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Remembered Today:

Officer, Royal Welsh Fusiliers (with Sjt. Griffiths)


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Which one of these Officers was with Serjeant David Griffiths #25420 that matches the description in the exhumation report? If there were dental records for Officers this should be an easy match.


surname forename death death2 rank unit
WILLIAMS HYWEL 10-07-16 12-07-16 Captain 17th Bn.
WRIGHT WILLIAM CLIFFORD 10-07-16 12-07-16 Lieutenant 17th Bn.
LEWIS LLEWELYN 01-07-16 12-07-16 Second Lieutenant 17th Bn.
SINNETT-JONES JAMES VICTOR 10-07-16 12-07-16 Second Lieutenant 3rd Bn. attd. 17th Bn.
THOMAS THOMAS OLIVER 10-07-16 12-07-16 Second Lieutenant 17th Bn.



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Sgt Griffiths has papers.


His conduct sheet has his Company Commander as 2nd Lt Thomas Oliver Thomas.




Brings Lt Thomas up the list of likely contender? Or at least he'd be the first record to look up.


No mention that I can see of Sgt Griffiths having gone into the casualty chain.


Can anyone translate that map reference to an actual trench map etc?  I have seen it done on other threads but have no idea how to do it.

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I've sent you a link for trench coordinate conversion.  The site is slap bang in the centre of the Wood.  

Usually there are no dental charts of the sort which I have seen in Canadian files, Laughton.  That applies to all ranks, though there's always a chance I suppose.  Dental defects are often mentioned on Other Ranks medical forms, but not quite in chart detail.    


We may be assuming that the dead officer was in 17th RWF just because the only other identified body was in that unit?  The main action at Mametz was a horrendous barging about for two or more days, by units who advanced, pulled back, got mixed up, and did it all over again.  I fear he could be from any of the RWF battalions in that battle.





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Unfortunately Ancestry UK records do not show up on this side of the pond with a UK Ancestry Link.


Here is the trench map but I am not sure whether he fell and was buried there or they made a cemetery in the woods and took him there:




If you do not have the maps on DVD you can also use McMaster's online maps here: http://library.mcmaster.ca/maps/ww1/ndx5to40.htm


So all for 57d are here: http://lt1.mcmaster.ca/ww1/wrz4mp.php?grid=57d


There are also other 1:10,000 and 1:20,000 maps in separate areas of the site, if anyone wants those links as well.

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  • 11 months later...

A year later and I now have access to the British Records so I can see the link to 2nd Lt Thomas provided above.


I noticed that the Exhumation Report was incorrect as it had Sjt. David Griffiths #25420 at 7th Bn instead of 17th Bn. I see that is corrected on the COG-BR.


If only we knew which one was 5 feet 8 inches, wore size 8 boots and had both upper and lower dentures.




17th (Service) Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 128th Brigade, 43rd Division, which became 113th 115th Brigade, 43rd 38th (Welsh) Division.

War Diary July 1916 (page 54 of 261)

  • on 1 July 1916 at Acheu (TMC 57d.P.13)
  • moved up to the attack on Mametz Wood on 7 July 1916
  • names of the 5 Officers killed confirmed in war diary (page 59 orf 261)
  • no other Officers reported killed
  • 30 OR killed, 37 missing and 197 wounded
  • no additional information to assist in this investigation

Note that the CWGC lists the date of death as 12 July 1916. The war diary is clear that 2 of the 5 listed were killed on the 10th (About mid-night so could be recorded as 11th) and the other 3 on the 11th (it appears sometime after the attack went forward at 3:30 pm). The deaths may not have been reported until the early morning hours of the 12th.


The only way to resolve this case is to find out which Officer had 2 sets of dentures.

Edited by laughton
correction to 38th (Welsh) Division not 43rd, also 115th not 113th - see below
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  • 4 months later...

I was taking another look at this case to look at the number of Royal Welsh Fusiliers that were lost in this area, as it appeared from a re-check of the COG-BR sheets that there were others buried in combined graves.

I did notice that I had them named as 113th Brigade, 43rd Division as I forgot to change it to the 38th Division when I put in the war diary link. However, now I am confused as the LLT has the 17th (Service) Battalion starting in the 128th Brigade, 43rd Division and then following the route of the 15th (Service) Battalion which the LLT says is the same as the 13th (Service) Battalion, which places them all in the 113th Brigade. If I go to the LLT 38th (Welsh) Division the ORBAT tells me they left the 113th Brigade in July 1915 and moved to the 115th Brigade. Unless I am missing something (bad Canadian!) one of the two pages has to be incorrect? Forces War Records agrees with the 115th Brigade as of July 14, 1915. 


On the COG-BR noted about (2335035) we also have the man of the MGC, which if part of the same 38th Welsh Division would be the 113th, 114th or 115th Machine Gun Company (LLT). That is just a supposition that he is with the same group.

  • CWGC search for the 9th to 12th of July 1916 returns 3 men of the 113th MGC, one of which (Private Simon Bathgate) is in grave 10.E.9 of the London Cemetery and Extension. He is also shown to be buried in a combined grave (COG-BR 2335016) with another 4  RWF men and one of the Northumberland Fusiliers. It is not clear how they identified the man as Bathgate (#11863) when the only information appears to be two pieces of equipment stamped "R.S. 27539". (There is a R.S. 235782 lost in July 1916 - to follow later).
  • A similar CWGC search for the 114th has  4 men lost, all in unknown graves.
  • Lastly, the CWGC search for the 115th has 4 men lost at that time with no known grave. It also has Private Evans in the FLATIRON Cemetery, who was found at 57d.X.18.d.5.2.

It was the Private Bathgate page that revealed there were other combined graves multiple RWF casualties in the 57d.X.24 sector. Mametz Wood in that area would also include sector 57d.X.18 to the north. Here are some of the others that could also be RWF men in a similar situation:

We have a potential problem with another RWF man also noticed during this review. He is in Grave 10.E.38 as marked on COG-BR 2335022. What caught my attention in his case was the ring engraved H.P.C. There was a man of the 17th Bn with those exact initials that was killed in action on 10 July 1916 by the name of Private H P Cousins #37161. The odd thing is that he was reported found  at 57c.S.14.d.7.9, which although on a different map, is just to the east of Mametz Wood within Bazentin le-Grand Wood. To me it seems more likely that he is the RWF man in the London Cemetery Extension. If that is true, who is in grave 4.D.5 of the Quarry Cemetery, Montauban?

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Hi Laughton,

15th (1st London Welsh) RWF was in 113th Brigade until disbanded in 1918 (13th, 14th and 16th RWF also in 113 Bde.).  17th (2nd North Wales) RWF moved from that Brigade to 115th Brigade in July 1915, mixed units - 10th & 11th  S.Wales Borderers and 16th Welsh Regt as well as this RWF unit.  .


Re. officer ID, the Officer files might well comment on matters such as height and dentures if the man's Medical form has survived.  Many (?most)  New Army officers of the 38th Welsh Division were commissioned from the ranks, and Officer files if they survive usually include the Other Rank attestation form and other material.  Boot size most unlikely - a matter for the officers' preferred bootmakers, not the Army!  


Is it possible that the ring reflects someone else's initials (eg father, sweetheart) and not the deceased man's?  



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