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laughton

Two Lts. & 1 Sgt. Lancashire Fusiliers - which set?

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laughton

This may be going out on a limb, but it looked to me like a possibility and worth a shot. There are two (2) Lieutenants and one (1) Serjeant of the Lancashire Fusiliers buried beside each other in the New Irish Farm Cemetery in graves 30.E.3; 30.E.4 and 30.E.5 that were all found at 28.C.28.d.9.9 which is between Saint Jean and Wieltje. If they were Canadians that would mean the Spring of 1915 but I don't know enough about the placement of British units by time, so I need some help. Here there are no British contenders (sets of Lieutenants and Serjeants) for the 1915 era. 

 

It seemed logical to me that these three men would have been with the same unit and killed on or about the same time. I see two possible groups, one in October 1917 (Third Ypres) and the other in July 1917  (holding the line?). If it was July 1917 that they were in that area, then we know the two Lieutenants but not which Serjeant. If it was October 1917 then I need to know is a 2nd/7th Bn. in the same batch as the Lieutenants that are just listed as 7th Bn.?

 

surname forename death rank regiment unit # memorial
SIMPSON REGINALD HENRY 07-07-15 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 4th Bn.   YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL
BAILEY FRANK 06-09-17 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 8th Bn.   TYNE COT MEMORIAL
PROCTOR GEORGE VINCENT 06-09-17 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 8th Bn.   TYNE COT MEMORIAL
TWEEDY CHARLES FRANCIS 09-10-17 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 5th Bn.   TYNE COT MEMORIAL
STEVENSON HUGH 09-10-17 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 6th Bn.   TYNE COT MEMORIAL
MOTTRAM JOHN ELLIOTT 09-10-17 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 7th Bn.   TYNE COT MEMORIAL
PEARSON JOHN 10-10-17 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 7th Bn.   TYNE COT MEMORIAL
CRUSE HUGH 09-10-17 Serjeant Lancashire Fusiliers "B" Coy. 2nd/7th Bn. '280951' TYNE COT MEMORIAL
BROOKS JOSEPH 09-10-17 Serjeant Lancashire Fusiliers "B" Coy. 3rd/5th Bn. '202519' TYNE COT MEMORIAL
DAISLEY JAMES 09-10-17 Serjeant Lancashire Fusiliers "D" Coy. 1st Bn. '1858' TYNE COT MEMORIAL
WOLFE SIDNEY GEORGE 22-10-17 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 18th Bn.   TYNE COT MEMORIAL
JOBLING JOSEPH HIGGIN 01-12-17 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 10th Bn   TYNE COT MEMORIAL
JOHNSON ERIC HOPE 22-12-17 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 8th Bn.   TYNE COT MEMORIAL
GREGORY FRANK 16-04-18 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 19th Bn.   TYNE COT MEMORIAL
PROCTOR GEORGE 17-04-18 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 19th Bn.   TYNE COT MEMORIAL
PRITCHARD WILLIAM JOHN 20-04-18 Serjeant Lancashire Fusiliers 11th Bn. '1401' TYNE COT MEMORIAL
ROWLAY RICHARD ARTHUR 20-04-18 Serjeant Lancashire Fusiliers 11th Bn. '24045' TYNE COT MEMORIAL
PRICE LAWRENCE CHARLES 25-04-18 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 4th Bn. attd. 19th Bn.   TYNE COT MEMORIAL
DICKINSON TALBOT 31-07-17 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers "B" Coy. 2nd/5th Bn.   YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL
ANDREWS REGINALD 31-07-17 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 7th Bn. attd. 2nd/5th Bn.   YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL
CROMPTON HENRY 31-07-17 Serjeant Lancashire Fusiliers 2nd/5th Bn. '203882' YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL
FERGUSON EDWARD 31-07-17 Serjeant Lancashire Fusiliers 2nd/5th Bn. '200789' YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL
HUDSON FRANK 31-07-17 Serjeant Lancashire Fusiliers 2nd/5th Bn. '200499' YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

 

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doc2019015.JPG

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Ken Lees

1/7th Bn, Lancashire Fusiliers had no officer casualties on these dates according to their War Diary. I can't find the 2/7th Bn War Diary on Ancestry.

Edited by Ken Lees

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laughton

I checked the GRRF and the HDSCHD and only the GRRF refers to the Lancashire Fusiliers, so if they relied on the 2nd document to make the headstone then they did not carry forward with the regimental details. Anyone visiting the cemetery would not know that they were Lancashire Fusilier men, so why would they investigate any further?

 

Can anyone tell me if it was July 1917 or October 1917 when they were in the Saint Jean - Wieltje sector?

 

doc1823394.JPG
 

doc1856483.JPG

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laughton

Fantastic Luc - another great find!

 

There are a few issues:

  • I will still need to make sure that Mottram and Pearson were not in that area on October 10, 1917. I am going into the text new to extract that part.
     
  • It looks like we have another KIPLING AFFAIR, as DICKINSON is a Second Lieutenant in the historical reference and a Lieutenant on the CWGC.

Back shortly. IN the meantime, here is the text that I extracted from the book and "cleaned up" for reading:

 

Quote

THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS 1914-1918

THE OPENING OF THE BATTLE: LIEUTENANT-COLONEL B. BEST–DUNKLEY'S VICTORIA CROSS
"PILCKEM
"2nd/5th and 11th Battalions

(this is late July 1917 near Saint Jean and Wieltje)

The Regiment was represented on the opening day of the great offensive by one battalion only, the 2nd/5th (Lieutenant-Colonel BN.B. Best-Dunkley) in the 164th Infantry Brigade of the 55th Division. It had been in the Ypres sector since October, 1916, and had, as has been told, done its share of raids and patrolling.

 

It had, however, enjoyed a spell of rest and training in June and returned to Ypres at the beginning of July. While in reserve it had its first taste of the new mustard gas on the 12th, from which it lost 3 officers and 11 other ranks. On 29th July it moved to Cate BeIge near the Vlamertinghe-Ypres road and at about 8.30 p.m. the following night moved to its assembly positions in trenches known as "Congreve Walk" and "Liverpool Trench" close to Wieltje, arriving without loss at 1.30 a.m. Zero was at 3.50 a.m., when the other two brigades were to advance abreast and capture the "Blue Line"(about seven hundred and fifty yards from the original line) and the "Black Line" (about a mile farther on and running roughly south–east from St. Julien). At 10.10 a.m. the 164th Brigade was to pass through the leading brigades and capture part of the "Green Line,"the German third line system of defence, roughly a mile beyond the"Black Line." The initial attack went well and by 9 a.m. the whole of this objective had been taken with the important exceptions of Spree Farm and Wine House, which lay to the south-east of St. Julien.

 

In the meanwhile, the 2nd/5th Battalion had climbed out of its assembly trenches at 8 a.m. and formed up in front of them in artillery formation on a two-company front, "C" (Captain L. R. Mordecai) and "D" (Captain J. R. Bodington) Companies in front with "A" (Captain W. L. Briggs) and "B" (Second-Lieutenant T. Dickinson, M.C.) in support. At 8.30a.m. the advance began at the rate of a hundred yards in four minutes. Many German prisoners were met ,but progress was otherwise without incident until the Hanebeekstream was reached, when the battalion came under scattered rifle and machine-gun fire, though there was very little shelling. But on reaching a point between two and three hundred yards short of the"Black Line," the battalion met with very heavy rifle and machine–gun fire from many directions, chiefly from strong points at Wine House, Spree Farm, Pond Farm and Hindu Cot. Companies at onces took out into extended order, but the fire inflicted so many casualties and caused so much confusion that correct formations were never regained throughout the action. Nevertheless, the commanders of the leading troops took prompt steps to deal with Wine House, Spree Farm and other parts of the "Black Line" which were giving trouble.
When all the officers of"C" Company had been knocked out, Lieutenant-Colonel Best-Dunkley himself dashed forward, took command of its leading wave and personally led them on through intense machine-gun fire. After stiff fighting, in which much gallant leadership was displayed by commanders of all ranks ,the "Black Line" was eventually taken in its entirety and thebattalion could begin its proper attack.It had by now lost half its strength and was in a very disorganized state. But it was imperative not to lose the creeping barrage, particularly since this was not thick enough to prevent German machine guns from firing through it and the tanks allotted to the operation had been unable to help owing to the bad condition of the ground caused by rain and the bombardment. (This on the first day of the battle!) 

 

The advance to the "Green Line" was therefore begun without delay and, after some sharp fights to eject Germans from strong points, the objective was reached with a few further casualties at about noon. A carrier pigeon released at Wurst Farm at 1.45 p.m. with this information reached divisional headquarters at 11.45 a.m. next day. Consolidation was put in hand and outposts were pushed forward to cover it. At this stage, Second-Lieutenant J.Agnew, who had been shot through the knee during the earlier part of the attack but had continued to lead his platoon to its objective, was again wounded and had to go back. He was wounded a third time, but although his wounds were severe he refused to take a stretcher, in order that more serious cases might be dealt with. Second-Lieutenant T. Dickinson, M.C., who had frequently (as has been related) distinguished himself in patrol work in the earlier part of the year, was wounded in the arm, but carried on till he reached the objective, when he was shot through the head.

 

It was a very attenuated body which had reached the battalion 's final objective. On the left, Bodington's "D" Company reached Wurst Farm, just beyond the "Green Line," with ten men, of whom eight soon became casualties. The battalion had been in possession of its objective for less than an hour when the first German counter attack was delivered, from a north-easterly direction and across the front of the division on the left. As the latter had not been able to make as much progress as the 55th Division and as the left of the German attack was directed on Wurst Farm, there was a grave risk of the survivors of the 2nd/5th being cut off. A withdrawal was therefore ordered to Winnipeg Farm, about seven hundred yards in rear, where an attempt was made to form a defensive flank. When this proved to be impossible, a position was occupied on Jew Hill, to the east of St. Julien, by about 2.15 p.m. In the meanwhile, German artillery fire had become more intense; and, under cover of this and of machine-gun fire, counter-attacks were delivered by several battalions from both flanks , preceded by four aircraft which flew low over the advance positions, firing lights and machine guns. 

 

Immediate steps were taken to prepare the "Black Line" for defence while a further withdrawal to it took place, covered by small parties using every round of ammunition they could find and even taking it from derelict tanks and casualties. A small strong-point near Schuler Farm (about 1,000 yards east of St. Julien) was held by one hundred and thirty men of the 2nd/5th and of the 1st/8th Liverpool Regiment (Liverpool Irish ) under Bodington. They beat off repeated attempts to envelop them but finally, after the loss of eighty men, the survivors were compelled to withdraw and fight their way back to the "Black Line", which was reached by ten men. 

 

Great gallantry and skill were displayed at this stage by Second–Lieutenant H. Beesley and Corporal E . Lawson, both of whom,though wounded, continued to hold their positions and use their Lewis guns till the last possible moment. The rearguard action of this body enabled the right of the brigade to withdraw safely. Battalion headquarters were at this time at Spree Farm, in the "Black Line", and received very short warning of the approach of the enemy, who followed close on the heels of the rearguard and tried to penetrate the "Black Line." Lieutenant-Colonel Best-Dunkley collected all available men and personally led them to the attack, which succeeded in driving back the Germans. The artillery came to the rescue about 4.30 p.m. with a heavy barrage which effectually prevented the enemy from obtaining a footing in the "Black Line." But at about this time the adjutant, Lieutenant R. Andrews, was killed, and shortly after the Commanding Officer was wounded. At that time also rain came down in torrents and continued; shell holes filled with water ; mud became slime; the conditions were completely discouraging. As there was then no officer known to be alive or unwounded, the Orderly Room Serjeant, Serjeant F. Haworth,took command of the survivors and organized a defensive position,helping with their fire to deal with attempted German attacks. He brought the remnants of the battalion out of the line at about 9 a.m. the following day, 1st August.

 

Of the 19 combatant officers who went into action, 3 had been killed, 2 so severely wounded that they later died of their wounds, 11 wounded and 2 missing, a total of 18 casualties. Out of 593 other ranks, 473 were casualties.

 

Edited by laughton
added in formatted text from reference

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laughton

I finally figured out that if I went back to the main link for the text that I could then SEARCH the whole book:

 

http://lib.militaryarchive.co.uk/library/infantry-histories/library/The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I/

 

It also works well to PRINT the page or pages you want to PDF and then you can use them as you wish. Unfortunately, although I was able to determine that the 2nd/7th was in the Langemark-Poelcappelle corridor to the northwest of Passchendaele in the 10 October 1917 era, there was no mention of Lieutenants Mottram or Pearson, nor Serjeant Cruse. I found that odd, given that Lieutenants Dickinson and Andrews were both mentioned for the July 1917 period.

 

Talbot Dickinson was a Second Lieutenant according to his listing for awards. That one page is attached.

 

There are no other Lieutenants missing in July 1917, so either they made an error on the COG-BR or he was playing Kipling!

Dickinson.T.2nd.Lt.LG.V2.pg15.pdf

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laughton

Back for another look, now that I have access to the War Diaries on Ance$try. We are looking to see who was in the area where the remains were found at 28.C.28.d.9.9, which is just south of Wieltje, to the northeast of St. Jean on the Ypres Gravenstafel road.

 

2nd/5th Battalion 31 July 1917

 

2nd/5th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers , 164th Brigade, 51st (Highland) Division for July 1917 (page 232 0f 680). They are holding at Querk Camp in late July for what appears to be the major action that took place on 31 July 1917. The war diary reports that the "detail of operations carried forward to 1/8/17" (page 244 of 680). The operation order of 27 July 1917 (in the August War Diary) provides the details (page 262 of 680). The battalion was to advance from the Congreve Walk-Liverpool Trench line, which runs through Sector 28.C.27.d, just north of St. Jean, one sector west of where the remains were recovered. The war diary reports (page 263 of 680) that the 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers were to attack on a 2 company front from Liverpool Trench (TMC 28.C.27.d.7.2) with objectives in the 28.D.7 sector, so they are heading northwest towards St. Julien and Gravenstafel Ridge.

 

There is a nicely typed "Synopsis of Operations" (page 268 of 680). They encountered rifle and machine gun fire when the leading platoons crossed the Hanabeek, which flows both south and east of St. Julien. Here they encountered extreme machine gun fire, from places such as Pond Farm and Wine House (both in sector 28.C.18), which is about 2,500 yards northeast of where the remains were recovered. The war diary is clear that the battalion suffered heavy loses and was falling back, having to abandon the Battalion H.Q. at Spree Farm (TMC 28.c.18.d.1.3). The diary also reports that by 8 pm there was no known officer alive. The death of Lieutenant Reginald Andrews (Adjutant) is recorded (page 270 of 680) as to have occured during the withdrawal. Dickinson is also reported killed but as a 2nd Lieutenant not a Lieutenant (another Kipling episode!).

 

There is nothing conclusive about the deaths of any of the Lieutenants in the sector where the remains were found. There is no reference to the men being taken back for burial. Although they may have started in that area, that does not appear to be where the deaths occured.

 

2nd/7th Battalion, 9-10 October 1917

 

2nd/7th Lancashire Fusiliers, 197th Brigade, 66th DIvision for October 1917 (page 181 of 464). On 5 October 1917 they marched from Vlamertinghe via Ypres to Frezenberrg Ridge (TMC 28.C.30.d.25.35). The men were working on road repairs in the area and it was reported that there were several casualties from the shelling of the camp. On the 8th the unit started to move forward, with the first objective through Heine House (my TMC 28.D.11.c.8.3), with a second objective through Vienna Cottage (my TMC 28.D.12.8.1). On the 9th (page 184 of 464) they fell back from Hillside Farm (near Heine House my TMC 28.D.17.a.8.8) to Railway Crossing, where they fought of counter attacks. On the 10th the lines were reorganized under heavy shelling.

 

These details suggest that although the 2/7th Sussex Regiment (197th Brigade) started in the area where the remains were found, the main casualties were more that 7,000 yards to the northeast. They fell back to Daring Crossing (TMC 28.D.16.d.60.25), evacuated the wounded in the Regional Aid Posts and assembled back at the Asylum in Ypres.

 

The casualty count for the 9th/10th October does report the death of Lieutenant J.E. Mottram and the Battalion Signalling Officer Lieutenant J. Pearson (page 185 of 464). They are reported as "killed" and not "wounded and died", so they were casualties some distance from where the remains were recovered. That does answer the question as to whether they were in the 2nd/7th Battalion, as the CWGC reports only the 7th Battalion. There was a 1st/7th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers as well.

 

My Comments:

 

Although the July 2017 encounter is closer to where the remains were found, there is no concrete evidence that men were buried in the area of 28.C.d.9.9, where the remains were recovered. There is also the issue with the July 2017 event that one of the officers was a 2nd Lieutenant, however I think we all know now that we can not rely on the ranks reported by the GRU when it is at the Lieutenant level (i.e. the "Kipling Effect").

 

The October 2017 deaths were too far away to be considered as a realistic option, unless there was some evidence the men were brought back for burial. On the surface, that does not appear to be the case.

Edited by laughton
Typos corrected then added "My Comments" at end.

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RussT
14 minutes ago, laughton said:

That does answer the question as to whether they were in the 2nd/7th Battalion, as the CWGC reports only the 7th Battalion. There was a 1st/7th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers as well.

 

The 1st/7th LF were in the Nieuport Sector (Belgium Coast) in October 1917 (as part of 125th Brigade, 42nd Division). Don't know if that helps.

 

Russ

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laughton

Just to check on the others where there are two (2) Lieutenants killed at or about the same time. Extracted from the original list:

 

On 1/20/2017 at 08:20, laughton said:

 

surname

forename death rank regiment unit # memorial
               
BAILEY FRANK 06-09-17 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 8th Bn.   TYNE COT MEMORIAL
PROCTOR GEORGE VINCENT 06-09-17 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 8th Bn.   TYNE COT MEMORIAL
               
GREGORY FRANK 16-04-18 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 19th Bn.   TYNE COT MEMORIAL
PROCTOR GEORGE 17-04-18 Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers 19th Bn.   TYNE COT MEMORIAL
               

 

The 8th (is that the 1/8th or 2/8th)? It is the 1/8th September 1917 (page 38 of 168) as both are referenced as being killed (page 40 of 168). THey are in the vicinity of Borry Farm (my TMC 28.D.25.b.5.9). That is about 2,500 yards due east of where the remains were found at 28.C.28.d.9.9. Certainly in the neighbourhood. They had come from Saqare Farm at 28.C.30.b.8.8, which is about 1,000 yards closer to the remains. We have another case of the "Kipling Effect" here, as Proctor is listed in the war diary as a 2nd Lieutenant.

 

The 19th (Service) Battalion or 3rd Salford Pioneers were at Mont Kemmel (TMC 28.N26.a) so well out of the area (War Diary page 623 of 769). THe death of Lieutenant Gregory on the 16th and Lieutenant Proctor on the 17th are duly noted.

 

It would appear that the inability to tie down the location of the remains to a precise location of the unit, plus the mis-identification of Lieutenants and Second Lieutenants, is rendering this case hopeless.

 

Or have I completely missed something?

 

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