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laughton

Unknown Lieutenant, Northamptonshire Regiment

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laughton

I am filing this here for the moment, discovered when working on another case (Crofton vs Moore, Connaught Rangers) at the Ste. Emilie Valley Cemetery.

 

This Unknown Lieutenant of the Northants is reported to be in 4.G.7 but is actually in 4.F.7, as there is no row G.

 

There are only two (2) candidates for March-April 1918 (where I am starting the search - CWGC Link). I will check the timeline for other dates later, but this is the logical time.

 

  1. Lieutenant George Powell Rathbone, 7th Bn - 21 March 1918
  2. Lieutenant Edgar Felix Law, 6th Bn - 5 April 1918

 

The war diary for the 7th Battalion Page 322 of 407) places them in the area but not exactly. Jeancourt is at 62c.L.26 and the remains were found at 62c.F.23.

 

Temporarily frozen on the matter of the 6th Bn (54th Brigade, 18th Division), courtesy of Ance$try, as the war diary for that unit comes back as the 12th Battalion Middlesex Regiment (page 1 of 469). That is the correct 18th Division, so the correct battalion may appear in that area but definitely not at that location. I am using the information from the LLT for the regiment. IF you go to the 18th Division (various) there is no entry from the 54th Brigade in 1918.

 

I will return to this later.

 

doc2044509.JPG

 

doc2044442.JPG

 

Edited by laughton
added dates of death

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spof
1 hour ago, laughton said:

Temporarily frozen on the matter of the 6th Bn (54th Brigade, 18th Division), courtesy of Ance$try, as the war diary for that unit comes back as the 12th Battalion Middlesex Regiment (page 1 of 469). That is the correct 18th Division, so the correct battalion may appear in that area but definitely not at that location. I am using the information from the LLT for the regiment. IF you go to the 18th Division (various) there is no entry from the 54th Brigade in 1918.

 

Richard

 

UK National Archives have it under piece WO 95/2044/2.  There are threads elsewhere on the Forum about using the 2044 part of the reference to help find items not found in search which may help you find the war diary.

 

Glen

 

 

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laughton

Thanks for that Glen. The search for the war diary works, it just provides the wrong document with the wrong name.

 

The search has to be changed anyway, as I have continued with the research on the Ste. Emilie Valley Cemetery and I see three (3) lads are in that cemetery from September 18, 1918 (CWGC Link). That would suggest that September 1918 is the more logical link but both have to be considered.

 

Then there is the glitch with Private Wright who the COG-BR 2044512 lists as in 3.F.17 but on the GRRF 2044435 is changed to a UBS. They don't make this easy!

 

There were two (2) Lieutenants from the Northamptonshire Regiment lost in September-October 1918 (CWGC Link) but both have known graves. If I extend that to include August, it increases by one, also known and near Arras.

 

If I apply the "Kipling Effect", there are two (2) Second Lieutenants (CWGC Link), both on October 10, 1918.

Edited by laughton
added Pte Wright

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laughton

Lieutenant Law is out of the equation - the 6th Battalion was at Hangard (62d.U.19) at the time of his death on 5 April 1918.

 

The three (3) Privates in Ste. Emilie Valley Cemetery from 18 September 1918 were all 6th Bn. They are in the correct location at that time, as on the 17th they moved into the Railway Cutting at St. Emilie. They attacked in the area around Ronssoy, the same area that Captain Crofton of the Connaught Rangers was attacking in March 1918. The TMC for the line is in that war diary at 62c.F.15.c.5.6 and 62c.F.14.b.7.3 which cuts right through the north side of Ronssoy Wood. The Battalion HQ was at the woods.

 

The war diary reports that during that night they attempted to take May Copse, which is the small woods at 62c.F.9.c (McMaster Map 62c Peronne).

 

The remains were recovered at 62c.F.23.b..11.43 which is in closer proximity to where the 6th Battalion was located in September 1918 versus when the 7th Battalion was in the area in March 1918. The war diary for September 1918 also states that they attacked on a line running north and south and east and west of Ronssoy. It would appear from the map that there is another small wood (copse) at the location of the remains. It would appear from the UKNA trench map series that is "Queuchettes Wood.

 

As we noted above, there were no Lieutenants of the 6th Battalion missing in the fall of 1918 (August 1st to October 31st). If we look at the Second Lieutenants, we have 2 Lt. Boal of the 7th Bn at Awoingt (57b.b.26) with the Canadians going through Cambrai. Lt. Ballard was 3rd Bn attached 1st Bn, killed on 11 October 1918. They were well out of the area at Magny-La Fosse 62b.h.25 (war diary page 328 of 364). There is no mention of his death, he may have been wounded earlier and died on that date?

 

If the rank was a Captain (as the CWGC sometimes records Lieutenants that were acting or temporary Captains), there were none lost in the fall period. There are 2 Captains on the Pozieres Memorial for the March 1918 action (CWGC Link) so I will check those next.

 

So far Lt. Rathbone is the top ranked candidate.

Edited by laughton
"acting or temporary" added

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laughton

Including now the Luc Degrande suggested approach of ALWAYS checking to see if there were candidates who had it listed as their SECONDARY REGIMENT.

 

In this case there are 7 Lieutenants listed for lost in France where the Northamptonshire Regiment is their secondary regiment (CWGC List). I am still not sure what unit affiliation they wear on their uniforms when they are attached to another unit.

 

In this case, the only two (2) that do not have a known grave were attached to the Royal Air Force or the Royal Flying Corps. I can look them up in Trevor's incredible book to see where they were when killed.
 

  1. Lieutenant Hope - 26 April 1917, 5th Squadron RFC from the 4th Bn Northamptonshire Regiment.
    On artillery observation patrol and shot down in flames with 2nd Lt. Allen near Gavrelle (51b.C.25) northeast of Arras.
     
  2. Lieutenant Manfield - 9 September 1916, 24th Squadron RFC also from the 4th Bn Northamptonshire Regiment.
    On escort patol when shot down in combat southwest of Bapaume (57c.H.27). The remains were found 20,000 yards + to the southeast.

 

We can rule out the two Lieutenant airmen.

Edited by laughton
added locations where airmen shot down

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laughton

I have added the location where the ex-Northant airmen were recovered, so they are off the list.

 

I looked at more detail on Lt. Rathbone of the 7th Bn for March 1918 and it just does not fit. The unit was moving in the opposite direction, south of where the remains were found through Vendelles (62c.R.1), falling back west toward Bernes (62c.Q.4) and then Hancourt (62c.Q.9).

 

I too another look at the location where the 6th Bn men were buried in September 1918:

The remains were recovered at 62c.F.23.b.11.43 (62c.F.23 b 11E 43N), which is Queuchettes Wood, east of Ronssoy. That would suggest that if the Northamptonshire Lieutenant was killed in September 1918, it must have been on a different day. The battalion was training in the middle of the month, prior to moving up to the line on the 17th where they took up a position in Railway CUtting, west of St. Emile. I would suggest that places them near 62c.F.13. As reported previously, they then attacked, in conjunction with the remainder of the brigade at 7 R.W.K. (Royal West Kents?) on the line running E & W and N & S of Ronssoy. They reported a heavy loss in Officers but not in the Other Ranks. Any movement west of Ronssoy, places them in the area where the remains were recovered. During the night they made several unsuccessful attempts to take May Copse (62c.F.9.c.2.7) and toward Enfer Wood (62.F.9.d.2.5). That places them due north of Ronssoy Wood, where the battalion headquarters was located. The remains were recovered 2,200 yards to the southeast.

 

The CWGC lists 39 lost men from the 6th Bn Northamptonshire Regiment on 18 September 1918, of which 14 were buried in Unicorn Cemetery, Vendhuile. Serjeant Palmer, for example, was concentrated to that cemetery from 62c.F.15.b.4.8, where expected (COG-BR 2543226). Three men were concentrated to Templeux-le-Guerrard from the original St. Emilie British Cemetery, so we don't know where they were initially. Another group, including Captain Westwood of the 10th Bn Royal Warwicks (attd. 6/Northamptonshire) and Captain D. Chalmers, were found at 62c.D.23.c.5.5, well to the west of the others (perhaps a burial ground not a battlefield?).

 

So here we have another glitch, as Captain David Chalmers was on the "General List" and attached to the 6th Bn. Northamptonshire Regiment. If I run the "Secondary Regiment" for the Captains, both Chalmers and Westwood are on the list (CWGC Link).

 

I had previously check Lieutenants for the Secondary Regiment but not Second Lieutenants. There are 15 (CWGC List). That raises another topic to discuss with the CWGC, since we recently were successful in having them add the Secondary Regiment to the download process. Problem is, for example Second Lieutenant Shaw, the download tells you he was initially 18th Bn. Middlesex Regiment, attached to the Northamptonshire Regiment, but not specifically to the 7th Bn. For now, maybe forever, we then have to check each entry. For this check,we only need to be concerned with the five (5) from March 1918 on the Pozieres Memorial (CWGC Link).

 

I will need to check all of these:

  • Howard 24-04-1918, Norwood 27-03-1918 and Robertson 27-03-1918 - all attached to 2nd Northamptonshire Regiment
  • Pointer 22-03-1918 - attached to 6th Northamptonshire Regiment
  • Shaw 25-03-1918 - attached to 7th Northamptonshire Regiment

To be continued ......

 

UPDATED 28 June 2018: All of these men were well out of the area of 62c.F.23 where the remains were recovered

  • Howard reported killed near Bois de Blagny 62d.N.36 (McMaster Map 62dSW Boves & war diary page 489 of 566)
  • Norwood and Robertson are near Ablaincourt 62c.S.18 and Meharicourt 66e.F.22, to the southwest (war diary page 474 of 566)
  • Pointer attached to 6th Bn. is near Jussy 66c.M.14  and La Montagne 66c.M.24 on the south of the St. Quentin Canal (McMaster Map 66cSW)
  • Shaw 7th Bn. is in the vicinity of Curchy 66d.H.3.c and Fonches 66d.G.6.b (McMaster Map 66d Ham & war diary page 100 of 127)

 

That would appear to eliminate any Lieutenants in a temporary Captain position and any Second Lieutenants in a temporary Lieutenant position, or a Second Lieutenant merely recorded as a Lieutenant (the "Kipling Effect").

Edited by laughton
updated the "to be continued section"

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voltaire60

    There is some hope for locating  2Lt  EDGAR FELIX LAW, 6th Northants and  also an outside edge of 2Lt W.Hall of the same battalion, killed also at the same time. Details are taken from the officer file for Law, at WO 339/395

 

    Law's officer file contains 2 letters from the War Office regarding witness statements about the fate of Law:

 

1)  Letter to wife, Mrs E.Law, 48 Abbott Road, Poplar, E14     Telling her a statement has been received from  22952 Pte. A.Colulson, Northamptonshire Regiment

 

2) Letter to wife, Mrs E.Law, 48 Abbott Road, Poplar, E14 22nd October 1918 . There is statement from 47481 Pte. A.J.Hough, 6th Northants,,attached Royal Engineers, 80th Field Company

 

   The statement from Coulson reads:

 

     "I knew Lt. Law was in the lane at Joissy on this date. It was during the German advance in daylight but misty. I saw him and some of his men surrounded by Germans and that he raised a stick with a white handkerchief tied  on to it,to surrender, it being the only thing left to do.  Just then a shell came over and he was blown up. No burial possible and the ground was lost.

    Inf.   Pte A Coulson  22952

            6th Northants, Sig. Sect., BHQ

            Town Hall Red Cross Hospital 

             Torquay

Home address  21 Chapel Street, Northants.

5.10.18 Miss Norman

 

 

Then there is

1)     STATEMENT BY O.C.UNIT (dated 30/4/18)

       15804  Sjt HALL, J.  states

                "During the afternoon of the 5/4/18 Lt. E.F.Law was wounded in the back and face. 2/LT Hall went to him in the slit in which Lt. Law was dug in.  Soon afterwards  the enemy attacked  No. 14246 Pte Watts, J.P. and No 14045 Pte Wrightson, F. stated they saw a T.M.Shell strike the hole  which the two officers were in.

 

      Pte. Wrightson has been interrogated and states "that he was in a position in front of Company Head Quarters which was in a slit. He saw a Trench Mortar Shell drop directly in the slit and as he was in the same position for over 3 hours afterwards and never saw these officers again he presumed they had been killed"

 

 

2)  Then there is a WO  duplicated  typed sheet    of 9th November 1918

EXTRACT FROM  X87945

      "Lieut E.F.Law was my Coy. Commander. I saw  him killed by a shell explosion, his head was nearly blown off. This occurred on 5th April 1918"

Depot  N.R.

     I have examined  47481 Pte. Hough, 6 Northants , who made the folowing statement

 

   "We were in a sunken road at Gentiles"  [rest of stetment is the same as above}

       Signed off by Oxley, Major,RAMC 

 

 

3)  6 Northants.                                                       LAW. Lieut E.F

                                                                                    D Company

                                                                                    (M. April 5th 1918)

 

          I saw Lieut. Law killed on or about April 5/18 just in front of Gentiles, near Amiens. He was killed  in a sunken road, hit in the head. We retired but re-took the ground later in a counter-attack. I think Lieut Law must have been buried, but I could not say wher,e, he was acting Coy. Commander as our Capt. had been killed"

 

Eye witness: Yes

 

Informant:   Pte. Alfred Joseph Hough, 47841

                    6th Norhants, D Coy, XV Pltn

                    Red Cross Hospital

                    Christchurch Hants

16th July 1918

Wilkisnon.

 

         May help for location of 2 possible 2Lts of 6th Northants- any double UBS at that location????

 

Pip,pip

Mike

 

 

 

NOTE:  RATHBONE'S FILE ADDS NOTHING AND GIVES NO DETAILS OF HIS DEATH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stebie9173

I agree that Lt. Law is out of the question (on this occasion) - he died some 60km away. I have researched him before and can't see any reason why his body would be buried near Ronssoy. There is a further story to his death, but I think it is irrelevant to the unknown officer in question. The 6th Battalion fought at Ronssoy on 18 September 1918 and soon after at Lempire just to the east on 21 September 1918. I will try and come up with a list of officers who died then.

 

The Regiment were not the best at recording individuals and there were a lot of officers attached from other units by then.

 

 

Steve.

 

Edited by Stebie9173

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voltaire60
6 minutes ago, Stebie9173 said:

I agree that Lt. Law is out of the question (on this occasion) - he died some 60km away. I have researched him before and can't see any reason why his body would be buried near Ronssoy. There is a further story to his death, but I think it is irrelevant to the unknown officer in question. The 6th Battalion fought at Ronssoy on 18 September 1918 and soon after at Lempire just to the east on 21 September 1918. I will try and come up with a list of officers who died then.

 

The Regiment were not the best at recording individuals and there were a lot of officers attached from other units by then.

 

 

Steve.

 

 

     Steve-the irrelevant story may all help. Of course, common ground that Law is not Laughton's man- but we should now have enough to see if there are any UBS-especially twice over-at that quite specific location -should be worth checking on it's own account,regardless of the other research for a different location.  

    I have not checked Lt Hill's file but will do so. If standard runs of the paperwork and trench-maps throw up any possible ID of either/both these man, then I think we owe a debt of honour to run with it.

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Stebie9173

I shall try to pick up on this later if I can. Just past midnight for me! Geographically it is right for 6th Battalion officers of the 6th Battalion killed in the battles on the 18th or 21st September 1918 (or other times thereabouts). Unfortunately, the War Diary, battalion history (x2), brigade history offer next to nothing (okay, actually nothing) on officer casualties at the time.

 

Steve.

 

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laughton

I have been looking forward and backwards from the 21 September 1918 to see if the 6th Bn got closer to 62c.F.23 at Queuchettes Wood. Initially they moved to a rest position west of Epehy on the 28th and then moved to assembly positions in the valley near Enfer Wood, east of Ronssoy Wood. The war diary refers to positions at Tombois Farm at 62c.F.11.b, so they are moving to the northeast some 1,900 yards from the location of the remains. If I read it right, they are following the Americans - did not know they were that far north. They are now (29 September 1918) heading off map 62c towards Maguincourt Trench (they say Macquincourt) at 62b.A.2.c. There is a Macquincourt Farm in 62b.A.3.d so it may be the map spelling of the trench that was wrong. At 10 am that day they report that 5 of 8 of the Officers are casualties. THe CWGC reports 44 dead that day in the battalion, including Private Jones (Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery) found at 62c.F.12.a.65.75 (COG-BR 1977813), which gives a fix on the location. Serjeant Hall (Unicorn Cemetery) was recovered further east at 62b.A.7.d.4.2 (COG-BR 2543272). It would appear all the Officers survived, as none appear on the CWGC lists for the 29th or 30th. They are continuing to move eastward over Jaeger Trench and Hidden Trench in 62b.A.1&2.

 

Perhaps the war diary of the 7th Bn. Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment will tell us more, as they were in the same area (war diary page 100 of 127). That shows they were at Sart Farm (62c.F.17.a.5.7) on the 22nd, approximately 1,000 yards due north of where the remains were located, so to the south of the Northants.

 

Everyone appears to be moving northeast when the remains were found further south. No Lieutenants missing and the battalion is not going in that direction. Close does not count except in horseshoes and hand grenades!

 

3jij1in03ibiif86g.jpg

Edited by laughton
typos

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laughton

The location of where the remains were recovered may be an issue. Here is what the CWGC says about the history of the Ste. Emilie Valley Cemetery:

Quote

Villers-Faucon is a village about 14 kilometres north-east of Peronne, and Ste. Emilie Valley Cemetery is 2 kilometres east of the village on the road between Epehy and Roisel. Villers-Faucon was captured by the 5th Cavalry Division on 27 March 1917, lost on 22 March 1918, and retaken by the III Corps on 7 September 1918. On the site of this cemetery at the Armistice, there were three large graves of Commonwealth soldiers buried by the Germans, which now form part of Plot I. The remainder of the cemetery is composed almost entirely of graves brought in from an older cemetery of the same name or from the battlefields. A large proportion of these concentrated graves were those of soldiers of the 16th (Irish) Division who died in March 1918. Ste. Emilie Valley Cemetery contains 513 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. 222 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 21 casualties believed to be buried among them. There are also ten German burials in the cemetery.

 

When I took a fresh look at where the COG-BR documents had groups of men I noticed that there appeared to be more than one older cemetery concentrated into this cemetery.

  • COG-BR 2044501 lists some of the burials in Plot1 that would have been from the three large graves buried by the Germans
    • 62c.F.19.a.9.9 which others have suggested was the original cemetery of the same name. There we find Pte. George Bengree #73980 16th Bn. MGC (not Connaught Ranger Corporal) in 1.D.6, whereas the COG-BR has the number 25321 which does not appear in the cemetery, yet was on the disc. There is no #25321 of the Leinster Regiment in the cemetery. This may not be one of the German graves, as these men also show up in Plot 4, such as in COG-BR 20445050, which includes Pte. FLynn #3624 of the 6th COnnaught Rangers who died 21 March 1918.
    • more appear on COG-BR 2044519, most of which appear to be from March 1918. The unknown R.I.F. Lieutenant was reported later on the GRRF as Captain A. H. Robbins, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
    • Many of the COG-BR that have 62c.F.19.a.9.9 also have large groups from 62c.F.19.c.5.3 and 62c.F.19.c.3.2, so those may also be part of the initial cemetery, or one of the German burial plots. It is there we find the M.F. Lieutenant that was already reported to the CWGC (see this topic).
       
  • COG-BR 2044506 has a group of men located at 62c.F.24.b.5.2 that were in Plot 3 Row H but that does not exist. Plot 3 ends at Row F. That COG-BR lists a number of men, which are noted as "Graves in St. Emilie British Cemetery". Yes they were originally, but if you follow the path you will find that they were concentrated into the Templeux-le-Guerard British Cemetery in May of 1930. For example see Cpl. Hollis #42232. Here is what the CWGC says about the Ste. Emilie Cemetery being concentrated into Templeux-le-Guerard:
    Quote

    STE EMILIE BRITISH CEMETERY, VILLERS-FAUCON, stood in the grounds of the Chateau of Ste Emilie, between the house and the railway station. It was begun by the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division in May 1917, carried on by Cavalry and other units and Field Ambulances until March 1918, and used again by British and American troops in September-November 1918. It contained the graves of 196 United Kingdom soldiers, 108 American, 22 Australian and one South African (the American graves, mainly of the 107th and 108th Infantry Regiments, were removed to Somme American Cemetery, Bony, before 1922).

    Here we have another glitch as the first COG-BR 2044506 has the location as 62c.F.24.b.5.2 whereas the next version COG-BR 2052805 has the location as 62c.E.24.b.8.9. Most certainly, the second one is correct, as that is in the middle of Ste. Emilie (where the Chateau would be located) and the first location does not exist as there is no "b" sub-sector in 62c.F.24 as it is on the right edge of the map. This is to the east of where the remains were reported to be located at 62c.F.23.b.11.43, so if that was incorrect as well, the remains may have been found at 62c.E.23.b.11.43, the sub-sector that is on the immediate right of Villers-Faucon to the left of Ste. Emilie. We can get some help on this from 2/Lt. Jack of the 7th (Service Battalion) Buffs (East Kent Regiment), who is in 4.F.5, 2 up from our Northant Lieutenant in 4.F.7. On the date of the death of Lt. Jack they cooperated in an attack on Ronssoy (62c.F.21), exploiting enemy positions east of the village (war diary page 515 of 592). There is a detailed report in Appendix II (war diary page 531 of 592). There it reports they formed up at 62c.E.22 and E.23 on the 18th. Machine guns and snipers were causing casualties east of St. Emilie. Around noon they were near Shamrock Trench, which the maps show to be at 62c.F.16 central. By late afternoon it appears they did make it as far as 62c.F.23, where they participated in an attack on the ridge between F.23 and F.24. It is therefore quite possible that Lt. Jack was at 62cF.23 and the trench map coordinates are correct for September 1918.
     

  • COG-BR 2044508 shows a number of burials at 62c.F.23.b.2.5 which is slightly southeast of Quechettes Wood where it is reported the remains of the Northant Lieutenant were recovered. Most of the men are from the 23rd or 25th Royal Welsh Fusiliers from September 1918. It is Lt. George Keith Elliott of the 25th R.W.F. that is in grave 2.E.15 died 8 September 1918.
     

  • COG-BR 2044514 refers to another group of men that came from the St. Emilie Valley Cemetery (Plot 2 Row B Inner) but at a location recorded as 62c.F.19.c.3.2. How is this cemetery showing up with different grid locations. It continues on the next page.
     

  • COG-BR 2044517 shows another location for the cemetery at 62c.E.24.c.9.3 so close to the one reported as on the Chateau grounds but not exact. There we find a Lieutenant with a shoulder star (2nd LT.?). He could be our missing 48th TMB Lieutenant (6th Connaught Ranger) believed to be buried in the Ste. Emilie Valley Cemetery.
     

  • The last of the series, COG-BR 2044548 shows a large group that was changed to 62c.F.24.c.3.8 from E.24, which is in the sector southeast of our Hamptonshire Lieutenant. The correction gets bungled on the next form COG-BR 2044549, where we find 9 of the 10 German soldiers buried in Plot 2. We know those are not correct as once again there is no sector F.24.b as it is on the right edge of the map. This information would suggest that the British we find in sector E.24.b may very well have been buried by the Germans after the advance in March of 1918, likely on the grounds of the Chateau.

Edited by laughton
Board kept crashing? Might be from CWGC link I inserted for Hollis?

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laughton

I believe this case has now come to a "Dead End", so I will change it to "Currently Abandoned" on my list of cases.

 

The key elements that apply to the remains found at 62c.F.23.b.11.43: (if that is the correct trench map coordinates)

  1. There are no Lieutenants of the Northamptonshire Regiment (or other ranked officers who may have been) with an unknown burial location in September 1918 when the 6th Battalion was in the area. The three Northant Privates in the cemetery are all from September 1918.
     
  2. Only Lt. Rathbone of the 7th Northamptonshire Regiment is missing, in March 1918. The war diary (page 332 of 407) is clear that the unit was in the vicinity of Hancourt 62c.Q.8 moving on to Jeancourt 62c.L.26 and thereafter in the area of Vendelles 62c.R.1 and Le Verguier 62c.L.34. That is a separation distance of 7,000 yards or more. Possible taken and buried by the Germans, but there is no evidence at presence to that happening. He has no ICRC record.

Always a learning experience and well worth the time spent!

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Hilton Law

Hello - I'm sorry to drop into this topic without having anything to add, but was rather hoping that I could ask if anyone had information regarding my great great Uncle Edgar Felix Law, when he would have enlisted, his movements during the Great War and his final demise!

I’m tracing my Family Tree and the story of Edgar has always fascinated me – as there was so little know about him passed down my branch of the family. He was the younger brother of my Great Grand Father, Robert Thomas Law and my Grand Father Edgar Robert Law was named after him….My Great Grand Father moved some 50 miles away from his home town of Peterborough to Littleport early in 1901, so it may be that communication was not as fluid as it could have been!

I have some limited information about Edgars death – one story that was passed down a branch of the family was, that he was killed by a sniper and died instantly, but then myr branch of the family recollected he was in a JEEP that went over a mine. The only other info I have is a bit sketchy, in that he died in a Village called Gentellies east of Bray, France. I am lucky to have some photo’s of him and also his small pocket bible, with his notations in the margins on some pages

Reading all of your information on the lost lieutenant has been fascinating – I have seen the notes from the witnesses and also the detail about another solider whom actually tried to save Edgar and this story made the newspapers, that the family received a letter from Edgars wife and that she also wrote condolences when that solider later died. I have yet to research his wife, as in did she re-marry, or stay local etc.

I am very lucky to be going to France this year (on a 3 day cycling holiday in Provence with my wife) and we are hoping to drive there, stopping off at Gentilles on the way; although I appreciate there will not be much left to see of the original village I would like to if possible try and locate where my Great Great Uncle died, if this is known. Reading through all your notes I see a witness to his death referenced to a place called “Joissy” and the “lane” but as much as I google and study maps on line I cannot find the place or meaning of the word “Joissy” –

Steve – I’d be interested to hear further about …..”There is a further story to his death, but I think it is irrelevant to the unknown officer in question” if possible?

I’d be very interested to learn more about him or anything the Battalion he served with were involved in during his service period. I’m planning to gather as much information about his as possible, to present to my expanded family as a story – as such I’d be more than willing to hear from anyone or help with anything in return etc Kindest regards Hilton J B Law.

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Stebie9173

Hello Hilton,

 

I intended to come back to this topic however Laughton came to the conclusion that there was little chance of arriving at a likely candidate and I didn't pick up on it again.

 

The story I referred to was in relation to Robert William Varder, buried in our local churchyard following his death shortly after repatriation from being a prisoner of war in Germany. I posted a topic some years ago, which you may have seen as it references the local newspapers and notes condolences sent by Edgar's wife:

 

https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/45428-private-robert-william-varder-6th-northamptonshire-reg/?tab=comments

 

 

Joissy probably refers to Jussy, a village on the Saint Quentin canal south of the town of Saint Quentin. The 6th Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment were there when the German attack started on 21 March 1918. They withdrew west crossing the Saint Quentin canal at the Montagne bridge near Saint Simon (on 22/23 March) and then withdrew back to the eastern edges of Amiens in the area south-east of Gentelles and north of the village of Hangard. There are two woods to the north of Hangard village - jointly being Hangard Wood (Hangard Wood cemetery is at the southern edge of the left hand wood). On the 4/5 April 1918 the 6th Battalion were situated south of the woods and north of Hangard village. The Germans attacked from the east and were later counter attacked. Documents refer to the battalion being in slit trenches (what would be called fox holes in WW2) at Hangard.

 

I suspect the recollection of the "Joissy" place (and possibly the identity of the officer he says was Lt Law) is confused in the witness statement, but you can't always dismiss them. The Gentelles reference is accurate for where the battalion was on 5 April 1918.

 

"Lt. Hall" would be Lieutenant William Hingston Hall, son of F B Hall of Seaforth, Ontario, Canada.

 

 

Steve.

 

 

Edited by Stebie9173

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Stebie9173

Here is my "short version" of Edgar Law's army career - done a long time ago and just as a summary (without reference citations). I will try to add to it later!

 

  • Enlisted at Peterborough on 31 August 1914 as part of "Whitsed's Light Infantry" which was absorbed into "C" Company of the 7th (Service) Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment.
  • Initially allocated Regimental No. 13353 (this number would not apply upon his commissioning as an officer).
  • Promoted to Lance-Sergeant by September 1914, and applied for commission in October 1914.
  • Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 11th November 1914.
  • Served with 8th (Second Reserve) Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment at Penzance then Colchester (from May 1915) and Sittingbourne (from March 1916) until transferred to 28th Training Reserve Battalion on 1st September 1916 upon disbandment of the 8th Battalion.
  • Served with Training Reserve Battalion until mid-1917.
  • Temporarily appointed to rank of Captain whilst employed as a Physical and Bayonet Training Supervising Officer whilst in the UK.
  • Embarked to France on 3 September 1917 and joined the 6th (Service) Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment at Ypres.
  • Promoted to temporary Lieutenant in October 1917, effective from 1st June 1917.
  • Second-in-Command of a company in 1917/18 under command of Captain R. B. Fawkes.
  • Probably took over as a company commander after the wounding of Captain Fawkes at Montagne bridge on 22 March 1918.
  • Killed in action at Hangard Wood on 5th April 1918.
  • Reported to have been wounded, carried to a shell hole (by 13188 Private Robert William Varder) and then killed by a shell explosion.
  • Commemorated on Pozieres Memorial.

 

Hopefully that gives an outline to work with.

 

 

Steve.

Edited by Stebie9173

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Hilton Law

Good Morning Steve - many many thanks for your time in supplying the above information; this being more than I could ever have imagined finding by my own devices; although I suspect this info is all within my grasp, if I knew where to look. I plan to follow up with as much research as I can and so the info you have supplied is and will be a great help.

Could I ask, as I’m not sure I understand – the title of the thread "Unknown Lieutenant, Northamptonshire Regiment" – is this because records show a Lieutenant was buried but at that time his identity was unknown or is this because in more recent times remains have been found that show a Lieutenant was buried and it is these remains that you are attempting to identify?

And then finally… if Edgar Felix Law is commemorated on Pozieres Memorial, does that mean there would not have been a burial? But then if there was a burial, is it known where, or is it likely that the shell explosion would have meant nothing to bury?

Again – thank you so much…Hilton

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laughton

The techies taught me some time ago that if you want to flag someone to look at your post you should use "Good Morning  @Stebie9173 or in my case @laughton .

 

This statement you made is correct: 

Quote

is this because records show a Lieutenant was buried but at that time his identity was unknown

 

And since he has not been identified to date, he continues as an unknown. That is our goal, to investigate and where possible, name the unknowns.

 

This question requires explanation:

Quote

 if Edgar Felix Law is commemorated on Pozieres Memorial, does that mean there would not have been a burial?

 

He may have had a burial but the CWGC, or their predecessors, do not know where he was buried. His pals, or another battalion, may have buried him and the records were lost. His remains may have been recovered post war and he was buried, but they did not know who they were burying. However, there are also thousands whose remains were never recovered and may never have had a burial.

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