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fsands

Missing Information

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fsands
On 22/06/2019 at 10:48, PRC said:

Should be plenty available on the unit and the events of the day. The War Diaries are available for free on line:-

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1339187

 

Been having a search through his war records and the diary of the 42nd Bn. 

 

The information which the Australian government has made readily available is incredible. There are a few letters from Jane Garry (Mother) asking for his effects, notably a watch is repeatedly asked for. She also repeatedly asks to know where her son is buried so that they can go and visit. As he is on the Menin Gate unfortunately he has no grave. 

 

The 42nd Battalion were the second in line behind the 41st. The plan was for the 41st to penetrate 700 yards into German lines. The 42nd's would then "leap frog" the 41sts and penetrate a further 800 yards. They captured their objective "red line" by 8am (2 hours after the start of the attack). 220 men were killed or wounded. John Robert Garry was one them.

 

I can not thank you enough for unearthing this story!

 

I will carry the letters of Jane Garry in my thoughts any time I revisit the Menin Gate.

 

Many thanks,

 

Fraser

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PRC
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, fsands said:

Been having a search through his war records and the diary of the 42nd Bn. 

 

The information which the Australian government has made readily available is incredible. There are a few letters from Jane Garry (Mother) asking for his effects, notably a watch is repeatedly asked for. She also repeatedly asks to know where her son is buried so that they can go and visit. As he is on the Menin Gate unfortunately he has no grave. 

 

The 42nd Battalion were the second in line behind the 41st. The plan was for the 41st to penetrate 700 yards into German lines. The 42nd's would then "leap frog" the 41sts and penetrate a further 800 yards. They captured their objective "red line" by 8am (2 hours after the start of the attack). 220 men were killed or wounded. John Robert Garry was one them.

 

 I take it you saw the War Diary had a map of the advance planned for the day - attached. This gives you an idea of approximately where John fell and potential map references.

 

I've just done a search of the CWGC database and it lists 63 named men as died on this day. They are recorded either on the Menin Gate or at a variety of cemeteries - probably either died at or on the way to medical facilities although some would have been recovered from the field at the time. The Battalion War Diary shows 42nd Bn experiencing severe shelling on the 5th and then relieved on the 6th, so probably not much time to scour the captured ground looking for familar faces. One thing I did note is that a few of the men, now buried at Tyne Cot Cemetery, have concentration reports on their CWGC webpages. These detail the exhumation \ recovery and move to their current resting place. Unfortunately the display documents facility on the website has been out since the start of the weekend, but when it's back up it could be worth checking out. The reports usually don't just cover an individual, but will have several including any unknown soldiers found and where they were re-buried. You can also check another document on the same webpage, the Grave Registration Document, to see if the identity of the unknown individual was subsequently found.

 

Sample names were:-

Private 290 John Catchpole - by coincidence a Norfolk man! https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/462219/catchpole,-john/

Private 1886 Thomas Joseph O'Donohue https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/464142/o'donohue,-thomas-joseph/

Lance Corporal 878 James McMillan https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/463827/mcmillan,-james/

 

Be warned - this stuff can get very addictive :-)

 

Cheers,

Peter

42nd Battalion AIF Map for operations 041017 sourced from the Australian National Archive.JPG

Edited by PRC
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fsands

Be warned - this stuff can get very addictive :-)

 

I think I'm already addicted!

 

Started off with the aim of having the basic information of all the names on the memorial. That has quickly changed into stories, letters, pictures etc!

 

Many thanks again for all your help. I will keep an eye out on that page being up and running again.

 

Only 2 of the 54 names on the war memorial are left. 

 

Many thanks for your excellent help!

 

Fraser

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helpjpl
On 20/06/2019 at 15:48, fsands said:

 

After viewing the casualty card above I was able to find James Bruce Small's which reference Nutcombe being in the plane also. 

 

 

Apologies for disrupting the flow of the thread.

 

James Bruce Small's Casualty Form may be of interest as it shows details of his burial:

https://www.casualtyforms.org/form/22254

 

JP

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fsands
2 hours ago, helpjpl said:

 

Apologies for disrupting the flow of the thread.

 

James Bruce Small's Casualty Form may be of interest as it shows details of his burial:

https://www.casualtyforms.org/form/22254

 

JP

Not at all, thank you JP for the find and the information!

 

Fraser

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PRC
Posted (edited)

It seems I’ve lucked out on searching for Alexander McDonald.

 

In part this is because of an issue I’ve had with the genealogy source I use for census look ups etc. They chucked in Soldiers Died in the Great War with my subscription. About two years ago they suddenly decided to stop showing two fields – place of birth and service number. I can still search for them and will get the right matching return, it’s just the information in the field won’t display. They keep giving me partial refunds and telling me it’s an IT glitch but I wish they’d just put it right :-(

 

However makes it very difficult to identify cases where there have been simple placename misspellings.

 

So my original search involved checking SDGW for Lasswade and the original villages you listed. I also did a wildcard search on the additional information part of the CWGC database for the First World War using the same place names. As additional places were identified I re-ran the same checks. At the end I did a wild card search alone in case surnames were mis-spelt. I also looked at the men with identical first names in case any served under another surname.

 

I then used the approach of looking for someone on the civil records with a connection to Lasswade and then trying to match them up to someone who died in the Great War. This brings up two potential candidates on the 1901 Census of Scotland for an Alexander McDonald.

 

1) Alexander McDonald, aged 16, and a Blacksmiths apprentice, born Lasswade, was living at Buccleuch Street, Edinbugh. This was the household of his parents Alexander, (aged 45 and a Coachman, born Inverness) and Marion, (aged 45, born West Linton, Peebleshire). The couple have a number of other children and a grandchild living with them.

 

2) Alexander McDonald, aged 9 and born Lasswade, was recorded living at Cockpen. This was the household of his parents David, (aged 31, a Fitter (Steam Boiler), born Perth) and Elizabeth, (aged 31, born Loanhead). Other children of the couple are Minnie, (8), George, (5) and Jane, (1) – all born Lasswade. Those parents names – David & Elizabeth are the same recorded on CWGC for the parents of George McDonald but that may just be a coincidence.

 

So I then went back to CWGC and did a wildcard search for the parents names Alexander \ Marion \ David and Elizabeth, plus “A. McDonald”

 

Alexander produced 11 matches (both Alexander and A.),but looked likely they could all be ruled out based on a combination of wife’s name and ages shown.

 

Marion has no matches.

 

David had two matches both with wife identified but neither named Elizabeth.

 

Elizabeth had two matches both with husband identified but neither named David.

 

So lots of potential ways forward but they are all starting to look like tick and bash exercises. One gentler exception might be to wander down to Polton churchyard and see if you can identify the headstone of the parents of George McDonald. In the aftermath of the Great War many families added the names of fallen loved ones to family headstones as quite often they would never to be able to visit an actual grave. Many times over the years when researching a village war memorial I’ve found a stroll round the churchyard pays dividends, removing doubts as to why someone might be remembered and also confirming family relationships.

If the man remembered at Lasswade High School is George’s brother, then the parents headstone might give you the information needed to break into the loop of when and where Alexander died.

 

After that gaining access to the 1911 Census of Scotland to check for any additional Alexander McDonalds who had moved into the area since the 1901 census might be a logical next step, particularly as it would mean to have served in the Great War he would have had to have either been born elsewhere or born under a different surname.

 

Sorry I can’t be more helpful with this man,

 

Peter

 

Edited by PRC
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PRC
On 25/06/2019 at 07:30, fsands said:

Many thanks again for all your help. I will keep an eye out on that page being up and running again.

 

 

Those original documents have just come back online this evening so before they disappeared again I though I'd better download a couple. Catchpole and O'Donohue were recovered from the battlefield in 1921. Their bodies were found in D27 and D28, which would have been outside the field of advance and possibly even in German held territory. More specific map references are on the Concentration Reports. O'Donahue was originally identified from his Disc as a Donahue of the 27th Battalion, which shows you how easily mistakes can occur.

There are some unknown A.I.F soldiers recovered from D.12

 

J. Macmillian was one of four bodies recovered in early 1920 from the battlefield. They were found at map reference D22.C10.20. Macmillians surname and unit were also initially misidentified. Two of the bodies that were recovered are unidentified Australians, and as far as I can tell, they remain so. No reason why one of them should be John Robert Garry, but then again no reason why not!

 

Cheers,

Peter

 

 

J Macmillian Concentration Report sourced CWGC.JPG

J Macmillian Grave Registration Report sourced CWGC.JPG

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fsands
On 27/06/2019 at 14:16, PRC said:

It seems I’ve lucked out on searching for Alexander McDonald.

 

In part this is because of an issue I’ve had with the genealogy source I use for census look ups etc. They chucked in Soldiers Died in the Great War with my subscription. About two years ago they suddenly decided to stop showing two fields – place of birth and service number. I can still search for them and will get the right matching return, it’s just the information in the field won’t display. They keep giving me partial refunds and telling me it’s an IT glitch but I wish they’d just put it right :-(

 

However makes it very difficult to identify cases where there have been simple placename misspellings.

 

So my original search involved checking SDGW for Lasswade and the original villages you listed. I also did a wildcard search on the additional information part of the CWGC database for the First World War using the same place names. As additional places were identified I re-ran the same checks. At the end I did a wild card search alone in case surnames were mis-spelt. I also looked at the men with identical first names in case any served under another surname.

 

I then used the approach of looking for someone on the civil records with a connection to Lasswade and then trying to match them up to someone who died in the Great War. This brings up two potential candidates on the 1901 Census of Scotland for an Alexander McDonald.

 

1) Alexander McDonald, aged 16, and a Blacksmiths apprentice, born Lasswade, was living at Buccleuch Street, Edinbugh. This was the household of his parents Alexander, (aged 45 and a Coachman, born Inverness) and Marion, (aged 45, born West Linton, Peebleshire). The couple have a number of other children and a grandchild living with them.

 

2) Alexander McDonald, aged 9 and born Lasswade, was recorded living at Cockpen. This was the household of his parents David, (aged 31, a Fitter (Steam Boiler), born Perth) and Elizabeth, (aged 31, born Loanhead). Other children of the couple are Minnie, (8), George, (5) and Jane, (1) – all born Lasswade. Those parents names – David & Elizabeth are the same recorded on CWGC for the parents of George McDonald but that may just be a coincidence.

 

So I then went back to CWGC and did a wildcard search for the parents names Alexander \ Marion \ David and Elizabeth, plus “A. McDonald”

 

Alexander produced 11 matches (both Alexander and A.),but looked likely they could all be ruled out based on a combination of wife’s name and ages shown.

 

Marion has no matches.

 

David had two matches both with wife identified but neither named Elizabeth.

 

Elizabeth had two matches both with husband identified but neither named David.

 

So lots of potential ways forward but they are all starting to look like tick and bash exercises. One gentler exception might be to wander down to Polton churchyard and see if you can identify the headstone of the parents of George McDonald. In the aftermath of the Great War many families added the names of fallen loved ones to family headstones as quite often they would never to be able to visit an actual grave. Many times over the years when researching a village war memorial I’ve found a stroll round the churchyard pays dividends, removing doubts as to why someone might be remembered and also confirming family relationships.

If the man remembered at Lasswade High School is George’s brother, then the parents headstone might give you the information needed to break into the loop of when and where Alexander died.

 

After that gaining access to the 1911 Census of Scotland to check for any additional Alexander McDonalds who had moved into the area since the 1901 census might be a logical next step, particularly as it would mean to have served in the Great War he would have had to have either been born elsewhere or born under a different surname.

 

Sorry I can’t be more helpful with this man,

 

Peter

 

Your help has been incredible! Thank you so much. It’s a shame about the computer glitch!

 

There’s thousands of stories like John Robert Garry, we will keep remembering him on the Menin Gate.

 

I’ll keep trying to hunt down the final two.

 

My next step is to visit the Council archives to build stories and the lifes of the 54 men on the memorial. Hoping to find some letters and hoping to prove a few extra attended Lasswade school.

 

Thank you so much again for all your help! Would not have managed it without you!

 

Fraser

 

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