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Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery: Case #1 - Captain Royal Irish Rifles


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This is a derivative of this topic for the Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery:

 

https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/270903-grand-seraucourt-british-cemetery/

 

The information we had there for the Captain in grave 1.F.18 who was recovered at 66c.B.20.c.3.4 is:

 

COG-BR 2762199 - possible as all different units, Captain Royal Irish Rifles, only 3 for March 1918

 

(CWGC Link)

 

  • that is the first time that I have seen the GRU actually mark the COG-BR * 2 candidates, which is true as one went to the Entrenching Battalion
  • this could be good evidence that the GRU did not have the capability to separate units by locations reported in the war diary, which would be key to our projects
  • it also means they knew the date was March 1918, although that is not recorded on the COG-BR
  • check GRRF documents to see if he was identified!! (done - no he was not)

click to enlarge:

doc2762199.JPG

 

The three candidates (CWGC Link) we have from March 1918, which we suspect, and the CWGC confirmed by noting that there were "2 candidates", as one moved to the Entrenching Battalion and was KIA 31 March 1918 are: (last name linked to CWGC page)

 

surname forename death battalion
BAILLIE HUGH MONTGOMERY 21-03-18 "A" Coy. 16th Bn. (Pioneers)

BEATTY

HUGH HOGG 31-03-18 22nd Entrenching Bn., late 11th/13th Bn.

BROWN

JOHN 21-03-18

8th Bn. attd. 1st Bn.

 

For the sake of completeness I think it is also important that we address the third candidate, even though the CWGC said there were only two candidates.

 

  • Captain Hugh Montgomery Baillie of the 16th Battalion moves to the top of the list almost immediately. The documents (war diary page 72 of 104) tells us that "the entire of No. 1 Coy consisting of 9 officers and 150 OR failed to appear at above rendezvous, and having apparently been cut off at JEANNE D'ARC were susequently posted as missing". The trench map for JEANNE D'ARC tells us that the location is 66c.B.19.d., 66c.B.20.c. (match to remains), 66c.B.25.b., and 66c.B.26.a. This area is to the northeast of Grand-Seraucourt and the other two companies were to the northwest. Later (war diary page 74 of 104) tells us that Lieutenant (Acting/Captain Baillie is missing). Captain Madden, KIA 24 March 1918 has a known grave. Captain Dawson, although wounded, survived the war.
     
  • Captain John Brown (M.C. and Bar) O.C. "B" Coy of the 1st Battalion was killed in action (wounded and missing) with my Great Uncle (2nd Lt. James Kennedy - also 1st Battalion) as detailed (war diary page 11 of 70). My Great Uncle, initially an UNKNOWN,  was recovered just southwest of Castres at 66c.A.22.d.8.3. That is approximately 3,500 yards west of where the remains of the RIR Captain were recovered. The war diary notes that Captain Brown, M.C. had the Battle positions left

    UPDATE: I was having trouble finding where the 1st Bn was at the start of this period at Grand-Seraucourt, as I could not find the location noted in the war diary for 19 March 1918 at "Bray St. Christopher". It was not listed on either the McMaster or UKNA maps search index. I finally located it based on a newspaper clipping from WWII, which also referenced Aubigny, which I knew to be at 66d.K.11. The war diary said "19th: Work on Battle Zone and cable laying near BRAY ST. CHRISTOPHER. 20th: Companies at work on trenches in Battle Zone and at ARTEMPS. Bn Headquarters moved from the village to Battle Dugouts in the Quarries. German offensive expected to open the following morning. Information received from prisoners". I then found the locations for Bray St. Christopher at 66d.L.7.d.7.0 and Artemps at 66d.L.17.central. The war diary does not specify the trench names and I don't see any quarries on the McMaster maps (no UKNA trench maps for 666d NE). In general, this information places the 1st Battalion to the area WEST of Castres and the 16th Battalion to the EAST. Inferences are that the officers killed were with Lieutenant Kerr OC. "C" Coy (O'Kane, Hodson, Kennedy and Thompson. "C" Coy had been tasked with the Counter Attack. There might be more information in the Officers' Files? First I will check with @AlanCurragh if he has them in his collection, as he did have my grandfather, so maybe my great uncle?
     
  • Captain Hugh Hogg Beatty was with the 22nd Entrenching Battalion, which I found of interest on the LLT description (TMC I added). It would appear they were well outside the area where the remains were recovered. At present I do not know where the war diaries for the Entrenching Battalions are located!
    Quote

    Formed in early February 1918. Officers and men arrived from the 11/13th Royal Irish Rifles, making an “extremely strong and well equipped unit”, according to one of its officers. Another officer reports that the battalion never actually used the title 22nd Entrenching Battalion. The battalion was at first positioned at Essigny and Grugies, both in the area of the 36th (Ulster) Division south of Saint Quentin but moved to Douchy on 11 February. There it worked on cable trenches. The battalion then moved on 17 February to Misery, an aptly named village between Chaulnes and Peronne. Working parties were sent to Marchelepot (62c.T.22), Brie (62c.O.27) and Villers-Carbonell (Villers-Carbonnel 62c.N.30), where the battalion was put to work under Canadian Railway Engineers. Unfortunately during this period the battalion had its Lewis guns taken away. It was involved in the fighting against the German spring offensive, being ordered early on 24 March to move to Guillancourt and dig a defensive line from Rainecourt (62d.R.34) to Rosieres (66e.F.1). The left hand company then took part in a counter attack at Framerville (66d.X.3). The battalion CO, Lieutenant Colonel Philip Blair-Oliphant died of wounds on 8 April, a result of injuries he sustained in this action. In the withdrawal that followed, the battalion ended up near Hangard with its right flank next to a French unit.

     

 

 

 

 

Edited by laughton
added UPDATE on the location of the 1st Bn
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Assembling the documents for this case:

 

  • GRRF 2005665 for Plot 1 Row F Grave 18  lists "Royal Irish Rif. Unknown British Officer (Captain)".

 

doc2662876.JPG doc2005665.JPG

 

The McMaster Trench Map [Saint-Quentin Canal, Canal de l'Oise à la Sambre, south of Saint-Quentin] depicts the location where the remains of the Royal Irish Rifles Captain was recovered northwest of Urvillers at 66c.B.20.c.3.4. For reference, I have also marked where the initially Unknown British Officer, 2/Lt. Royal Irish Rifles was recovered at 66c.A.22.d.8.3. Those remains were subsequently identified as my Great Uncle James Kennedy of the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.

 

xod9k942o9518as6g.jpg

 

The remains of the Unknown Captain could easily be identified from the information provided in the 16th Battalion (Pioneers) War Diary for 21 March 1918: (war diary page 72 of 104). Note that the CWGC shows Captain Bailey of "A" Coy, not as "No. 1 Coy".

 

Quote

Battle. No. 2 & No. 3 concentrated to west of Somme dug-outs N. W. Grand Seraucourt.

The entire No. 1 Coy consisting of 9 Officers and 150 O.R. failed to appear at above rendezvous & having apparently been cut-off at JEANNE D'ARC were subsequently posted as missing.

 

The location noted as JEANNE D'ARC was a redoubt, identified on the trench maps as consisting of the sectors 66c.B.19.d, 20.c, 25.b, 26.a. The exact same area is noted as the locations of the No. 1 and No. 3 Coy in the JEANNE D'ARC REDOUBT as of 1 March 1918 (war diary page 72 of 104). This is marked as follows:

 

4wfcdjb484m4q2c6g.jpg

 

The last page of the 16th Battalion war diary for March 1918 provides a casualty list for the period of 21 March 1918 to 31 March 1918 (war diary page 74 of 104):

  • Second Lieutenant E. E. Burnside KIA 21 March 1918 - recovered at 66c.G.8.a.3.9 in Grand-Seraucourt where the 16th Battalion HQ was located. Buried in Plot 1 Row A Grave 1 of the Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery.
  • Captain W. H. Madden DOW 24 March 1918 - recovered at 70e.J.21.d.2.3, which I presume was an Field Ambulance or Casualty Clearing Station where he was taken when wounded. Initially an Unknown Captain RIR (Pioneer Bn.), he is buried in Plot 2 Row E Grave 10 of the Noyon New British Cemetery. The CWGC tells us that he was likely concentrated from the Noyon Old British Cemetery:
    Quote

    Noyon Old British Cemetery was made by the 46th Casualty Clearing Station and the 44th Field Ambulance in March 1918, in a woodyard near the railway station. It contained the graves of 144 soldiers from the United Kingdom, one American medical officer, two Italian and three French soldiers. All these graves except the French were removed, after the Armistice, to the New British Cemetery. 

  • Lieutenant (Acting Captain) H. M. Baille MIA, later KIA 21 March 1918, the subject of this case. He was listed as "Missing" with ten (10) Second Lieutenants of the 16th Battalion (Pioneers), Royal Irish Rifles. His name appears on the Pozieres Memorial (until such time as we are able to convince the authorities he has been identified!).

 

 

  • It would appear that the other Second Lieutenants MIA survived the war, perhaps as POWS (Kelly, Rea, Hallinan, Crocker, Free,and, Irwin, Furbisher, Gibson and Day)? 2nd Lt C. Hallinan is confirmed by the ICRC as a POW at Karlsruhe,

 

  • Same for Eric Cocker on the ICRC. The others I did not check.

There are a number of others that were recovered from the same spot 66c.B.20.c.3.4 as Captain Baille, as noted on COG-BR 2762204.

 

No Officers are listed on that page, however it is possibly Lance Corporal Hugh Dougan #6512 in grave 2.F.2. I suspect from the date that Lance Corporal Cameron was WIA and died later.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 23/03/2019 at 16:32, laughton said:

At present I do not know where the war diaries for the Entrenching Battalions are located!

 

I checked all the Canadian War Diaries for the Railway Troops, which are quite detailed when it comes to what "Imperial, New Zealand or Labour Corps Troops" are attached to their units.

 

Of the fifteen (15) war diaries checked, the only one reporting attached Imperial Troops was the 1st Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops, who were at BOVES 62d.T.7.

.item?id=e001467735

 

That is a logical situation, as it is close to where they were before they moved to Guillancourt to dig a defensive line from Rainecourt (62d.R.34) to Rosieres (66e.F.1). If correct, this takes them well out of the area where the remains were recovered.

 

It still would be nice to find the war diary for the unit, however even a keyword search comes up negative.

 

The UK National Archives has: Corps Troops: 22 Entrenching Battalion 

Reference:

WO 95/957/4

 

That does mean they exist!

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20 hours ago, laughton said:

 

I checked all the Canadian War Diaries for the Railway Troops, which are quite detailed when it comes to what "Imperial, New Zealand or Labour Corps Troops" are attached to their units.

 

Of the fifteen (15) war diaries checked, the only one reporting attached Imperial Troops was the 1st Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops, who were at BOVES 62d.T.7.

.item?id=e001467735

 

That is a logical situation, as it is close to where they were before they moved to Guillancourt to dig a defensive line from Rainecourt (62d.R.34) to Rosieres (66e.F.1). If correct, this takes them well out of the area where the remains were recovered.

 

It still would be nice to find the war diary for the unit, however even a keyword search comes up negative.

 

The UK National Archives has: Corps Troops: 22 Entrenching Battalion 

Reference:

WO 95/957/4

 

That does mean they exist!

Hi Richard,

The Entrenching Battalion diaries are available to download for £3.50 at the National Archives site or can be read by anyone visiting the NA.

Richard

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  • 1 month later...

To be safe, it is always necessary to look at all of those that are missing. These are all the UNKNOWN CAPTAINS (20) with a Royal Irish Rifles affiliation missing in France at any time during the Great War: (based on CWGC database of 46 total)

 

surname forename death affiliation memorial notes
JAMISON JAMES CLAWSON 22/11/1917 10th Bn. CAMBRAI MEMORIAL out of the area
McCAUSLAND DAVID 22/11/1917 12th Bn. CAMBRAI MEMORIAL "
STUART, M.C. WILLIAM BRUCE GEORGE 22/11/1917 12th Bn. CAMBRAI MEMORIAL "
DAVIS HENRY OUSELEY 27/10/1914 5th Bn. attd. 2nd Bn. LE TOURET MEMORIAL "
WRIGHT, M.I.D. ALLAN O'HALLORAN 13/03/1915 Adjt. 1st Bn. LE TOURET MEMORIAL "
BAILLIE HUGH MONTGOMERY 21/03/1918 "A" Coy. 16th Bn. POZIERES MEMORIAL in the Somme 21 March - 7 August 1918
BEATTY HUGH HOGG 31/03/1918 22nd Entrenching Bn., late 11th/13th Bn. POZIERES MEMORIAL "
BROWN, M.C. & Bar JOHN 21/03/1918 8th Bn. attd. 1st Bn. POZIERES MEMORIAL "
McMINN JOHN 27/05/1918 14th Bn., att'd 5th D.L.I. SOISSONS MEMORIAL out of the area
BEGGS HENRY PARKER 1/7/1916 "B" Coy. 8th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL in the Somme prior to 20 March 1918
BROWNE DOMINICK AUGUSTUS 1/7/1916 Adjt. 1st Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL "
CHIPLIN WILLIAM HENRY 1/7/1916 15th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL "
EWART CECIL FREDERICK KELSO 1/7/1916 "C" Coy. 11th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL "
HILL BARRY 1/7/1916 "A" Coy. 10th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL "
JOHNSTON, M.C. ELLIOTT 1/7/1916 13th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL "
O'FLAHERTY DOUGLAS HILL 1/7/1916 15th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL "
SMILES WILLIAM ALAN 9/7/1916 2nd Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL "
SMYTH WILLIAM HAUGHTON 1/7/1916 "C" Coy. 13th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL "
TATE CHARLES BERNARD 1/7/1916 15th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL "
WILLIS SAMUEL 1/7/1916 14th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL "

 

Let us look at the area where the remains were recovered, versus where the regiment was in action. I don't think there is any question about the period being the Spring of 1918.

 

Black box marks the area south of St. Quentin where the remains found: 

2008198370_AreaMapArmyPlacementsMarkedandTowns.jpg.5098aeffda55b9bdcb4a52b0c9a2d0ab.jpg

Black box expanded area, star marks where remains recovered:

5431656_Starwhereremainslocated.jpg.5507ec4ebe4a60b63070ef52c3f34d56.jpg

Below the trench map previously shown:

  • right side where Captain R.I.R. at 66c.B.20.c.3.4
  • left side where my Great Uncle recovered at the same time, unknown but later identified at 66c.A.22.d.8.3

1456085431_MarkedMcMasterMap.jpg.c342016580e426c830d024db2e27827f.jpg

 

Edited by laughton
updating details in stages
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Although I have not yet found the war diary of the 22nd Entrenching Battalion, a search did find a reference to them in Jerry Murlands "Retreat and Rearguard - Somme 1918", which I fortunately have as an e-Book. Too bad they don't keep the page numbers the same! The reference is on page 194 as part of a quote from Brigadier General Edward Riddell. This is around 27 March 1918 when he was Brigade Commander 149th (Northumbrian) Brigade, 50th Division.

 

Quote

I galloped out of Caix along the Guillaucourt road. As we breasted the hill, we saw our men coming back along the western side of the valley to our right, and over the crest near the little wood south of GuilIaucourt They were running all doubled up as men do who are under machine gun fire. The bullets flicked up little spurts of dust as we galloped across the plough. Near the crest of the hill we managed to stop some of the men, but only for a moment as the Bache machine guns had got into the wood southeast of Guillaucourt and raked us in enfilade. Our machine gunners stood fast in the little wood on the crest left of us, their guns rattling in those bursts so comforting to the infantryman. A glance towards Guillaucourt showed me the Bache infantry eight hundred yards away. He was coming our way, and would soon reach the crest overlooking Caix through which troops of all sorts were now passing. Below me, to the south, under the shelter of one of those remarkable steep-sided banks which abound in this country, were the 22nd Entrenching Battalion [DLI] calmly eating their dinner, and, as is the custom of the British soldier during meal times, quite oblivious of what was happening around them. I galloped to them shouting 'Fall in!' Fortunately the men were extended in a long line at the bottom of the bank with the officers in a group. I shouted the order to fall in in two ranks, and told them It was a race for the crest of the hill. As they climbed up the steep sides of the bank, away behind me, near the Harbonniéres road, I heard the sound of a hunting horn. It was General Jackson, the divisional commander, blowing his 'pack' towards him. 'Forrard away', and up the hill and over the crest went the Entrenching Battalion and back to Guillaucourt went the Boches."

 

I am not sure what is meant by the [DLI] in reference to the 22nd ET, other than there were a number of DLI battalions in the 151st (DLI) Brigade and on in the Divisional Troops (1st/7th DLI as Divisional Pioneers).

 

March 1918 for the 149th Brigade (war diary page 343 of 723). On 27 March 1918 the Brigade H.Q. was at Harbonnieres 62d.W.11.d. (war diary page 351 of 273 Map [Corbie 62d]). They were ordered to retire to the Caix-Guillaucourt 66e.E.362d.W.14 line on the 28th, which ties in with the quote above. That places the 22nd Entrenching Battalion well out of the area of where the remains were recovered at 66c.B.20. The brigade war diary specifically refers to a counter attack at 11 am on 28 March 1918 by two companies of the 22nd Entrenching Battalion. There is now a combined force in operation under the 149th Brigade, which on 29 March 1918 moved into position under the 20th Division on mile south of Demuin (on border 66e.D.1 62d.V.25). They crossed west over the River de Luce to Hangard 62d.U.29 on the 31st, the day Captain Beatty is reported killed.

Edited by laughton
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  • 1 month later...
On 24/03/2019 at 09:15, laughton said:

The McMaster Trench Map [Saint-Quentin Canal, Canal de l'Oise à la Sambre, south of Saint-Quentin] depicts the location where the remains of the Royal Irish Rifles Captain was recovered northwest of Urvillers at 66c.B.20.c.3.4. For reference, I have also marked where the initially Unknown British Officer, 2/Lt. Royal Irish Rifles was recovered at 66c.A.22.d.8.3. Those remains were subsequently identified as my Great Uncle James Kennedy of the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.

 

When I wrote that section, linking my Great Uncle James Kennedy to this case, I failed to realize that the UNKNOWN CAPTAIN was in the exact location that my Grandfather Josiah Alexander Chancellor Kennedy was when he was captured on 21 March 1918. I have just updated their website pages to link the details together.

 

Both my Great Uncle and my Grandfather had been with the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles, a unit that was disbanded on 7 February 1918 (see LLT page). Second Lieutenant James Kennedy (KIA 21 March 1918) went to the 1st Battalion and Captain Josiah Kennedy (POW 21 March 1918) went to the 12th Service Battalion. Compare this to the Unknown Captains we have here, you will see that Captain John Brown (KIA 21 March 1918) was also from the 8th (Service) Battalion and attached to the 1st Battalion. That means he not only knew my Great Uncle James Kennedy but that the two must have been together that day when they both paid the ultimate sacrifice. That takes Captain John Brown off this list as a candidate for the Unknown Captain. The 1st Battalion was in the 107th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division.

 

Grandfather Captain Josiah Kennedy was with the 12th (Service) Battalion, which places him in the 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division. The other candidate for the UNKNOWN was Captain Hugh Montgomery Baillie of the 16th (Pioneer) Battalion, which served with the Divisional Troops. As I noted previously, he was in the correct position to be the Unknown Captain but I failed to realize, at that time, that he was in the same location as my Grandfather Kennedy on the day that he was captured - both dates being 21 March 1918.
 

On 23/03/2019 at 16:32, laughton said:

Captain Hugh Montgomery Baillie of the 16th Battalion moves to the top of the list almost immediately. The documents (war diary page 72 of 104) tells us that "the entire of No. 1 Coy consisting of 9 officers and 150 OR failed to appear at above rendezvous, and having apparently been cut off at JEANNE D'ARC were susequently posted as missing". The trench map for JEANNE D'ARC tells us that the location is 66c.B.19.d., 66c.B.20.c. (match to remains), 66c.B.25.b., and 66c.B.26.a.

 

Prior to this, I never realized how close my Great Uncle (KIA) and Grandfather (POW) were that fateful day of 21 March 1918. Truly fortunate for me that my Grandfather Kennedy was the one that survived, failing which another Kennedy Grandson would have to be sitting here writing this synopsis!

 

I think that all I need to do now is to go back to the Brigade and Division war diaries and place each of the battalions in their precise locations for 21 March 1918. No doubt now though that the Unknown is Captain Hugh Montgomery Baillie. I can also make further reference to Jerry Murland's text, in particular Chapter 5 "Here We Fight and Here We Die".

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Isn't there supposed to be a list from the Red Cross, Geneva, with most of the missing on it? Was due to be published 2014? 

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36th Division 108th Infantry Brigade: Headquarters

March 1918 (war diary page 381 of 525) - nicely typed!

 

Enemy very quiet on the 20th but "As from information it was current that an enemy offensive on a large scale would probably take place on the morning of the 21st" (war diary page 383 of 525). All quiet until 4:33 am in the early morning of the 21st.

 

Narrative of Operations 21-28 March 1918 (war diary page 391 of 525)

  • holding a lione southwest of St Quentin with 107th IB on the left and 14th DIV on the right
  • 12th Royal Irish Rifles holding the strongly wired Outpost Line in the Forward Area
  • heavy shelling of all areas started at 4:33 am
  • 12th RIR reported 4:35 am heavy bombardment had started on the front, extending a considerable distance both flanks
  • telephone communications lost immediately, thick mist rendered visual and pigeons impossible
  • fog limited visibility to less than 100 yards, men in masks due to gas shells
  • enemy reported to have broken through the forward area at 12:25 pm worsening by 12:25 pm
  • friendly artillery appears to have been too late, as the enemy had already passed through that area
  • heavy fighting in the battle zone by 1 pm
  • after 2:30 pm report "No further news was received from 12thR. Ir. Rifles and the whole Battalion was cut off except 1 man (since becoming a casualty) who stated that Battalion Headquarters in strong point was still holding out at 12 noon."
  • nothing more is reported for the 12th Battalion
  • nothing is reported for the 16th Battalion Pioneers, as they were in Divisional Troops

On COG-BR the GRU/IWGC reported that there were two (2) candidates for the Unknown Captain of the Royal Irish Rifles (CWGC Link). That would be Captain Hugh Montgomery Baillie ("A" Coy, 16th Battalion Pioneers) and Captain John Brown (8th Battalion attached to 1st Battalion). They knew that after that date the 36th Division had left the area. It is also possible that they thought the two (2) candidates then included the Unknown RIR Pioneer Captain William Henry Madden, reported on COG-BR 2618423, dated 14 April 1920. Although he was also 16th Battalion Pioneers, he had left the area by the time of his death and was recovered south of Noyon at 70e.J.21.d.2.3. I had to check a number of COG-BR sheets before I could see that the Candidate Captain was not concentrated until June 1920 as per COG-BR 276219, leaving Baillie and Brown as the two likely candidates referenced.

 

Either way, the only candidate in the area at the time was Captain Baillie of the 16th (Pioneers) Royal Irish Rifles. We already know (war diary page 72 of 104) that Captain Baillie was 1st Coy (CWGC says "A" Coy) whose 9 Officers and 150 men failed to appear after being cut off at the Jeanne D'Arc Redoubt.

 

 

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There are many others related to this battle, initially posted here, now cut out and moved to"

If you have others that you want to add to this list, post them and I will add them.

Edited by laughton
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Reference note:

 

Working on the Operation Michael Cases I came across the reference to all the locations for the Redoubts in the area. There are in the Divisional H.Q. records (War diary page 182 of 536).

 

The important one for this case is the location of the JEANNE D'ARC REDOUBT as 66c.B.19 and 66c.B.20.c, the two northern sectors marked on the trench map above and where the remains of the Captain were recovered.

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2nd Lieutenant David Paul--commemorated on Pozieres Memorial-- his name was added to Memorial around 2012--after i forwarded details to CWGC-He was from Maghera -Co Londonderry

Wesley Wright

Edited by Wesley Wright
spelling
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Reference note:

 

 

The LLT for the 22nd Entrenching Battalion also refers to it moving to Guillancourt to dig a defensive line:

Quote

Formed in early February 1918. Officers and men arrived from the 11/13th Royal Irish Rifles, making an “extremely strong and well equipped unit”, according to one of its officers. Another officer reports that the battalion never actually used the title 22nd Entrenching Battalion. The battalion was at first positioned at Essigny and Grugies, both in the area of the 36th (Ulster) Division south of Saint Quentin but moved to Douchy on 11 February. There it worked on cable trenches. The battalion then moved on 17 February to Misery, an aptly named village between Chaulnes and Peronne. Working parties were sent to Marchelepot, Brie and Villers-Carbonell, where the battalion was put to work under Canadian Railway Engineers. Unfortunately during this period the battalion had its Lewis guns taken away. It was involved in the fighting against the German spring offensive, being ordered early on 24 March to move to Guillancourt and dig a defensive line from Rainecourt to Rosieres. The left hand company then took part in a counter attack at Framerville. The battalion CO, Lieutenant Colonel Philip Blair-Oliphant died of wounds on 8 April, a result of injuries he sustained in this action. In the withdrawal that followed, the battalion ended up near Hangard with its right flank next to a French unit.

 

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