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DamienRiley79

Pinning down the final moments of a soldier

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DamienRiley79

I'm going over to France on Saturday to visit the grave of my Wife's Great Grandfather  at St. Souplet British Cemetary. His name was private James Gartland of the 128th Heavy Battery RGA. The only information about how he was killed is from the letter from the chaplain to his wife back in Bolton that he was "killed in shell fire on November 3rd 1918".

I've done some research but can't seem to pin down the exact location of the place he was killed. I know it was almost surely in the final pushes, possibly the battle of Valenciennes or Amiens, but the dates don't cover the 3rd. Could he have been killed moving forward in the night time? I just thought it would be interesting to visit the area that he lost his life while we are there. I found something online that he was buried at Vaast Communal Cemetary first, obviously he was moved at some point to St Souplet, what are the reasons for this. Hope someone can help me solve some mysteries! Thanks, Damien. 

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helpjpl

James Gartland:

1795035510_JamesGartland(1).jpg.2bf2ac836ff8609979d251776096dd22.jpg

430443662_JamesGartland(2).jpg.b247a51ea59a59374ceb784103d52e32.jpg

 

JP

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DamienRiley79

Thanks JP! Can you read what it says after "killed" ??

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museumtom

Killed in action. With the B.E.F. (British Expeditionary Force) in France.

Edited by museumtom

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DamienRiley79

ahhh yeah. Does the place of burial usually give some idea to the location of death? St Vaast is quite close to Valenciennes. 

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HTSCF Fareham

Soldiers Effects is no help as this states France.

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helpjpl

I don't see anything to indicate that James Gartland was originally buried elsewhere - click on first Grave Registration Report:

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/320690/gartland,-/

James is buried next to another man from 128 Heavy Battery who died the same day - George Frederick Hamilton King.

 

P Gartland, RFA, is buried at St Vaast Communal Cemetery Extension:

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/247204/gartland,-/

 

JP

 

 

 

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DamienRiley79

Thanks again @helpjplIs there any records I can search as to the whereabouts of 128th HB on the 3rd of November 1918?

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helpjpl

What you need is the War Diary for 128 Heavy Battery.

 

This is from a previous thread on the forum:

#47 - I've been looking for the War Diaries of the 128th Battery but can only find one for Aug-Nov 1917. However, I've been informed that "We know very little about the detailed history of the 200 heavy batteries and 545 siege batteries of the Royal Garrison Artillery which served in the First World War. This is mainly because the official records, the War Diaries, were not to be maintained by the batteries but by the next level of command, the Heavy Artillery Group (HAG).....The war diaries of these HAGs are all stored at the National Archives, Kew." You probably already know this. What I can say is that 128 Battery moved from 11 HAG to 12th HAG on this very day 5th Jun 1916."

https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/107748-128-oxford-heavy-battery/?page=2

 

If I was you I'd change the title Pinning down the final moments of a soldier to attract the attention of a Heavy Battery specialist or someone who knows of James Gartland.

e.g.  128 Heavy Battery- 03 November 1918

or

James Gartland, 128 Heavy Battery, 03/11/1918

 

JP

 

Edited by helpjpl

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andrew pugh

Hi Damien

According to the Long Long Trail web site the 128th Heavy Battery landed in France on 29th July 1916 and consisted of Two 12"inch Railway Howitzers.

Regards

Andy

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Colin W Taylor

Andy, 

 

The battery was attached to 9th Heavy Artillery Group (later known as 9th Brigade RGA) in 1918.  The diary is here (http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/f6c4f17f69ed4a6eb9535dca5b7446b5) on the National Archives if you can splash out - it may mention what happened on the day in question.

 

Regards

 

Colin

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