drop down into Street View and there is a good image of the cemetery (see below COG-BR).

 

doc1962704.JPG

 

uic2vgcc8gcpy0e6g.jpg

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jacksdad

Hi laughton

what a great project

McHarg military file states that he was 5. foot 6. so close to estimated height of body.

 

Cheers Roger

AWNS_19190109_p041_i017_b[1].jpg

Edited by jacksdad

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jacksdad

Oh, the next problem is the exhumation record states that he has NZR numerals.

The "NZR" badge will only be found on a soldier from 3rd NZRB (New Zealand Rifle Brigade) and more so a bloke who started his service with the NZRB. with the lion rampant holding the flag on his collar as per  Farland in the picture below.

That would possibly exclude McHarg. as he was (by his military record)  2nd Coy (South Canterbury Company) of 2n Canterbury Battalion, of (at this stage of the war) 2nd Brigade NZIB. he would have been wearing the 2 coy Sth Canterbury badge or (as per his Picture) what appears to be the MG signallers collar badge. 

That would put one of the following in the run:

Charles Farland 41137  1st Battalion 3rd (NZR numerals) New Zealand Rifle Brigade

William Loader  69412 of the same Batn and Brigade

George Wadsworth 26/647 of 4th Battalion 3rd NZR

 

 

 

 

AWNS_19190109_p041_i042_b.jpg

Edited by jacksdad

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jacksdad

Wadsworth's military file as a bit of weight as well as he was attached to HQ 29/7/1918.

 

4th rifles positions on the 26th - 30th August 1918 - if that helps

IMG_3996.JPG

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jacksdad

The unmistakable 3rd NZRB shoulder badge.

s-l225[1].jpg

Edited by jacksdad

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laughton

Roger:

 

Great information, glad contact has been made. I know lots about the Canadians, a bit about the British but diddly about the ANZAC forces. Always willing to learn and also willing to turn over cases to those with the expertise.

 

In the first BIG mixed case we did a few months ago we had a South African pilot, a Canadian Observer, flying a British RFC plane that crashed in Belgium. We had a researcher from each of the 4 countries on the team and the report went to the CWGC. They were impressed by the quality of our work but I think more so that we got together as an "International Team" to execute the project. So welcome New Zealand!

 

In this case, a couple of questions / comments:

  1. Only the Brigade Runner has the N.Z.R. numerals, so that should not impact on McHarg as the Signaller. It might help sort out who was the Runner.
     
  2. Was there only one (1) New Zealand Rifle Brigade Battalion or a host of them wearing the N.Z.R. badge? I think I just answered my own question as Wadsworth was 4th Battalion N.Z.R.B. so I presume also had N.Z.R. numerals?
     
  3. That is great information that Wadsworth "was attached to HQ 29/7/1918"! Does that mean that the others could also be checked and either included or eliminated - particularly McHarg as the Signaller? If Wadsworth was the only N.Z.R. and the only one attached to Brigade H.Q., that would make him the Runner would it not? A spreadsheet of the men attached to Brigade H.Q. would certainly be useful.
     
  4. The map puts them in the correct general area but at the same time it raises the question as to how he ended up going backwards (west) to Achiet-Le-Petit? Was that an existing "German Extension" to the Communal Cemetery that the British continued to use? If so, then they should have known the correct date of death. Was that area still in German hands at the time? It would appear the New Zealand forces had crossed the old line (GREY) by that time.

02485t8yedg5xo86g.jpg

 

Any additional information would be most appreciated.

 

Richard

Edited by laughton
can't spell!

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jacksdad

Hi Richard

Answering your questions:

1. No. Only a brigade runner from the Rifle Brigade will be wearing a NZR badge. So that probably excludes McHarg unless he transferred to the Rifle Brigade (unlikely going by his Mil File) or borrowed a Rifle Brigade Tunic the day he was killed.

2. just to clarify. A brigade is around 3000-4000 men and is made up of (at this period of the war in the NZ Division) still 4 Battalions of around 1000-1200 men. so they are different animals.

In the NZ Division there were 4 infantry Brigades. They were in order of creation 1st Brigade (1/NZIB), 2nd Brigade (2/NZIB), 3rd (Rifle) Brigade (3/NZRB) and 4th Brigade (4/NZIB).

 

Now dealing solely with the 1/NZIB, 2/NZIB & 4/NZIB

NZ is made up of two main islands, and by early 1917 1/NZIB had the two  north island battalions 1 & 2 Auckland & 1 & 2 Wellington. likewise 2/NZIB comprised of the south island battalion 1 Canterbury 2 Canterbury and 1 & 2 Otago.

in late 1917 they disbanded 4/NZIB

None of the men in these two Brigades made up of these 4 (each) battalions would be wearing an NZR badge. None at all.

 

Now dealing solely with the 3/NZRB

This is the NZ Rifle Brigade.

They are the only unit to wear the NZR shoulder badge.

The 3/NZRB was equally made up of four battalions - but in stead of being named after a province, they were named 1st Rifles through to 4th Rifle Battalion. so 1/Rifles, 2/Rifles, 3/Rifles & 4/Rifles.

Clear as mud - ah?

 

So Wadsworth was in the 4th Rifle Battalion (1000 men) of the 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade (4000 men). He would be wearing the NZR shoulder badge with pride and his colour patch below - McHarg would probably not be seen dead wearing the NZR shoulder badge. there was originally a bit of rivalry between the three Brigades, the 3/NZRB not arriving in the war until well after Gallipoli, back then, as now, being a Gallipoli Vet runs deep in our psyche.  The 1/NZIB and 2/NZIB called the newly arrived shiny and clean 3/NZRB 'real Dinkum soldiers' as a bit of a snipe. They took the name on later as a source of pride, once they proved themselves and were always known as the "Dinks".

 

3. It would be a case of reading each of their military files for clues. all are free on line - I will have a look.

4. Achiet Petit was in NZ hands for  a week or so at this stage, the 3rd NZ Field Ambulance had established an ADS here and were burying men beside the German cemetery. The unknown man - if he was buried by the ADS and not a later battlefield clearance, would have gone back on the evacuation route as below.

Frontline shown on my map in dark blue and evac route in light blue

 

Edited by jacksdad

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jacksdad

Bap.jpg

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jacksdad

The grey line you have, maybe this is the 1916/17 advance, in 1918 the advance came south west from Achiet le Petit towards Greviller, then west to Bapaume, this was held to strongly by the Germans and so the NZ Division split and went around both sides - although, predominantly the north side. encircling the German garrison in Bapaume  

McMaster Map Mark-Up[1].jpg

Edited by jacksdad

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laughton
11 hours ago, jacksdad said:

No. Only a brigade runner from the Rifle Brigade will be wearing a NZR badge. So that probably excludes McHarg unless he transferred to the Rifle Brigade (unlikely going by his Mil File) or borrowed a Rifle Brigade Tunic the day he was killed.

 

Roger:

 

It certainly helps having someone look at this that knows the history of the regiments! I will have to get the book "New Zealand Brigades for Dummies".

 

First we need to clear up the McHarg issue as I think you are trying to convince me that he would NEVER have had the NZR badge so he was not the runner. I agree with that BUT I was never trying to place him as the RUNNER in 6.A.31 but rather as the SIGNALLER in 6.A.34. It does not say that the Signaller was wearing N.Z.R. numerals. Perhaps I am misunderstanding your point? Is there some reason that McHarg can not be the Signaller in 6.A.34? Regardless, we would still need to confirm if anyone else on the list was assigned to Brigade H.Q. and was a Signaller.

 

I did not find anyone else that was with the Signals, so I would say that McHarg is the man in 6.A.34.

 

If you did not wear the N.Z.R. did you wear N.Z.E.F. or something different?

 

I noted these changes from the Nominal Rolls:

 

* Goulton is listed E Coy 7th Reinforcements to 1st Battalion
* Grace is listed as B Coy Wellington Infantry Regiment
* Loader was a Lance Corporal in C Coy of the Canterbury Infantry Regiment
* Bey is listed as a Sergeant in F Coy, don't know which Regiment
* Maisey and Robertson were initially with the New Zealand Engineers
* Semmens picture says Lance Corporal and file says 6th Reinforcements to F Coy 2nd Bn New Zealand Rifle Brigade

 

Here is my summary table to date - I have yet to find the on-line service records. I gather that the units and ranks in these tables were either in the pre-war militia (if there was such a thing in New Zealand) or at the time of attestation? A number of ranks dropped, such as Bey from Sergeant to Private. My grandfather went from a 2nd Lieutenant in Canada (142nd Bn.) to a Private (33rd Bn.) so he could get into action, then he went to British Officer's School and went back to 2nd Lieutenant in the 26th Northumberland Fusiliers, so I know anything can happen!

 

If we are running bets here, then I put $5 dollars on Rifleman Charles Goulton N.Z.R. as the Runner in 6.A.31 - sounds like a good position for a "Bushman".

 

Richard

 

surname forename death rank regiment unit # Bdge. Bn. Coy Numerals Prior
DIGGS HUBERT JOHN EDWARD 30-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 1st Bn. '38361' 1 1 A   Labourer
DYER WILLIAM 31-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '40531' 1 2 A   Law Stationer
HAYES FRANK CLEMENT 31-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '56285' 1 2 A   Engineer
LIST GORDON HAROLD FREDERICK 31-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. "E" Coy., 2nd Bn. '44748' 1 2 E   Contractor
SMALL HERBERT EDWARD 31-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '49125' 1 2 A   Milkman
WALL ROBERT FRANCIS WILLIS 30-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '52516' 1 2 E   Farmer
BELL JOHN MCPEAKE 25-08-18 Private Canterbury Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '51257' 2 2 C   Compositor
McHARG LESLIE HERBERT 25-08-18 L.Corp. Canterbury Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '44066' 2 2 Signals   Clerk
PENNIE WILLIAM 25-08-18 Private Canterbury Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 1st Bn. '28913' 2 1 J   Farm Labourer
FARLAND CHARLES THOMAS 30-08-18 Corporal New Zealand Rifle Brigade 1st Bn. 3rd '41137' 3 1 J N.Z.R. Blacksmith
GOULTON CHARLES 26-08-18 Rifleman New Zealand Rifle Brigade "C" Coy., 3rd Bn. 3rd '23371' 3 3 changed N.Z.R. Bushman
GRACE EDWARD MAWAKE 26-08-18 Rifleman New Zealand Rifle Brigade 2nd Bn. 3rd '65381' 3 2 changed N.Z.R. Grocer
LOADER WILLIAM JAMES 28-08-18 Rifleman New Zealand Rifle Brigade 1st Bn. 3rd '69412' 3 1 changed N.Z.R. Shearer
WADSWORTH GEORGE ASHCROFT 29-08-18 Rifleman New Zealand Rifle Brigade 4th Bn. 3rd '26/647' 3 4 Transport N.Z.R. Farmer
BEY WILLIAM FARQUHARSON 25-08-18 Private Otago Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 1st Bn. '38799' 2 1 changed   Farmer
JERVIS LEONARD GEORGE 25-08-18 Private Otago Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 1st Bn. '46836' 2 1 D   Aussie Carpenter
RASMUSSEN JENS JOHANNES 25-08-18 Private Otago Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 1st Bn. '30291' 2 1 F   Farm Hand
EVANS WILLIAM JOHN 26-08-18 Private Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '36176' 1 2 Field Engr.   Pattermaker
HOWARD FRANK SPENCER 30-08-18 Private Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 1st Bn. '53494' 1 1 F   Elect. Engineer
MAISEY LEONARD 31-08-18 Private Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd (Ruahine) Coy., 1st Bn. '26425' 1 2 changed   Plumber
ROBERTSON ALBERT EDWARD 31-08-18 Private Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 1st Bn. '12076' 1 1 changed   Driver
SAVAGE ALBERT 25-08-18 Corporal Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '24/1807' 1 2 F   Blacksmith
SEMMENS ARTHUR BERNARD 30-08-18 Private Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F.   '12485' 3 2 changed N.Z.R. Shepherd
WHITE ALEXANDER EBENEZER 26-08-18 Private Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '64184' 1 2 B   Farm Labourer

 

Edited by laughton
typo

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jacksdad

oh - my mistake

Post #6

I was reading the burial record for 6.A.31. and did not realise that your man was further down the page at 6.A.34. - I should have read further down the page.

That puts McHarg in the front running, as he is a signaller with the Machine gunners.

 

The Machine Gunners history is here

http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-WH1-Mach-t1-body-d1-d12.html#n167

 

The Military files here

https://www.archway.archives.govt.nz/SimpleSearchResults.do

 

the issue is perhaps his death date 25th August on his military file and 29th on the graves register.

I have seen a far bit of variation in the recorded death dates before, so nothing unusual if everything else is pointing his way.

cheers Roger

 

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jacksdad

Ok - So I have gone back and started rereading your compiled information.

Starting with post #1

your list

surname forename death rank regiment Bn. #
DYER WILLIAM 31-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '40531'
HAYES FRANK CLEMENT 31-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '56285'
LIST GORDON HAROLD FREDERICK 31-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. "E" Coy., 2nd Bn. '44748'
SMALL HERBERT EDWARD 31-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '49125'
WALL ROBERT FRANCIS WILLIS 30-08-18 Private Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '52516'
BELL JOHN MCPEAKE 25-08-18 Private Canterbury Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '51257'
McHARG LESLIE HERBERT 25-08-18 Lance Corporal Canterbury Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '44066'
WADSWORTH GEORGE ASHCROFT 29-08-18 Rifleman New Zealand Rifle Brigade 4th Bn. 3rd '26/647'
EVANS WILLIAM JOHN 26-08-18 Private Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '36176'
SAVAGE ALBERT 25-08-18 Corporal Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '24/1807'
SEMMENS ARTHUR BERNARD 30-08-18 Private Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F. ? '12485'
WHITE ALEXANDER EBENEZER 26-08-18 Private Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Bn. '64184'

 

and your copy.

doc1962609.JPG

 

The bloke in 6.A.34 is from the 2/NZIB - going by the 'regiment' line information.

So that in 1918, could only be a member of the Otago or Canterbury Battalion.

So that narrows it down to either Bell or McHarg as all the others are either Rifle Brigade or 1st Brigade

Both frustratingly death dates recorded as 25th, I wonder, there is not much difference between a 5 and 9, could a weathered 5 be mistaken as a 9 on a wooden cross left to nature and elements after 6 years? 

 

So Bell.

his military file.

http://ndhadeliver.natlib.govt.nz/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE11881469

 

He is with the 2 N Z Ent Bn (NZ Entrenching Battalion - what the 4/NZIF was broken up into in late 1917) then is that H.G. or H.Q?

He is transferred to 2/Canterbury 20.8.1918.

He has the right hair colour and height.

 

McHarg

Likewise has dark brown hair and is 5.6. by his military file.

 

So both are in the running. This maybe the clincher - Bell's military file has a dental report as per link above as for the life of me I can not paste the screen shot here as intended along side the burial dental chart.

 

doc1962611.JPG

Now - I am no dentist, but the top set appear to me to match - extraction on right third from back. if the line through Bells top right #6 means an extraction and the 'X' on the grave report means an extraction.

Bottom set if my reading is correct the right side is one tooth out for an extraction, the left side is wrong-?

 

 

 

Edited by jacksdad

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jacksdad

2/Canterbury war diary for 25-29th

 

 

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Edited by jacksdad

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jacksdad

2/NZIF HQ War Diary

 

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jacksdad

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laughton

The references are great. I got into the service records then the site went down - overloaded, but they gave a nice list of other reference sites (this list on error page). In that was a great link to OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE OTAGO REGIMENT, N.Z.E.F. IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918. WIthin Chapter 18 there is an overview of the battle on pages 331 to 337 - including interaction with the other units. An interesting point at the end refers to the burial of those lost at Bapaume, suggesting the ones that went back to Achiet-Le-Petit were those that died of wounds at an Aid Station to the rear of the main force:

 

Page 337: The men of Otago who fell in action on the 25th found their last resting place on the summit of the morning's advance, adjoining the Bapaume-Arras highway, and on the northern outskirts of the town.

 

I see they also have THE HISTORY OF THE CANTERBURY REGIMENT, N.Z.E.F. 1914 - 1919. The Battle of Bapaume is in Chapter 14, which should cover the actions of McHarg and Bell, the two prime candidates for the Signaller in 6.A.34. Good general map of the area of the battle here: Bapaume - a smaller version is at the bottom of this post. The history fails to always mention the month in the date, so here we are in August 1918:

 

Page 249: The 1st and 2nd Brigades were ordered to make the attack on the New Zealand Division's frontage on the 24th. The 1st Brigade's task was to advance as far as a line from the southern corner of Loupart Wood to a quarry on the Bapaume-Achiet le Grand railway between Grévillers and Biefvillers; and included the capture of Loupart Wood and the village of Grévillers. On the left of the 1st Brigade, the 37th Division was to capture Biefvillers. The 2nd Brigade was to pass through the 1st Brigade and the 37th Division, and capture Bapaume and the high ground to the east of that town. Tanks were to take part in the attack; and as, owing to the distance of the advance, no creeping barrage could be provided for the 2nd Brigade, the majority of the tanks were allotted to this brigade.

 

The 1st Brigade attacked at 4.30 a.m., and by 8 a.m. the 2nd Brigade headquarters received information that Grévillers had been captured. Biefvillers, however, was still in the enemy's hands, and the 2nd Brigade was ordered to capture the village. By 5.30 a.m. the battalions had arrived at their assembly areas, the 1st Canterbury Battalion (on the right) and the 2nd Canterbury Battalion (on the left) astride the Grévillers-Achiet le Petit road, south-east of the Albert-Arras railway, the 2nd Otago Battalion between the railway and Achiet IE Petit, and the 1st Otago Battalion to the north-west of that village. In the 2nd Brigade's attack, the 2nd Otago Battalion replaced the 1st Canterbury Battalion, which remained in its assembly area all day.

 

Page 251: The 1st Otago Battalion attacked under a barrage at 6.30 p.m. (August 25th) and gained its objectives. The 1st, 12th, and 13th Companies of the 2nd Canterbury Battalion pushed forward by means of fighting patrols, and gained possession of the high ground to the west of the Bapaume-Beugnâtre road, with some forward posts east of the road. The 2nd Company was employed to protect the right flank of the two attacking battalions, and formed a defensive line facing St. Aubin, and the large dump of timber north of it, both of which were held by the enemy in some force. This company was in touch with the 1st Canterbury Battalion at the cemetery mentioned above.

 

Page 252: The 2nd Battalion remained in these positions till the after-noon of the following day. Meanwhile, at dawn on the 26th, the 3rd (Rifle) Brigade had passed through the 2nd Brigade, and had crossed the Bapaume-Beugnâtre road, but had made little progress in front of St. Aubin and beyond Avesnes. That after-noon the 2nd Canterbury Battalion was sent back into bivouacs in and round Biefvillers, where it was engaged on digging trenches for the defence of the village. The 1st Battalion remained in the line till the following night (27th/28th) when it was relieved by the 2nd Wellington Battalion and moved back to trenches south of Bihucourt.

 

A smaller version of the map mentioned above:

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laughton

Here is the image you wanted of Bell's dental examination at attestation. Have to sort out how on the exhumation the UPPER has the RIGHT on the LEFT side, etc.

 

p4155dv1rbgqs1b6g.jpg

 

I put the rest of his file in this ZIP FILE for easy downloading.

 

I believe this is the other page where you ask if he is attached to H.G. or H.Q. on 2 July 1918 but I agree it does say he went back to 2 Bn. Canterbury REgiment on 20 August 1918. The other page shows he went to 2/NZ Entrenching Battalion on 19 May 1918. We know he doesn't have the feet to be a "Runner", unless he runs on his toes!

 

I still can not get access to the Server to get the McHarg file - maybe it is down for service? It is 2:23 in the morning there now and I can't imagine that the server is overloaded, unless there are more Crazy Canucks (Canadians) searching WWI records? If you have the direct link, as you had for Bell, can you post that? Those seem to work. Cancel that, I just realized I had got PAGE 1 before it locked up a few hours ago, so I went into my Google History and pulled out the link:

 

McHarg Militairy File:

http://ndhadeliver.natlib.govt.nz/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE18991122

 

I will ZIP that as well and load it - back in a minute.

 

McHarg ZIP File.

 

He attended classification tests for Signaller 26 October 1917. Looks like he was then in Signals Special attached to C Coy and transferred to 4th Canterbury Regiment as Regimental Signaller. From that he was posted to 2nd Coy of the 2 Bn. Canterbury Regiment, then appointed Lance Corporal to complete .... (establishment)? on 28 June 1916. More on his Signaller status on this "Casualty Form - Active Service", same form as the Canadians used but the abbreviations differ. Looks like NZ says "Marched into" and CA would say "Taken on Strength TOS)". What is C.J.R.? He was posted 5 September 1917 as a Signaller.

 

Quote

 

So that narrows it down to either Bell or McHarg as all the others are either Rifle Brigade or 1st Brigade

Both frustratingly death dates recorded as 25th, I wonder, there is not much difference between a 5 and 9, could a weathered 5 be mistaken as a 9 on a wooden cross left to nature and elements after 6 years? 

 

 

So it has to be McHarg. I suspect the dates are when they were buried. There was no death noted for the 29th other than Wadsworth.

 

 

 

Edited by laughton
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laughton

Wadsworth ZIP File - candidate for the Runner in 6.A.31, if I recall correctly

He was at Battalion H.Q. when reported KIA on 29 August 1918 (noted on History Sheet).

3rd N.Z. Rifle Brigade, 4th Bn. D. Coy. Rejoined unit in H.Q. 29 July 1918.

 

Girdlestone ZIP File - for comparative purposes as he is a KNOWN buried in 6.A.35

Government Surveyor by trade.

Sergeant, 1st Bn. Canterbury Regiment, Attached H.Q. 2 N.Z. Infantry Brigade (same as the Runner in 6.A.31 and Signaller in 6.A.35)

Transferred to Canterbury Regiment 11 July 1918. KIA 28 August 1918.

Reported buried Achiet-le-Petit next German Cemetery as reported by Rev. J. Jermy (attch'd 2nd Army Bde NZFA) - which means to me that the men were buried by their own forces, not taken or found by the Germans and buried. Also shows they moved the men back to that area from the Brigade H.Q. for burial.

 

Cummins ZIP File - also for comparative purposes as known buried in 6.A.32

Private 1st Bn. Canterbury Regiment, 12th Coy - detached to H.Q. 2nd N.Z. Infantry Brigade 20 August 1918

KIA 28 August 1918

KIA on the 28th and buried in Achiet-Le-Petit 6.A.32 by Rev. Cruikshank?? in Communal Cemetery, German Extension

 

The files of Cummins and Girdlestone appear to indicate that the date of death in the records is the same as the date of death on the COG-BR, which was most likely on the Cross at Achiet-Le-Petit. So why are the RUNNER and SIGNALLER marked as the 29th? The CWGC records show that Dove, Elliott, Mill and Chapman were the only four (4) deaths recorded for 29 August 1918 as being buried in Achiet-Le-Grande. Fourty (40) others from New Zealand died on that date and the only one on a Memorial (thus no known grave) is Wadsworth, recorded on the Grevillers (New Zealand) Memorial. That means that the date marked the 29th is incorrect in at least one instance, which would have to be the "Signaller" as Wadsworth is the only N.Z.R. died that date that could have been the "Runner". He too was attached to Brigade H.Q.

 

I will return shortly with the other 4 N.Z.R. files who could have been the runner.

 

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laughton

Our Runner was 2nd NZ Infantry Brigade H.Q. and was found in Grave 6.A.31 DOD 29 August 1918

The COG-BR refers to the NZR numerals but that is not on the exhumation report.

Both his jaws were smashed up - or see below, was that because he had no teeth?

 

Farland ZIP File - previously a Blacksmith, no physical details provided

Corporal (up and down a few times - failed to qualify musketry)

A Coy 1st Bn 3rd NZRB

MIA and KIA 30 August 1918

 

Goulton ZIP File - initially a military cook in 1916, accustomed to hard bush life

Correct height at 5 feet 9 inches

false teeth - so maybe why there is no dental report for the "Unknown Runner" in 6.A.31

3rd NZ Entrenching Battalion 30 July 1918

C Coy 3rd Bn 3rd NZRB 13 August 1918

KIA 26 August 1918

 

Grace ZIP File - he was a grocer prior to the war and off the list - too tall

D Coy 2nd Bn 3rd NZRB 6 July 1918

6 feet 3 inches, so he is excused as Runner was 5 feet 9 inches

He does have a dental report but there is no report with the exhumation as the jaw was smashed.

MIA and then KIA 26 August 1918 but believed to be a POW (note to RVL to check ICRC Records - record here but no PA file)

Detailed report on his siting in the HISTORY REPORT that the CSM saw him go down and then a few days later found his blood stained personal effects but no sign of the body. He was acting as a Rifleman and that time, no mention of being a runner. He was advancing up the Bapaume-Cambrai Road, not at HQ.

 

Loader ZIP File - previously a shearer and waggon driver

Correct height but a known battlefield burial site so he is off the list

B Coy 1st Bn. 3rd NZRB 3 June 1918

KIA 26 August 1918

Burial location given as 57c.G.24.a.2.8 alongside the railway line, buried by Rev. Seton?

That means he was not in Achiet-Le-Petit and is off the list BUT check the COG-BR records for local cemeteries with that grid reference.

 

From this we now know that Wadsworth is the only one wearing N.Z.R. numerals that was reported to be at Brigade Headquarters as of 29 July 1918. There were no witnesses to his death. He was slightly taller than the estimated height of the runner at 5 feet 11 inches versus 5 feet 9 inches.

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jacksdad

Hi

Agreed. the current information is pointing to McHarg being 6.A.34..

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