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laughton

Unknown 2nd Lt. "E. C." - Northamptonshire Regiment, Ovillers 11.Z.1

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laughton

I was checking on a missing Canadian in the Ovillers Military Cemetery and I noticed this Second Lieutenant with the initials "E.C." (unless he was wearing someone else's underclothing) in Plot 11 Row Z Grave 1.

 

I made a list of the missing from this regiment and there is only one (1) with those initials. As he is listed on the Thiepval Memorial for September 1916, he was probably in the correct location to be found buried together in a shell hole at 57c.M.29.b.7.3. That places him to the northeast of Martinpuich, just south of the Eaucourt Abbaye. Gueudecourt and Flers is to the southeast and Sars to the northwest. I think we have been here before at Factory Corner.

 

The only candidate with the correct initials is 2nd Lieutenant Ernest Lockett Cole, KIA 27 September 1916, 8th Bn. attached to 1st Bn., Northamptonshire Regiment.

 

The question now becomes, was he in that area on 27 September 1916? Much easier to answer here in Canada where we have free on-line access to all the war diaries. Can a Pal assist in that regard? The timeline suggests this is the Battle of Morval 25-28 September 1916, breaking out and heading to Gueudecourt and Le Transloy?

 

surname forename death unit  memorial
CLOSE WILLIAM COLLINS 20-03-17 3rd Bn. attd. 6th Bn. ARRAS MEMORIAL
BELDING CLARE 11-03-15 1st Bn. attd. 2nd Bn. LE TOURET MEMORIAL
LEES PERCY BERESFORD 11-03-15 3rd Bn. attd. 2nd Bn. LE TOURET MEMORIAL
MATTHEWS EDWARD ALEXANDER 10-03-15 3rd Bn. attd. 2nd Bn. LE TOURET MEMORIAL
NELLES NORMAN CUMMINGS 29-01-15 1st Bn. LE TOURET MEMORIAL
THOMPSON HAROLD 09-05-15 3rd Bn. attd. 1st Bn. LE TOURET MEMORIAL
TYRRELL JOSEPH LIONEL ALLANSON 02-03-16 "A" Coy. 8th Bn. attd. 5th Bn. LOOS MEMORIAL
HALL WILLIAM HINGSTON 05-04-18 6th Bn POZIERES MEMORIAL
THOMAS ARTHUR LEWIS 24-04-18 3rd Bn. attd. 2nd Bn. POZIERES MEMORIAL
BOSTOCK ERIC NORMAN 27-05-18 2nd Bn. SOISSONS MEMORIAL
HALL ROBERT LANE 27-05-18 2nd Bn. SOISSONS MEMORIAL
ALMACK ALFRED CHRISTOPHER TURNOUR 27-09-16 3rd Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
BEALE NORMAN STUART CHARLES 18-08-16 7th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
COLE ERNEST LOCKETT 27-09-16 8th Bn. attd. 1st Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
COOPER GEORGE SPENCER 17-02-17 6th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
FARRELL REGINALD 14-07-16 6th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
FARRIMOND JOSEPH 21-07-16 8th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
HAMILTON NOEL CRAWFORD 14-07-16 6th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
HAYWARD HERBERT WILLIAM 26-09-16 8th Bn. attd. 6th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
HIGHAM PERCY HARROWELL 17-02-17 6th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
JARVIS FREDERICK CHARLES 07-07-16 2nd Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
LEA MAURICE BERTRAM 18-08-16 7th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
LIDINGTON NORMAN HERBERT 15-09-16 1st. Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
LLOYD HERBERT 18-08-16 7th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
LYS FRANCIS GEORGE BRYAN 14-07-16 6th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
PAGE ALFRED CECIL DUDLEY 18-08-16 7th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
SCALES PATRICK JOSEPH 17-02-17 6th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
WOULFE GERALD LASCELLES 14-07-16 6th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
BALLARD FRANK WATSON 11-10-18 3rd Bn. attd. 1st Bn. VIS-EN-ARTOIS MEMORIAL
BOAL WILLIAM WAINHOUSE 10-10-18 7th Bn.

VIS-EN-ARTOIS MEMORIAL

 

doc2458747.JPG

 

doc2457926.JPG

Edited by laughton
getting report ready, noticed a typo

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John_Hartley

War diary  describes the original location only as "south of High Wood". They move up to Flers (no further description)  and "attack across the open between O.G. 1 & 2 with a view to taking a further portion of O.G. 1. " Diary does mention him KIA.

Edited by John_Hartley

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laughton

Thanks John! That puts him close, but not in the same location. Now I have to see if the group that was all buried in that shell hole were taken there and buried, versus "buried where they fell".

 

I noted you added more information about them moving up to Flers, so that would be to 57c.N.31, so they are moving in the northeasterly direction where the remains were found. There were men of the "Buffs" and the "19/Londons" in the same shell hole, so perhaps we can use that information to determine if the remains were in a selected burial location?

 

0j56p7ppq12bbgb6g.jpg

Edited by laughton
updated after John's update on movmement

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voltaire60

   Go for it- the evidence of the first GRU report ought to be compelling-as it is so firm. Your evidence is clear.  Also-  Ernest Cole is the only 2Lt of the Northants with a first initial "E" lost during the whole war.  That the indicators were not there in the second GRU is no surprise-another 3 years in the ground from the first report.  And I would take a flying guess that the initial shell-hole was on chalk,while the concentration grave was on clay- which might explain the disappearance of  marks of rank

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John_Hartley
1 hour ago, laughton said:

There were men of the "Buffs" and the "19/Londons" in the same shell hole

Only "C" Company attacked and they were under the command of 2/KRRC. "B" seems to have been held in support also under the command of 2/KRRC. "D" was under the command of 2/Royal Sussex and "A" was on bomb carrying duties. As you know, forum rules prevent me posting a shot of the diary page from Ancestry but the wording is such that Cole's death immediately follows the brief description of the "C" Coy attack so I would be reasonably confdent he was with them, or wherever "B" was held.

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laughton

Just to make sure NOTHING is missed here, we do have others with the FIRST initial "E", but he is the only one missing in France with the "E" and the "C":

 

MACE   E Second Lieutenant 4th Bn. Belgium   TYNE COT CEMETERY
BOWN E E E Second Lieutenant 1st/4th Bn. Israel and Palestine (including Gaza) GAZA WAR CEMETERY
MASON EDWARD E Second Lieutenant 3rd Bn. attd. 2nd Bn. Belgium   PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL
MATTHEWS EDWARD ALEXANDER E A Second Lieutenant 3rd Bn. attd. 2nd Bn. France   LE TOURET MEMORIAL
COLE ERNEST LOCKETT E L Second Lieutenant 8th Bn. attd. 1st Bn. France   THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
BOSTOCK ERIC NORMAN E N Second Lieutenant 2nd Bn. France   SOISSONS MEMORIAL
SYFRET EDWARD TRISTRAM SMYTH E T S Second Lieutenant 3rd Bn. attd. 1st Bn. France  

HEILLY STATION CEMETERY, MERICOURT-L'ABBE

 

If the CWGC questioned about his rank, there are no LIEUTENANTS that meet the criteria:

 

BADCOCK EDMUND DOWNES E D Lieutenant 1st Bn. France   THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
LAW EDGAR FELIX E F Lieutenant 6th Bn. France   POZIERES MEMORIAL
PALMER   E G Lieutenant 3rd Bn. attd. 2nd Bn. France   FINS NEW BRITISH CEMETERY, SOREL-LE-GRAND
JACQUES   E W R Lieutenant 1st Bn. France   BAZENTIN-LE-PETIT COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION

 

If we consider the first initial "E", then we also have to eliminate any that might be "Edward" listed as "Ted", and there are none in the "T" category: (can anyone think of other "E" names that might be something other than "Ted"? - none here)

 

WARD THOMAS PILLANS T P Lieutenant 7th Bn. Belgium   YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL
MYERS THOMAS WRIGHTSON T W Lieutenant 1st Bn. Belgium   DOZINGHEM MILITARY CEMETERY
WILLIAMS THOMAS WODEHOUSE T W Lieutenant 3rd Bn. France   LE TOURET MEMORIAL
LITCHFIELD THOMAS T Second Lieutenant "B" Coy. 7th Bn. Belgium   YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL
FREEMAN TOM T Second Lieutenant 6th Bn. France   REGINA TRENCH CEMETERY, GRANDCOURT
HARTIGAN THOMAS JEROME T J Second Lieutenant 8th Bn. attd. 7th Bn. France   DELVILLE WOOD CEMETERY, LONGUEVAL

 

We should also eliminate any that might be "C E" instead of "E C" and that gives us:

 

BORROW CYRIL ERNEST C E Lieutenant   United Kingdom MARKET HARBOROUGH (NORTHAMPTON ROAD) CEMETERY
WILSON CHARLES EDWARD C E Second Lieutenant 1st Bn. France   BAZENTIN-LE-PETIT COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION

 

I think that covers all the bases for the initials.

 

This will still need someone who can provide an extract of the war diary to show they were in that location. I understand John's point about the image, so I would need the exact text and a reference document. The CWGC are fussy about having the documents, so we need to find a way around this issue. The rules are obviously different in the UK than they are here in Canada, so I don't want to step on anyone's toes.

 

If anyone has any other ideas as to how to get some additional confirmation, that would be appreciated. I generally view it as important to have confirmation information.

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voltaire60
1 hour ago, laughton said:

If anyone has any other ideas as to how to get some additional confirmation, that would be appreciated. I generally view it as important to have confirmation information.

 

     I will check the officer files at Kew for Borrow and Wilson next week.

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laughton

I am only concerned about those that have NO KNOWN grave, so Borrow and Wilson are exempt. My fault for lack of clarification. Sorry!

Edited by laughton
inability to type without hitting enter!

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laughton

I was able to get a better handle on what was happening through this document on Archive.org:

  1. History of the Great War: Military Operations (Text)
  2. History of the Great War: Military Operations (Maps and Appendices)

Not being a great student of the British Army, I have to do some basic research so I can tie that in with what was happening with our Canadian boys, of which we know a lot more.

 

This does assist in providing evidence that our Second Lieutenant with the initials "E.C." was in the area where the remains were located. It would be better to show that he passed through those specific coordinates (57c.M.29.b.7.3) but I do not have that detail at this time.

koomas160c9womm6g.jpg

 

I was able to locate the Starfish and Prue Trench and match that to what was in the Official History (page 352 - document linked above), where they note that patrols were heading north to the area of Eaucourt l'Abbaye.

 

61vputpr6r324ru6g.jpg

wwrxp1m8gdo6bfr6g.jpg

 

 

 

I was specifically looking for the area that John mention in his post above:

Quote

"attack across the open between O.G. 1 & 2 with a view to taking a further portion of O.G. 1. " 

 

by4fi19o0nc2qio6g.jpg

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laughton

I finally "bit the bullet" and expanded my Ancestry subscription from "Canada" to "World". Many of these cases just could not go forward with out access to the War Diaries and this is the only way for us on the "other side of the pond". Sadly, now we have to pay to find British Unknowns, a benefit that is free for us to find Canadians.

 

I was able to assemble this for the report, which is now in draft format. These are sections 6, 7 and 8:

 

Quote

 

6.    The war diary of the 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment notes that on 26 September 1916 the unit is in a Reserve Position south of High Wood (Attachment #6). All available men were digging out DROP, STARFISH and CORK Alleys. On the 27th, “A” Coy was working on the trenches, while “B” and “C” Coys moved up to the Flers line and are placed at the disposal of the 2/K.R.R., where the “C” Coy bombers of the Northants making a bombing attack. The attack was unsuccessful and 2nd Lieutenant E. Cole was reported killed.
 

7.    A cross reference to the war diary of the 2nd Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps provides further details on their position and the subsequent action when the Northamptonshire Regiment was attached (Attachment #7). On 25 September 1916 they moved to the newly taken trenches at Eaucourt l’Abbaye (see item 3 above). It was here that the first of three (3) bombing attacks would be launched (see item 6 above). On the 25th, 26th and 27th. The unit lost 25 men during those attacks, 22 of which are on the Thiepval Memorial. The actions of the K.R.R., to which the Northants were serving, allow for the placement of Lt. Cole directly in the area where the remains were recovered.
 

8. The historical references for the action (Somme: The Battle of Morval) also confirm that the British Army was active in this specific area at that time (Attachment #8). The ORBAT (Order of Battle) shows the 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment was in the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, III Corps (Pultney), and 4th Army (Rawlinson). A period sketch of the area names all the locations in the text (also highlighted in red text), including: The Star Fish, The Cough Drop, Drop Alley and Goose Alley. All of these are on the approach to the Eaucourt l’Abbaye, the direction in which the patrols were reported heading. On 25 September 1916 (page 382) III Corps were ordered to gain as much ground as possible by pushing patrols forward west of the Factory Corner – Ligny Road, preparatory to carrying out their advance northward on both sides of Eaucourt l’Abbaye. This would place Lt. Cole directly in the area where the remains were later recovered.

 

 

The final point (Attachment #8) is linked to the Ancestry document. As best I can tell from reading the copyright guidelines, at the GWF and ANCESTRY, you can insert a link such as this as anyone who accesses that link is a subscribed member. They have to be logged in to their account, or will be asked to log in to view the document. This will enable us to share the links, without subscribed members having to go back and look for the specific page. I would appreciate it if the Moderators could confirm that this is acceptable.
 

 

Edited by laughton
Test of Ancestry Link and approval.

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laughton

I have modified Section 6 of the report slightly to state the exact wording of the war diary, so it now reads:

 

6. The war diary of the 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment notes that on 26 September 1916 the unit is in a Reserve Position south of High Wood (Attachment #6). All available men were digging out DROP, STARFISH and CORK Alleys. On the 27th, “A” Coy was working on the trenches, while “B” and “C” Coys moved up to the Flers line and are placed at the disposal of the 2/K.R.R., where the “C” Coy bombers of the Northants making a bombing attack. The war diary specifically reports:

“There was no effective artillery preparation; the German trenches were strongly defended; the attack was unsuccessful. 2/Lt E. Cole killed, 2/Lt R. W. Gates wounded, about 30 O.R. killed and wounded”.

 

The report, with the attachments is now complete. If you have participated in this analysis - through review or provision of information, then you can have your name added to the report in the final attachment (in this case Attachment #8). It is my policy that I name all that participate and wish to be named and exclude any that "do not" wish to be named, even if they participated. To be included, all I need you to do is to PM me with your real name, affiliation and e-mail address. The intent is that the CWGC can then contact you as needed.  Once I have that information, I will send you a PDF of the full report or a link where it can be downloaded. Any comments, corrections or criticism are not only most welcome, but expected.

 

Tim McTague generally reviews all my final reports, he has the literary capability that a researcher like myself often lacks!

 

Here is the attachment with the standard wording:

 

ATTACHMENT #8

This “Reporting and Review” attachment is provided to assist all parties in the submission of an investigative report related to the identification of the burial location, or headstone markings, of a member of the Commonwealth Forces during the Great War 1914-1921.The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) receives a copy of this report in the event they wish to make changes to the commemoration details. In order to alter the records, the CWGC has set out their criteria for the procedure and submission of cases for review, as detailed below. The CWGC is under no obligation to make changes based on a report.

This process differs from cases related to members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) as these do not go first to the CWGC Canadian Agency in Ottawa. We have modified the requirement information noted below to include CWGC criteria from their source material:

 

Guideline Criteria for Submission: 

Cases need to present clear and convincing evidence to prove the identity of a casualty and must not be based on assumption or speculation. The Commission's Commemoration Team will also consider whether the findings of a better informed contemporary investigation are being revisited and if there is any new evidence to consider. By way of example, it is unlikely that the Commission would support a revision of the arrangements for the commemoration where it is apparent that no new evidence is being presented and, a better informed previous decision is being revisited some 100 years later.

Evidence and Source Material:

 Un-cited resources cannot be accepted as official evidence. Research conducted on the internet will only be accepted if supplied by a recognised authority such as the CWGC, National Archives etc. Any primary (contemporary) sources e.g. the National Archives, CWGC, and Genealogical website original documentation etc. must be copied and submitted with the case. The relevant pages of any secondary material e.g. published reference books and articles; website material etc. should also be copied and submitted. All sources must be correctly referenced as footnotes throughout the submission as well as cited in a complete bibliography of consulted sources Referencing is essential to any historical research and should contain some uniform elements.


The following have participated in the preparation, review and submission of this report on a voluntary basis. Those noted below have read the investigative report and compared it to the criteria set out by the CWGC, as a guiding principle, and have agreed to have their name included as part of the review team. The CWGC may contact any of the reviewers at the e-mail address provided below.

 

Name

Affiliation

E-mail

Contribution

Richard Laughton

Canada

Private Researcher

LMC Great War Research Company

rlaughton@laughton.ca

Investigator & Report Author

 

 

 

 

Timothy McTague

Private Researcher
Rhode Island USA

timmct@verizon.net

Report Reviewer

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