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Remembered Today:

RND Lieutenants in Ancre River British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel


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This is the continuation of a lead from the review of the cemetery details and documents here:

 

Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel

 

There it was noted that there were at least two UNKNOWN LIEUTENANTS off the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division in the cemetery: (here I have changed Marting to Martin)

Quote
  • Lieutenant R.N.D. 17.G.6 (or is it 17.C.6) COG-BR 1965518 (57d.Q.17.d)- four candidates CWGC Link, three for 13 November 1916 and one 3 February 1917 (Lt. Ellis)
    • and a second one in 10.I.3 (or is it 19.I.3) COG-BR 1965563 (57D.Q.17 - RND Cemetery), so that is 2 of 4 in this cemetery
      • so those two are likely Lieutenants Ker and Maynard, as Chapman would might/could be in 11.C.6, instead of Martin
      • an OFFICER on the same page 10.I.7
    • perhaps the third here as well (see Lieutenant Martin below)
      These are a projection of what men may be in these graves based on this early information:
      CHAPMAN ALFRED HENRY 190th Bde. Machine Gun Coy. R.N. Div. candidate for grave 11.C.6

      ELLIS

      EDWARD WHITE Hawke Bn. R.N. Div. probably not in this cemetery
      KER WILLIAM Hawke Bn. R.N. Div. candidate for 17.G.6 or 10.I.3
      MAYNARD ALFRED FREDERICK Howe Bn. R.N. Div.

      candidate for 17.G.6 or 10.I.3

  • Lieutenant Marting RMLI became an UBO 11.C.6 COG-BR 1965528 57d.Q.18.c (the original cemetery?)
    • The only RMLI Lieutenant missing is Lieutenant A. H. Chapman (CWGC Link) so that must be him?
  • 5.A.36 has a Lieutenant of a Machine Gun Company (GRRF 19652276), so that could be RND Lieutenant Chapman
    • there Lieutenant Chapman was proposed as the alternate to Lieutenant Martin
       

The only ones that are specifically noted as RND Lieutenants are 17.G.6 and 10.I.3. Lieutenant Charles Walter Martin initially in 11.C.6 is actually in 4.E.61. When they changed that grave to an "Unknown British Officer", we don't know whether they determined it was not a Lieutenant or not an RMLI Officer.

 

If you search the CWGC web site for men of the 190th Brigade Machine Gun Company, RMLI you get only seventeen (17) results (CWGC Link), all lost in France. One of the men is Lieutenant Chapman, the only named officer of the unit on the Thiepval Memorial.

 

If you search for "190th" you get twenty-eight (28) of which two (2) are in Belgium (CWGC Link). This highlights a CWGC error in that they have used multiple descriptors, including:

  • 190th Bn. Machine Gun Coy. R.N. Div.
  • 190th Bde. Machine Gun Coy. R.N. Div.
  • 190th M.G. Coy. R.N. Div.
  • 190th Bde. M.G. Coy. R.N. Div.

 

The list includes two (2) Lieutenants (Chapman 13-11-916 and Westby 30-12-1917) and one (1) Captain (Bastin - also lost 13 November 1916). Bastin and Westby are in known graves, leaving Chapman as the only officer of the unit with no known grave.

 

The war diary pages for each of the Lieutenants are here:

 

  • Chapman (190th MGC)
    • trenches at Varennes 57d.P.31 and heading into action at Hamel 57d.Q.23 on the 14th
    • it is not until the 20th that news is received that Chapman was killed
    • they were clearing the battlefield on the 17th, so he may have been missing and they found him at that time (so where did they put him?)
  • Ellis (Hawke)
    • the one KIA on 3 February 1917 and reported at 57d.Q.12.a-c moving to assembly positions at 57d.R.2.c for an attack at 11 pm
    • that places them just north of the River Ancre and west of Miraumont, so most certainly still in the area where he could have been concentrated to Ancre
    • Lieutenant Ellis is reported missing on the 5th
    • there is a Report of Operations (war diary page 61 of 508) for the 189th Infantry Brigade
  • Ker (Hawke)
    • HQ was in Roberts trench 57d.Q.17.c ready to attack at 5:45 am on 13 November 1916
    • the war diary says the battalion "no longer exists as a unit" after only a few minutes of the attack
    • on the 15th they report 396 OR casualties and 25 Officers
  • Maynard (Howe)
    • zero hour for the attack was at 5:45 am 13 November 1916, leaving from Gordon or Roberts trenches (57d.Q.17.c)
    • Gordon (the new front line) is in front of Roberts, both due north of Hamel (see map wo297_1494 2D(S) 18-8-1916)
    • Lieutenant Aston is reported KIA on the 13th and then on the 20th the war diary reports both Maynard & Aston as dead
    • they may have found Lieutenant Maynard when they cleared the battlefield on the 15th

 

This now means that we have all four (4) missing Lieutenants as candidates for the graves in the Ancre British Cemetery. There are eighteen (18) men of the RND in the Ancre British Cemetery that were killed in action in the first two weeks of February 1917 (CWGC Link).

 

Unless something else turns up, it would appear there is insufficient evidence to show which are the Lieutenants in the two known graves. It appears one was concentrated from the SHERWOOD CEMETERY and one from the RND CEMETERY, so that might appear in the Officer's Records?

 

Also to be checked is the text of the Jerrold's HAWKE BATTALION (page 128) for additional details as well as the Blumberg's SEA SOLDIERS.

Edited by laughton
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Great Britain, Royal Naval Division Casualties of The Great War, 1914-1924

That means I need to go back and check for 2nd/Lieutenant in the COG-BR documents for Chapman. However the war diary (page 332 of 520) does refer to him as "Lieutenant Chapman". That could be just the naming protocol used in the war diary.

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Alfred Chapman is 2nd Lt with seniority 19/12/1915 in the October 1916 Navy List. Notification of his death in "Globe & Laurel" has him as 2/Lt. (It also states "This officer was reported wounded on 20th November 1916" - i.e. the report was dated 20 November.), The "wounded" report was struck through on his Army Form B.103.

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