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Unknown Quartermaster Serjeant, Achiet-le-Grande Communal Cemetery Extension


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Once again I was not looking for this but just checking on the first cemetery on my list when I was looking for Canadians back in November 2016. I was curious as to how many UNKNOWN QUARTERMASTER SERJEANTS there would be in France during the war. In total there were 69 lost in the Army and 1 in the Navy (CWGC Link). Of these, there are only four (4) UNKNOWNS.

 

The remains of this QMS are in the Achiet-le-Grande Communal Cemetery Extension in Plot 2 Row M Grave 20. Coincidentally there are two (2) other QMS in that cemetery, both Army Service Corps. The UNKNOWN was exhumed from the Beugny German Cemetery at 57c.I.22.a.1.8, which is about 6,500 yards northeast of Bapaume (McMaster Bapaume Map).

 

Of the candidates, my early projection is that we can eliminate the two on the Soissons Memorial (Battles of Aisne 27 May - 6 June and Marne 20 July -2 August in 1918 - not mapped - far south past Noyons towards Reims). That narrows it down to just two (2) candidates:

 

surname initials death regiment unit # cemetery or memorial
ADAMS A 24-04-18 East Lancashire Regiment 2nd Bn. (25th Bde. 8th Division) '21082' POZIERES MEMORIAL
ORD H 27-05-18 Royal Army Medical Corps 1st/1st Northumbrian Field Amb '386009' SOISSONS MEMORIAL
CHAPMAN J L 29-05-18 Leicestershire Regiment 6th Bn. '14550' SOISSONS MEMORIAL
MOORE F W 10-12-16 Royal Berkshire Regiment 1st/4th Bn. (145th Bde. 48th Division) '599' THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

 

As an early test I often check if there others of the regiment that are known burials in that cemetery during the period. There are no Royal Berks for December 1916, and none oare 1st/4th Bn. There is a East Lanc in April 1918, but none are 2nd Bn. These are the specifics, linked to the CWGC results:

 

 

The 1st/4th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment was perhaps in the area from the 5th to 15th of December as there are three (3) buried in cemeteries near Albert and another three (3) on the Thiepval Memorial (CWGC Link). The day the UNKNOWN of the 2nd Battalion East Lancashire Regiment was killed there are eleven (11) of his pals in the Adelaide Cemetery Villers-Bretonneux (CWGC Link). The CWGC site says "Villers-Bretonneux became famous in 1918, when the German advance on Amiens ended in the capture of the village by their tanks and infantry on 23 April. On the following day, the 4th and 5th Australian Divisions, with units of the 8th and 18th Divisions, recaptured the whole of the village". That would place them at 62d.O.35, too far away to end up in the Beugny German Cemetery - unless of course, a POW. A search of the ICRC tells us he (QSM Albert Adams) was not. For the record, neither was QSM Frederick William Moore.

 

It would appear that the most logical candidate at this time is Quartermaster Serjeant Frederick William Moore.

 

The war diary of the Royal Berkshire Regiment is in the Wardrobe. It says they were in the left section of Le Sars, which places them in the vicinity of  57c.M.20. Going back to 5 December 1916 we find them in Chalk Trench and Scotland Trench, which places them in 57c.M.15a,b to 57c.M.16.a. There is no reference to the loss of the QMS that I have seen. That puts them about 14,000 yards from were the remains were found at Beugny. More searching required!

 

 

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I found an additional reference to the East Lancs on their museum site:

Quote

Villers-Bretonneux Whilst the main action of the April offensive took place on the Lys, further south the Germans made a renewed attempt to reach Amiens. At dawn on 24th April the 2nd East Lancashires were occupying trenches in front of Villers-Bretonneux when they were overwhelmed and forced back by a heavy bombardment and infantry assault supported by tanks, gas and liquid fire. The survivors held the rear of the village throughout the day, preventing a further enemy advance, and that evening the village was recovered by two Australian and two British brigades. The East Lancashires were relieved on the 29th.

 

I should have also posted the documents:

COG-BR 1962666

GRRF 2112472

HD-SCHD 2064484

 

The selection of QMS Moore over QMS Adams also gains some support from the dates of the other two known men buried on either side (Graves 8 and 10) of the QMS (Grave 9) in the original Baugny German Cemetery. They are listed as December and November 1916. There is some question about the grave numbers, as noted by the pencil marks on the COG-BR:

 

doc1962666.JPG

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ACSM Frederick William Moore of 16 Belmont Crescent Maidenhead was wounded by a shell burst some time before he died. His death is recorded in th Reading Mercury of 22/1/1917. He was the oldest soldier in his battalion having served in the Boer War.

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Thanks for that information PURLEY, as I had noticed the same for his neighbour, Lt. Reginald Smith. Trevor's great book "The Sky Their Battlefield II" (page 63) tells us that Smith went down in an Offensive Patrol four days earlier than what is noted on the cross at the German Cemetery. Trevor reports him as MIA at the time, so the CWGC may have his date of death for when he went missing, or it was 4 days until he was recovered and buried by the Germans. They went down just to the northwest of Beugny in the area of 57c.I.8. 2nd Lt. H. Fiske, flying with Smith was also killed and has a Kipling Special Memorial in the same cemetery, as it is reported that his grave in the Beugny German Cemetery was lost (GRRF 2112469). Is he one of the UNKNOWNs listed?

 

I did previously check for a Quartermaster Serjeant that was flying with the RFC but did not find one. Is there any chance that Fiske (Grave 9) was buried beside Smith (Grave 8) and the QMS is a mislead? Cameron (Grave 7 - I.G. not J.C.) was a Cameron HIghlander, attached to 12 Sqn. RFC. Trevor reports he was a POW and died of injuries (page 60) - shot down by Richtofen. The ICRC web site confirms that was him (link) and he was buried in Grave 489, as noted on the COG-BR.

 

All of this points to wounded or dead being recovered by the Germans and buried at Beugny.

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No idea what that question means ..... probably because I am Canadian?

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  • Admin
4 minutes ago, laughton said:

No idea what that question means ..... probably because I am Canadian?

The soldiers effects records (on Ancestry) may add further information regarding the death and is probably worth a look.

Craig

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Alas, I only have Ancestry.ca and would need a "World Subscription" to access that information. Sounds like that is the information that our gracious Canadian Government posts on their websites for FREE! Spoiled Canadians!

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  • 3 months later...

Looking into this again, now that I have ANCESTRY WORLD. Problem is I get gibberish when I do the search. Here is where it sent me. Probably a case of the "newbie" not knowing what he is doing:

 

Ancestry Link

 

Frederick William Moore

 in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929

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  • Admin
3 minutes ago, laughton said:

Looking into this again, now that I have ANCESTRY WORLD. Problem is I get gibberish when I do the search. Here is where it sent me. Probably a case of the "newbie" not knowing what he is doing:

 

Ancestry Link

 

Frederick William Moore

 in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929

It's not you Richard, the effects database on Ancestry is knackered at the moment.

Craig

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Kia 12/10/16 widow Charlotte

 

4th btn Royal Berks  regt, company quartermaster sergeant 599

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On the chance that this was a "Company Quartermaster Serjeant" I checked that on the CWGC site. There were 341 lost in France and there are a number of unknowns:

  • Thiepval Memorial 34
  • Pozieres Memorial 9
  • Arras Memorial 6
  • Loos Memorial 12
  • Le Touret Memorial 14

If this lad is the same years as the others on that COG-BR page, he is amongst those of 1916, so would be on the Thiepval memorial listing.

 

I suspect this case is heading to the "Abandon" section of my list!

 

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