Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Map Reference Inconsistency and Pozieres British Cemetery


Recommended Posts

I am researching the history of my great-uncle - Benjamin Alfred Leyshon Pte. 3823, 3rd Battalion AIF - who was killed in action in France on 21 July 1916. He is listed on the CWGC roll as having no known grave and is remembered on the Australian Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux.I have come across some inconsistencies in trench map references that I would like to understand a bit more.

 

This started out as part of researching my family history and now has taken my interest for a couple of reasons.

 

I have searched for his name on the Internet (years ago) and came across a website that was researching the 3rd Battalion AIF and it lists his name and that there are no details about his burial. I have now obtained his service record from the National Archives of Australia and have actually discovered that there are burial details contained in his service file.

 

There are two entries relating to his burial.

 

The first is a simple ‘Buried’ with a ‘B1056 Sheet 15’ reference.

 

The second is more interesting and states “Buried Outside Trenches  Sh. 57. D.S.W  Sq. X.9.3.6.6”. Once again this has a ‘B1056’ reference – which I take to be a battalion burial return form which may no longer be available. (I have a trip to the AWM planned soon with a growing list of questions….)

 

It is this map reference that interests me and hence this query.

 

I have retired now and have a background in aviation and was an aircraft crash investigator for over 20 years, so reading maps is second nature to me. I quickly found all the information on WW1 trench maps from the National Library of Scotland and Macmaster University websites and found that this map reference is highly likely a 1:20000 map reference – there being a compass quadrant in the reference and that there is no number after the compass quadrant.

 

This map reference has me puzzled on a couple of counts:

 

1. Map 57D SW contains grid squares from M to U only. There are no grid squares listed X.Map 57D SW is to the west of where the 3rd Battalion were located on the date of my great-uncle's death (see below).

 

2. The format for the reference should be from the X onwards – number/lowercase letter/number/number. It is not in that format – there is what appears to be the number 3 where a lower case letter should be found.

 

I am therefore leaning towards two inconsistencies in the reference. The first is the compass quadrant. It should be SE if the X is correct. I am therefore concluding that this could be a possible transcription error.

 

The second is the number sequence after the X. The ‘3’ could be interpreted as being a ‘B’ but it is not lower case. However, I have found numerous instances where other trench map references on official documents have this letter in upper case. If it is a ‘B’ then the reference makes sense after the ‘X’. Once again a possible transcription error.

 

If I plot this position on a map, I get a position to the south-west of Pozieres, adjacent to the Albert-Bapaume road.

 

If I carry out a check of the position on a 1:40000 scale map as confirmation (removing the inconsistency of the compass quadrant) I get the same position south-west of Pozieres.

 

The Unit War Diary for the 3rd Battalion in July 1916 has them in position to the east of Olivers la-Boisselle preparing to move up to the lines south of Pozieres on the evening of the 19th July. They relieved the 13th KRRC at 0130 on 20 July. They then commenced work on communication trenches and reconnaissance of the front line and the enemy. This took place along the Contalmaison-Pozieres road. This is approximately 450-500 yards south of the Albert-Bapaume road where the map reference is located.

 

On 21 July (the recorded date of his death) they were still carrying out this task. Red Cross files indicate that he was killed, along with two others at 0100 when a high explosive shell landed in their trench. These files seem to indicate he was buried in the rear trenches at that time.

 

What also interests me is that when trying to find burial concentrations from the Contalmaison-Pozieres road  location, that I noticed on the Graves Registration Report Form that the map reference for the Pozieres British Cemetery has been typed as 57D.X.9.b.8.8 and someone has crossed out the 8.8 and replaced it with 60.65. This is too close to the reference in my great-uncles service record not to indicate something.

 

Plotting the reference 57D.X.9.b.8.8 places it in a position further along the road closer to Pozieres.

 

I used the tmapper.com and munnin-project websites to project the map reference 57D.X.9.b.6.6 onto up-to-date maps and discovered that they both return a position that is consistent with the current location of the Pozieres British Cemetery.

 

I therefore have the following questions that I would like to put to the collective wisdom and knowledge of the forum:

 

1. Is my interpretation of the burial reference, with its inconsistencies as indicated above likely to be sound and correct?

 

2. Is it likely from his service records, that the first burial notation is from when he was buried immediately after he was killed and that the second is a possible indication that he was recovered from the battlefield and buried in the Cemetery on the Albert-Bapaume road (which initial research shows was being used from as early as 1916) sometime later?

 

3. Would it be likely that if he was buried at the location of the Pozieres British Cemetery early it its use, that during further battles, especially after the 1918 campaign, that any identifying markers to his grave were lost and therefore he could be buried as ‘Unknown Solider’. (My research to date has not located any reference to him on either the burial returns or concentration returns, which is consistent with his current status of ‘no known grave’).

 

4. If the above are sound conclusions, then could it indicate that he is buried in the Pozieres British Cemetery?

 

I have attached a JPG of the map plotting that I constructed to arrived at my initial conclusions.

 

Apologies for such a long first posting, but coming from an investigative background, once I joined a couple of dots, I could not let it go.

 

I feel that there might be a few more dots in this story to join up………..

 

Regards,

Tinkicka

Burial Location 2.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

That looks like an interesting probem. I shall look at more maps later when I get home but here are two that may be of interest.

 

They are from the "Body Density" series and show locations of contemporary cemeteries some of which were closed when burials were moved to concentration cemeteries post war. The blue pencil is said to represent the number of bodies the battlefield clearance teams were expected to find in each square.

 

" The ‘3’ could be interpreted as being a ‘B’ but it is not lower case " The case error is very common even on printed maps but if someone was recording the detail from another person reading it out, 3 can be confused with B.

 

Howard

57D-1.jpg

57D-2.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
WhiteStarLine
4 hours ago, Tinkicka said:

1. Is my interpretation of the burial reference, with its inconsistencies as indicated above likely to be sound and correct?

 

2. Is it likely from his service records, that the first burial notation is from when he was buried immediately after he was killed and that the second is a possible indication that he was recovered from the battlefield and buried in the Cemetery on the Albert-Bapaume road (which initial research shows was being used from as early as 1916) sometime later?

 

3. Would it be likely that if he was buried at the location of the Pozieres British Cemetery early it its use, that during further battles, especially after the 1918 campaign, that any identifying markers to his grave were lost and therefore he could be buried as ‘Unknown Solider’. (My research to date has not located any reference to him on either the burial returns or concentration returns, which is consistent with his current status of ‘no known grave’).

 

4. If the above are sound conclusions, then could it indicate that he is buried in the Pozieres British Cemetery?

Hi Tinkicka,

 

Welcome to the forum and you have posted the most well-researched first post I have read.  My wife's great-great uncle still lies near Pozieres and we have visited the location several times and walked along the road and past the Chalk Pit.

 

Australian staff officers and clerks were relatively new to the Western front in 1916 and still grappling with trench map reference standards.  Here is a typical non-standard entry, from the unit war diary of the 3rd Battalion operation order for 22 July.

image.png.52be6e052a907634865214875b1c5164.png

 

I would work on the unit war diary as the primary source rather than relying on a clerical entry for a burial return confusing different trench map scales.  The unit war diary correctly cites the trench map in the Reference section:

image.png.c669ec8c086cc8b8071f324d8069ef9a.png

 

Page 17 gives details in a paragraph POSITION AT PLACE OF ASSEMBLY that exactly matches your research.  (There is still a dugout on that road.)

 

I would then seek out secondary sources, if you ever find them, such as Red Cross eyewitness accounts and regimental histories.

 

I would treat 2 and 3 as speculation and I personally wouldn't share it.  With a total of 23,000 AIF casualties at Pozieres the realistic chance of a 1st and 2nd burial are less likely than a late correction to an erroneous trench map reference, in my opinion.  Equally possible is that, depending on the calibre of the shell, there was nothing left to bury.

 

Good luck with your research.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Tinkicka,

 

The service records for the other men from the unit, who died on the same day, don't appear to help.

image.png.f49eac9c829fbbc52871e7108f7417bd.png

 

Bartlett

image.png.2c9960c024c8d4f1ca9886d302c9ce96.png

Image sourced from the National Archives of Australia

 

Bourke

image.png.9588a16cc10f3c6315d25b27a1fa2e1c.png

Image sourced from the National Archives of Australia

 

Gill

Record appears to just note "buried".

 

Hickin

image.png.e765b79c56349b77baccf9412200cb44.png

Image sourced from the National Archives of Australia

 

Keogh

image.png.86f8562294c5010c8c59e1a3cb976b67.png

Image sourced from the National Archives of Australia

 

Ryan

image.png.794a75a9b574bf94982778887532b74c.png

Image sourced from the National Archives of Australia

 

Studdert

Record appears to just note "buried".

 

If you would like to see all of the CWGC records (including I believe unknown reburials) into a particular cemetery, post #45 (and associated links) in this thread shows how to go about it. I haven't personally done it, but I understand that you end up with a fair few images to go through. I guess that you'd be looking for unknown AIF men recovered from the area that you have the map references for, and reburied in Pozieres British Cemetery? Forum Pal  @laughton is one of experts in these kind of things, and may be able to advise further.

 

Regards

Chris

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tinkicka, I have looked at a couple of dozen maps of various scales and have not found anything that may help, sorry.

 

Howard

Link to post
Share on other sites

An interesting post, and I agree most impressive for a first post!

 

I have been looking at a number of the issues and I agree with the comments above. There is support for that from the other burials at that time (CWGC Link), that are in Pozieres British Cemetery that have COG-BR burial locations:

Unfortunately all those that died on the 21st , except KEOGH who was in hospital far away from the battle, are on the memorial. You can also check the 1st Bn men as well, as they were in the same area. McDonald was recovered at 57d.X.9.d.


I did not see the burial coordinates in his Service Record, but I would suggest that someone just noted that he was buried outside the trenches at 57d.X.9.b.6.6.

 

You can see all the GRRF and COG-BR documents for the Pozieres British Cemetery in the ZIP FILES which are here:

 

http://www.mediafire.com/folder/yy9m2tlzg46g6/Pozieres_British_Cemetery

 

It is a manual task to go through the COG-BR pages and look for any that have recoveries from that area. Note that many of the BRITISH may be Australian or Canadian, as that was the default nationality if it was unknown. For example, there are three A.I.F. on this page: COG-BR 2485012. There are a number of pages with many 57d.X.9 references, such as COG-BR 24850242.

 

Of interest, you will note many pages refer to the "Captain Thomas List". He worked from the GRC and searched the Somme battlefields, often recording where he noted a burial (see example here). Details on his work can be found on Justin Nash's ( @Justinth ) excellent site (see this page). I do not know the details of the codes used by Captain Thomas but Justin may have more details (see example here: A.H.44).

 

For more information on trench maps, see my notes here: Get Squared! Use a Trench Map.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your welcome and your comments on my first post (and I dont think it will be the last). That research was the result of a few hours over a week or so while attending to other things - exchanging contracts on a house sale, editing the fishing club Journal, tying flies and other such activities..some days in retirement I wish I had a job so I could get holidays!!!


I will answer all your comments in post order.


Howard, thank you for those map images. I have not seen the top one and it is rather interesting but I had already seen the lower one and had saved it for reference.


WhiteStarLine, thank you for your comments. I have the Battalion War Diaries and have noted that they contained 'very non-standard grid references'. If the War Diary has the Reference Map as being 1:20,000 Sheet 57 D. S.E. then I think that confirms what I had been working around, that the S.W. was a transcription error and it should have been S.E. I have attached the reference from his Statement of Service, which is a different document to his Casualty Form - Active Service. (I'm learning more about posting info and pictures as I go along....)

 

231576466_ServiceRecordDetails.jpg.50d1820c672b85e36878c85eb7c1e3cd.jpg

Image sourced from the National Archives of Australia

 

Im not sure if there is any difference in the hierarchy of these documents but is a question for later in the search. I still have a lot of work to do around the 1st Divisions movements between 19 and 23 July and have downloaded the War Diaries of the Pioneer, Engineers, Signals, as well as the other Battalions. I will have some reading to do with all of this information.


Chris (clk), thank you for your assistance as well. I have all of those service records, apart from Keogh as he did not appear on my searches. It would appear that you have a very extensive spreadsheet to work from. As you can see from the service record entries that you have provided, the hand writing of the entry for BOURKE is strikingly similar to that entry in my great-uncles. What also caught my attention is that it is in different coloured ink. What the relevance of that is at this point in time forms another question for down the track.


Laughton, thank you for your kind words as well. I had obtained all the COG-BR forms for Pozieres British Cemetery previously and know that I have a lot of work ahead in referencing all these. The references to the Captain Thomas List look interesting and I have put those down on my list of things to get.


At this point in time I am still in what my investigative days would call the 'hunting and gathering' phase. Looking for as much information relevant to the event and time-frame and collecting it. What it means at this stage it not clear but it has to be collected. Along the way I plan to undertake mini-analyses of all this information, much the same way we did while investigating accidents, to see if more information is needed and if it is available or if it has been lost to the ravages of time. I fear that a lot is in the latter category.


One thing that I have noticed from the records is that of those killed on 21 July 1916 while on the line, that the following BARTLETT, BOURKE, GILL, RYAN & LEYSHON all have listed in their personal effects inventories that their identity discs were returned to their next-of-kin. Given the date of their deaths, it is highly likely that they were the 1907 pattern single discs that were introduced to the AIF in 1914. Two discs - one red and one green - were not introduced until late 1916, which is likely to be after their deaths.


If there was only one disc issued at the time of their death, and if this disc was returned to the NoK, then these men are likely to be victims of what I have termed 'the single disc dilemma'. Once this disc was removed from the body, unless there was other significant evidence to identify them and their final resting place, then it is highly unlikely that they will be formally identified. That should not stop us searching however. If the discs were removed and passed up the chain to be returned, either by the Chaplain or other personnel, then it indicates that they were able to be identified at that time.


I am putting to use some of the skills I learnt while an investigator to assist me in this search and one of them is the use of a geographic information system (GIS). I was formally trained to use ARCGIS while an investigator and used it frequently, however as I have now retired I no longer have access to that software. I do however have an installation of the Open Source GIS system QGIS on one of my computers. It is a little different to what I was trained to use but the concepts are the same.


I have already found georeferenced trench maps online. Those helped form the original picture in my first post. I have now included an image with a more recent map as an underlay. It is rather interesting...as Gibbs would say..."rule 39 applies".

229382817_NewMapOverlayPBC.jpeg.48a4b2ab9b0d1cff90e071f0d36a0bb8.jpeg

Tinkicka

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems to me that if people like you folks are still working out where a long lost family member is, these boys won't be forgotten for a few more generations yet. Bravo, great job.

 

I hope they are never forgotten and future generations actually learn something positive from their sacrifices.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tinkicka

 

Good that you posted sheet with the burial grid coordinates. I don't think there is any doubt that is X.9.b.6.6. If you enlarge the image, there is no spacing in the pixels that would make it a 3. That is certainly a match to the written text "buried outside trenches". From looking at the trench maps, that places him just outside the trench called "Fifth Street". That name may appear in one of the war diaries.

 

The cemetery coordinates 57d.X.9.b.60.65 are definitely a better match for the location of the original Plot 2, the 1916 burials (50° 2'2.06"N 2°42'55.63"E). From the photographs it would appear that the original graves were trench burials. There must be a story behind why a number of graves in rows B and C of Plot 2 seen to have disappeared? From the dates of death and the grave locations, it appears that a number of the originals in Plot 2 may have been moved to Plot 3. For example, AIF Private McDonald, also KIA 21 July 1916, was recovered at 57d.X.9.d and buried in Plot 3 Row G Grave 1. After Plot 2 was cleared up and sorted out into burial sites in Plot 3, they used the empty Plot 2 space for burials from the fall of 1916 that were recovered in sector 57d.R.27-33 around Mouquet Farm (COG-BR 2485136). We know the Unknown Canadian in 2.A.48 had to come from the period after 15 September 1916. A similar process occurred at the the Loos British Cemetery after the war. It almost appears as if they left rows 2.B and 2.C empty in anticipation of having more recoveries arrive?

 

Another possibility, although it is not mentioned in the CWGC text for the cemetery, may be that part of the original cemetery was destroyed by artillery at the front line trenches. A clue to this is in the location of Private Goulding in grave 2.C.1, next to two UBS of the H.L.I., then a large space until you arrive at 2.C.4 (Site Schematic). Was that grave the one that survived the artillery? Strangely, that is the grave of Dowdeswell, who killed on 25 March 1918 (HD-SCHD 2148323). Why did they put him out there by himself? That whole lower corner of the cemetery may have been destroyed, perhaps so badly they could not even extract what was left of the remains? Sounds a bit like the story of the Maple Copse Cemetery in Belgium.

 

There is a good example of what I mentioned in the earlier post about Australians being recorded as British. See COG-BR 2485323 for grave 1.H.21, as it has an Unknown British Soldier of the 24th A.I.F. He was recovered in the X.9 quadrant. The Canadian Burial Party recorded a single UBS at 1.G.30, where Captain Thomas had it as two UAS (COG-BR 2485229).

 

It appears to me that your Great Uncle was buried in the original Plot 2 of the Pozieres British Cemetery, so now perhaps one of the unknowns in Plot 3, or one of those that could not be recovered from Rows A, B or C due to later battles. Perhaps someone has greater knowledge of the history of the cemetery between 1916 and 1919?

 

Richard (Canada)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that Richard! That got me hunting. For others, rather than highjack this topic, I put the follow-up about the cemetery here:

Pozieres British Cemetery, Ovillers-la-Boisselle

 

This topic stays about the hunt for Great Uncle Leyshon. My bet is that he was in this cemetery prior to the destruction of the site in March and August 1918, perhaps still in this cemetery and reloacted to another plot, as there are a number of 57d.X.9 concentrations into Plot 3. We know now that there were German burials into Plot 2 in March 1918, later removed leaving the blank spaces at the front of the cemetery. It may be that they also left that area more-or-less undisturbed, knowing that there were a number of Australian and British burials in that area.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Howard,

 

that map you gave me with the 'body density figures' appears to be a very useful map for researchers. I have used some of my forensic document training to clean up the figures to make it easier to ascertain what the blue figures are. You will have to read them in reference to the original map as the process removes all the grid square markings. Once you get a few discreet figures as reference points, it is easy to find out what each square had written over it. The clarity of the figures is only as good as the original scans were. The less detail, the more blurring to the figures but they are still readable, the trick is not to zoom in too close to read the figure.

 

290598121_NumberOverlayDec1.jpg.24a1d22f4630c050825c6099ab3ee53c.jpg

 

If you have any more that need cleaning up, I'm happy to do that to assist forum members.

 

Brett

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

It has been some time since I last posted but I have been side-tracked with a few things and have only had minimal time to continue the research for my great-uncle. I decided that I should determine if my great-uncle could be accidentally mistaken for someone else with the same surname at the time of his death. What follows is the result of my research into that topic:

1233068434_AustNominalRollExcerpt.jpg.137a6e80e8aa5ae16a22468e0a0b5456.jpg

Image sourced from the Australian War Memorial

 

According to the Nominal Roll at the Australian War Memorial, there were 9 other persons with a surname of LEYSHON that served with Australia in World War 1. Three of those paid the Supreme Sacrifice, while the remaining six survived the war. The details of those 9 are listed below.

 

George Alexander LEYSHON, Service Number - 181, 7th Battalion AIF. Died of Wounds received at Gallipoli – 7/5/1915 - reported to be buried at Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery.

 

Leyshon James LEYSHON, Service Number – 1955, 51st Battalion AIF, Killed in Action – 7/4/1917 – Remembered via Special Memorial H.A.C. Cemetery, Ecoust-St. Mein.

 

Benjamin Alfred LEYSHON, Service Number – 3823, 3rd Battalion AIF, Killed in Action – 21/7/1916 – Remembered on Villers-Bretonneux Memorial. (My Great-uncle and the subject of the search)

 

Albert James LEYSHON, Service Number – 3134, 9th Battalion AIF, Returned to Australia – 6/4/1919 – Discharged 1st Military District – 30/7/1919.

 

Charles Herbert Eli LEYSHON MM, Service Number – 6796, 2nd Division Signals Company AIF, Returned to Australia – 21/3/1919 – Discharged 2nd Military District – 23/6/1919.

 

James Alfred LEYSHON, Service Number – 52, 44th Battalion AIF, Returned to Australia – 25/1/1919 – Discharged 5th Military District – 23/4/1919.

 

Harry Leslie Leyshon, Service Number – 53, 44th Battalion AIF, Returned to Australia – 1/6/1919 – Discharged 5th Military District – 22/8/1919.

 

Lewis Leslie LEYSHON, Service Number – 14167, No 2 Australian Hospital Ship, Discharged as services for he which enlisted were ended – 18/7/1916.

 

William Edward LEYSHON, Service Number – 890, 28th Battalion AIF, Discharged as consequence of being illegally absent by Order of Governor General – 20/7/1920 – [Documents in his service record indicate that he was in England at the time of being discharged.]

 

Of the nine Australian persons named LEYSHON, 6 survived the war and were discharged, therefore they can be excluded.

 

Now to the three Australian deaths involving the name LEYSHON. Two can be excluded by date of death and location. One is buried in Alexandrina (outside France) and the other is remembered in a Cemetery some 12.3 miles to the NE of La-Boisselle, with a date of death some 8 months after that of my great-uncle.

 

It is therefore highly unlikely that the burial of an Australian named LEYSHON, other than Benjamin Alfred LEYSHON, took place in the area around La-Boisselle in July 1916.

 

Side bar - It would appear from the service records that James Alfred LEYSHON and Harry Leslie LEYSHON were brothers who enlisted on 3 January 1916 at the same place (Perth Western Australia) and originally had the same person as their next of kin (William Edward LEYSHON). James Alfred married shortly after enlistment and changed his NoK to his wife (Mabel LEYSHON). They were both posted to the 44th Battalion AIF with sequential service numbers (52 & 53) – what a headache for admin and other staff!! That probably explains the hand-written entry on the Nominal Roll for James Alfred LEYSHON.

 

LEYSHON is a Welsh name and there were quite a few Welsh Battalions that served in France during World War 1 and they have to be considered as possible contributors to the search. Expanding the search to include other Commonwealth Casualties, I searched the CWGC site and came up with the following list of all other LEYSHON surnames that paid the Supreme Sacrifice.

 

W. LEYSHON Service Number – 2994, 2nd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment – died 13/5/1915 and is reported as being buried at Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord. [No first or other name is listed on the CWGC database]

 

D. J. LEYSHON Service Number – 36046, 13th Battalion Welsh Regiment – died 18/9/1918 and is reported as being buried at Gouzeaucourt New British Cemetery. [No first or other name is listed on the CWGC database]

 

A. W. LEYSHON Service Number – 320910, 24th Battalion Welsh Regiment – died 29/10/1918 and is reported as being buried at Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille. [No first or other name is listed on the CWGC database]

 

E. T. LEYSHON Service Number – 56520, 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers – died 1/9/1918 and is reported as being buried at Sailly-Saillisel British Cemetery. [No first or other name is listed on the CWGC database]

 

Oscar William David LEYSHON Service Number – 48900, 131st Field Ambulance Royal Army Medical Corps – died 19/10/1918 and is reported as being buried at Montigny Communal Cemetery, Nord.

 

Frederick Frank Herbert LEYSHON Service Number – 110265, 219th Seige Battery Royal Garrison Artillery – died 5/4/1917 and is reported as being buried at Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport.

 

Charles Edward LEYSHON Service Number – 26739, 9th Battalion East Surrey Regiment – died 12/11/1918 and is reported as being buried at St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen.

 

Thomas St Ledger LEYSHON Captain, South African Medical Corps – died 22/5/1918 and is reported as being buried at Mangochi Town Cemetery, Malawi.

 

G.T. LEYSHON, Service Number – Wales Z/257, H.M Trawler ‘Thomas Robins’ Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve – died 13/4/1919 and is reported as being buried at Barry (MERTHYR Dyfan) Burial Ground.[No first or other name is listed on the CWGC database]

 

Alfred Edgar LEYSHON Service Number – 4871, Welch Regiment – died 25/12/1920 and is reported as being buried at Cardiff (CATHAYS) Cemetery.

 

Edward James LEYSHON Service Number – 9407, Army Pay Corps – died 27/7/1918 and is reported as being buried at Pontypridd (GLYNTAFF) Cemetery.

 

William John LEYSHON Service Number – 1573, 2nd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment – died 30/7/1915 and is reported as being buried at Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre.

 

Those listed above have, according to the CWGC, a documented burial that includes Cemetery, Plot and Grave and thus can be excluded by place of burial. The dates are also either well before or after 21/7/1916 and this further adds to their exclusion from consideration.

 

Charles LEYSHON Service Number – 6888, 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers – died 26/4/1915 and is reported as being commemorated at the Helles Memorial.

 

Phillip J. LEYSHON Service Number – 91630, 20th Battalion Durham Light Infantry – died 12/9/1918 and is reported as being commemorated at the Tyne Cot Memorial.

 

These two have no known grave and are commemorated on various memorials. One is the Helles Memorial in Turkey and the other is the Tyne Cot Memorial, which is some 60 miles to the north of the La-Boisselle area. It is therefore reasonable to exclude them by location and date of death.

 

Alfred LEYSHON Service Number – 1365, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards – died 10/9/1916 and is Commemorated at Thiepval Memorial.

 

Frederick LEYSHON Service Number – 14066, 9th Battalion Welsh Regiment – died 27/10/1916 and is Commemorated at Thiepval Memorial.

 

William Howell Norman LEYSHON Service Number – 22224, 32nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers – died 15/9/1916 and is Commemorated at Thiepval Memorial.

 

Gwilym John LEYSHON Service Number – 189, 2nd Company 1st Battalion Welsh Guards – died 26/9/1916 and is reported as being buried at Etaples Military Cemetery.

 

I think that these 4 can be excluded as their date of death is at least 6 weeks or more AFTER that of my great-uncle’s – 21 July 1916. One has a known burial location while the others are only Commemorations. I think the date of death will exclude them but I will have to do some more research on the Battalions that they were enlisted in to find out where they were on those dates and on 21/7/1916.

 

That leaves the following three LEYSHON deaths that have to be considered in the search.

 

E.A LEYSHON Service Number – 40667, 16th Battalion, formerly 14th Battalion Welsh Regiment – died 7/7/1916 and is reported as being Buried at Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz. [No first or other name is listed on the CWGC database] This was a concentration burial from 57C.S.19.c.4.2, along with a number of others which were GRU registered burials. That location is south of Mametz Woods.

 

As this is a known burial with Cemetery, Plot and Grave he can be excluded from the search.

 

William LEYSHON Service Number – 24049, 16th Battalion Welsh Regiment – died 7/7/1916 and is Commemorated at Thiepval Memorial.

 

Thomas LEYSHON Service Number – 14349, 10th Battalion Welsh Regiment – died between 10/7/1916 & 12/7/1916 and is Commemorated at Thiepval Memorial.

 

These last two have no known graves according to the CWGC. They are the closest by date to 21/7/1916 and by location to La-Boisselle. According to my preliminary research the Battalions that they were enlisted in were involved in the battle of Mametz Wood, between 7 & 12 July 1916. This battle took place some 2.3 miles to the SE of where the 3rd Battalion were eventually located on 21 July 1916. Given the last day of the Mametz Wood battle and the date of death of Benjamin, it is unlikely that a body from that battle was moved that distance and 9 days later. This can be further supported by Pozieres British Cemetery concentration burial returns, which a preliminary search shows that no bodies from the map reference area of Mametz Wood – 57D sq 17-18 & 23-24 were concentrated to the Pozieres British Cemetery. CWGC details relating to the concentrations around Mametz Wood indicate that most of them were concentrated to the Dantzig Alley Cemetery further to the south as evidenced by the concentration of E.A. LEYSHON.

 

Was he taken as a prisoner of war is the next question and a search reveals… 3 Prisoners of War Named LEYSHON

 

William LEYSHON – Pte 91629 Durham Light Infantry – 27 May 1918

 

Edward LEYSHON – Pte 28380 2/8 Lancashire Fusiliers – 21 March 1918

 

Edward LEYSHON – Pte 26297 8 Lancashire Fusiliers B Company – 21 March 1918 [I’m not sure that these two last people are not the same person. The Regimental details are the same, the date is the same and their names are the same, however their service numbers are not the same...]

All the dates indicate that these people were alive during July 1916 and cannot be mistaken for the LEYSHON who was in the area of La-Boisselle at that time.

 

Intermediate Conclusions - Based on the evidence to date, it would appear that only one casualty named LEYSHON was reported in the area of La-Boisselle and having a date of death of 21/7/1916. I am therefore concluding, that unless additional evidence comes to light, that the only person with a surname of LEYSHON that was in the vicinity of La-Boisselle on 21 July 1916 was my great-uncle Benjamin Alfred.

 

The search continues...

 

 

 

Edited by Tinkicka
Spelling...
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 months later...

Thanks Tinkicka, your post and this thread got me going to identify my grandfather's scattered grave just up the road near the windmill. Great information.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Owen,

 

glad that I could help by getting things started.

 

I have been away from this topic for a while as I was able to get access to a whole lot of family history material and had to wade through that for some time. In doing so I found that I also had a first cousin (twice removed up the line) and a great-granduncle who were also both killed in WW1. The first cousin was killed 2 days before my grand-uncle Leyshon, so the war really hit home to the family in third week of July 1916.

 

Researching their history is on the back burner for a while as I am now coming back to this topic. I should have something more to post in the next week or so.

 

Tinkicka

Link to post
Share on other sites

My gf was killed on the night of 4th Aug. Lived in this fantasy world where after he was killed they buried him at Serre Rd No 2 cemetery. It was almost by accident that I found out he was initially buried at 57d R34 d 7.8 and not exhumed till 1927 when they re-interred him at his final resting place. All the reading can get a bit depressing. Different day and age.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...