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Remembered Today:

Peronne Comm. Cem. Ext. Case #1: UAS L/Cpl 2/9/18


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Marking this for further research.


There is an unknown Lance Corporal of the Australian Infantry in Plot 3 Row D Grave 16 of the Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension. I suspect that the COG-BR coordinates refer to one of the cemeteries that was concentrated to this location, of which there are many. He was identified by a cross with a date of death of 2 September 1918. I will do some work to see if I can place coordinates on all the cemeteries that were concentrated into Peronne.


There is only one (1) UAS Lance Corporal (Newcombe #4745) recorded on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial for that date (CWGC Link). If we expand the date to cover the period of 31 August to 3 September there are an additional eight (8), so we have have to confirm that the date on the cross was correct. If I am correct that the TMC 62c.C.22.D.7.8 are another cemetery, the war diary will not confirm the location.


There is another Lance Corporal of the same 25th Bn in the cemetery in PLot 3 Row C Grave 34 (Christianson # 6056). He was recovered at 62c.I.10.c.6.8. The separation distance from C.22 to I.10 is approximately 2,000 yards, so they are clearly in the same area (McMaster Map 62c Peronne). Both are due north of Peronne, east of Clery and west of Tincourt, more or less on a parallel line with Villers-Faucon. This is becoming a common area for identification of remains in March and September 1918.


There are no case files for this cemetery on the current list that I have from David Avery.


GRRF 2469390 and HD-SCHD 2144073 both show this UAS as an Unknown Australian Lance Corporal. The lack of identification appears to be related to the fact that they did not pay attention to the date that was on the cross found at the site of the remains (2 September 1918). I do not see his name on any of the Special Memorials.



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His service records shows that he was wounded in action and died of wounds in the field 

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Copse Trench British Cemetery, Allaines was at


62c. C. 22. d. 65. 30. 

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Newcombe's record is here, I  had not looked those up before!




Good, that confirms the date:




The war diary reports that orders were given on the first to move to 62c.I.15 which more or less agrees where they found others. Appendix A has an operations report for the 2nd, which shows them attacking to the east through I.17. It also noted 2nd Lt. C. V. Izdebski that was killed on the same date was buried at 62C.I.10.b.1.3. When he was recovered, the COG-BR 2483340 tells us he was recovered from 62c.I., which from the ones on that page suggest the typo should have been 62c.I.10.a.9.4. That is a good reference for variability in reported vers found burial locations.


The war diary reports 1 Officer and 29 OR killed on that day. The CWGC reports 1 Officer and 30 OR so that is amazingly close. Twenty six (26) are in the Peronne CCE, 1 in Heaths (maybe the extra - concentrated from Proyart CCE 62d.R.15.a.3.5 - even further away!) and 4 on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (CWGC Link).


We know from the work just completed to track down the locations of the cemeteries that were concentrated to Peronne CCE that the Lance Corporal was probably found in the COPSE TRENCH CEMETERY, ALLAINES reported to be at 62c.C.22.d.65.30, as Alan noted above (see this post for others found). From the CWGC page and you will note the number of Somerset Light Infantry at that location:


COPSE TRENCH CEMETERY, ALLAINES, between Allaines and Moislains. Here were buried 64 soldiers from the United Kingdom (mainly 14th Black Watch and 12th Somerset Light Infantry) who fell in September 1918.


The question then is how did the Lance Corporal end up in the Copse Trench Cemetery - perhaps a burial ground at an aid station? The other Lance Corporal Carl Christianson #6056 was reported (this link) buried in an isolated grave in a shell hole near the barbed wire just east of the Mount St. Quentin (62c.I.15), 1 1/2 miles north of Peronne. The separation distance between the two sets of remains is at least 2,000 yards on a direct north-south route.


That raises some doubt as to whether the unknown Lance Corporal is Newcombe, unless we can find out if and how he moved. There may be an answer in checking if any of the other Australians of the 25th Bn were found in the area of the Copse Trench Cemetery, or why the men of the 14th Black Watch and 12th Somerset Light Infantry were buried there.

Edited by laughton
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21 hours ago, laughton said:

That raises some doubt as to whether the unknown Lance Corporal is Newcombe, unless we can find out if and how he moved. There may be an answer in checking if any of the other Australians of the 25th Bn were found in the area of the Copse Trench Cemetery

 The 25th Battalion (along with 26-28 Bns) were in 7th Brigade, 2nd Division. The Brigade WD should show a casualty evacuation rote in the operational orders.

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On 14/07/2018 at 08:45, spof said:

 The 25th Battalion (along with 26-28 Bns) were in 7th Brigade, 2nd Division. The Brigade WD should show a casualty evacuation rote in the operational orders.


Thanks for the tip Glen! So far all I found was "all  necessary arrangements for the evacuation of casualties has been made". I will need to go backwards too see if they report what those were? I went forward into App 2 and 3 but there were no additional details.


It could also be in MEDICAL but I don't yet have that level of familiarity for the Aussie troops. If it was Canadian - easy, I have made all the ORBATS. Hang on - the basics are probably on the LLT - here they are for 2nd Division: (5th, 6th and 7th Field Ambulance)




so at the archives:





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Based on what we have to this point in time, it might be feasible that the Lance Corporal went to the Regional Aid Post at 62c.I.4.c.0.0. There he was determined to be deceased and his remains were buried at the COPSE TRENCH CEMETERY, ALLAINES 62c.C.22.d.65.30, which was later concentrated into the Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension (see this topic for identified list of cemeteries). Reference McMaster Map Peronne, Somme River: British Offensive August 1918




As noted previously, there were a large number of men of the 12th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry buried in the same location. The LLT tells me that is:


Prince Albert’s (Somerset Light Infantry), 12th (West Somerset Yeomanry) Battalion (229th Brigade 74th (Yeomanry) Division (War Diary Link)


The Somerset's moved out to relieve the Australian 41st and 42nd Battalions at 62c.C.21.b.4.0 on 1 September 1918 (war diary page 38 of 98). Heavy casualties were reported the following day. Heavy MG fire from Haut-Allaines to the south. There were no orders in the war diary relating to orders for casualty removal.


Chris's link to the division was broken but I found it here:  74th (Yeomanry) Division which should mean that I need to find the RAMC war diaries for the 229th to 231st Field Ambulance, in the event there is an off-chance reference to handling Australian dead at the cemetery. That may be hard to find and not worthy of the hunt at this time as the CWGC records tell us that there are three (3) Lance Corporals of the 41st and 42nd Battalions A.I.F. missing and on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial for that general period. I think that they then become prime candidates for the Lance Corporal found in this location. Only the date goes against this option, as all the Somerset lads are on the CWGC for 2 September 1918. I don't think we can use a 1 day difference as anything conclusive. The location to me would be the more critical key.


With that, there is no way to separate these Australian Lance Corporals and the CWGC Commemorations Team would never accept Lance Corporal Newcombe as the candidate. It was a fun ride!


surname forename death unit #
BOARDMAN ROCKLEY JOSEPH 01-09-18 43rd Bn. '4559'
CAMERON KEITH GORDON 31-08-18 33rd Bn. '1796'
DUN JOHN CHARLES 01-09-18 41st Bn. '82'
HILL ERNEST WILLIAM 01-09-18 42nd Bn. '2092'
NEWCOMBE PETER JOSEPH 02-09-18 25th Bn. '4745'
PITT HAROLD EDWARD 01-09-18 43rd Bn. '2862'
STILLWELL FRANK DEAN 01-09-18 43rd Bn. '563'
WEBB ALBERT 01-09-18 41st Bn. '768'
WEBB FRANCIS HENRY 31-08-18 39th Bn. '3160'


Edited by laughton
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Just to tie up all the loose ends before I move this to the ABANDONED category on my blog list of cases. It appears that we also must include the Lance Corporals of the 43rd Battalion, as the war diary for the 41st Bn shows they were all in the same area. They assembled in 62c.C.26 with the 42nd Bn on the left and the 43rd Bn on the right.


It is nice that the Australian war diaries (like the Canadian) are on-line so that we can use them directly!


I have retired this case, however if someone sees something different, please let me know.




They report that hostile fire prevented them from removing some of their casualties from the front line "as the Boche fired on stretcher bearers killing and wounding a whole team".



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