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Murgraff

W J Archer

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Murgraff
Posted (edited)

Hello I wonder if anyone can help me. My Great Uncle was with Y Battery, Royal Horse Artillery.  His name was W J Archer, Gunner 66419. He is buried in Old Caudry Cemetary in France.  He died on the 26th August 1914.  I thought he died at the Battle of Le Cateau but I am not sure.  Is there any expert on this period of the War and the area who could help me.  Should I head for Kew in the first instance.  My family had a photograph of him but it has been lost and I am devastated that it has been mislaid.  I hope to visit his grave in the future.  He is commemorated on a Stone Plaque in ST Marys Church, Tufton, Hampshire where he was born.  If anyone could help me I would be very grateful.   I would like to be sure of the battle he died in and perhaps try to find out if there is a photo of him in the archives in Kew.  Thank you for any suggestions you may have.  

CWG - Uncle William.jpg

doc1981894.JPG

Great Uncle William.png

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Great War Memorial, St Marys, Tufton, Hampshire.jpg

Edited by Murgraff
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Michelle Young

I have split this into a separate topic in Soldiers. You may want to edit the date to1914. I have also removed your email address as spam harvesters may get hold of it. Caudry old cemetery plot was made  by the Germans, so I would say he was a prisoner of war.

 

Michelle

 

 

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seaJane

Adding from previous thread to save anyone else looking up:

 

His MIC (medal index card), here - http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D1640353 at the lower right corner of the image. I looked at the preview, and it gives his first name as William. Although it mentions that he died, it doesn't say where.

 

[I know the thread heading doesn't match, I've alerted Michelle]

Just now, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

Are we talking about WJ Archer?

see above

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Michelle Young
12 minutes ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

Are we talking about WJ Archer?

We are but I'm having problems editing the title! Now done

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Michelle Young

Caudry Old Communal Cemetery 

IMG_1685.JPG

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Michelle Young

Regarding a photo, local newspapers would be the best bet.

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Mark1959
Posted (edited)

Welcome.

It is William John. Medal Roll confirms.

Y Battery were in India and do not get to the UK until Nov 1914.

Soldier’s Effects Register shows I battery. Medal Card and roll show 7th Brigade RHA. I and L Batteries were in 7th Brigade RHA. 7th were at Le Cateau on 26/8/14. Not 1916 in the opening post. FMP have another record, source unknown, that says I Battery.

 

The ICRC have a record for him. The Germans appear to have buried him at Caudry. See

https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/List/879641/698/11613/

The abbreviation frdhf is friedhof or graveyard/cemetery. S. Grab is an abbreviation for common grave

 

born 12/11/1893 (school record). Baptised 31/12/1893.

Edited by Mark1959

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Murgraff

Hello, thank you very much for welcome.  

The link you sent me lists a W Archer being in the Durham Regiment, I dont think this is my Uncle?   My Great Uncle WJ Archer died on the 26 August 1914 and was part of RHA / Y Battery but I understand you now say he was with I Battery which would tie in with the Battle of Le Cateau.  Am I on the right track now?  Should I research I Battery do you think?  Would the Germans have buried him? If yes, then how did he get a grave stone by the War Graves Commission?  What does FMP mean please?

Edited by Murgraff

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Michelle Young

Yes the Germans buried him; after the war, the then Imperial war Graves Commission took over the care of all the commonwealth war graves and erected the permanent cemeteries. FMP is Find My Past, a fee paying records  site. I've looked at my photos of Caudry, sadly I don't have a picture of his grave.

 

Michelle

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Murgraff

Michelle, could you please edit the first para of my first post.  He died 26th August 1914, thats why I think he died as part of Battle of Le cateau because the date fits.  I cannot change it for some reason.  I can edit but I cant save.  Would you be able to do it for me?

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Murgraff

Michelle I have posted very small pic of his grave above in my photos.  Someone kindly sent me it some time ago now.  Thank you for the lovely photo of Caudry Cemetery.  

 

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Michelle Young

The date is changed to 1914- it must have worked!

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Murgraff

Thank you Mark 1959 for the details regarding my Great Uncle's Baptism and School Record, could I please ask you where I go to see them?

 

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Mark1959

 

1 hour ago, Murgraff said:

The link you sent me lists a W Archer being in the Durham Regiment, I dont think this is my Uncle?

The rings on the POW record image not put there by me. Your uncle is the man immediately above the Durham man in the list. So immediately above the lower  red ring.

And Yes he was in I Battery RHA. Y Battery were still in India on 26/8/14. 

The I Battery war diary starts on 1/9/14 so is not useful it seems. Looking for alternative records....

The baptism is a transcribed record on ancestry

The school record is an original school records book on findmypast

 

Courtesy of ICRC

589855791_parkpow.jpg.21c88bfacfc5d52e56691b0d2751f841.jpg

So Archer, William - see top line of image

Edited by Mark1959

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clk

Hi Murgraff,

 

1 hour ago, Murgraff said:

The link you sent me lists a W Archer being in the Durham Regiment, I dont think this is my Uncle? 

 

Your William appears on the same page as the Durham man - 5 entries above.*

 

The Findmypast record (link) isn't that helpful. It is part of an undated list of men, and the header is missing - so it's unclear what it relates to. It does though note him as 'I' battery..

 

Interesting in the last couple of days (today??) the CWGC have changed the front paper of his record, and replaced the 'Y' reference...

 

image.png.42b97a92b2d0b3aba01c1ce3dd0f25e7.png

 

If you would like a better quality image of his individual grave marker it looks like the good folk at British War Graves (link) would be able to send you one, on a free of charge basis.

 

Regards

Chris

 

*Edit: I see Mark has already clarified

 

 

 

Edited by clk

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Murgraff

Hello, thank you so much for your post and time for WJ.  Isnt that strange that his Battery has been changed in the last couple of days.  I am searching for a group photo of I Battery as many exist of other Batteries but I can find none for I Battery.  

 

So many questions. 

 

Does the record from the ICRC mean that WJ was definitely taken prisoner?  Does S Grab mean that he was buried in communal grave? So when I visit Caudry does that mean his remains will not be under his gravestone? 

 

Also,  If he was taken prisoner, does that mean he was executed? 

 

I am devastated, apologies, I am new to this research and he was so young.

 

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Murgraff

Hello again, do the CWGC hold records at all.  If they have changed WJs Battery, then what has prompted them to do that?  Do they have records that the public are not privy to?

 

Thank you for any advice.

 

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Mark1959

No the Germans did not execute him. There is no indication they did anything other than bury his remains; i.e. they found him dead.

The CWGC Grave Registration form gives a clear clue as to the situation

78F62BB6-4669-4918-9312-06AF2B7AFF7C.jpeg.5ad478482322c6412ad4f90e834379a8.jpegy

You will see all the men at the top, including your man, are in Grave 7. Those lower down the page you will see are in individual graves or 2 together. None of this is unusual. He is there alright. Checking others in A7 above they have the same ref. So I do not think any were exhumed and re-buried; they were left in peace. So what is on the slab (he is on the left in the pic in post 5); suspect something like known to be buried near this spot. Probably there will be 2 or 3 names on the slab with his name on.  CWGC would be able to advise. He is under there somewhere. 

You will note many in A7 are unidentified. So no one knows who they are. There are thousands of soldiers with no known grave. Thankfully, we know where your Great Uncle lies. 

Both the German POW record and the CWGC records say the same thing. I doubt CWGC have records other than those on their website but could do.

As to the change of Battery by the CWGC - cannot explain. You will have to contact them on that point.

Edited by Mark1959

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Murgraff

Thank you very much.  I will contact CWGC to try to find out more. 

 

Could I please ask you, if I visit National Archives in Kew, what am I likely to find?  Would I find out anymore?   Say, would I have access to his Service Record, or find out who he joined in the beginning of his Service Career, which barracks he was attached to say, Aldershot for instance.  I am so keen to learn more I don't know where to head or first.  I think Winchester at some point, the Records Office.  I am planning to take a day out at Kew.  Just interested to know what may be there, and am prepared to find nothing, I know that there was a terrible fire which destroyed many records.

 

Regarding his medals who someone has I suppose, would they have his initials or name on them?  I would like to know that.

 

Thank you so much for your time and troubling to research my Great Uncle.  I am very grateful to you and all the other people who have chipped in with valuable information in this thread.

 

 

 

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Michelle Young

To save yourself a trip to Kew, I would advise visiting a library which has access to Ancestry via computer. If any records survived, they will be digitised and available.Edit Mark has kindly looked extensively for his papers , it would appear that they don't survive.

His medals will have his rank initials regiment and surname on the rim of the war and victory medals and stamped on the back of the star. 

Michelle 

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Mark1959

I have searched high and low for his service documents on a few genealogy websites; without success. In my opinion, there will be nothing more to be got from Kew. 

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clk

Hi Murgraff,

 

Looking at a few 'near number' RHA men who do have some surviving service papers...

 

66410 Doody - attested and posted RHA Depot 22.8.1911; posted 'M' Battery 30.11.1911

66414 Sudds - attested (Maidstone) 25.8.1911; joined at Woolwich 26.8.1911; posted 'G' Battery 30.11.1911

66415 Baddeley - attested (Stoke-on-Trent) 18.8.1911; joined at Woolwich 23.8.1911; posted 'O' Battery 30.11.1911

66419

66424 Bennett - attested (Willesden) 29.8.1911; joined at Woolwich 30.8.1911; posted 'E' Battery 30.11.1911

66428 Matthews - attested (Lichfield) 29.8.1911; joined at Woolwich 31.8.1911; posted 'O' Battery 30.11.1911

 

Regards

Chris

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Murgraff

Michelle, Chist & Mark

 

Thank you very much for your time in helping me.  I am very grateful.  It looks like he signed up in August 1911.  I am surprised all records either side of him survive but his doesn't.  I suppose they where all stored in different places.  Perhaps local newspaper to Tufton may have something.  Perhaps would an idea be to research someone else in I Battery, that would give clues as to what happened to the Gunner crew?  Or perhaps all I battery records were lost.  I am lucky I even know where he lays.  I will keep this thread updated if I should find anything.  A heartfelt thank you again to you all for assisting and sparing the time.

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clk

Hi Murgraff,

 

1 hour ago, Murgraff said:

Perhaps would an idea be to research someone else in I Battery, that would give clues as to what happened to the Gunner crew?  Or perhaps all I battery records were lost.

 

On ‎09‎/‎03‎/‎2019 at 21:52, Mark1959 said:

Medal Card and roll show 7th Brigade RHA. I and L Batteries were in 7th Brigade RHA. 7th were at Le Cateau on 26/8/14

 

To see if they can shed any light, I'd be tempted to look at the war diary for the 7 Bde RHA (National Archives here), and the Commander Royal Artillery, 1 Cavalry Division (here),

 

Regards

Chris

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