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RFA 5th April 1918 - Roye New British Cemetery Row AA Grave 7


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One of these three men of the Royal Field Artillery is buried in the Roye New British Cemetery in Row AA Grave 7. It was only recently that I learned from the CWGC that the Historical Information given on the web site for the cemetery descriptions reflects what was in the Cemetery Register when it was published. Thus in this case there is no mention of Row AA because the exhumation of these remains were made on 29 May 1935 and the Register was probably published in the 1920's. The CWGC can provide that date if it is needed. The row does appear in the schematic on the web site.

 

This man was exhumed from the Merville-au-Bois Churchyard at 66e.R.20.d.1.8, (see later posts as it should read 66e.H.20.d.1.8) which is near Andechy (south east of Roye). south of the Amiens-Roye Road. He was killed on 5 April 1918, was 5 foot 6 inches approximately and had been wounded in the head. If he had been Canadian we could have looked at his Circumstance of Death file, apparently an option that is not available in the event of a British death. However, someone might be able to check these three (3) records to see if there are any clues. Is one of the named as being buried in that Churchyard of being wounded in the head? He did have a steel helmet with him when exhumed.

 

His dental record is also provided at the bottom of the exhumation report.

 

This information was coincidental to me research on the Canadians lost in the Battle of Amiens that are buried in Roye New British Cemetery.

 

There are four (4) other Gunners in the same AA row that were exhumed from the Cotten Churchyard at 66e.A.12.b.7.8 in May 1935. All four of those men were identified (see SPEC EXH 2326810 to 814 if interested - just change the last digit in the link).

 

One of these three men is in this grave:

 

Name Rank      Number         Death              
CLARKE, ROBERT WILLIAM Gunner    L/27536    05/04/1918              
FOULDS, ARNOLD Driver    11658    05/04/1918              
WHEATON, LESLIE HORACE Gunner    67015      05/04/1918           

 

doc2326818.JPG

Edited by laughton
added: (see later posts as it should read 66e.H.20.d.1.8)
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Foulds' record sates he was 5ft 2/3" with Brown hair when he enlisted age 18 in 1900. http://search.findmypast.co.uk/record?id=gbm%2fwo363-4%2f007306934%2f00834&parentid=gbm%2fwo363-4%2f7306934%2f36%2f832 . When he re-enlisted in 1912 it records him as the same height so it's unlikely he grew between 1912 and 1918.

 

Craig

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Bonjour, laughton,

As I live next to Roye (12 km), I could take pictures of the grave(s) if you want, just tell me.

By the way : Merville au Bois (which doesn't exist any more) is next to AILLY SUR NOYE, rather than ANDECHY.

kind regards from the Somme, martine

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2 hours ago, laughton said:

.

 

This man was exhumed from the Merville-au-Bois Churchyard at 66e.R.20.d.1.8, which is near Andechy (south east of Roye). south of the Amiens-Roye Road...

                   
                   
                       
                  

 

That'll be a typo on the original report.... Merville -au-Bois churchyard is at 66e.G.20.d.1.8

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
2 hours ago, ss002d6252 said:

Foulds' record sates he was 5ft 2/3" with Brown hair when he enlisted age 18 in 1900. http://search.findmypast.co.uk/record?id=gbm%2fwo363-4%2f007306934%2f00834&parentid=gbm%2fwo363-4%2f7306934%2f36%2f832 . When he re-enlisted in 1912 it records him as the same height so it's unlikely he grew between 1912 and 1918.

 

Craig

Slight difference in data:

5' 2¾"     in 1900 aged 18yrs.

5' 3½"  in 1912 aged 30.

 

But the conclusion is the same, he wouldn't have grown to 5' 6" by 1918.

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thetrenchrat22

Robert Clarke was a member of 'B' Battery, 277th Bde, RFA.   On the 5th April 1918, 3 members of this battery were killed.  2 members are buried in Crucifix Corner Cemetery in plot 3, Row A, Graves 8 & 10. 

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28 minutes ago, thetrenchrat22 said:

Robert Clarke was a member of 'B' Battery, 277th Bde, RFA.   On the 5th April 1918, 3 members of this battery were killed.  2 members are buried in Crucifix Corner Cemetery in plot 3, Row A, Graves 8 & 10. 

 

They are listed as exhumations (see on GRRF below) so that should narrow down the area. Crucifix Corner Cemetery is at 62d.U.6.a.3.2 if that helps us place the unit for Robert Clarke at that time. Sadly, they do not have COG-BR documents for either of the two men. That leaves us with the question as to whether they were in the area and are candidates in this case or is Clarke excluded?

 

doc1993202.JPG

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3 hours ago, CROONAERT said:

 

That'll be a typo on the original report.... Merville -au-Bois churchyard is at 66e.G.20.d.1.8

 

Maybe that is my READING mistake as when I went to your 66e.G.20 I can then see Merville-au-Bois at 66e.H.20 so it is likely that it says H.20 and I mistakenly read it as R.20? I think that is what happened!

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4 hours ago, mva said:

Bonjour, laughton,

As I live next to Roye (12 km), I could take pictures of the grave(s) if you want, just tell me.

By the way : Merville au Bois (which doesn't exist any more) is next to AILLY SUR NOYE, rather than ANDECHY.

kind regards from the Somme, martine

 

Yes Please!

 

What would be fantastic would be the headstones in Damery Communal Cemetery that started me down this file. Would that be possible, it is quite small?

 

My case it here:

 

http://cefresearch.ca/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=85&t=14500

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1 hour ago, laughton said:

 

Maybe that is my READING mistake as when I went to your 66e.G.20 I can then see Merville-au-Bois at 66e.H.20 so it is likely that it says H.20 and I mistakenly read it as R.20? I think that is what happened!

 

Whoops... It is, indeed, 'H'... and ,from me there, was a perfect example of a typo!!! ('G' being next to 'H' on the keyboard!!!) :blush:

 

Dave

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8 hours ago, laughton said:

 

Yes Please!

What would be fantastic would be the headstones in Damery Communal Cemetery that started me down this file. Would that be possible, it is quite small?

My case it here: http://cefresearch.ca/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=85&t=14500

 

Damery : 11 (7 identified, 4 not ident.) : http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead.aspx?cpage=1&sort=name&order=asc.

I'll go there in the next days, please send a pm with your mail address, so that I can send the pics

kind regards from here, martine

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Taking a step back to see where these men were located, which I did not include in my original post. Back then I had no access to the war diaries. Remember that the remains were found at Merville-au-Bois Churchyard at 66e.R.20.d.1.8 before they were concentrated into Roye New British Cemetery.   

 

Name Rank      Number         Death   Unit Affiliation           
CLARKE, ROBERT WILLIAM Gunner    L/27536    05/04/1918    "B" Battery, 277th (Howitzer) Brigade (55th Divisional Artillery)        
FOULDS, ARNOLD Driver    11658    05/04/1918   1st Battery, 45th Brigade (8th Division, Divisional Troops)           
WHEATON, LESLIE HORACE Gunner    67015      05/04/1918    "C" Battery, 124th (Howitzer) Brigade (37th Divisional Artillery)

 

What that now tells us is as follows:

  • You will recall the remains were found in the Merville au Bois Churchyard at 66e.H.20.d.1.8 (GPS 49.7481, 2.4047 or 49°44'53.16"N 2°24'16.92"E).
  • Clarke, if I have this correct is far away near the :a Bassee Canal (36c.A.12) near Festubert, well out of the area where the remains were found. Google Earth tells me that is about 90 km to the northeast of where the remains were found.
  • Foulds was near Gentelles (62d.T.12) where it appears the batteries were heavily shelled that the unit fell back to 62d.U.23 which is south of Hangard Wood. You can read the details in the War Diary (page 681 of 737). That location is approximately 11 km to the southwest of where the remains were initially buried
  • Wheaton is a bit of a puzzle as the war diary indicates that the unit was on the move between Belgium and France (page 374 of 844) in early April 1918.
    • There is a reference on April 1st to "C/124" being in the FIFTH ARMY area.
    • On April 5th the 37th Divisional Artillery marched to Couin, in the THIRD ARMY area. The march table places them at Westoutre, Belgium on the 5th, so well out of the area where the remains were recovered. On the 6th they are at Lillers, so still 88 km north of the remains recovery location.
    • On April 5th it then says "C Battery, 124th Brigade rejoined the Brigade at ORVILLE (my TMC 57d.H.4) on the 8th". That is 42 km to the north of the remains, but after the reported death of the unknown.
    • Going back to March 31st (page 371 of 844) there is a reference to a warning order to the 37th Divisional Artillery "to prepare to entrain on 6th April".
    • The map included in the April war diary (page 376 of 844) appears to show A, B, C 124 in "Z Group" on the west of Achiet-le-Petit (my TMC 57c.G.13) to the northwest of Bapaume. That is 48 km from where the remains were found. I suspect this is after they moved to Gommecourt on the 10th, as that is 8 km west of Achiet-le-Petit (page 375 of 844).
    • To check on this, I looked at the other death in the same unit for 5 April 1918 (Driver John Sheridan) and he is buried at the Gentelles Communal Cemetery (TMC 62d.T.12.c.4.8). That puts him in the same location as Foulds, in a known grave, only 11 km from the remains of the unknown. How did Driver Sheldon get into that area? He is in the same unit "C" Battery, 124th Brigade as Wheaton. Were they sent somewhere and were they together when they were killed?
    • For the period March 25th to April 15th there were only 4 deaths in the 124th Brigade RFA, 1 in the UK, 1 in Belgium ("D" Battery) and the 2 in France ("C" Battery).

I think that what this now tells us is that Clarke is off the list and it is either Foulds or Wheaton. There is not enough information in the war diary to pin down exactly where Wheaton was on the 5 April 1918. If he was with Driver Sheridan and they were sent somewhere near Gentelles, then we can not separate him from Foulds.

 

Someone with some experience with the Artillery may have a better idea of what was happening?

 

If the date on the cross was wrong, then there are 38 candidates on the Pozieres Memorial for the 3 day period of April 4th to 6th, 1918 (CWGC Link). Of those, 30 died on the 4th that may not have been buried until the 5th.

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On 6/6/2017 at 14:48, laughton said:

There are four (4) other Gunners in the same AA row that were exhumed from the Cotten Churchyard at 66e.A.12.b.7.8 in May 1935. All four of those men were identified (see SPEC EXH 2326810 to 814 if interested - just change the last digit in the link).

 

Perhaps I'm missing something here, but all 4 identified were with C Bty, 315th Brigade RFA and died on the same day, April 4, 1918. I've just found 3 others that died on that day commemorated on the Arras Memorial. I would say there is more of a chance it could be one of them.

 

ROYE NEW BRITISH CEMETERY

 

POWELL, GEORGE WILLIAM
Service Number 935491
Died 04/04/1918
Aged 22
"C" Bty. 315th Bde.

 

WHITEHEAD, CHARLES THOMAS JOSEPH
Service Number 233655
Died 04/04/1918
Aged 32
"C" Bty. 315th Bde.

 

SIMS, REGINALD
Service Number 196189
Died 04/04/1918
Aged 27
"C" Bty. 315th Bde.

 

SUTHERLAND, WILLIAM
Service Number 125976
Died 04/04/1918
"C" Bty. 315th Bde. 
 

ARRAS MEMORIAL

 

EARL, HAROLD
Service Number 163545
Died 04/04/1918
Aged 21
"C" Bty. 315th Bde. 

 

HENNELL, EDWARD RICHARD
Service Number 212021
Died 04/04/1918
"C" Bty. 315th Army Bde.

 

MOISEY, CHARLES
Service Number 198727
Died 04/04/1918
"B" Bty. 315th Bde.

 

 

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Excellent point David, trapped in the conflict as to what is on the Arras Memorial (Spring 1916 - August 1918) and what is on the Pozieres Memorial (March-April 1918). To make things worse, there is another on the Arras Memorial for that specific date that I did not check:

 

TURNBULL, EDWARD OGILVIE

Service Number 219883

Died 05/04/1918

Aged 25

"A" Bty. 110th Bde. 
Royal Field Artillery

 

I had some problems finding the Division for the 110th (CX) Brigade in the Royal Field Artillery but finally found it in the 25th Divisional Artillery (must use the Roman Numerals). It starts here (page 182 of 556). I have yet to figure out exactly where that unit was located. It appears that the HQ was a 57d.J.29.b.2.1. That is correct, as I see later mention to Courcelles (this McMaster Map).

 

Again a reminder that you can not assume that where they are on the memorial has anything to do with where they were on the date of their death. Most certainly, none of these men were in the Arras Sector, so the wording on the CWGC for the Arras Memorial can not be taken as absolute fact.

Quote

The memorial commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave. The most conspicuous events of this period were the Arras offensive of April-May 1917, and the German attack in the spring of 1918. Canadian and Australian servicemen killed in these operations are commemorated by memorials at Vimy and Villers-Bretonneux. A separate memorial remembers those killed in the Battle of Cambrai in 1917.

 

In 1935 it would appear that the Roye New British Cemetery was "open for concentrations", although there is no mention of this on the description/history of the cemetery. It was later in the process that I became aware that the CWGC wording on the CEMETERY DETAILS are for when the cemetery was created and the initial REGISTRY was produced. That means that if it was written in 1925 that they had no knowledge of the concentrations that occured in 1935. As such, there is no mention of the other two cemeteries, perhaps more?

 

I think that needs to be corrected at the CWGC so that all are aware that all the text is date sensitive.

 

Now the hunt for the 315th Brigade (CCCXV) starting here.

 

Looks like this case is too much a mess to be anything more than a dead end?

Edited by laughton
CCCXV not XXXCV for 315 - my typo!
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13 hours ago, laughton said:

Now the hunt for the 315th Brigade (XXXCV)

 

As an Army Brigade they were attached to 61st Divisional Artillery, but I've just found that 61st Div. Art. were themselves attached to 20th Divisional Artillery.

There is a good idea of their positions and action in the Commander Royal Artillery diary, Piece 2102/1-4  (From image 125 of 572 on Ancestry).

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Sorry  about typo, should have been CCXV. Thanks for the 2102/1-4 as that took me direct to that reference (page 125 of 572). I went back to March 30th and it appears to indicate that the 315th went to the A.F.A. (I assume that is Australian Field Artillery?) at Guyencourt (my TMC 66e.A.30.a), which is about 4 km northwest of where the remains were recovered. The 282nd appears to have remained at Hailles (my TMC 66e.B.11.c).

 

Then I am not sure what happened on the April 1st but it would appear that the 282nd left "C" Bty. of the 315th Bde. at that location (Hailles) when they moved to Sains-en-Amienois. The 282nd must have been Australian? If they are then in Sectors 66e.B.16/17, then they are on the south border of Hailles. That places them 6.75 km northeast of where the remains were exhumed at Merville-au-Bois.

 

On April 2nd they were attached to the 2nd French Dismounted Cavalry Division, with the 315th front at 66e.C.28.a.9.8 to 66e.I.4.a.1.7, which is northeast of Moreuil. Enemy pressure is reported south of Moreuil, but "no advance reported". That changed on April 3rd when the enemy took Moreuil and were advancing on Anchin Farm (my TMC 66e.H.11.d.2.8). On the 3rd the enemy is advancing on Rouvrel (my TMC 662.H.3.c) and Anchin Farm. These areas are about 2.5 km northeast of where the remains were recovered. The 315th was firing from near the cemetery at Dommartin.

 

All of this was an interesting exercise for me and most certainly a learning experience. In the end it tells me David is correct that it is more likely Earl, Hennel or Moisey that is in the Roye New British Cemetery. The four (4) that came from the Cottenchy Churchyard Cemetery (662.A.12.b.7.8) would appear to have been buried behind the British lines, while the UNKNOWN that was buried at the Merville-au-Bois Churchyard (66e.H.20.d.1.5) was behind the German front line. How did he get there? Buried by the Germans or later by the French, after recovery from the battlefield? Not enough time lapse for him to have been a POW.

 

Is there still a clue in the fact that he had light brown hair, was about 5' 6" in height and was wearing breeches. Did the breeches signify that he was a Driver rather than a gunner?

Edited by laughton
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  • 2 weeks later...

May I intervene with a small comment on the post #12 dated 2 February?  Clarke is shown there as of 277th Brigade (Howitzer), but they were not a Howitzer brigade.  Perhaps confused with 278th.

Clarke, Corkill and Banks are all commemorated on a memorial to the fallen of B Battery, 277 Brigade, now housed at Haig House, the British Legion club at Garston, which I have researched.

I shall follow this thread with interest.

Daggers

 

 

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Daggers:

 

Good that you commented on that point!

 

I took my information from Chris's site and I can see that I took the term at the end of the title as (Howitzer) to apply to all the units in that line, instead of the just last unit the CCLXXVIII:


CCLXXV, CCLXXVI, CCLXXVII and CCLXXVIII (Howitzer)

Brigades (55th Divisional Artillery)

 

I now have to remember that fact for other units written in the same format.

 

Best Regards from Canada,

Richard

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