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Kantara medical unit war diaries (Sept - Nov 1918). Help with Samuel Needham, VC?


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steve fuller

Hi all, 

 

I look at this with fresh eyes every now and again and would love to find out once and for all if at all possible! Given his position among the small band of men who earned the right to wear that simple, maroon ribbon, it would be nice to do him justice and try to get the detail right.

 

My recurring niggle is that there was a privately produced pamphlet which had the phrase died from gunshot wound to his head received whilst at No. 1 Base Depot in Kantara”. 

 

Some sources quote it as accidental, the originator I think is here - http://www.rodcollins.com/wordpress/samuel-needham-vc-lincolnshire-victoria-cross-winner - no contact possible anymore to ask him directly it seems, email removed.

 

To my mind, the addition or removal of a simple comma after 'head' in the above quote could result in him having died from gsw received elsewhere, or while at the Base Depot. Discussions with local people from his village have resulted in dead ends as the location of the pamphlet seems to be unknown, so I cannot even trace who wrote it and work my way back to the original source!

 

Does anyone have, or have knowledge of the medical unit war dairies from Kantara, between September and November 1918 please? 

 

Interested in any reports, intakes, deaths, operations - specifically looking for Private 203329 Samuel Needham, V.C., 1/5th Bedfordshires who died 4/11/1918 from gunshot wounds to the head; he was active in the field early on 12 September 1918, so it could have been at any stage from then really. Battalion's last set piece battle was Meggido on 19 September which - statistically at least - would be the favourite but no evidence either way I'm afraid. No service record, no details in his local newspaper obituary, nothing helpful 

 

Any ideas, thought, paracetamol, welcome ...

 

Many thanks

Steve 

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Hello Steve

 

According to the Register of the Victoria Cross, his act of gallantry occurred on 11 September and the award was gazetted on 30 October. It is probable, therefore, that he died of wounds in a hospital at Kantara. Unless he was in a coma for several days before his death, it is likely that he was told of the award, which must have been some consolation to him.

 

There were a number of General and Stationary Hospitals on the Egypt and Palestine Lines of Communication, but without looking at every diary I could not see an indication as to which hospital(s) were at Kantara.

Edit: The third volume of the Medical Official History confirms that nos. 24 and 44 Stationary Hospitals were at Kantara at the time, and seem to have been there for the whole of 1918.

 

Edit 2: Here are the War Diary references. They have not yet been made available to download.

WO 95/4744 24 Stationary Hospital 1916 June - 1920 Mar.  
WO 95/4745 44 Stationary Hospital 1917 July - 1919 June  
 

Ron

Edited by Ron Clifton
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steve fuller

Thank you Ron, the Stationary Hospital info is very useful. I'll have a look / post for those specific diaries - you never know your luck until you ask!

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  • 2 years later...
auchonvillerssomme

He died of self inflicted injuries. I can’t find the original source of gun shot wound to his head, but likely a cause of his suicide. I’m not sure why no one has looked up his DC before. Clearly not accidental. 

A220BC22-4A01-4CCF-A60C-DAEAA50F7589.jpeg

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Given the content of the DC it's possible no medical units were involved. He may well have died at the base depot.

 

Find my Past have some service records for him under his 5023 number. Can't see the same on Ancestry. Despite it being indexed under his early number the file may contain aspects of his later service.

TEW

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david murdoch

His register of soldiers effects also notes self inflicted injuries.

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auchonvillerssomme

I had found the entry in Soldiers Effects a while back, unusual to find a comment on there, presumably his cause of death may have impacted on his death benefits, it was what stimulated my request for his DC.

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