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laughton

Hertfordshire Serjeant in Plot D Grave 4 Toronto Cemetery, Demuin

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laughton

Although it is unlikely that this Serjeant of the Hertfordshire Regiment can be identified, the information may be of value to family of those that lost a Serjeant of this regiment during Operation Michael in March 1918. He lies in Plot D Grave 4 at the Toronto Cemetery, Demuin. There are only three (3) named on the Pozieres Memorial, so we know it is one of these men:

 

surname initials death
GRAY G 30-03-18
HARRIS C W 22-03-18
WILBOURN A H 30-03-18

 

This cemetery was not started by the Canadians until August 1918, so we know that these were exhumations after the war. Unfortunately, there are no COG-BR documents that I have been able to locate for this cemetery, so we do not know specifically where they were exhumed. If the regiment was in two different locations between the 22nd and 30th of March 1918, it is possible we could separate Harris from Gray or Wilbourn. For that we need the exhumation coordinates. They may exist at the CWGC, just not uploaded for this cemetery.

 

Demuin is north of the Amiens-Roye Road, on the Luce River at GPS 49°49'12.21"N 2°32'11.64"E.

 

If he was my grandfather and I did not know where he was buried, I would go to that cemetery, just in case it was him.

 

doc2055283.JPG

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laughton

Cleaning up the list, I should have linked them to the CWGC list. There are no battalions noted and only the 1st Battalion in on the Ance$try site under that name for the 37th Division.

The LLT tells me it was an unusual group as it had no battalions in the regular army, all were territorial (4 of them). By the time these lads were KIA, it appears that only the 1/1st Battalion was left, so were have 3 men all in the same unit. It appears that the earlier months are missing as it does not start in February 1918 as labelled (Page 2 of 61). That is because it was transferred to the 37th Division that month, having previously been with the 116th Brigade of the 39th Division (page 564 of 618).

 

Odd that there is no entry for 22 March 1918. On the 30th the 1st Herts and 11th RSR were along the Sunken Road due west of Aubercourt (page 568 of 618). Several counter-attacks were made by the 1st Herts but no other information is available.

 

There is insufficient information to move this case forward at this time. So, as initially stated, it is one of the three (3) Serjeants, so the families will need to share the memories.

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ss002d6252

The war diary for March is Ancestry here -

https://www.ancestry.co.uk/interactive/60779/43112_2590_0-00389?pid=371835&backurl=https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?_phsrc%3DNdj395%26_phstart%3DsuccessSource%26usePUBJs%3Dtrue%26indiv%3D1%26db%3DUKWarDiariesWWI%26gss%3Dangs-d%26new%3D1%26rank%3D1%26gskw%3D2590%26MSAV%3D1%26uidh%3Dyvc%26pcat%3D39%26fh%3D347%26h%3D371835%26recoff%3D%26fsk%3DBELq368IgADtawADh2g-61-%26bsk%3D%26pgoff%3D%26ml_rpos%3D348&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=Ndj395&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true#?imageId=43112_2590_0-00377

 

On 22 March 1918, the date of death for Harris, the battalion was in the GREEN LINE and spent the night at HAMEL. On 23 March they moved on to BUSSU and by 30 March, the date of death for Gray and Wilbourn, they were at AUBERCOURT. This should narrow it to Gray or Wilbourn as it looks to me like BUSSU / HAMEL is some distance away from AUBERCOURT (which is relatively close to the cemetery).


Effects records

 

Gray - 1st Herts
https://www.ancestry.co.uk/interactive/60506/42511_6117463_0125-00222?pid=524847&backurl=https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?_phsrc%3DNdj390%26_phstart%3DsuccessSource%26usePUBJs%3Dtrue%26indiv%3D1%26db%3DUKArmyRegistersEffects%26gss%3Dangs-d%26new%3D1%26rank%3D1%26_F8007A65%3D265923%26MSAV%3D1%26uidh%3Dyvc%26pcat%3D39%26fh%3D0%26h%3D524847%26recoff%3D66%2067%26ml_rpos%3D1&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=Ndj390&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true


Harris - 1st Herts

https://www.ancestry.co.uk/interactive/60506/42511_6117463_0125-00186?pid=524670&backurl=https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?_phsrc%3DNdj388%26_phstart%3DsuccessSource%26usePUBJs%3Dtrue%26indiv%3D1%26db%3DUKArmyRegistersEffects%26gss%3Dangs-d%26new%3D1%26rank%3D1%26gsfn%3Dcuthbert%20walter%26gsfn_x%3D0%26MSAV%3D1%26uidh%3Dyvc%26pcat%3D39%26fh%3D0%26h%3D524670%26recoff%3D3%204%26ml_rpos%3D1&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=Ndj388&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true


Wilbourn - 1st Herts

https://www.ancestry.co.uk/interactive/60506/42511_6117463_0125-00211?pid=524793&backurl=https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?_phsrc%3DNdj385%26_phstart%3DsuccessSource%26usePUBJs%3Dtrue%26indiv%3D1%26db%3DUKArmyRegistersEffects%26gss%3Dangs-d%26new%3D1%26rank%3D1%26msT%3D1%26_F8007A65%3D266230%26MSAV%3D1%26uidh%3Dyvc%26pcat%3D39%26fh%3D2%26h%3D524793%26recoff%3D67%2068%26ml_rpos%3D3&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=Ndj385&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true

 

Craig

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laughton

Thanks for that Craig! Does that mean the entry on the LLT is incorrect, as it listed them in the 116th Brigade not the 118th?

 

For my future reference (and for the families that may visit), I am marking the pages in the war diary:

  • March 22, 1918 (page 381 of 680), fell back from Ste. Emilie (my TMC 62c.E.19.a) to Hamel (my TMC 62c.K.13.c). That takes us back to the same general area and time when Captain Crofton of the Conestoga Rangers was killed (this topic 254911).
     
  • March 30, 1918 (page 385 of 680), the enemy advancing on the other side of the River Luce. They had gone into the trenches in front of Aubercourt (my TMC 62d.V.20.c) on the 28th, which is on the north side of the river. This is an area very familiar to the Canadians (Nicholson Map 11) for action in August 1918. This places them very close to Aubecourt, just northeast of Demuin, where the bodies were buried at Toronto Cemetery, Demuin (TMC 62d.V.13.c.0.4 GPS 49°50'13.53"N 2°32'11.39"E). They fell back into Hangard Wood (my TMC 62d.U.16/17).

Chances are that if they found one of the men that they also found the other. From the looks of the cemetery photographs, they appear to be trench burials. The other unknowns in this cemetery are: (possible in D.21)

  • C.22 was Buckmaster, 14th Bn Tank Corps, now UBS (probably Pte. Ben Waite #301708, shown as #301878 - see this group of six)
  • C.23 UBS Lance Corporal
  • D.4 this is our UNKNOWN SERJEANT of the Herts Regiment
  • D.5 UBS East Surrey Regiment
  • D.9-D.12 group of 4 UBS with no details
  • D.13 UBS Private, Gloster Regiment ( I assume that is Gloucestershire)
  • D.14-D.16 group of 3 UBS with no details
  • D.17 Unknown Officer, Australian Infantry (I will check with the Diggers)
  • D.18 & D.19 UBS and UB Officer
  • D.20 UBS Private, Gordons
  • D.21 UBS Herts Regiment
  • E.6 UB Officer, Lancs Fus. (Lancashire Fusiliers) - too many missing in March 1918 to resolve

So now we really need the concentration reports to see if the Herts lad in D.21 is the 2nd missing Serjeant. If so, they can get a Special Memorial A - "Buried elsewhere in this cemetery". Problem is that there are seven (7) men of the Hertfordshire Regiment on the Pozieres Memorial for that date (CWGC Link).

 

As a minimum, now that Serjeant Harris has been eliminated, the families of Serjeants Gray and Wilbourn should be made aware that this grave holds one of their relatives.

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ss002d6252

As an aside, I wonder if there any missing Herts Sgts who could be Cuthbert Harris up near Hamel.

Craig

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laughton

A logical place would be the TINCOURT NEW BRITISH CEMETERY - I will go have a look.

 

The cemetery records have already been compiled from our previous research and can be found here:

 

http://www.mediafire.com/folder/uqcc8jvvq0yzk/Tincourt_New_British_Cemetery

 

Usually every time I do this I find something else and off on another tangent we go! This is because I compiled all these records looking for CANADIANS and never paid any attention to the BRITISH men at that time. Now the project has changed, I am learning more about the British units and the cavern has expanded. No problem, we owe it to all the men, no matter what nationality. My two Canadian grandfathers both served with the British.

 

Some interesting cases but NOTHING jumped out of the records.

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