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Templeux-le-Guerard British Cemetery Case #2: Serjeant, Royal Munster Fusiliers - Daniel Sheehan


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As noted in the topic for the Templeux-le-Guerard British Cemetery, the site also contains concentrations from the Gouy British Cemetery. I was not looking at this cemetery to identify unknowns, rather to try and sort out issues related to others taken to the Ste. Emilie Valley Cemetery. That is all discussed in the Templeux-le Guerard topic.

 

There are no open cases for this cemetery in the database provided by David Avery of the CWGC.

 

As this is the second unknown that is an identifiable soldier, I thought it best to separate him leave the first soldier alone in the other post.

 

There was a Serjeant of the Royal Munster Fusiliers recovered from Row F Grave 6 and concentrated into Plot 1 Row J Grave 8. Although the date is given as 8 October 1918, the records are clear (and CWGC has so recorded in many records) that the date of death was 4 October 1918. Some but not all are changed on the original GRRF documents. It is a moot point regardless, as none of those checked died on 8 October 1918. It should also be noted that most, if not all, in the cemetery are 2nd Bn. RMF. It does not give the unit for the Serjeant but the only candidate is 2nd Bn.

 

Six (6) of the seven (7) RMF Serjeants from September 1st to November 1st 1918 are in known graves (CWGC List). Only Serjeant Daniel Sheehan #4008 is listed on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial. Note that another 2nd Bn. RMF Serjeant correction Private (Martin Gorman #3621) is buried in the cemetery, also exhumed from Gouy, with a reported date of 10 October 1918 and corrected to 4 October 1918.

 

doc2052774.JPG  doc2052825.JPG

 

You will note that once the concentrations are completed for the two (2) Serjeants (Gorman had been a Private), they are in 1.J.6 and 1.J.8, still with the 8-10-18 date (10 May 2019: my error here, see post #5). Not all were 4-10-18, as Pte Barraclough #28297 (tope line) was killed on 3-10-18.

 

doc2052753.JPG

Edited by laughton
noted error now see post #5 - does not alter the case
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  • 3 weeks later...

This is the start of the war diary for 4 October 1918 to check and make sure he was in the correct area (war diary page 33 of 152). If so, we can move him forward to the "Reporting Stage". My assignment for tomorrow morning!

 

Looks like we are in the correct area as the attack was at Le Catelet 62b.A.5.

Edited by laughton
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This is not one of the cases where the TMC can tell us a lot, as the remains were exhumed from the Gouy British Cemetery (Grave 1.F.6) located at 62b.A.12.c.3.7 and concentrated into the Templeux-le-Guerard British Cemetery (Grave 1.J.8) at 62c.L.3.c.60.85. Here is what the CWGC had to say about the Gouy concentration int Templeux-le Guerard:

Quote

After the Armistice, a further 360 graves were brought in from the battlefields (of April 1917 and March and September 1918) surrounding the village and in 1930, the British graves from the following two cemeteries were brought in:- GOUY BRITISH CEMETERY (Aisne), was in the hamlet of Rue-Neuve (or Rue-du-Moulin), on the road from Gouy to Estrees. It stood in a paddock among pasture fields, close to a farmhouse. It was made by the 50th Division (as very recently reconstituted) in October 1918, and it contained the graves of 127 soldiers from the United Kingdom (almost all from that Division) and one from Australia; the dates of death were the 3rd-10th October, except for one soldier who died on the 18th. Le Catelet and Gouy were captured by the 50th Division on the 3rd October 1918. 

 

What is important in that statement relates to the death of Serjeant Daniel Sheehan #4008,who was a casualty of 4 October 1918 and was with the 50th Division. As noted previously, we know the reported death of 8 October 1918 was incorrect, probably reflecting the date of burial written on a cross.

 

Here is what the war diary has to say about the placement of the men for the attack and capture of Le Catelet (transcription from war diary page page 33 of 152):

Quote

BONY 3rd Oct. Received orders at 0200 hrs to march from Epehy at 0330 hrs and take up position in trenches on N. Side of Guillemont Farm as Bde Reserve, and were in position at 0600 hrs. At 1200 hrs moved up into HINDENBURG LINE, N. of BONY. The 151st Inf Bde who had attacked LE CATELET were driven back. At 1500 hrs "A" & "B" Coys took up position in CATELET line S. of village facing E. with left flank well thrown back. At 1830 hrs. battn. was ordered to take up line S. of LE CATELET, facing N. "A" Coy on right, to S. of GOUY. "B" Coy in the centre, and "C" in touch with 149 Inf Bde at MACQUINCOURT FARM. "D" Coy and "HQ" in Reserve in sunken road S of LE CATELET. 2/Lt. J. J. CARSON wounded in arm by sniper, S.E. of LE CATELET.

 

The subsequent page, not transcribed here, provides the details of the action on 4 October 1918 (War diary page 34 of 152). The final statement in the diary for 4 October 1918 was:

Quote

The attack was successfully carried out and left flank made secure. The trenches held by the battn were heavily shelled in the afternoon, and Lieut C M J RYAN MC was killed.

 

The CWGC records show that Lt. Ryan was initially buried in Grave 1.E.2 at the Gouy British Cemetery and concentrated into Grave 1.H.48 of the Templeux-le-Guerard British Cemetery on or about 9 May 1930.

 

There is no localized trench map for October 1918. The latest in the collection (62bNW1 Gouy Edition: 3A wo297_1521) states:

Quote

Front line east of Epehy and north of Bellicourt. Situation of 8 February 1918, before the German March offensive. German trenches, with names, in red. German defence lines include the Hindenburg Line, Le Catelet-Nauroy Line, Masnieres-Beaurevoir Line. British trenches, with names, in blue at the west of the sheet, west of Gillemont Farm and Ruby Wood in the south-west corner. 

 

Where they started at Guillemont Farm is shown in the lower left of the trench map extraction at 62b.A.13.b.3.5. The 149th was at Macquincourt Farm, marked on the trench map at 62b.A.3.d.3.5. That sets the left limit of the 2nd Bn Royal Munster Fusiliers. From the war diary, I interpret the general path of the battalion from the lower left to the upper right of the trench map. The cemetery where the men were initially buried is near Rue Neuve, marked in 62b.A.12.

 

v5jav6sa26q503d6g.jpg

 

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  • 3 months later...

Of the twenty-one (21) Serjeants missing in France in 1918, there are none listed on SPECIAL MEMORIALS within a cemetery. I am in the process of checking all cases proposed for reporting to make sure that issue has been covered (CWGC Link).

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  • 6 months later...

On checking this case before going to reporting, I noticed an error that started in the first post:

 

On 04/07/2018 at 07:34, laughton said:

You will note that once the concentrations are completed for the two (2) Serjeants (Gorman had been a Private), they are in 1.J.6 and 1.J.8, still with the 8-10-18 date.

 

Now 10 months later (where did the time go?) I was trying to figure out why I thought Gorman was a Serjeant, when in all cases he is reported as a Private. My error related to the fact that the UNKNOWN SERJEANT was initially in grave 1.F.6 of Gouy British Cemetery and was concentrated into 1.J.8 of Templeux-le-Guerard British Cemetery. Private Gorman was initially in 1.F.4 and concentrated into 1.J.6. I confused myself between 1.F.6 and 1.J.6. The date of death of Private Gorman was corrected from 8/10/18 to 4/10/18.

 

Also noted from this morning's review, the war diary reports that the dead were recovered and buried on 9 October 1918 when they marched to Gouy and Le Catelet (war diary page 36 of 152). There were no casualties reported on the 7th, 8th, 9th or 10th.

 

I would say it is clear that the Unknown Serjeant is Serjeant Daniel Sheehan #4008, 2nd Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers and this can go to reporting.

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Time for the report to be prepared. One last check to make sure that there were no Serjeants missing where the "Secondary Regiment" was listed as the Royal Munster Fusiliers. The answer is "NO" (CWGC Link).

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