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Antonia

Looking for the exact location of 41 CCS at Namps Au Val, France

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Antonia

Hello,

 

I am in the early stages of planning a visit to pay my respects to my great-great uncle, a rifleman in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps who died of wounds in France on 1 April, 1918, and is buried at Namps Au Val British Cemetery. Going by the register of his effects, I believe he died at 41 Casualty Clearing Station in Namps, and I was wondering if anyone knows the specific location of that CCS? Would it have been in a building, or more likely in tents in a field? I would like to trace his final path from the battle to the cemetery, if that is possible. Very many thanks in advance for any help!

 

Best wishes,

Antonia

ccs41.JPG

Edited by Antonia

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David_Underdown

The most likely source of information is the war diary for the CCS.  You can download it (for a small fee) from http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/471b294352b644289e6c5ab036f12475 - this covers from April 1917 onwards so should include this period.  The level of detail can vary significantly though.

 

I carried out a similar exercise for 36 CCS in July 1916 where my great-great-uncle died.  I wrote up my approach here https://halfmuffled.wordpress.com/2016/02/09/where-was-36-casualty-clearing-station-in-july-1916/ although I should say that then someone else on this forum looked further through the war diary and found (rather out of sequence) a nicely drawn plan showing the exact location.  I wasn't far out, but some points in the written description slightly misled me.  I wrote a further blog post after the plan came to light https://halfmuffled.wordpress.com/2016/12/10/36-casualty-clearing-station-located/.  Fortunately the photos I took on my visit to the area covered the true location as well, so it didn't matter too much.

 

As you'll see from the blog posts I also used the war diaries of the higher level formations to which 36 CCS was attached, so you may find more details if the unit's own war diary doesn't give an exact location.

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petestarling

Is there a CWGC cemetery at that location? If so the CCS was usually close by. As has been previously said, the war diary may give an exact location or the ADMS war diary.

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Antonia
5 hours ago, David_Underdown said:

The most likely source of information is the war diary for the CCS.  You can download it (for a small fee) from http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/471b294352b644289e6c5ab036f12475 - this covers from April 1917 onwards so should include this period.  The level of detail can vary significantly though.

 

I carried out a similar exercise for 36 CCS in July 1916 where my great-great-uncle died.  I wrote up my approach here https://halfmuffled.wordpress.com/2016/02/09/where-was-36-casualty-clearing-station-in-july-1916/ although I should say that then someone else on this forum looked further through the war diary and found (rather out of sequence) a nicely drawn plan showing the exact location.  I wasn't far out, but some points in the written description slightly misled me.  I wrote a further blog post after the plan came to light https://halfmuffled.wordpress.com/2016/12/10/36-casualty-clearing-station-located/.  Fortunately the photos I took on my visit to the area covered the true location as well, so it didn't matter too much.

 

As you'll see from the blog posts I also used the war diaries of the higher level formations to which 36 CCS was attached, so you may find more details if the unit's own war diary doesn't give an exact location.

 

Hi David,

 

Thank you so much for that! I'm so glad you were able to include your sought-for location in your photos. I subscribe to Ancestry and I have looked at the war diary for for my g-g-uncle's division, but I didn't know the CCS also kept diaries. I appreciate that recording the exact location of the temporary setup of the CCS may not have seemed that necessary at the time the diary was written, but I'm hoping it was mentioned somewhere. I'm going to read your blog posts now! 

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Antonia
5 hours ago, petestarling said:

Is there a CWGC cemetery at that location? If so the CCS was usually close by. As has been previously said, the war diary may give an exact location or the ADMS war diary.

 

Hi Pete,

 

Thank you for your reply! Yes, my g-g-uncle is buried in the same town, in the Namps-Au-Val British Cemetery, so I'm sure the CCS was nearby - it's just a matter of whether there is a record of exactly where it was. I'm going back to the diaries now! :)

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Antonia

A little update: in the war diary for the 41 CCS, they mention being told the location to set up the hospital (but not the specific location), and then mention erecting marquees. A little more googling, and I came up with this from Google Books ('The Middlebrook Guide to the Somme Battlefields: A Comprehensive Coverage from Crecy to the World Wars', by  Martin and Mary Middlebrook, 2007), which mentions the CCS being near the railway line, is probably about as much information as I'm going to get, unless perhaps a local history book from Namps can give any more insight. But, it's definitely an advance! :)

 

 

Location of casualty clearing stations Namps Au Val.png

Edited by Antonia

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Antonia
33 minutes ago, kenf48 said:

Did your googling reveal these paintings?

 

Although later than the period you seek the IWM holds 3 paintings of 41 CCS (October 1918)

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/search?f[0]=agentString%3ABritish Army%2C 41st Casualty Clearing Station&query=

 

Ken

 

 

 

No, it didn't - thank you, Ken! The paintings help to bring it to life, don't they? It must have been hellish.

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Antonia
15 minutes ago, EDWARD1 said:

Viewing the satellite image of the CWGC cemetery it would appear that the CCS`s 41,50 & 55 were in the fields that now surround  it.

https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/4002/namps-au-val-british-cemetery/

 

Hi Edward,

 

Thanks! Yes, probably the fields to the south, around where the tennis court is, near the main road where the supplies would have come from, I suppose.

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Adam Saunders

Has anyone found a sketch, aerial photo or some local endorsement about where the CCS's were precisely located at Namps ?

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TEW

Have just checked Army level diary and that only gives 'Namps' as the location for all 8 CCSs.

I then checked the diaries for all of those and none give any detail other than some were set up solely as entraining centres. Others had their staff assisting other CCSs. No. 41 seems to be the main admitting unit for wounded.

 50 CCS diary says they were at Namps au Mont, not sure if that's the same as Namps au Val.

TEW

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WhiteStarLine

Hi Adam,

 

Looking at this another way - the burials are recorded as buried in the British Cemetery with co-ordinates Map Reference 66f,D,2,c.7.1 on the 1:40,000 map.  The registration was taken in 1920.

image.png.100b18c3a7879978d3cf64eb2fc50995.png

 

This reference is shown marked in the bottom right hand corner below and the railway is shown to the north and the modern cemetery some 200 metres east.  If i am correct, this was the concentration point. Are there any map references in any of the unit war diaries?

 

image.png.3bc348d2ac90d8f06ba5720b2e173da0.png

 

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TEW

I've not seen a map ref in any of the CCS diaries. Will check again later but I'm fairly sure that only No. 41 had admissions & deaths recorded as totals  in the diary.

All the CCSs had been rapidly moved back to Namps as an emergency location, some only stayed a day.

Unlikely I think that No. 41 would be immediately adjacent to the cemetery, out of sight at least.

TEW

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TEW

I’ve re-checked 5th Army DMS diary WO95/533/5. First mention of Namps is 12:50pm 26/3/1918 when 1300 walkers were to be sent to Namps instead of Saleux. Later on same day 13 Advanced Depot Medical Stores were ordered to Namps, not sure if they have their own diary, perhaps worth checking?

 

Medical Services; General History Vol. III from page 215 gives a good overall picture of the set up at Namps but doesn’t give a location.

 

MSGH Vol. III is available from archive.org for free. To summarise, the following CCSs were at Namps; 32, 34, 41, 50, 53, 55, 61. Only 41 & 55 were receiving wounded. 50 & 53 were attached to 41 & 55. 61 was set up as an entraining centre with 32 & 34 attached to them. Lt. Col. Turner CO of 61 CCS was SMO at Namps.

 

DMS 5th Army diary says for 12:10am 27/3/18; Went to Namps arraged for Lt. Col. Turner to take site beside railway siding and placed 41 CCS on one side of the road a little south and 55 already starting [Construction] on ground on the other side.

 

Diary for 55 CCS for 27/3/1918 says; 7.0am arrived Namps, inspected Namps au Val, Namps au Mont & Namps railway station. Found practically no suitable accommodation in buildings. Provisionally selected site (2 fields enclosed by entrance with gate on west of road from Namps au Val village to Namps station near lower/corner? end? on W side. [sorry can’t read that bit].

 

55ccs.jpg.fb7165862554931a6f46fc958d5645b6.jpg

 

15:00. 41 CCS has commenced hut pitching in the neighbouring field.

 

TEW

Edited by TEW

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