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Remembered Today:

Unknown Middlesex Officer: Arras Road British Cemetery 3.N.8


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This is a spin-off another topic in the same cemetery:



I am going back through this cemetery looking for others lost at Neuve-Chapelle, but this jumped off the page.


They found 2nd Lieutenant E. S. Learoyd of the 20th Bn Middlesex Regiment at the same location, killed 23 November 1917 at 57c.E.23.a.3.6. He is buried in grave 3.N.7.  Immediately beside him in grave 3.N.8 is another officer of the regiment, although it does not say which battalion.


A quick check of the CWGC database tells us that there is only one other officer of the Middlesex Regiment missing at that time period (15th - 30th November 1917) and coincidentally on the exact same date. 2nd Lieutenant Reginald Leaf Turnell was with the 13th Bn Middlesex Regiment, attached to the 20th Battalion. I would say this is worthy of  further investigation!


There are 38 men of the regiment on the Cambrai Memorial for that period (CWGC Link).


The LLT tells us 20th (Service) Battalion (Shoreditch), The Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment) , 121st Brigade in 40th Division. The war diary is not filed under that division, so I will have to go hunt for it.


He has a SPEC-EXH as well: SPEC-EXH 2229695  suggesting we need a facial picture showing his front teeth. He was medium build about 5'8".


There are eight (8) men of the regiment at this location and nine (9) listed on the Cambrai Memorial for that date. If we can find the missing one ..... this could be him on COG-BR 2229745. There might be a case here for a Special Memorial if all the missing men are in this cemetery.


This is the COG-BR for the Officer:



Edited by laughton
added link for SPEC-EXH
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Coming back to this to see if we have a case. The War Diary was in the section where it should have been, so apparently it was my eyes that were not. It was in the large file of the 121st Brigade. For November 1917 it starts here: War Diary page 688 of 906


On November 21 they were at Rocquigny and from there they marched to Beaumetz, where they took over from the 62nd Division north of Graincourt in preparation for an attack on Bourlon Village and Bourlon Wood at dawn on the 23rd (war diary page 691 of 906). By 1 am on the morning of the 23rd they were in the front line at 57c.E.24.a.7.4 to 57c.E.17.d.4.1, so approaching the front line to where the remains were recovered at 57c.E.23.a.3.6. This places them on the southwest edge of Bourlon Wood.




The attack was held back in E.17 central by heavy machine gun fire, as we;; as at the spur in E.18.a. Although casualties to the regiment were heavy, there was no detailed listing of Officers in the war diary.


Here is the listing from t he CWGC database for that period of 20-25 November 1917: (of 148 records for France and Belgium)

  1. I will also need to check the two men of the 21st Bn Middlesex Regiment, as they were in the same Brigade and Division as the 20th.
    • in the same area (war diary page 871 of 906)
    • Captain Evers was "A" Coy and Captain Bryan was "B" Coy
    • Captain Evers was clearly at the scene of the MG barrage in E23 & E24
    • Captain Bryan was in touch with Captain Evers so he too was close 
    • 2 Officers were KIA and 8 wounded (war diary page 877 of 906)
  2. One of the 20th Bn is known to be here and the other was a prime candidate.
    • It is now entirely possible that it is more likely the Officer was one of the two serving in the 21st Battalion,
surname forename death rank Middlesex Regiment cemetery - memorial details
BRYAN, MC FREDERICK STAWELL 23-11-17 Captain 15th Bn. attd. 21st Bn. CAMBRAI MEMORIAL, LOUVERVAL definite candidates
EVERS, MC ERNEST WILLIAM 23-11-17 Captain 15th Bn. attd. 21st Bn. CAMBRAI MEMORIAL, LOUVERVAL definite candidates
GODBY THOMAS STANLEY 20-11-17 Second Lieutenant 6th Bn. Attd 8th KLR CAMBRAI MEMORIAL, LOUVERVAL attached to "The King's (Liverpool Regiment)"
LEAROYD ERNEST SMITH 23-11-17 Second Lieutenant 20th Bn. ARRAS ROAD CEMETERY 3.N.7 known and shown on the COG-BR
TURNELL REGINALD LEAF 23-11-17 Second Lieutenant 13th Bn. attd 20th Bn. CAMBRAI MEMORIAL, LOUVERVAL

in the spot as detailed above


Based on the above finding of the location of the 21st Battalion with the 20th Battalion, we would have to say that there is no case to go forward.


This again raises the ALL IMPORTANT QUESTION as to WHAT INSIGNIA does an attached Officer wear when in battle? It does not matter as much in this case as both the Captains were 15th Battalion Middlesex Regiment, and there was no battalion affiliation provided on the COG-BR.


This case can not go forward.


There is still the question of the other group of men, but now that we know both the 20th and 21st Battalions were in the area, that is likely a moot point. A quick check of the CWGC database provides that confirmation. This case is now closed on both accounts.


You win some, you lose some! We gave it a try!

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