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Remembered Today:

Caterpillar Valley Cemetery Case #1: Corporal 2nd Bn Leinster Regiment


laughton
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47 minutes ago, laughton said:

 

The big question for me now is when did Corporal George Wallace become Lance Serjeant George Wallace and why now does the CWGC report him as Serjeant George Wallace. Based on the location of the 2nd Leinsters, it makes far more sense that the unknown is Corporal George Wallace than Corporal Frank Gurney:

  • If we don't know the answer, we will always wonder how Gurney's remains got to the area to the north. I now doubt that they did, so without an answer, that would kill the report.
  • If Wallace was still wearing Corporal insignia, then he is the candidate, and the only one. We would have to prove that to the CWGC, not an easy task.

Anything that anyone has that deals with that issue would be of great assistance. His service record, or some other document about promotions, is what is needed.

 

I don’t know the answer unfortunately.

It appears to me Wallace was a reservist (possibly 3rd or 5th battalion; he is not recorded on the 4th battalion war

memeorial) who was drafted into frontline 2nd battalion in Oct 1914. 

 

Wallace’s WILL is available online. He was referring to himself as Sergeant as early as April 1915. 

 

However there is inconsistency in his surviving records - which variable refer to him as L/SGT and SGT. 

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Wallace was a reservist due to pre-war service with the 2/Leinsters. He is on the  1911 census as a lance corporal with the 2/Leinsters in India. Born in New York.  

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The thought crossed my mind:

 

"Could this be like the case of Lieutenant Colonels Hindle & Stewart, where they had the wrong man selected for the grave in question? What if one of the other Corporals who was reported to have a known grave was in the area of the recovered remains at 57c.S.10.b.7.5?"

 

I had to check but it turned out that was not the case: (note the correction of 3 reported graves at Quarry Cemetery, the COG-BR information is incorrect)

 

surname fore death # cemetery grave Recovery Corrected
HAGGERTY W 31-08-16 '7510' CATERPILLAR VALLEY CEMETERY, LONGUEVAL @ 57c.S.16.b IX. A. 14. 57c.S.10.b.7.5  
UNKNOWN       CATERPILLAR VALLEY CEMETERY, LONGUEVAL @ 57c.S.16.b IX. A. 13. 57c.S.10.b.7.5  
GLYNN J 22-08-16 '397' LA NEUVILLE BRITISH CEMETERY, CORBIE @ 62d.I.33.c.1.2 II. A. 45. No. 21 CCS  
TROY E 24-08-16 '8801' PERONNE ROAD CEMETERY, MARICOURT @ 62c.A.21.b.7.6 III. A. 25. 62c.A.10.c.2.2  
CONROY J 11-08-16 '10092' QUARRY CEMETERY, MONTAUBAN @ 57c.S.22.c.0.6 III. J. 9. 62c.S.22.d.9.9 57c.S.22.d.9.9
FRAZER J 11-08-16 '1019' QUARRY CEMETERY, MONTAUBAN @ 57c.S.22.c.0.6 I. J. 6. 62c.S.22.d.9.9 57c.S.22.d.9.9
GILCHRIST J 11-08-16 '2900' QUARRY CEMETERY, MONTAUBAN @ 57c.S.22.c.0.6 III. J. 8. 62c.S.22.d.9.9 57c.S.22.d.9.9
KEENA RICHARD 06-09-16 '2918' ST. SEVER CEMETERY, ROUEN B. 23. 19. hospital  
GURNEY FRANK 18-08-16 '9467' THIEPVAL MEMORIAL n/a unknown  

 

We also already know that all the others reported killed on the 18th were found in the vicinity of 57c.S.30, which therefore is where we would expect to find Corporal Gurney.

 

All of this points to either the UNKNOWN not being a Corporal, as recorded at that time by the GRU, or that the CWGC has someone listed as another rank other than his correct rank of Corporal.

 

I would say this case has come to an end without a solution, but if anyone has any ideas - bring them forward!

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On a related follow-up situation to this case, I checked to make sure that the CWGC records properly reflected the transfer of the 7th Battalion Leinster men to the 2nd Battalion.

 

The answer is NO. There are two CORPORALS listed on the POZIERES MEMORIAL for March 1918 with the 7th Battalion (CWGC Link). Neither record notes that they were then with the 2nd Battalion, nor do they show a SECONDARY REGIMENT.

 

If you check all ranks there are 17 men of the 7th Leinsters in France and 1 in Germany after the transfer date of 14 February 1918 (CWGC Link).

 

The same situation appears to exist with the 6th Battalion Connaught Rangers, absorbed by the 2nd Leinsters on 13 April 1918 (CWGC Link).

 

That probably means there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of men that are not associated with the correct battalion at the time of their death.

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