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laughton

REJECTED: Lt. P. W. Battersby & Capt. W. W. Fitzherbert RFC: Messines Ridge British Cemetery 4.E.38 & 39

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laughton

Two Commonwealth Airmen, in this particular case British (EDIT - see below,Trevor says Fitzherbert is from New Zealand!). Thanks to Trevor's great book (pages 99 & 100 "THE SKY THEIR BATTLEFIELD II"), any easy case to solve. Lieutenant Philip Worsley Battersby (Pilot) and Captain Wyndham Waterhouse Fitzherbert were on a bombing operation that left Ramegnies-Chin aerodrome (37.I.25.a.central) and was claimed in combat south west of Warneton (28.U.12.c.5.8). The remains were recovered at 28.U.30.c.1.8 in a marked grave bearing a cross:

 

In Memory of two Unknown British Airmen. Died fighting near Pont Rouge (28.U.29.b.3.7) 7 July 1917. Buried by enemy. Cross erected and grave tended by Escort? 166 POW Coy 1919.

 

There were five (5) men that day who had their names inscribed on the Arras Flying Services Memorial. A check of all their locations provides confirmation that the only possible airmen were Battersby and Fitzherbert, of course subject to the scrutiny of Trevor Henshaw!  There is mention of a "relevant German article in Flight Magazine? I have included the closest other two men on the McMaster Map (Hewson and Snyder - a Canadian).

 

ICRC Details:

Battersby: http://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/File/Details/2090814/3/2/

Fitzherbert: http://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/File/Details/3042503/3/2/

 

RAF Vault details:

Battersby:

Fitzherbert:

 

All the documents for this case are also in this shared MediaFire folder: RFC Battersby & Fitzherbert

 

6zn3nk3d6l7gmlb6g.jpg

 

doc2015101.JPG

 

Checking which ones are on the CWGC list for the Arras Flying Services Memorial means those are the only ones that have to be checked in Trevor's book:

 

k6999uv85s0uigm6g.jpg

Edited by laughton
typo; ADDED REFERENCE; included New Zealand; marked REJECTED 22-11-2019

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fetubi

Hi Richard,

 

I think you've done very well here - it seems totally convincing that those two men are Battersby and Fitzherbert.  I've sent you a copy of the page from Flight Magazine from 6 September 1917, which includes the following from a list published in the Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung:

 

47 Sopwith one-seaters (but you can completely discount this anacronism, in a 1917 German newspaper! - the following refers to the 55 Sqn DH4)... No. 7493 Lieut. Fitzherbert, 55 Squadron, dead.  Motor Clerget 9B 2674: Occupant burned. 

 

It doesn't add new facts to your research, as much as more context.  Except to say, the absence of a mention of Battersby makes me ponder whether he had been thrown out.  Yet to counter this, they were clearly buried together.  Everything else fits, in my view.  As I've found in another resecent research and identification case, it will remain challenging to say who is who, unfortunately.

 

I've added a few bits to my master copy of The Sky Their Battlefield II, thanks to this, eg, that Fitzherbert was a New Zealander, and that he was recovered by the Germans burnt to death.  Rest in peace young Wyndham and Philip.

 

Trevor

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LDT006

Richard,

 

the problem here will be to build a solid case that can be accepted by the CWGC/MOD.

I did look into this before and think that this is the correct conclusion.

 

But there are other crew still missing for that day:

A1029 Sopwith 2str, 45Sq with Lt T Hewson  and Lt FCH Snyder (which you already mentioned) and

A6498 FE2d, 20Sq, with Lt J Crafter and Sgt WDA Backhouse. (Backhouse is also on the Arras Flying Services Memorial but for 8 July iso 7 July (error in the CWGC database ?):

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/739230/BACKHOUSE, WALTER DOUGLAS ACKROYD

These 2 planes were missing more to the north but how to prove that it's not them buried there?

 

BTW: there is some great and detailled research for the Canadian Lieutenant John Beveridge Fotheringham who died the same day in A8281 Sopwith with 2Lt JVA Gleed here:

http://www.mygrandfatherswar.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Lieutenant-J.B.-Fotheringham.pdf

Topic: 

 

Regards,

Luc.

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laughton

I agree! Quite the story on Fotheringham, I had researched him but had not seen that before.

 

I tried to tie the others into this case but I could find no evidence that it could have been them, that was the problem. It was the reference to "Pont Rouge" (I had not pinpointed that previously) that was the turning point for me on this case.

 

Let us mull over this further and see where that takes us. Most certainly, we do NOT want to go forward with a case for which we can not agree is factual. As always our best solution is to find the others. After that we have to find Haller and Foster, still dangling (Topic 13949)!

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laughton

Taking a fresh look at the coordinates in the morning, the sky has cleared. Thanks to the others here and on the other posts (GWF & CEFSG sites) that cleared up the issue as to what happened to the others in the same planes that were not listed.

 

If I have this correct, these are the general areas where the planes(or airmen) were reported lost:

  • Crafter and Backhouse in the Ypres-Hooge area so anywhere in Sector 28.I.18 would be logical
  • Hewson and Snyder in the Wytschaete-Hollebeke-Houthem area so a larger rectangle of 28.O.19 northeast to 28.O.11 and further east to 28.P.19
  • Fotheringham and Gleed reported by different map coordinates but for sure in the sectors of 28.O.23 and 28.O.24
  • Battersby and Fitzherbert south of Warneton so much further south in sectors 28.U.11-12 to 28.U.29-30

If we accept that these are all confirmed locations then I see no question that it is Battersby and Fitzherbert that are in Messines Ridge Cemetery 4.E.38 and 4.E.39. The only alternative to this would be that there was some reason the German's were bringing the bodies south for burial, however if that was the case then they would have stopped at the farm where we know that they buried Fotheringham and Gleed.

 

I have extracted the GRRF and COG-BR and created ZIP files for the Wytschaete Military Cemetery as well:

https://www.mediafire.com/folder/rahud8tkki2rr/Wytschaete_Military_Cemetery

 

gto7xu779oxh2jo6g.jpg

Edited by laughton
added Zip Files for Wytschaete Military Cemetery

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laughton

I was able to find Captain Fitzherbert's record in the New Zealand Archives. He was with the Royal Sussex Regiment and seconded to the Royal Flying Corps.

 

I zipped the file and placed it here: Captain Wyndham Waterhouse Fitzherbert

 

There were no additional details that impacted on this case. There is an interesting document in the file that reports on the loss of other New Zealanders, so finding where all those documents are stored would be a good find!

 

 

rhd09q5fe96m8h66g.jpg

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laughton

A draft of this report has been prepared for submission to the CWGC:

http://laughton.ca/reports/Captain Fitzherbert and Lieutenant Battersby Messines Ridge British Cemetery Plot 4 Row E Graves 38 %26 39.pdf

 

Comments or questions are not only welcome but appreciated.

Edited by laughton
report submitted, links updated

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laughton

Rejected by the CWGC in Round 1 of the Approvals Stage:

Quote

From: Commemorations [mailto:commemorations@cwgc.org]
Sent: Friday, November 22, 2019 11:27 AM
To: Richard Laughton
Subject: CWGC review: ID Case 353

 

Dear Richard,

 

I would like to thank you for your patience whilst the Commission completed our review of your submission for the identification of the graves IV.E.38-39 within Messines Ridge British Cemetery as those of Captain Wyndham Waterhouse Fitzherbert and Lieutenant Philip Worsley Battersby. I’m afraid that, based on the evidence presented in the case submission, we are not able to progress this case to the relevant Service Authorities. I understand that you will be disappointed by our decision on this occasion, but I hope that you will understand our reasoning:

 

There are a number of discrepancies with the original evidence in this case:

 

  1. The origin of the information on the grave marker erected by the POW escort party in 1919 is unknown. The wording is unusual and it is possible there was some previous marker or piece of aircraft wreckage at the site, but we have no other evidence to confirm the details – in particular the date of death, which may be a date of burial or incorrect.
     
  2. There appears to have been some form of enquiry or investigation into the case in the early 1920s, as evidenced by a file reference on the CWGC records for the grave and the note of an IWGC enquiry on the RAF Casualty Cards of the proposed candidates. If it was not possible for the authorities to resolve the case when eyewitnesses and full documentation were available to them, then it is unlikely that we will be able to do so today. CWGC does not usually overturn the decisions taken at the time unless new evidence is presented.
     
  3. The reason why the case couldn’t be resolved post war may have been due to the discrepancies in the contemporary German references, which consistently record a single seat Sopwith aircraft being shot down near Warneton, with the pilot being listed as Lt Fitzherbert. However British accounts place Captain Fitzherbert flying a two seater DH4 with Lt Battersby when they were seen to be going down under control near Lille, some 8.5 miles away.

    If the German accounts recorded the aircraft type and number of casualties incorrectly, but did refer to the location and name of the pilot accurately, then it is possible that the two casualties were buried by them close to where they were brought down, which would be near Pont Rouge. However, if they had identified Fitzherbert and reported his death through the ICRC, why was his name not recorded on the initial grave marker?

    It is also possible that the DH4 crashed near Lille, but the Germans were unable to recover and/or identify the crew. Their published list (detailed below) of aircraft captured in July includes six Sopwith two seaters where neither the names or numbers of the occupants were identifiable. The original German report published in the Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung was re-published in Flight Magazine dated 6 September 1917, (The Flight Global Archive (https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/index.html).

    Another scenario is that a single seat Sopwith was shot down near Warneton and the pilot was carrying something which the Germans used to identify him as ‘Fitzherbert’. We have come across a number of examples where a body was initially identified based on pocket contents, only for that to be overturned later when that individual was known to have survived or it could be shown that the contents related to a friend, comrade or family member.
     
  4.  The case submission has drawn information from “The Sky Their Battlefield II” by Trevor Henshaw but whilst this is a valuable source, it was intended by the author to be a foundation for further research, and not taken by itself as an authoritative source. Therefore, the suggested connection between the crash location of A7493 and the location ‘Pont Rouge’, does need to be investigated using  primary sources before it could be accepted as accurate.
     
  5. There are other potential candidates who died within the same time frame who would also need to the excluded as being buried near Pont Rouge.

 We do appreciate that you cannot visit The National Archives at Kew in person, but the following files references might be useful if any of your fellow researchers are able to do so on your behalf:

  1. Officers Service records held at The National Archives;
    • Captain Fitzherbert: WO 339/27364 & AIR 76/162/199
    • Lieutenant Battersby: WO 374/4757
  2. Air Combat Reports held at The National Archives;
    • AIR 1/1223/204/5/2634/49 (Air combat reports: 55 Squadron Royal Flying Corps, July 1917)
  3. 55 Squadron history:
    • AIR 1/153/15/121/3 (A.H.B. Reference 15/121/3)

We have closed the case file, and think it is unlikely that the discrepancies in the contemporary accounts can be successfully addressed. However, we will of course re-open the case if you are able to find new evidence regarding Captain Wyndham Waterhouse Fitzherbert and Lieutenant Philip Worsley Battersby and are able to exclude other candidates.

 

As always, thank you for your continued efforts on behalf of those who we are all committed to remembering.

 

With kind regards,

 

Commemorations Section

 

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laughton

For future reference:

 

This is the page referenced above from the Flight Global Archive for Captain Fitzherbert: https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1917/1917 - 0915.html

Quote

THE following is a list, published in the official Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, of British machines Which the Germans claim fell into their hands during the month of July

:— Forty-seven Sopwith. One-seaters.

No. 7493 : Lieut. Fitzherbert, 55th Squadron, dead.

 

He was reported missing in the issue of July 19th: https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1917/1917 - 0727.html

His history is summarized in an obituary type notice in the September 27th issue: https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1917/1917 - 1005.html

 

Quote

Captain WYNDHAM WATERHOUSE FITZHERBERT, Royal Sussex Regiment, attached R.F.C., who was killed on July 7th, aged 25, was the third son of the late W. A. Fitzherbert, IMarsden, The Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand, and Mrs. .Fitzherbert, and grandson of the late Sir William Fitzherbert, K.C.M.G. He w'as born in New Zealand and educated at Huntley School, Marton, Wanganui College, and afterwards -at Marlborough College, England. He returned to New Zealand, and afterwards went to the Argentine to take up fanning. When war broke out he (and his youngest brother, who was killed on July 30th, 1916) came over from the Argentine and enlisted in the 12th Royal Sussex Regiment, •but shortly afterwards was given a commission in another •battalion of that regiment. While in training, before going to France, he passed a musketry course and a machine-gun •course with distinction. He went out to France in March, 1916, and was twice wounded, the second time in June of that year, when he returned to England to hospital. In December he rejoined his regiment at the front, and was there till the following May, when he joined the Royal Flying Corps, and •Went back to the front in June. He was killed when returning from a long-distance bombing raid.

 

I defer to Trevor to tell us if he could have been in a single seater Sopwith One-Seater on a long-distance bombing raid? Trevor places him in a DH4. It would seem logical that it would be simple to determine if A7493 was a Sopwith Camel or DH4?

 

Lieutenant Battersby is listed as missing in the July 26th issue: https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1917/1917 - 0756.html

 

The November 1st issue refers to Lieutenant Battersby as originally missing and now killed: https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1917/1917 - 1134.html

 

 

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Matlock1418
5 hours ago, laughton said:

if A7493 was a Sopwith Camel or DH4?

Fitzherbert, W.W. (Wyndham Waterhouse)

Casualty Card at RAF Museum StoryVault records A7493 as a De Havilland D.H.4

http://www.rafmuseumstoryvault.org.uk/archive/fitzherbert-w.w.-wyndham-waterhouse 

 

Edit: Likewise on a second Incident card record that comes up [I don't know how 'incestuous' such records are - I think the cataloguing probably is, as to me looks exactly the same]

http://www.rafmuseumstoryvault.org.uk/archive/fitzherbert-w.w 

Edited by Matlock1418
addition

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laughton

Correct, that was in our report but CWGC reports German claim it was a Sopwith. Go figure?

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laughton

There are no plans that I am aware of to appeal this case. There is a direct parallel to this case and that of Bertie Jeffs, but the process has been reversed. In Bertie's case the report by the burial party (if I recall it was French) was taken "as gospel truth". As such, the aviator was an Officer and there were to be no further questions, as it was on the COG-BR. Now we have a new case and a new COG-BR but we can reject that as there may have been an error, or as a minimum, no proof that the information was correct.

 

There are two options in these cases:

  1. Accept what is written on the GRRF or COG-BR as factual. There are no questions allowed. Even if the information is known to be incorrect (i.e. the man was deemed buried in Belgium but never set foot in Belgium as any time in his life), he is still named as buried in that cemetery in Belgium. There are many such cases. Likewise, if a service number is incorrect, do not adjust the service number to make it fit. If the service number was on a spoon or a boot, do not assume that the person named or being identified was wearing that boot or using that spoon. I won't even delve into the hundreds of case of the number on a groundsheet!

    or
     
  2. Evaluate what is written on the GRRF or COG-BR and compare that to historical evidence to arrive at logical conclusion (or at the least a logical hypothesis) as to what happened. If a person is believed to have been buried in a particular location or grave, and all evidence supports that information, then consider that as the logical conclusion. Do not assume that someone in 1920 had the same access to war diaries, regimental histories, service records and casualty cards that we have today to arrive at their conclusion. If the war diary had the information to prove the case, but the war diary was not consulted, that is not "new evidence" (it did exist at the time) rather it was "unused evidence" or "misinterpreted evidence" that can now be used in 2019 and thereafter.

That brings me to my major concern with the current CWGC policy is the reliance on the need for new evidence, which in this particular case they report in point #2 as:

Quote
Quote

CWGC does not usually overturn the decisions taken at the time unless new evidence is presented.

 

I may be naive on this issue but I would think that if the original evidence was interpreted incorrectly then that should be taken as essentially being the same as new evidence. Imagine a court case in 2019 where the judge ruled that the prior judge made an error but since no new evidence was presented I cannot hear or overturn the case?

 

Case in point, the CWGC records for the Nine Elms Military Cemetery near Thelus reports the following for concentration into Nine Elms:

Quote

GRAVE CA 40, THELUS, 274 metres West of the main road, by the light railway track. Here were buried 44 Canadian soldiers of the 16th Battalion who fell on the 9th April 1917. 

To this day, those men are listed on the Vimy Memorial as the CWGC does not accept the period statement that the men were buried in Nine Elms. I have no problem with that, but let us be consistent - use modern day investigative techniques and determine what is logical and obviously correct. Don't alter the system on a case-by-case basis to get the result that you "want" to achieve. Our analysis to date suggests that the IWGC was correct and the men were buried in Nine Elms.

 

On the grave marker for the COG-BR document we have the CWGC reporting:

Quote

The origin of the information on the grave marker erected by the POW escort party in 1919 is unknown. The wording is unusual and it is possible there was some previous marker or piece of aircraft wreckage at the site, but we have no other evidence to confirm the details – in particular the date of death, which may be a date of burial or incorrect.

 

What the grave marker said on the COG-BR was:

Quote

In memory of two unknown British Airmen died fighting near Pont Rouge 7-7-17. Buried by enemy. Cross erected and graved tended by escort 166 POW Coy 1919.

I am not certain what the point is of the CWGC. The cross was on the grave around 9 February 1920 and is very clear. There is nothing to indicate that the enemy knew the names of the men that were buried there, it only makes reference to the date of death and that they were airmen. If we were to make an assumptions, as the CWGC has done here, our case would have been dismissed without any further consideration. Some German group in Berlin may have known that two British pilots went down and were identified as Fitzherbert and Battersby, but how do we know that an unassociated German burial party at Pont Rouge had that same information? Maybe it was posted on Facebook or Twitter?

 

Do we know that the GRU or IWGC tried to resolve the case in 1919-1920, for as they report in 2019:

Quote

 If it was not possible for the authorities to resolve the case when eyewitnesses and full documentation were available to them, then it is unlikely that we will be able to do so today.

How do we know that the authorities had access to the eyewitness reports and full documentation? I don't even know of any eyewitness reports and we have no idea if they had access to any documentation. All we know was that they "might have" been checking into who these two airmen might have been. I would suggest that the reverse might apply here and you have to assume that the authorities had "no access" to any eyewitness accounts or documents and they were making their analysis on the same information that we see in the published documents. Without access to the details reports and information we have today, they never could have come to the answer as to the names of the two pilots. If I can be facetious again (a bad habit of mine!), maybe their web server was down?

 

I will leave it to my colleagues to deal with the issues in the CWGC statement #3 - they have many!

 

Point #4 is for Trevor, but I do know the book was based on the authoritative sources. So what is the issue?
 

Point #5 was completed. We were sent on a similar hunt in the McDonald & Wylie case here in Canada - a process that took us two years to complete. Only one set of remains came into question, which in the end turned out to be an error, that Lieutenant had never been at that location and his place of burial was known - oops! Why we had to confirm what Lieutenants died in the Somme when the remains were found at Lens was mind boggling - but we did it, but I won't do it again.

 

It may be that this process has come to an end.

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Matlock1418
15 hours ago, laughton said:

but CWGC reports German claim it was a Sopwith. Go figure?

As it was appears to have been one of their aircraft one would think the RFC[ later RAF] would know best as to which type. :-/ ???

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laughton

On the question of what the ICRC knew and reported, the CWGC wrote the following in the rejection:

Quote

If the German accounts recorded the aircraft type and number of casualties incorrectly, but did refer to the location and name of the pilot accurately, then it is possible that the two casualties were buried by them close to where they were brought down, which would be near Pont Rouge. However, if they had identified Fitzherbert and reported his death through the ICRC, why was his name not recorded on the initial grave marker?

 

What is in the ICRC records is the following for Fitzherbert:

Quote

According to German news paper of 18/8/17 ?? died 7/17. ne pas ??

 

I don't know if anyone has seen the original German document (perhaps Luc if anyone?) and if that matches the date of 18 August 1917 - or are there different reports?

 

C_G1_E_15_01_0030_3008_0.JPG

 

I don't see anything here that the Germans reported his death through the ICRC. It appears more to be a case of someone at the ICRC or somewhere checking on the lists published by the Germans. Who knows when that entry was made on his file.

 

The card for Battersby only said that he was missing 7/7/17 with Captain Fitzherbert. There is a question about the newspaper report mentioned as it has a date of 18 August 1917. The reference to the list published in Flight Global on 6 September 1917 does not mention a date, just that the Germans claimed it was one of the machines that fell into their hands during the month of July. Perhaps there is some benefit of checking the rest on the published list to see if they are correct? Starting with the names:

  • No. A6240 Captain Hudson, a prisoner: TSTB2 13 July pg 102 Sopwith Pup 54 Sqn
  • No. N6332 Lieutenant Grosset, a prisoner: TSTB2 17 July pg 103 Sopwith Camel 70 Sqn
  • No. unknown Lieutenant Steldon - I did not find him in the book? Not on CWGC dead
  • No. B2779 Lieutenant Wordmann, wounded - not found but there is a Workman 7 July A1026 70 Sqn WIA DOW 20 July
  • No. B3806 Capt.-Lieut Voigt, dead - not found, nothing on CWGC

Once I got to Voigt I realized this was not getting me anywhere as there were too many mismatches. So I checked TSTB2 for B3806 and it appears for 20 July 1917 pg 103, Sopwith Camel 4 (Naval) Sqn, Flight Sub-Lieutenant J F W Akers MIA then KIA. The RAF Vault reports (John Frederick William Akers) " Killed in Action 20 July 1917, aged 18. Sopwith Camel B3806 was shot down by two hostile aircraft near Ostend. Credited to Ltn. Joens, Jasta 20". There is no casualty card - are RNAS files separate? No ICRC file that I could see.

 

The CWGC has him as Frederick William Akers, under Navy not Air Force, but as RNAS 20/07/1917,. buried Oostende Communal Cemetery. He was concentrated there from the Ostende Military Cemetery, German Grave No. 637 (COG-BR 1829718). So who was Voigt (a common German name). I note also in that German Cemetery grave 617 was Lieutenant R. B. Hay 17 July 1917 No. A7166 Bristol F2B 48 Sqn TSTB2 pg 103 (MIA - Flightglobal 2/8/17 DOW - Flightglobal 6/9/17). His observer Partington was WIA POW. Neither are on the German list for July.

 

That does throw the whole list into question.

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Matlock1418

Immediately following the above ICRC card is another card [attached below] with a 7/17 date it would appear that seems similar for a Fitzherbert, Ltn. 55 Sqn

I can't interpret/access the reference NdZ 03

And has Sopwith single seater clearly recorded at the bottom

Does it shed any more useful light on the situation?

[hope I'm not duplicating something that I have missed elsewhere in the thread]

file front side

 

 

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laughton

No duplication, I had learnt to "flip" the page (little rotate button above the images) but I completely missed the one on the following page.

 

I was checking on whether they had changed their mind about the report, as it appears that the note on the first card is scratched out - the second card may be the reason or just confirmation that they got their information from the German list we have been discussing, not a separate newspaper list.

 

I don't believe we can rely on this list.

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LDT006
19 hours ago, Matlock1418 said:

Immediately following the above ICRC card is another card [attached below] with a 7/17 date it would appear that seems similar for a Fitzherbert, Ltn. 55 Sqn

I can't interpret/access the reference NdZ 03

And has Sopwith single seater clearly recorded at the bottom

Does it shed any more useful light on the situation?

 

 

NdZ (on both cards) is a reference to a German newspaper: Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

It published a montly list of airmen who were captured or died by the Germans, it can be viewed online:

http://zefys.staatsbibliothek-berlin.de/list/title/zdb/28028685/-/1917 

Link to the page for Fitzherbert (hope it works) He is in column 4 just above the black horizontal line. The others are on the next page.

 

These lists were translated and published in Flight Global

Trevor has explained this already (post 2) and clearly questions the accuracy of the list.

 

Luc.

 

Edited by LDT006

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voltaire60

Fitzherbert's officer file gives the source of report of his death as coming from NAZ-a regular list of enemy aircraft brought down- type and personnel..  Fitzherbert is listed by name and his plane is described as a Sopwith.

   This was the first information that MS Cas had of his fate. In addition, a German aircraft dropped a message over the British lines  to the same effect.  On the basis of the latter, Fitzherbert was declared dead.

   I suspect any further info. re. the message would-possibly-be in the squadron history files at TNA

 

To me it seems very highly unlikely indeed that the Germans  would identify a man by name, publish it in a newspaper , drop a canister message over the British lines-again naming him (only) and then bury him as "Unknown" with another.

   I must concur with CWGC that the 2 airmen do not include Fitzherbert. Certainly, the evidential test is not met.

 

It is,of course, possible that a cross was mislaid and replaced by a POW company in 1919 but this seems unlikely.  But just possible. Another small straw is that there is nothing in the information above in this thread to suggest that both airmen had any connection-especially as to fate- other than possibly being buried together. But 2 different airmen on the same day from separate incidents????

 

PS Fitzherbert had been badly wounded on the Somme, 2nd July 1916- details of his injuries and recovery are in his file.

 

 

An update.   Notification of the death of Battersby also came through via a message dropped by a German plane.  His family were informed of this by C.2.C Casualties on 6th October 1917-with the rider in the letter "Experience has shown that information given in such messages can be accepted as correct". 

The family had a search made by the British Military Mission in Belgium in 1920 but it reported nothing found. Interestingly,  Battersby's effects (cheque book,allowance book and letters) were returned  by the German government through diplomatic channels in April 1920. He is not mentioned in the indices to Foreign Office papers for 1920,either the FO1111 series digitised, nor the printed annual index volumes that start in 1920. 

 

   Battersby's officer file does give a ray of hope. There is the possibility of further information in:

 

1)  55 Squadron records, which I have not tackled today

2) German air archives-   materials relating to Battersby clearly survived the war inside  Germany proper. It is possible that German air records may still survive  for this return of effects-but I suspect that the RAF did a pretty thorough job of blasting them off the face of the earth between 1942 and 1945- the famed Bert Harris  archive system-burn it.

   I think this may turn on the original German message .  Against:  Why would one man be mentioned but not the other if both were buried together?   FOR: if the German note contained BOTH names on the same message (which seems unlikely), then that might tip the balance.

 

 

PPS-  I note that the card for Battersby pn ICRC Prisoners  says both were together.  Thus, possible that DAZ listing was wrong.

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Mike

Edited by voltaire60

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LDT006
4 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

Notification of the death of Battersby also came through via a message dropped by a German plane

......

Battersby's effects (cheque book,allowance book and letters) were returned  by the German government through diplomatic channels in April 1920.

 

Mike,

 

this seems very important to me as the above proves that Battersby was in German hands and identified by them. Why did they never report the details about his death to ICRC?

 

Regarding the grave and markers: The remains were recovered at 28.U.30.c.1.8, this location was in the German front line on 7 July 1917 (according to this map: https://maps.nls.uk/view/101464687 ). This could be the reason why the original German grave marker didn't have much details as they didn't have a ton of time to check everything.

 

The location is also confirmed by 2 German claims:

Oblt Dostler who claims that he shot a Sopwith at 12:00 (german time) near Deulemont between the lines Source:  Hunting with Richthofen page 136. 

"Sopwith" is almost certainly an error because there is also a claim with the correct type of plane from Hptm. Hartmann (Jasta 28) for a D.H. at Pont Rouge, Hartmann didn't get credit for this, source Rick Duiven.

 

All this again proves that the German reporting was incomplete and sometimes wrong, problem is to find the original documents which have the correct information to counter the CWGC arguments.

 

Luc.

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laughton

Confusing to say the least! I tried to account for all of those on the list Luc provided from Richthofen book versus TSTB2.

  • the comparison it would appear is only for loses in Belgium sector
  • don't know what the meaning is of "as 33rd, as 4th" etc. in the text at tend of sentences
  • the disputed claims are not always the same in the two references
  • what plane is List 6 for Clausnitzer?  Nieuport 17 B3483 on TSTB2 returned to aerodrome. Clausnitzer is also named on List 8
  • what plane is List 9 for Anders? Must be the disputed A1029.
  • I don't see A6489 on the German list (last one I added as: List?)

My initial thought was that such a list would show the source of confusion between the claims that Fitzherbert was in a Sopwith versus the DH4. If Dostler claimed the Sopwith kill with Fitzherbert, which the British records dispute. TSTB2 also lists N6460, a Sopwith Pup at 1650 hours up on the coast - Mannekensvere and Nieuwpoort (Nieuport) area, need to brush up on my geography! Pilot Lindsay saved. That is not on the list below, claimed by Haefer.

 

Why didn't anyone claim a DH4? It would have to be a Sopwith Strutter, if there was confusion, to account for the Pilot & Observer. We accounted for the two Sopwith Strutters. If the German claim that one was found and buried, then it had to be Gleed in A8281 but as he has a COG-BR we know that the location was 28.O.23.b.95.95, so out of the immediate area where the remains were recovered. That only leaves the ones shown as List 8 and List 9 which was disputed between Lautenschlager and Anders. It did not leave until 1530 and claimed at 1810. A7493 left at 0850 and claimed at 1100, so that plane was not still in the air more than 6 hours later.

 

List Claim Jasta Time Near Lines Plane Dispute TSTB2 Location Pilot Observer Sqn Status NKG
1 Kurt Wolf 11 1100 Comines German Triplane   N3309 Dadizeele Milward   1 Naval MIA/KIA  
2 Kruger 4 1105 Wervicq German Triplane Lautenschlager JA11 N6291 Dadizeele Eyre   1 Naval KIA  
3 Niederhoff 11 1110 Bousbecque German Triplane Doring JA4 N5480 Dadizeele Ramsay   1 Naval MIA/KIA  
4 Krebs 6 1135 Zillebeke British RE   A4606 Ypres Salient Leckie Osborne 21 KIA & KIA  
5 Dostler 6 1200 Deulemont Between Sopwith yes DH4 A7493 Lille/Warneton Battersby Fitzherbert 55 KIA & KIA AFSM P, O
6 Clausnitzer 4 1430 Gheluvelt British Nieuport Heldmann JA10 ?            
7 Klein 4 1807 Houthem German Sopwith Block/Hassler SS21 A8281 Comines Gleed Fotheringham 45   AFSM O
8 Lautenschlager 11 1810 Wytschaete British Sopwith Clausnitzer JA4 A1029 Houthem + Hewson Snyder 45 KIA & KIA AFSM P, O
9 Anders 4 1820 Hollebeke British Sopwith   ?            
? von Bulow 36 1840 Hooge   FE Bongartz JA36 A6498 Hooge & SE Ypres Crafter Backhouse 20 DOW/KIA AFSM P, O

 

What are the other options, as I must be missing something somewhere? As others have noted, the date was set in stone" as 7 July 1917. The CWGC says now that might have been the burial date. Do we go back in time to the beginning of July 1917 and see who else is missing and eliminate them or do we have to look for two who might have been POWs at any time prior to 7 July 1917?

 

These men are NKG on the AFSM for the first week of July but none were reported in the area where the remains were buried.TSTB2 reports B714 north of Ypres-Zonnebeke 28.D.27 when Klein JA4 claimed a kill at 1425. A3538 was going to Tenbrielen 28.P.17 when Richthofen claimed the kill at 0920 at Deulemont 28.U.23.

 

surname forename death rank regiment Sqn Plane
CLARK WILLIAM HENRY 6/7/1917 Second Lieutenant Royal Flying Corps 23rd Sqdn. Spad VII B3475
GILCHRIST EDWARD 6/7/1917 Air Mechanic 2nd Class Royal Flying Corps 70th Sqdn. Sopwith B714
JONES CHARLES EMMANUEL WILLIAM 6/7/1917 Air Mechanic 2nd Class Royal Flying Corps 56th Sqdn. unknown
PASCOE FRANK GUY BUCKINGHAM 2/7/1917 Second Lieutenant Royal Flying Corps 53rd Sqdn. RE8 A3538
WATLINGTON HENRY JOSEPH 6/7/1917 Second Lieutenant Royal Flying Corps 70th Sqdn. Sopwith B714
WHATLEY HUBERT ARTHUR 2/7/1917 Serjeant Royal Flying Corps 53rd Sqdn RE8 A3538
Edited by laughton
added locations for B714 and A3538; A6489 corrected to A6498

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LDT006

Richard,

 

see my remarks in the quote below, it's easier like this. There would be far too much quotes to reply to.

 

2 hours ago, laughton said:

Confusing to say the least! I tried to account for all of those on the list Luc provided from Richthofen book versus TSTB2.

  • the comparison it would appear is only for loses in Belgium sector Yes, this list is only for the Jasta's who were under von Richthofen based at Bissegem
  • don't know what the meaning is of "as 33rd, as 4th" etc. in the text at tend of sentences 4th means the 4th plane that that pilot shot down
  • the disputed claims are not always the same in the two references Matching claims is very difficult, Trevor can explain that.
  • what plane is List 6 for Clausnitzer?  Nieuport 17 B3483 on TSTB2 returned to aerodrome. Clausnitzer is also named on List 8
  • what plane is List 9 for Anders? Must be the disputed A1029.
  • I don't see A6489 on the German list (last one I added as: List?)

My initial thought was that such a list would show the source of confusion between the claims that Fitzherbert was in a Sopwith versus the DH4. If Dostler claimed the Sopwith kill with Fitzherbert, which the British records dispute. One possible reason for the confusion is that they were fighting a lot of Sopwith single seaters, less than an hour before, just to the north of Warneton (the first 3 in the list below). The Germans in Berlin then had a problem when Dostler reported a Sopwith single seater and they also had a report from troops on the ground with the correct plane number and the names of Fitzherbert and Battersby, so they reported only one of the occupants to obtain a match?

 

TSTB2 also lists N6460, a Sopwith Pup at 1650 hours up on the coast - Mannekensvere and Nieuwpoort (Nieuport) area, need to brush up on my geography! Pilot Lindsay saved. That is not on the list below, claimed by Haefer. Outside the area and shot by a different Jasta. Maybe best to concentrate on the SE Ypres area for now until this area is solved? These need to be added in an eventual appeal.

 

Why didn't anyone claim a DH4? There was an uncredited claim for a DH at Pont Rouge from Hptm. Hartmann (Jasta 28), see my post above. This is very important because it is a perfect match.

It would have to be a Sopwith Strutter, if there was confusion, to account for the Pilot & Observer. We accounted for the two Sopwith Strutters. If the German claim that one was found and buried, then it had to be Gleed in A8281 but as he has a COG-BR we know that the location was 28.O.23.b.95.95, so out of the immediate area where the remains were recovered. That only leaves the ones shown as List 8 and List 9 which was disputed between Lautenschlager and Anders. It did not leave until 1530 and claimed at 1810. A7493 left at 0850 and claimed at 1100, so that plane was not still in the air more than 6 hours later. I wouldn't bother about this, Dostler clearly made a mistake, also the location and time for the above doesn't match.

 

List Claim Jasta Time Near Lines Plane Dispute TSTB2 Location Pilot Observer Sqn Status NKG
1 Kurt Wolf 11 1100 Comines German Triplane   N3309 Dadizeele Milward   1 Naval MIA/KIA  
2 Kruger 4 1105 Wervicq German Triplane Lautenschlager JA11 N6291 Dadizeele Eyre   1 Naval KIA  
3 Niederhoff 11 1110 Bousbecque German Triplane Doring JA4 N5480 Dadizeele Ramsay   1 Naval MIA/KIA  
4 Krebs 6 1135 Zillebeke British RE   A4606 Ypres Salient Leckie Osborne 21 KIA & KIA  
5 Dostler 6 1200 Deulemont Between Sopwith yes DH4 A7493 Lille/Warneton Battersby Fitzherbert 55 KIA & KIA AFSM P, O
6 Clausnitzer 4 1430 Gheluvelt British Nieuport Heldmann JA10 ?            
7 Klein 4 1807 Houthem German Sopwith Block/Hassler SS21 A8281 Comines Gleed Fotheringham 45   AFSM O
8 Lautenschlager 11 1810 Wytschaete British Sopwith Clausnitzer JA4 A1029 Houthem + Hewson Snyder 45 KIA & KIA AFSM P, O
9 Anders 4 1820 Hollebeke British Sopwith   ?            
? von Bulow 36 1840 Hooge   FE Bongartz JA36 A6489 Hooge & SE Ypres Crafter Backhouse 20 DOW/KIA AFSM P, O

 

What are the other options, as I must be missing something somewhere? As others have noted, the date was set in stone" as 7 July 1917. I said that and we can use their argument that there was enough evidence at the time to accept the date; CWGC does not usually overturn the decisions taken at the time unless new evidence is presented.  This allows us to look at that date only.

The CWGC says now that might have been the burial date. This is one of their favorite arguments: A prisoner of war who was wounded before and died on that date in a field hospital. But this is impossible here as the graves were located in the German trenches close to no-mans land, a hospital there is out of the question. Another argument for not going back in time to eliminate others that crashed before.
 

 

CWGC also states: However, if they had identified Fitzherbert and reported his death through the ICRC, why was his name not recorded on the initial grave marker? 

The initial grave marker was in the front line: impossible for the German's to create a nice grave with all the details?

Also, the above statement is wrong: His death was never reported to ICRC directly, only through the NdZ newspaper. The same is true for most of the others who died in the area. For some there was a dropped message and occasionally a ICRC entry for nachlassliste (list of effects found on dead soldiers).

 

I think that we should look at the CWGC arguments and see how these can be countered.

A copy of the officer files, combat reports, etc.. is also needed.

And last but not least: Trevor's input and help on the above.

 

Luc.

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laughton

Good input Luc, maybe I have to change my mind about an appeal. So far I was just taking on the challenge. The BOLD APPEAL!

 

Dear CWGC Commemorations Team:

 

NOTICE OF INTENT TO FILE AN APPEAL

 

Thank you for your email of 22 November 2019. We are unable to accept your rejection, as the historical facts do not agree with the argument that you have presented.

  1. The date was "set in stone" by the authorities at the time as 7 July 1917. There is no new evidence to dispute that claim.
  2. The plane with Battersby and Fitzherbert was DH4 A7493 as set by the RFC. There is no new evidence to dispute that information.
  3. There are no other candidates for airmen lost at that time and at that location. There is no new evidence to suggest that another candidate now appears for these remains. 
  4. The loss of the DH4 is recorded in the claim by Hartmann (Jasta 28) .... more by Luc, he has the details.
  5. The Officers Files add no new information to dispute the IWGC or RFC conclusions.
  6. other?

If the CWGC has additional information that would lend support for the reasons in their rejection email, could we please have those sent to us at your earliest possible convenience.

 

Best Regards,

etc.

 

p.s. I did not send that message, it was part of the thought process as to how to respond

Edited by laughton
posted note in red

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laughton

Thanks Luc, now I see the note about Hartmann from Jasta 28:

Quote

7Jul17 Hptm. Hartmann-n/c D.H. 2 Pont Rouge -

 

A thought came to me, perhaps a note about air activity from one of the ground units. I see the 36th AIF was in the area at the time. I will start there and see how it goes. The Aussies were very good at recording air activity.

 

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Becstar

Had a quick check today, so far could only see reference to two aircraft go over enemy lines in flames and one hurling out of control, unable establish if enemy aircraft or not due to distance. 

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laughton

No luck in the Aussie war diaries, but Bec may find more, they are her boys!

 

Hptm. Hartmann on the Aerodrome, but no mention of 7 July 1917: http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/germany/hartmann.php

 

Interestingly Dostler's page shows him as shooting down a DH4 on 7 July 1917 - someone changed the record? http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/germany/dostler.php

 

Also reported under Battersby: http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/showpost.php?p=709978&postcount=2

Lt P W Battersby (Kia) & Capt W W Fitzherbert (Kia), 55 Sqn, DH4 A7493 – took off 08:50/09:50 and last seen going down under control over Lille on bomb raid to Ramegnies Chin; Oblt Eduard von Dostler, Ja6, 14th victory [Deulemont at 11:00/12:00] ?

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