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Remembered Today:

71494 Gnr. Thomas Connor, RFA - early 1914 casualty


Noor

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Hi all,

 

I am seeking any extra information, or if some newspaper archive have, a photo of 71494 Gunner Thomas Connor, RFA.

 

I know his parents were from Queens County, Ireland but emigrated to UK some point. Thomas was born there and appears 1911 UK Census.

He must been enlisted to RA shortly afterwards. When the Great War started he landed in France already 19th August 1914 with 30th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. A month later he died to his wounds on the 21st September 1914. He is buried in Braine Communal Cemetery.

 

Please let me know if there is any extra information available of him, about his unit location at that time, where he died (perhaps field hospital, etc). Any help would be great.

 

Thanking you in advance,

 

Timo

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Hi,

 

Have you checked Royal Artillery attestation records on Find My Past?

 

http://search.findmypast.co.uk/search-world-records/royal-artillery-attestations-1883-1942

 

Steve Y

Edited by tullybrone
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54 minutes ago, tullybrone said:

Hi,

 

Have you checked Royal Artillery attestation records on Find My Past?

 

http://search.findmypast.co.uk/search-world-records/royal-artillery-attestations-1883-1942

 

Steve Y

Sorry Steve,

 

It would be a miracle if he was included there as the books only show men who were still effective when Army numbers were introduced from 1921 and afterwards.

 

Edited by David Porter
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Hi Timo,

 

My Great x2 uncle (Albert Lodder - 1/Wilts) also died of wounds on 21st September 1914 and is buried in Braine Communal Cemetery. The Regimental Museum have his death being reported by "O/C 4 Clearing Hospital".  The CWGC says though...

 

Historical Information

Braine was captured by dismounted units of the 1st Cavalry Brigade on 12 September 1914 and No. 5. Casualty Clearing Station was then posted in the town.

 

Regards

Chris

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Thank you so much for your Replies! 

I had a quick look but unfortunately wasn't able to locate him in RA attestation records.

 

That's very interesting Chris and we'll spotted same date. When I get home I will have a look with diaries as well and maybe second attempt shows him on the list too.

 

Thanks!

 

Timo

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Hi,

 

His Soldiers' Effects record adds a little more detail. He was the son of Edward, and was born in Bradford, Yorkshire. Prior to enlisting on 14th January 1913 he was a dyers labourer. He is noted as serving with 130th Battery RFA, though the CWGC has him as "H.Q. 30th Bde". Soldiers Died says that he was both born, and enlisted  in Bradford.

 

...How annoying. I'd swear that they weren't there earlier, but his service papers are on FMP - here:

 

Born 23.3.1895 at 10 Franklin Street, Horton, Bradford

Enlisted/attested 14.1.1913 at Bradford, and posted to No. 5 Depot RFA

Joined 15.1.1913

7.4.1913 Posted to 130 Battery

6.8.1914 Posted to 30 Brigade HQ

20.9.1914 Admitted to 4 Clearing Hospital with gunshot wounds to head, chest, arms and legs

Died 21.9.1914. Precise place of burial within the cemetery is unknown

 

Regards

Chris

 

 

 

Edited by clk
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Hi Chris,

 

That's one of the most comprehensive replies that I have ever received. Thank you so much! So, there is a big chance that "my man" Thomas Connor and your relative received their mortal wounds during the same raid. This is a small world!

 

 

Anyway, this is very weird coincidence!

 

Once again, thank you so much for your help!

 

Timo

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Noor
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Connor & Lodder are recorded in sequence on the GRRF sheet. 68 burials in Braine have individual grave not known probably due to the German offensive of May 1918.

Connor is noted as Bde. Staff.

 

4 Casualty Clearing Hospital diary gives their location as Braisne sic. On the 17th Sept they took over the French Civil Hospital and adjoining buildings.

They have lumped together the 18th, 19th and 20th Sept 1914 and almost the first entry states;

Extremely busy at Braisne.....No time to write up diary. They also took over the large church as additional hospital accommodation.

Stabsartz Kissing, a German Military Surgeon POW assisted at 4 CCH.

The first entry for the 21st Sept says..........as many as 1100 treated? in the hospital in one day.

 

30th Bde. RFA came under 3rd Division and the 3rd Division ADMS was in charge of units in Braisne including 4 CCH. The 3rd Division ADMS diary does not give any more information other than movements of Field Ambulances, 71 wounded arrived at Brasnie on the morning of the 20th Sept.

 

7, 8 & 9 Field Ambulances were all heavily involved in clearing wounded from VAILLY, specifically from the Bridge at Vailly and the 300 wounded in Dressing Stations in Vailly Although there is mention of bearers covering 1 mile on foot to find wounded and bringing them to the waggons.

 

The DDMS of 2 Corps gave the order on the 19th Sept to evacuate all wounded from Vailly including those unfit for transport. This commenced on the night of the 19th/20th.

 

Perhaps Connor was one of those evacuated from a dressing station in Vailly.

 

A quick note on 5 CCH. The DDMS of 2 Corps ordered 5 CCH (in Nantes) to go to Braine on the 20th Sept. to assist 4 CCH. It appears they didn't arrive until the 24th Sept.

 

I'll check 2 Corps DDMS diary later today.

TEW

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Hi,

 

TEW - Thank you very much indeed for establishing all of those medical details. Really appreciated.

 

Timo - The kind folk at British War Graves were able to give me a high resolution photo of my relatives commemorative stone on a free of charge basis. Like your man, he too was wounded on 20th September (GSW to the chest), when he was ordered to take a small party ("about" 10 men) and capture 2 German machine guns, as part of the actions in the defence of the north bank of the river Aisne.
 

I wonder if the sketch map below may be relevant to your man?

 

20th September 1914.jpg

 

 

In terms of Albert Lodder's medals, my mother thinks that her mother probably threw them away.

 

Regards

Chris

 

Edit:

 

Ref: 7 Infantry Brigade HQ War Diary - Part of "EXTRACTS from War Diary of Lieut. A.C.Johnston, Worcestershire Regiment., Signal Section. 7th Infantry Brigade, H.Q. 3rd Division, II Corps."

20th September 1914

So much happened today, and everything was so sudden and unexpected that it is rather difficult to write an account of the days happenings. In the early morning there was a certain amount of desultory firing all along the line, after which they started shelling us pretty heavily. Then followed the German infantry attack, the 2/Irish Rifles reporting that they were being fairly heavily attacked. The General therefore promptly sent up one company of the 2/S.Lancs to their support. This was a mistake, I thought so at the time and still do, the 2/Irish Rifles though heavily attacked had not asked for help yet and were pretty well holding their own. The result was that our reserve of one weak battalion was already diminished by one quarter. Soon after there seemed to be fairly heavy musketry fire in the 1st Wilts Lines, and the General promptly sent up another company of the 2/S.Lancs. Here again we had merely heard heavy fighting so far, and like the 2/I.Rifles the 1/Wilts had still a company of the 3/Worcesters as a local reserve. Our reserve now only has two weak companies; moreover in the case of the company sent reinforce the 1/Wilts it was not quite clear what was required of them, particularly in this difficult wooded country; and if this movement had been delayed a few minutes, the situation might have been clearer. As they went up there was a burst of shell fire and this of the 2/S.Lancs came bolting in to us; there was a perfect pandemonium while we stopped these fellows and tried to get them to go on again. Fire was then opened on us by German infantry at very close range from all round us even from the rear, and enfilading the track on which our headquarters were placed. The Germans had obviously got through our line somewhere and one did not know what had happened to the 1/Wilts in front. We called up the last company of the 2/S.Lancs, who were in the cutting just below us, but had great difficulty in getting them to go forward. I must say the bearing of some of the men makes me feel a bit anxious for the future; of course the last 7 days of continuous shelling etc, has had a bad effect on the men and the 2/Lancs are not a good regiment at present; but it makes one feel sad to find men bolting as the result of a few shells, and men sent out to counter-attack cringing behind banks, etc only thinking of avoiding being hit rather than hitting someone. The situation indeed seemed serious, the Germans were right in our position now, the wood within 150 yards of Brigade Headquarters was full of German snipers picking men off as they showed themselves, they had got a maxim there too which was doing a lot of damage, and one could hear the German officers collecting their men probablt [sic] for a further advance. All this time heavy firing continued in the woods which told us that anyway someone was holding out in front all right. A fearful lot of men were knocked about and one saw  many horrid sights since, besides those men hit near us, all the wounded were brought in and laid on the straw at Brigade Headquarters under cover of the bank until the doctors could get them away. Several of the poor fellows died in awful pain, there were men with their legs blown away, others with fearful scalp wounds, others fearfully disfigured with numerous wounds, the place simply reeked with blood and the ruts in the track were literally trickling with blood. But somehow or other in war time these things dont [sic]seem to effect one, one just gives men brandy, binds them up, tries to sooth them etc., all of which in cold blood would probably me feel quite sick. An officer of the 2/S.Lancs was wounded by a German officer who put his hands up and then shot him when he showed himself - what swines [sic] these Germans are. I saw what was going to happen and shouted but was too late and the German officer was back into the woods before anyone could get at him. By degrees the enemy's fire from the woods slackened though sniping continued, and one of our guns belonging to the 4th Infantry Brigade on our right sent in some shells which, as we found out afterwards, must have had a big effect on the show. They got the range first shot, knocked out the German machine gun and inflicted heavy losses on them crowded in the wood. It was good gunnery as the gun had never fired in that direction before, the subaltern could not tell what the real situation was but saw a bunch of Germans behind our front line, and had to risk putting a shell into our own fellows; however as it happened it was the turning point in the day. All the same we had only got a platoon left in reserve. The Germans had broken right through our line of trenches, and a few others were enfilading us from a hill on our right. The Germans however stopped their advance, one could hear them blowing their horns to assemble their men and firing ceased. In the meantime we had sent for help to the Brigade on our left, and half a battalion was on its way to our assistance. Nothing happened for about three quarters of an hour, and having heard that there was a good many Germans in the wood, it was decided to try and round them up. We then had another example of the excellence of the German artillery, as no sooner did our men begin to move forward then there was another storm of accurate shell fire, though they had not fired for some hours since the infantry fight had begun. However they did not keep it up for long and we gradually cleared the wood of Germans till after dark. it appears that the 2/Irish Rifles' line was never pierced while the steady old 1/Wilts never left their trenches. The Germans apparently however must have managed to get through a gap in the latter wood, and hence all the trouble. The 1/Wilts Battalion Headquarters in the quarry was surprised and overrun and about 50 of our men were taken prisoner; and though the men in the front trenches held on, we did not realize this for a long time owing to the wooded nature of the place. This however affected the Germans also, as n the woods they did not their success or that they had got behind our line, and when they got caught by that gun of ours on the right they decided to retire. I am convinced that had we been more careful with our reserves until we had some idea of the situation, and then given a unit a definite task such as to clear the wood just north of Brigade Headquarters, we should have done much better. As it was we were at one time in rather a tight corner with only a platoon in reserve and the Germans within a few yards of Brigade Headquarters. However, the 1/Wilts and the company of the Regiment attached to them as local reserve did splendidly. But our losses were very heavy, I'm afraid, the Regiment alone losing 4 officers killed including Henry and Bertie Gilmour, two of the best fellows I ever knew and, what is more, fine leaders of men. Henry behaved splendidly they say, and Gilmour did also at Caudry the other day. The total losses in the Brigade were something like 18 officers and 350 rank and file. I think however we knocked the Germans about a bit as a lot were found in the woods when we began collecting our wounded.

 

.

Edited by clk
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