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Remembered Today:

Unknown Trooper: 7th Dragoon Guards, Gouzeaucourt New British Cemetery


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Prior to the details, since I have been checking a number of unknowns in this cemetery, the ZIPPED FILES for all the Concentration Reports and Grave Registrations are located on our shared MediaFire site here:

 

Gouzeaucourt New British Cemetery ZIP Files

 

There is an UNKNOWN TROOPER of the 7th Dragoon Guards in Plot 4 Row B Grave 3 at the Gouzeaucourt New British Cemetery. That is reported on the Grave Registration and the Concentration Report, then it changes on the Headstone Schedule to an Unknown British Soldier.

 

The only reported PRIVATE of the 7th D. G. shown in this cemetery is W. E. Williams who is in Plot 3 Row B Grave 8, KIA 30 November 1917. That confirms the unit was in the area in late November and early December 1917 during the time of the German counterattack.

 

There is only one UNKNOWN of the 7th Dragoon Guards that is on the Cambrai Memorial Louveral, that being 2nd Lt. George Leslie Reid, KIA 1 December 1917. The unknown was recovered from 57c.Q.36.c.4.5, which is on the southwest edge of Gouzeaucourt.

 

The question here is going to be "Could they have mistaken an OFFICER for a TROOPER, if my assumption is correct that a TROOPER is a cavalry PRIVATE. Had they stripped off their rank markings? Was he like my grandfather who as a 2nd Lieutenant went into battle without his officer's attire (so he said).

 

Did the GRU drop the reference to the 7th Dragoon Guards because there was no record of a missing TROOPER? Did they consider it could have been 2nd. Lt. Reid?

 

Does anyone have this book: Records of the Seventh Dragoon Guards (Princess Royal's) during the Great War by J F Scott (Bennett 1929), or access to the War Diary pages for that period. Of interest is whether it was a raid and rank insignia had been removed.

 

For reference, during the months of November and December 1917 there are 3 other men of the 7th D.G. that were lost on 1 December 1917 and are buried in the BAILLEUL ROAD EAST CEMETERY, ST. LAURENT-BLANGY. The were recovered at 57c.X.1.95.10 (COG-BR link), so close by the other location, at Gauche Wood. That is where my Canadian Lt. Waugh was lost, on the same day, all of which started this search (this topic on CEFSG). He was in the Machine Gun Squadron of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade.

 

These are the documents:

doc2004959.JPG

 

doc2761894.JPG

 

doc2662695.JPG

Edited by laughton
link to COG-BR added
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Steven Broomfield
43 minutes ago, laughton said:

 

 

Does anyone have this book: Records of the Seventh Dragoon Guards (Princess Royal's) during the Great War by J F Scott (Bennett 1929),

 

 

 

 

Yes, but it is quite a slender volume. I can look tonight if no-one beats me to it.

 

Out if interest, there was no such rank as Trooper in Line Cavalry in the GW period. the correct title was Private, the use of trooper being confined to the Household Cavalry until 1922.

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    I would go along with your supposition on this but with 2 reservations:

 

1)  That an officer would have no ID in any surviving equipment on a body?   If an unidentified corpse from the 1917 fighting, then would it have been that bereft of detail???    OK, officers got worldly-wise to the chances of being shot by being identified by badge of rank being seen, so ordinary tunic and cap might be right.  But nothing else?  Pistol/revolver ammunition?  Different boots?      I can find no record of 2 Lt Reid being listed by the Germans on the ICRC records. If not picked up/looted by German troops, then it would seem odd that all details had gone

 

2)   The other casualty from 1917 on the same sheet is 15131 H Burrows, a South African, died 7 December 1917- but these are concentration reports. It does show that in 1919 + the concentration searches were picking up remains from the fighting both in 1917 and that of 1918.

 

 BUT- I have no idea how men ended up as names on the different memorials to the missing but have a look at this:

 

        The unknown was found at the same location as Sergeant J. Mitchell, Duke of Wellington's Regiment, killed on 21st September 1918. Ergo, I would think it more probable that another casualty at the same map reference is more likely to be from the same time-frame and the same unit.    

 

         Looking at a very rough time frame can be limited  by reference to the graves either side- one of 18th September 1918 and the other  (Burrows)  of 21st September.  Between those 2 dates, just for the sake of example, there are 8 men of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment  who have no known grave but are named on a memorial. All of them are of the rank of Private.

         Unfortunately, the memorial  that the DOW men are on is Vis en Artois, not Cambrai.  But  there are named casualties of the DOW from this time-frame in Gouzeaucourt as well, showing that the regiment was "right" for Gouzeaucourt but for some reason I don't know their unrecovered/missings are listed at Vis en Artois.

 

          I suggest that the amended  RU report where the casualty could not be sustained as either a Private(=Trooper) or of the 7th Dragoon Guards suggests that in 1919-1920 those closer to the scene than you or I were not satisfied that the 7DG tag was correct.  (I note that part of the cap badge of both regiments is a lion facing to the left?)

 

       Thus, I suggest, on the balance of probabilities, that the Unknown British Soldier  at Gouzeaucourt, originally listed as a Private of the 7th Dragoon Guards is  more likely to be a Private of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment lost at about the same time as Sergeant  Mitchell-that is, c. 18-21 September 1918

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Steven Broomfield

I've checked the book: basically, the regiment wre under orders of the Ambala Cavalry Brigade, dismounted, supporting the 18th Lancers (Indian) and helping fill a gap between the Brigade and 2nd Grenadier Guards. C Squadron was set to digging a trench in Gauche Wood under heavy shell fire.

 

Lieutenant Reid, L-Cpl Ebrey and Privates Thompson and Watkins of C Squadron were killed and 16 men wounded.

 

Private Williams (also of C) had been killed the previous day in a mounted action near Gouzeaucourt.

 

Whether reid was in 'Tommy's Uniform' or officer's kit I can't say, but my money would be on officer's kit. I suspect Voltaire is correct about possible mis-identication of a Private of the Duke's, who had almost identical cap badge.

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Great information, thanks for joining the hunt.

 

Is there anything about the Duke's that would make the GRU think he was cavalry? Remember, I am Canadian so not all that familiar with the British units, other than those of my grandfathers.

 

In Canada, our cavalry were Troopers, not Privates.

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2 hours ago, laughton said:

s there anything about the Duke's that would make the GRU think he was cavalry? Remember, I am Canadian so not all that familiar with the British units, other than those of my grandfathers.

 

       Young Broomfield will no doubt shoot me down on this-BUT, cavalry fought dismounted effectively as infantry for long periods of the war.  And in the line, wore effectively infantry kit. Apart from unit ID-cap badge, shoulder titles, etc, then indistinguishable.  And,alas, all the more so after a couple of years of decomposition in the ground.

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Steven Broomfield

As far as I am aware, even in the Line, cavalry would still wear the bandolier (leather) rather than webbing. That said, I have no idea how selective the GRU were: finding a body with what looks like a Duke's badge ... who knows?

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There is only one (1) TROOPER of the 7th D.G. listed by the CWGC as KIA in the Great War: Trooper Bertie Bacon #405

 

There are a number of Trumpeters and the rest are listed as Privates, at that level.

 

There are 46 UNKNOWNS, as listed below. Since we know this man was found at 57c.Q.36.c.4.5 then he was almost within the commune of Gouzeaucourt. It was suggested that we have to look at Serjeant Mitchell, the entry which says 17 D.O.W. but it must be Lance Serjeant John Mitchell #12888, 9th Bn. Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment). His date of death is 21 September 1918. Looking at Chris's site, I must assume the 17th comes from the Division, not the Battalion:

 

Quote

9th (Service) Battalion
Formed at Halifax in September 1914 as part of K2 and came under command of 52nd Brigade in 17th (Northern) Division. Moved to Wareham, on to Bovington in October and Wimborne in November 1914. Moved to Hursley Park in June 1915.
Landed at Boulogne 15 July 1915.

 

Does that mean there may be a similar interpretation of the "7" in the Dragoon Guards? The only reference to 7th is for either the 7th Battalion or the 7th Cavalry Brigade, also from Chis:

Quote

7th (Princess Royal’s) Dragoon Guards
August 1914 : in Secunderabad in India, part of the Secunderabad Cavalry Brigade.
Moved with Brigade to France as part of 1st Indian Cavalry Division, landed Marseilles at 13 October 1914.
23 December 1914 : transferred with Brigade to 2nd Indian Cavalry Division.
26 November 1916 : 2nd Indian Cavalry Division renamed as 5th Cavalry Division.
February 1918 : Division broken up; regiment transferred on 10 March 1918 to 7th Cavalry Brigade in 3rd Cavalry Division.

 

So is it possible it is any one of the men of the 7th Cavalry Brigade (3rd Cavalry Division) where one might have been labelled a Trooper? Did the trek from the Battle of Amiens (8-11 August 1918) to the Battle of Cambrai (8-9 October 1918) take the 7th Cavalry Brigade through Gouzeaucourt again? From our Canadian references, we know that our mounted Lord Strathcona Horse were with the 7th Cavalry Brigade, 3rd Cavalry Division during the Battle of Amiens (8-19 August 1918 - see Nicholson Map 11 at Cayeux Wood). That would suggest that they were on the route from Arras to Cambrai, not Amiens to Cambrai, thus not in the vicinity of Gouzeaucourt, unless they took a considerable detour to the south in September.

 

The list below is just for the 7th Dragoon Guards. If we were to include the possible units of the 3rd Cavalry Division,  then that would also draw in the 3rd Dragoon Guards (6th Brigade) and the 7th Cavalry Brigade Machine Gun Squadron. That appears to be on the CWGC as "Machine Gun Corps Cavalry". That list produces 120 candidates, none of which are labelled "Trooper". There are 25 of these men listed on the Cambrai Memorial, Louveral.

 

surname

forename death rank unit # memorial
HOPKINS GEORGE HARRY 06-11-14 Corporal   '6658' LE TOURET MEMORIAL
CLARKE JAMES LARGE 14-11-14 Corporal   '2613' LE TOURET MEMORIAL
BAILEY ALBERT EDWARD 12-12-14 Private   '3765' LE TOURET MEMORIAL
MANSEL JESTYN LLEWELYN 20-12-14 Captain     LE TOURET MEMORIAL
ARMSTRONG CHRISTOPHER 21-12-14 Private   '6971' LE TOURET MEMORIAL
BREWIN WILLIAM 21-12-14 Private   '2134' LE TOURET MEMORIAL
BRYCE SAMUEL 21-12-14 Second Lieutenant     LE TOURET MEMORIAL
CLINCH ERNEST 21-12-14 Private   '3888' LE TOURET MEMORIAL
DUNN HENRY 21-12-14 Private   '2111' LE TOURET MEMORIAL
EVANS WILLIAM ROBERT 21-12-14 Private   '3840' LE TOURET MEMORIAL
JONES REGINALD EDWARD 21-12-14 Corporal   '2425' LE TOURET MEMORIAL
LITTLE GERRARD ELLIOTT 21-12-14 Private   '2620' LE TOURET MEMORIAL
MANN ROBERT LAMPLOUGH 21-12-14 Lieutenant     LE TOURET MEMORIAL
READER PERCIVAL STANLEY 21-12-14 Private "D" Sqdn. '16' LE TOURET MEMORIAL
WATERS JESSE SAMUEL 21-12-14 Private   '11546' LE TOURET MEMORIAL
LEMPRIERE HENRY ANDERSON 23-12-14 Lieutenant Colonel     LE TOURET MEMORIAL
SMITH ALBERT JOHN 24-03-16 Private   '175682' LOOS MEMORIAL
HARTLEY D'ARCY JOHN JOSEPH 14-07-16 Lieutenant     THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
HORTON WALTER 14-07-16 Trumpeter   '2384' THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
KING FREDERICK GEORGE 14-07-16 Private   '6634' THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
COLLIER PERCY EDWARD 15-09-16 Corporal   '7027' THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
EMONS JOSEPH FREDERICK 15-09-16 Corporal   '2083' THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
HAYWARD ARTHUR EVERARD 16-09-16 Serjeant   '6629' THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
REID GEORGE LESLIE 01-12-17 Second Lieutenant     CAMBRAI MEMORIAL, LOUVERVAL
BOYES JOHN WILLIAM 24-03-18 Private   '14911' POZIERES MEMORIAL
FOX DAVID 24-03-18 Serjeant   '20547' POZIERES MEMORIAL
HAYES FREDERICK JAMES 24-03-18 Private   '14900' POZIERES MEMORIAL
JENNINGS JOHN 24-03-18 Private   '13117' POZIERES MEMORIAL
SANDERSON RALPH 24-03-18 Private   '20472' POZIERES MEMORIAL
STEVENSON GEORGE 24-03-18 Private   '8915' POZIERES MEMORIAL
BRACE REGINALD ERNEST 01-04-18 Private   '9685' POZIERES MEMORIAL
CLYNICK JAMES 01-04-18 Private   '10022' POZIERES MEMORIAL
MORRIS EDWARD 01-04-18 Private   '14885' POZIERES MEMORIAL
SLADE WILLIAM 01-04-18 Private   '16743' POZIERES MEMORIAL
CHARLICK PERCY STANLEY 04-04-18 Corporal   '80591' POZIERES MEMORIAL
McGINN AUSTIN 04-04-18 Private   '1867' POZIERES MEMORIAL
MEWETT ERNEST FREDERICK 04-04-18 Lance Corporal   '10508' POZIERES MEMORIAL
DIBDEN CHARLES ROLAND 08-08-18 Private   '8981' VIS-EN-ARTOIS MEMORIAL
HARKER DAVID WILLIAM 08-08-18 Private   '16723' VIS-EN-ARTOIS MEMORIAL
HOLLOWAY WILLIAM ALFRED HOWARD 08-08-18 Private   '81011' VIS-EN-ARTOIS MEMORIAL
LEES EDWARD 08-08-18 Private   '14229' VIS-EN-ARTOIS MEMORIAL
MAYBANK SIDNEY 08-08-18 Trumpeter   '1468' VIS-EN-ARTOIS MEMORIAL
O'NEILL JAMES 08-08-18 Private   '8443' VIS-EN-ARTOIS MEMORIAL
BUTTERY ARTHUR 10-10-18 Private   '14890' VIS-EN-ARTOIS MEMORIAL
LAMB GORDON PERCY 10-10-18 Private "A" Sqdn. '16909' VIS-EN-ARTOIS MEMORIAL
WILLIAMS CHARLES 10-10-18 Private   '16842' VIS-EN-ARTOIS MEMORIAL

 

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Steven Broomfield

Working from memory, but I think the 7th Cavalry Brigade  - for much of the war - contained the 1st and 2nd Life Guards, whose men were certainly Troopers.

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Yes, are on Chris's list.

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