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Remembered Today:

Serre Road Cemetery No. 2 Case #2: The Leicestershire Men with Initials


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They were able to identify Captain Charles James Stewart Wright of the 7th Bn Leicestershire Regiment (LLT Link) but not the 4 men that were buried with him, all in the same grave. He was the subject of a Special Exhumation (SP-EXH 2050300). Captain Wright is buried in Plot 24 Row J Grave 4 (24.J.4) at the Serre Road Cemetery No. 2, Puisieux. They were found at 57c.S.13.b.45.80, which places them on the northeast border of the Mametz Wood on the way to Bazentin-le-Petit Wood to the north. For the general area, see McMaster Map [Bapaume] 57c, lower left corner.

 

On that date, the 7th Bn Leicestershire Regiment was at Mametz Wood ready to attack Bazantin-le-Petit Wood and village (war diary page 12 of 318). "A" Coy was on the right, "B" and "C" Coys in the middle and "D" Coy on the left. There were a number of casualties in the Officer's ranks. The war diary is quite detailed and well worth the read! Captain Wright is reported killed before the troops reached the first line (war diary page 19 of 318). Total casualties were reported as 18 Officers and 535 men (OR's). Only 100 men answered the roll call the next morning.

 

There were clues to the other men found with Captain Wright:

 

  • 24.J.5: knife marked NT or TN
  • 24.J.6: ring in pocket engraved J.G.
  • 24.J.7: several clues - dentures, W.P. sheet (several markings), spoon marked H.A., brush marked N.
  • 24.J.8: nothing for this poor lad

 

For the man in grave 24.J.5 there is nobody in the regiment that died that day with the initials N.T. (first name, last name) but there is a Private Thomas Nutting #11390 who died that day and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

 

There are three possible men for the remains in grave 24.J.6, whose initials could be for "J.G", two of whom may be related. I am not sure we can knock out the 3rd man just because his initials were "J.W.G.". It doesn't really matter as we can not separate the other two. One possible way would be to identify the companies that each belonged to, so see if one of them was more likely to be with Captain Wright. I am not familiar enough with the British records to know where to look for that information.

 

  1. Private John Goundry #13503
  2. Private Joseph Goundry #13508
  3. Private John William Groves #12636

 

For the next grave, you have to decide what clue to select. I doubt there are any dental records that still exist, but surely that could have been checked at the time. I am not a fan of the "Waterproof Sheet" analysis, as shown by Captain Wright who was buried in a sheet marked "E. Line". If we default to the spoon we have one candidate, Private Henry Alligan #11577, also of the 7th Bn Leicestershire Regiment KIA 14 July 1916 and remembered on the Thiepval Memorial. The only clue on the waterproof sheet that provides a "hit" are the initials "FS", as that relates to a Private Fred Shillcross #20809, same regiment and date, but buried in the Flatiron (Flat Iron?) Copse Cemetery, Mametz. His remains were located at 57c.S.7.b.6.?, the northern adjoining square to where the others were recovered, on the west side of Bazentin-le-Petit Wood (COG-BR 2002236). More evidence against the waterproof sheet analysis, although often used by the G.R.U.

 

Looks like I will need to look at the Flat Iron cemetery to see if more of the men of the regiment can be identified (TO DO LIST).

 

doc2050299.JPG

 

doc2050301.JPG

Edited by laughton
added Leicestershire to title
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  • 1 month later...
On 09/08/2018 at 07:41, laughton said:

 

Looks like I will need to look at the Flat Iron cemetery to see if more of the men of the regiment can be identified (TO DO LIST).

 

That was completed and it is posted here: 

Which led to this case: Flatiron Copse Cemetery Case #1: Captain Machine Gun Corps

 

and so then I probably wandered off on those and forgot to come back to this topic!

 

The only case that would have any merit would be the NT or TN markings on the knife.I can't see that making it through the process, so I will file these "on hold" for now.

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