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Remembered Today:

1/4th Btn Duke of Wellington WR - in Ypres Aug 1916?


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I am looking at a service record for a private machine gunner in 1/4th Battalion Duke of Wellington (West Riding) - Willie Dutson 4023. He was killed on 17th August 1916, which by my calculation places the batttalion in Thiepval Wood, however he is listed on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial https://www.cwgc.org/find/find-war-dead/results?lastName=Dutson and not on any of the other cemetaries/memorials relating to the Thiepval Wood area. As far as I can tell from the War Diaries he should have been manning the trenches and patrolling in Thiepval Wood on the day he was killed, not in Ypres.


Does anyone know if any of 1/4th Duke of Wellington were in Ypres in August 1916 ? Maybe a machine gunner company was detached and sent there ? Or does the Menin Gate memorial cover any missing solider from the Somme battles ?


As described on the Casualty Form he embarked Southampton 1/5/16 and arrived Havre 49th West Riding Base Dept on 2/5/16. He departed for the front on 25/5 and joined his battalion on 27/5 (I assume in Hedauville  / Aveluy Wood, but place he joined looks like 'Duea' on the form but could be 'Field' at a stretch'). The place he died was 'Field'. The form was signed by Major EJW or EJM, Office in Charge Territorial Infantry Northern Section, GHQ 3rd Echelon.


Poor ****** died 12 weeks after arriving during a period of heavy casualties but at least he was spared the additional horror of Sept 3rd when about 150 were killed. 


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The battalion war diary records only that the battalion was in the "Thiepval sub sector" from 1-16 August alternating in  the line with 5th Bn, 6 days in the line, 6 days in support..


More detail though in the orders in the brigade diary which record the 4th Bn taking positions "between Union Street and the River Ancre" on 11 Aug 1916.  Union Street is in square R25a, trench map of Aug 1916 at:

https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15&lat=50.0595&lon=2.6929&layers=101465248&b=1 which would put them on the north east corner of Thiepval Wood.


Don't know about the choice of memorial.




PS Casualties recorded in the brigade diary for 4th Dukes on 17 Aug 1916 were 3 men killed 2 wounded, probably from "considerable shelling" that early morning.



Edited by MaxD
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This doesn't exactly help, but looking at the medal roll page for Dutson there is also another casualty from the same battalion

4008 Saville Hanson (killed 2 days earlier than Dutson). He was buried in Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval.



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CWGC record 4 casualties for 1/4th WR on the 17th August 1916. 4023 Dutson, 2440 Naylor, 1338 Parkin and 4107 Thornton. Both Dutson and Naylor are remembered at the Menin Gate, Parkin is buried at Gezaincoirt CCE and Thornton at Mill Road. Thornton’s body was buried with an Unknown recovered from R24.d.3.7 along with two further Unknowns from the same location. Clearly some anomaly here which needs some further searching.

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