Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Canadian Cemetery No. 2 Case #1: R.M.L.I. Company Sergeant Major


Recommended Posts

This case is a result of the investigations discussed in the topic: Canadian Cemetery No. 2. Neuville-St. Vaast

 

There is a relationship between this case and another, where the CSM was identified and has been reported to the CWGC

CSM Royal Marine Light Infantry, Serre Road No. 2 - Reginald Clarence Rogers

 

This information was cut from the initial topic and relocated here, as the topic is likely to expand if the CSM can be identified and because of the linkage to the case concerning the third candidate, CSM Rogers, that was found in the Serre Road No. 2 cemetery.

 

Quote

COG-BR 1979603 - A Sergeant Major of the Royal Marine Light Infantry at 51b.B.30.b.45.80 which places us in the Oppy-Gavrelle sector northeast of Arras. From previous cases, we know the 1st RMLI there on 27 April 1917 (war diary page 60 of 178) as well as the 2nd RMLI (war diary page 132 of 333). There are two (2) Company Sergeant Majors of the 2nd Royal Marine Light Infantry missing at that time (CWGC Link), one on the 26th when the village was heavily shelled and the second on the 28th when they were detailed to take the windmill northeast of Gavrelle. We mentioned both these men in the prior topic (post #17) that dealt with the misplaced RMLI men in the Serre Road Cemetery. Reference is made to Blumberg's text on the "Sea Soldiers" (page 327). Both @michaeldr and @horatio2 contributed excellent detail to that topic and may have more to say here. It will be necessary to see if we can  separate CSM Campbell on the 26th, perhaps still in the village (where remains located), from CSM Milne who would have been lost in the attack on the 28th and perhaps to the northeast of the village (51b.C.19.d windmill area). Perhaps the other CSM will appear in this cemetery as well! Amazing how these puzzle cases soon become so intertwined. Looking at the other COG-BR for known burials in this and other cemeteries (CWGC Link), shows some scatter so difficult to separate the men by date. In particular, Private Hutton #CH/1898(S) was found at 51b.B.30.a.9.7, as was Battersby on the same sheet 51b.B.30.b.9.8. That is in the village, where the CSM remains were recovered, but they were found on the 28th not the 26th when CSM Campbell was killed.

 

Edited by laughton
linking case to CSM Roger's case
Link to post
Share on other sites

Linking this case to the other CSM cases, we know that there were only five (5) Company Sergeant Majors killed in action in France. From the CWGC database, we have the following: (to which I have added CSM Chapman)

 

surname forename death unit # cemetery or memorial reference research information
BOYD THOMAS 25/08/1918 1st Bn. 'PLY/12524' VIS-EN-ARTOIS MEMORIAL Panel 1. Loupart Wood 57.G.34
CAMPBELL JOHN 26/04/1917 2nd Bn. 'PLY/10131' ARRAS MEMORIAL Addenda Panel 1. discussed in this topic
EASTWOOD HENRY HAMILTON 4/2/1917 190th Bde. MGC 'CH/10417' ANCRE BRITISH CEMETERY VIII. D. 32. Trenches at Beaucourt
MILNE RICHARD 28/04/1917 2nd Bn. 'PO/10828' ARRAS MEMORIAL Bay 1. discussed in this topic
ROGERS REGINALD CLARENCE 26/03/1918 1st Bn. 'CH/15594' ARRAS MEMORIAL Bay 1. found at Serre Road No. 2 5.E.25
CHAPMAN FREDERICK PHILIP 16/05/1917 2nd Bn. PO/11934 TOURNAI C.C.A.E. (Belgium) V.B.13 WIA 28/04/1917 DOW as POW

 

The main question in this case is "Can we separate the remains that were recovered on the basis of the date and location of CSM Campbell on the 26th and CISM Milne on the 28th?" We already know that the other CSM's that were lost in France were in very different locations. Here is a trench map of the area, noting where the remains were recovered at 51b.B.30.b.45.80. We can then compare that to what is reported for the location of the 2nd Battalion during the period of the 26th to 28th April 1917.

 

4e6cy4fnokp6h9g6g.jpg

 

The historical records, which were referenced in the earlier topics as well, came from the text:

Britain's sea soldiers. A record of the Royal marines during the war 1914-1919. Compiled by General Sir H. E. Blumberg

 

In this particular case, the focus is on the men of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Marine Light Infantry, as both Company Sergeant Majors under investigation were serving in the 2nd Battalion. 

 

The content of this book can be shared, as long as it is not being used for commercial purposes (details here) and so the sections can be quoted. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of detail about what happened on 26 April 1917.

 

sfs7mexouvb8n806g.jpg

 

There is a sketch in the Blumberg text with the lines drawn, also shown in the text to the right, as they are difficult to read:

  • 1/RMLI is in the top section of the sketch
  • 2/RMLI is in the bottom section of the sketch
  • I have coloured the lines in the sketch to match the text typed on the right
  • I am not yet sure what the last line E_D designates (Found: 1/H.A.C.), nor have I located it on the sketch
    • see also here "Honourable Artillery Company"
hesqrj4wjjnb5he6g.jpg

What the lines say: (I think!)

 

B-A: Objective B Coy 1/RMLI

A-A: Objective A Coy 1/RMLI

C-C: Objective C Coy 1/RMLI

D-D:Objective D Coy 1/RMLI

C-D: Jumping Off Line 1/RMLI

T-T: 1st Objective 2/RMLI

U-U: 2nd Objective 2/RMLI

W-W: 3rd Objective 2 RMLI

E-F: Jumping Off Line 2/RMLI

E-D: 1/H.A.C.

 

 

 

Edited by laughton
found 1/H.A.C. in Blumberg mentioned; also on a facebook page
Link to post
Share on other sites

Something that I perhaps failed to mention in the prior posts is that we know that this Company Sergeant Major that is missing is one of the two from the 2nd Battalion Royal Marine Light Infantry, as Rogers and Boyd were 1/RMLI from different battles and areas and Eastwood was 190th MGC, also from a different battle in another area.

 

The question comes down to whether we can separate the two (2) men of the 2nd Battalion killed at Gavrelle on the 26th and 28th of April 1917. There is no question, it is one of those two Company Sergeant Majors.

  • Logically, one would assume that it cannot be Company Sergeant Milne, as he would have been in the groups that moved well past where the remains were found at 51b.B.30.b.45.80, the green cross hairs in the sketch above.
     
  • Company Sergeant Major Campbell was killed on the 26th, more likely to have been back behind the jumping off trench of the battle that took place on 28 April 1917. We do know that the village was being heavily shelled on the 26th.
     
  • The remains were recovered about 350 yards behind what I have marked as the Blue Line in the sketch above. We don't know whether the remains were those of a man killed at that area and lost on the 26th, or whether they were one from a man taken back from the battle lines into the village on the 28th. Logic suggests it was the man lost in the artillery barrage on the 26th but we need facts.\
     
  • If both men had the same date of death, it is likely that this case could never be resolved.

There is enough information in the Blumberg text to tell us where CSM Chapman was when he was captured: (2nd boxed text below)

 

wq257npfrm48rl56g.jpg

 

ygamuhir1cofrdp6g.jpg

 

I looked at the list of the Officers lost in the action to see if there was any clue as to where their bodies were recovered but none were - they are all remembered on the Arras Memorial:

 

2oi58n4yyb2eow26g.jpg

 

There are no additional details in the war diary (page 132 of 333) that deals with the locations of the men at the time of the casualties. All that we have from the details on the 28th was that the "Battalion attacked in 4 waves through enemy trenches NE of Gavrelle". Is it possible that we will find details of a second CSM found past the Blue Line - then we would know that it was CSM Milne.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I came across an interesting Facebook page which has a lot of detail related to the action at Gavrelle. I have yet to look into the details of the author, perhaps also a member of the GWF?

 

The Royal Marines at Gavrelle 28th April 1917 - Triumph or Tragedy?

 

One of the early questions that was answered by this page was the CWGC reference to Company Sergeant Major Campbell on Addenda Panel 1. In reference (7) to the article we find:

 

Quote

Hindsight and with the benefit of the authors sources [he] can prove that those figures are on the low side and 200 other ranks can be added to that. The loss of 1000 men in a brigade was a serious one. [he] having looked up in old sources(6) and found several new ones and [he] has come up with a breakdown of the casualty figures. The only ones [he] can go into detail over are those suffered by the RMLI where [he] can be virtually 100% accurate as he states he can put names to all the, killed, wounded and missing,indeed during the course of research for this article [he] found 2 men who were unknown to the CWGC and these are currently being investigated by them(7). 

 

(7) These were CSM John Campbell and Pte Tom Hampshire. Hampshire was one of the 11 O.R’s found in Sept 1917. Their deaths were confirmed on their service ledgers (ADM159) and deaths confirmed in the Royal Navy Casualty ledgers (ADM242). These names were submitted to the CWGC. Coincidentally Pte Hampshire had been brought up by a Mrs Margaret Stansfield of Elland,Yorkshire who found him by newspaper evidence whilst researching local casualties. The Name’s of Tom Hampshire and John Campbell were added to the Arras memorial in January 1998.

 

Interesting point, that if CSM Campbell had not been discovered, we would only now be looking at CSM Milne as a candidate for the remains found at Gavrelle. I am assuming for the moment that "he" that is referenced is Tasker?

 

The pieces are starting to fall together, as this Facebook author refers to Trevor Tasker, who then leads me to "Gavrelle: Arras (Battleground Europe)" by Kyle Tallett & Trevor Tasker. Good, it is available on Amazon Kindle here in Canada. Perhaps there is more detail in the book? We only need to know where one of the two CSMs fell to solve the puzzle.

 

The locations may get more complex, as I looked at the two men of the 2nd RMLI that were lost in the lead up to the battle, between the 24th and 27th of the month. Private Thirlaway PO/532(S) was killed on the 24th and was recovered at 51b.b.27.a.6.7, southwest of Bailleul and 3,500 yards to the west of Gavrelle. Corporal Maull #PO/15942 who was killed on the 25th was recovered at 51b.C.25.d.9.0, which is southeast of Gavrelle and past the jumping off line of the main attack on the 28th. How did he end up there is lost on the 25th?  There are a large number of remains from that general area so perhaps it was an area established as a post-battle burial ground?

 

The CWGC database tells us there 15 identified men of the 2nd RMLI in the Orchard Dump Cemetery, one (1) each on the 24th and 25th of April, five (5) on the 28th and then another eight (8) in July 1917. The ones lost from the 28th raise some concern for this case when we check the locations where they were recovered, as both Battensby and Hutton were recovered on the west side of Gavrelle, in line with where the CSM remains were recovered at 51b.B.30.b.45.80. That places those three men at least 500 yards west of the jumping off trench on the 28th. That, in itself, eliminates any argument that the men lost on the 28th would be recovered east of Gavrelle.

  • Morgan: 51b.C.19.c.3.2
  • Aslett: 51b.C.25.a.8.9
  • Battensby: 51b.B.30.b.9.8
  • Hutton: 51b.B.30.a.9.7
  • Pollard: 51b.B.23.d.9.0

Off to check the Tallett & Tasker Gavrelle book and see if there is more detail. An interesting component of the Great War for a Canadian, as it ties in with the action of the Canadians at the Arleux Loop in April 1917, as well as being in the area where my grandfather left the war wounded in early May 1917 near Roclincourt to the west. Also new for today, the Honourable Artillery Company Infantry, as I had never heard of them before. Thanks Chris - 190th Brigade, 63rd (Royal Naval) Division!

 

 
 
Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

refers to Trevor Tasker, who then leads me to "Gavrelle: Arras (Battleground Europe)" by Kyle Tallett & Trevor Tasker. Good, it is available on Amazon Kindle here in Canada


That is a strange phenomena reading a Kindle book on your computer, as the pages change when you read it. What was on page 1670 yesterday is now on page 1664 and the layout is different? So this time, let me capture the text about finding the CSM in Canadian Cemetery No. 2:
 

Quote

The visible graves were exhumed from Gavrelle and concentrated into large cemeteries nearby, which in the early 1920s were officially declared closed, and perimeter walls built. With foundations being dug for new buildings and with the fields being ploughed again, even more graves were discovered. A few years after the war the body of Sub-Lieutenant Cleves was found in a field just north of Gavrelle; he was reburied at Cabaret Rouge Cemetery, north west of Arras. By 1926 this cemetery was becoming full, and Arras Road Cemetery was enlarged to take bodies being found during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Captain Arthur Kilby VC was found on the Loos battlefield, and reburied in Arras Road Cemetery, his name was taken off the Loos Memorial to the Missing. Most of the graves in Arras Road Cemetery are unknowns, and includes men of the Anson and Hood battalions. In the mid-193os even this cemetery was becoming full, so Canadian No. 2 Cemetery on Vimy Ridge was enlarged and became the new open cemetery, not only for the Arras area, but even from the Somme area. In grave XIII.C.3 is an unknown company sergeant major of the RMLI found at Gavrelle.

 

During the early 1960s Canadian No.2 was almost full, and bodies still being found were taken to Terlincthun Cemetery near Boulogne.


This suggests that is the other missing CWM is not in Canadian Cemetery No. 2 I should also check Orchard Dump, Cabaret Rouge and now added to the list Terlincthun. Note that the Unknown CSM is not in grave XIII.C.3 rather he is in 13.D.16. The grave at 13.C.3 contains Lance Corporal Mackay of the 8th Gordon Highlanders. The confusion may have been that MacKay was also initially an Unknown and was named on the Loos Memorial. For a fleeting moment I thought we had the second CSM! There is also mention of Naval Trench Cemetery, Gavrelle, a location I have not yet included in the ZIP files. There is also a cemetery on the trench maps and aerial photographs at 51b.C.25.c.45.85, which I suspect is a communal cemetery.

 

The text describes the initial objectives, which relate to the taking of the village, as:

  • 1st Objective = Blue Line, the German front line just outside the village
  • 2nd Objective = Yellow Line, the road from Gavrelle southwards and perpendicular to the line of advance
  • 3rd Objective = Green Line, the German trench 350 yards east of Gavrelle
  • Final Objective = Greenland Hill, a dominating feature southeast of Gavrelle

The first assault on the Village of Gavrelle started at 4:45 am on 23 April 1917, three (3) days before CSM Milne was killed. For April 26th the text reportes the 188th Brigade. less the Howe Battalion took over the line. Chapter 3 refers to very active artillery in the days after the 23 April, trying to blast the RND out of their gains. The second attack was scheduled for 28 April, in support of the Canadian Corps attacking at Arleux and the British 2nd Division at Oppy Wood.

 

I will pick up the story here in the next segment.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Picking up the story from Tasker, the 1/RMLI was the defensive flank on the right of the 2nd British Division on 28 April 1917. The intent was to capture three German lines to the north of Gavrelle. At the third stop, 1/RMLI would be the link between the 2nd Division on the north and 2/RMLI on the south. There is no mention of CSM Campbell's death on the 26th or of any specific action. I can only assume that he was killed by artillery fire on the village of Gavrelle. He may have "vanished" from the face of the earth, thus remained a complete unknown until his previously unreported death was added to the Arras Memorial in 1998.

 

2/RMLI was to advance 700 yards down the axis of the road to Fresnes 51b.C.22.0.5, which would be where I put the red line on the T-T line marked on the sketch. I suspect that this was the Gavrelle Support Trench at about 51b.C.26 central. At their final objective, they would link 1/RMLI on the north to the Anson Battalion on the south.

 

Map 14 in the text shows a better image of the layout for the attack of the 28th, placing 1/RML a the start line on the east side of Hill 80, with 1/HAC on their right, then 2/RMLI, more or less on the road. Anson was to the south of 2/RMLI. That would place the E-D line for the 1/HAC, shown in the earlier sketch, north of the road on the west side of Gavrelle.The main German threat is marked as the area in front of the Anson battalion on the east side of Gavrelle. These details suggest that CSM Milne of 2/RMLI would be too far to the east to be the remains that were recovered, but there is no confirmation of his death at that location. The author reports that during this period the 1/RMLI was effectively "wiped out" and remaining attackers were now defenders. The Germans, in the counter attack, made it to the west side of the original British Line, so they must have made it to the west side of Gavrelle, which is where the CSM remains were recovered. If 1/HAC was defending Folly Trench, then they were at 51b.B.24.d.10.45. It would appear that by the time the day was done, all were back where they started the day, except 1/RMLI "had virtually ceased to exist".

 

2/RMLI did make it to the Windmill by 7:25 am, with heavy casualties. All the objectives were reported taken by 8:30 am. The German counter attack followed, but by now 2/RMLI is well past where the CSM remains were recovered. Three companies of 2/RMLI are reported to have surrendered and others were isolated at the old German front line, the Windmill and the final objective. Four counter attacks appear to have been repelled, mainly by artillery. A total of thirteen counter attacks are reported for the day, with great loses in 2/RMLI.

 

There is a photograph of CSM Milne with a group of Senior NCO's of 2/RMLI, sitting next to a Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM - name unknown). There is only one (1) RSM of the RMLI on the CWGC database, in a known grave (RSM Weight 2 September 1918). There is some importance to that, as the COG-BR refers to a Sergeant Major, not specifying if it was a CSM or an RSM.

 

There appears to be a taped interview with R. L. Haine (reference 17 IWM). There is a chance that might have a reference to the death of the CSM. It appears the reference numbers are out of whack in the text but either way there are two interviews, one with Totman and one with Haine.

 

Has anyone on the GWF listened to those interviews?

 

For now it looks like it is back to looking for the remains of the second CSM, perhaps the only way to find out who was where. But which cemetery?  There is always hope, as it was more than five (5) years after first checking that I stumbled upon the remains of Private Montanelli of the 13th CEF. He turned up in the Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery, far away from where he was killed near Bois Grenier.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have finished checking all the documents that I have for Canadian Cemetery No. 2 and there is no sign there of the other CWM of the 2/RMLI. I also retrieved the documents (GRRF only) for Naval Trench Cemetery, Gavrelle. There are only two unknowns in that cemetery, one of which is an RMLI but no other details. The documents are on the shared MediaFire site here:

 

http://www.mediafire.com/folder/784xl6ge3qi3e/Navrelle_Trench_Cemetery%2C_Gavrelle

 

I will now check the other cemeteries where the CSM may have ended up, if his body was recovered:

  • Orchard Dump
  • Arras Road
  • Cabaret Rouge
  • Terlincthun

I have collected all those documents but have never specifically looked for RMLI men. I only have GRRF documents for Terlincthun, don't recall if there was any evidence of COG-BR documents but there must be if there were concentrations. The CWGC records state: "In July 1920, the cemetery contained more than 3,300 burials, but for many years Terlincthun remained an 'open' cemetery and graves continued to be brought into it from isolated sites and other burials grounds throughout France where maintenance could not be assured."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sadly, no sign of any CSM of the RMLI in any of those cemeteries. There were men of the RMLI and RND in those cemeteries that were recovered from the general areas:

51b.B.24-30

51b.C.19-25

 

I also downloaded all the documents for the Bailleul Road East Cemetery (now new cemetery topic) but I did not see the CSM or RMLI/RND men.

 

For the moment, that appears to have brought this case to the end. Some day the other CSM may appear, as that has happened on numerous occasions.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Richard

 

I have a question about some 1st battalion Northumberland Fusiliers buried in Plot 17 Row J of this cemetery.  Their bodies were discovered in 1935.  The war diary (extract below) describes the events surrounding their deaths on 26 October 1914 and the following page records the details of the men missing that day.  I have also included the relevant IWGC report listing the conclusions about who they were at the time of their reburial.  Finally, I have included an extract from a trench map for 1916, the nearest to the events I could find.  I can post the documents separately if they need expanding.

 

Extract from Northumberland Fusiliers war diary for 26 October 1914

 

Left billets at 1.30 am & started relieving Linc. Regt in trenches in front of NEUVE CHAPELLE.  Battalion in position by 5.25 am.  Some snipping but all fairly quiet till 3.00 pm when enemy’s big guns started heavy artillery fire on the trenches and reserve trenches.  This was followed at 3.30 pm by an infantry attack in force on our right trenches & on the Regt (R. Fus) on our right. About 4.20 pm right trench commander reported that the enemy had occupied the trenches on his right & that he had refused (?) his right with men who had been driven out of his extreme right trench by enfilade fire.  The Germans showed great enterprise, charged the right trench & the communication trench which lay at right angles & which was then being held but were driven off each time by fire.  The reserve of ½ battalion R. Fus. Was sent up to get in touch with our right.  Two platoons of W coy which were in reserve were sent up to reinforce Z coy under Capt. Gordon.  Communication but not touch was gained with the left of R. Fus.  The Linc. Regt moved up from PONT LOGY & with the Wilts & S. LANCS made an unsuccessful attack on NEUVE CHAPELLE about 7 pm.  During the night, the enemy made another attack on the right in considerable strength, but were driven off.  The position then was this, that our line was not broken but bowed back in almost a half-circle round NEUVE CHAPELLE.  Lc. Cpl. Fisk showed great gallantry, going forward & putting out a fire which the enemy had lit under a gun limber of an abandoned gun.  This he did under the enemy’s close rifle fire.  Lt. Nunnelly made a most gallant attempt to lead a charge against the enemy but was caught by wire & killed.

 

 

1:5k Neuve Chapelle 1916

 

Is there any chance that the UBS (17.J.6) with the recorded number 9190 is 1990 Pte. Daniel Rhead?

I checked in the battalion war diary and on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database to see if a soldier with this number was killed during the battle.    No soldier with the number was killed, neither was a soldier listed as wounded or missing in the war diary appendix fore this date. However, there was a soldier, Private Samuel Ibbitson, with this number in the regiment, but records show that he had enlisted in the Northumberland Fusiliers in 1903 and was wounded in 1915, being discharged sometime afterwards having completed his period of engagement. Clearly the man listed on the burial record was not him as these men had all been killed 26-27 October 1914.  The numbers just seem to be too close to be a coincidence, but quite rightly the CWGC don't accept the off-chance that a clerical error may have occurred.

 

I would be interested in your views.  He was my grand father's younger brother.

 

Richard

Link to post
Share on other sites

Apologies, Richard.  Clearly I haven't quite mastered the art of inserting documents.  I need to need to find a way of uploading the trench map and war diary missing men appendix.  

 

Richard

Daniel reburial.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

You can never guess what response you will get from the CWGC but if you can gather enough new evidence they will always consider a case. I also believe that evidence that was known but not new and well as evidence that was interpreted incorrectly, has to be considered as new evidence. In essence, consider what a court of competent jurisdiction would do with your evidence if this was a trial.

 

Over time I have become less comfortable with numbers on spoons, forks, mess tins, and razors (too easy to share or pick up) and most definitely numbers or names on groundsheets are out of the question (too many past errors made). But boots, even the GRU and IWGC used them routinely. There are also many cases where they adjusted the numbers.

 

Going for you in this case is the original inscriptions for the Le Touret Memorial (PANEL 2757384), where it is clear they changed it for Thirkell, Allbright, and Bridgeman based on this COG-BR. They did not make any note or adjustment for Rhead. Had they made a notation on this sheet the CWGC would say that they considered the case and rejected the evidence at that time. The fact that there is an EF/X number though means the CWGC may immediately say "the case was reviewed at the time and the reviewers did not see any reason to change the listings". There may be enough cases where they did accept number changes, so you may have to collect that evidence (case law more or less).

 

There is some evidence of how the decisions were made right in the COG-BR that you posted above. They did not have the complete numbers for Bridgeman, Thirkell or Dutson. They may have had the names and filled in what was missing for the partial numbers, particularly in the case of Thirkell and Dutson. However in the case of Bridgeman, they had no partial number to start and the name was adjusted by adding the "G". Certainly logical decisions but so would the reversed numbers be logical, happened lots of times.

 

I don't know why the Headstone Schedule is incomplete and not of the standard form. I did not collect them all for that cemetery - so maybe there is another version (HD-SCHD 2083316). Where is 17.J.2. 17.J.5 and the others? I wanted to see if they did show them just as OCTOBER 1914 as on the GRRF and COG-BR, as compared to the others that were specific for the 26th or 27th. Without that you have to consider ALL 1/NF missing for the complete month of October. That gives you 96 men on the Le Touret Memorial - do any of them have a number that is in any way similar? There are three (3) of the "91" sequence (CWGC Link). I think they might also say that it was more likely Alfred Sparkes than Daniel Rhead, as his number was 9490. That means that only part of the "4" was visible or part was obscured. If I was in opposition to your case, that would be my primary challenge item, as now it is no longer "beyond a reasonable doubt". If the date was the 26th you could argue against Sparkes but in this case you don't have the date. You would have to check Sparkes and see if 6 days earlier he was in the same trenches. You might get lucky and find he was 3000 yards away from where the remains were recovered, maybe he died of wounds - has to be checked.

 

The boss is calling from upstairs, Christmas Eve and a gathering at our local pub - Guinness Hour has arrived in Canada!  

guinness-4290612_960_720.jpg

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎24‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 17:19, laughton said:

You can never guess what response you will get from the CWGC but if you can gather enough new evidence they will always consider a case. I also believe that evidence that was known but not new and well as evidence that was interpreted incorrectly, has to be considered as new evidence. In essence, consider what a court of competent jurisdiction would do with your evidence if this was a trial.

 

Over time I have become less comfortable with numbers on spoons, forks, mess tins, and razors (too easy to share or pick up) and most definitely numbers or names on groundsheets are out of the question (too many past errors made). But boots, even the GRU and IWGC used them routinely. There are also many cases where they adjusted the numbers.

 

Going for you in this case is the original inscriptions for the Le Touret Memorial (PANEL 2757384), where it is clear they changed it for Thirkell, Allbright, and Bridgeman based on this COG-BR. They did not make any note or adjustment for Rhead. Had they made a notation on this sheet the CWGC would say that they considered the case and rejected the evidence at that time. The fact that there is an EF/X number though means the CWGC may immediately say "the case was reviewed at the time and the reviewers did not see any reason to change the listings". There may be enough cases where they did accept number changes, so you may have to collect that evidence (case law more or less).

 

There is some evidence of how the decisions were made right in the COG-BR that you posted above. They did not have the complete numbers for Bridgeman, Thirkell or Dutson. They may have had the names and filled in what was missing for the partial numbers, particularly in the case of Thirkell and Dutson. However in the case of Bridgeman, they had no partial number to start and the name was adjusted by adding the "G". Certainly logical decisions but so would the reversed numbers be logical, happened lots of times.

 

I don't know why the Headstone Schedule is incomplete and not of the standard form. I did not collect them all for that cemetery - so maybe there is another version (HD-SCHD 2083316). Where is 17.J.2. 17.J.5 and the others? I wanted to see if they did show them just as OCTOBER 1914 as on the GRRF and COG-BR, as compared to the others that were specific for the 26th or 27th. Without that you have to consider ALL 1/NF missing for the complete month of October. That gives you 96 men on the Le Touret Memorial - do any of them have a number that is in any way similar? There are three (3) of the "91" sequence (CWGC Link). I think they might also say that it was more likely Alfred Sparkes than Daniel Rhead, as his number was 9490. That means that only part of the "4" was visible or part was obscured. If I was in opposition to your case, that would be my primary challenge item, as now it is no longer "beyond a reasonable doubt". If the date was the 26th you could argue against Sparkes but in this case you don't have the date. You would have to check Sparkes and see if 6 days earlier he was in the same trenches. You might get lucky and find he was 3000 yards away from where the remains were recovered, maybe he died of wounds - has to be checked.

 

The boss is calling from upstairs, Christmas Eve and a gathering at our local pub - Guinness Hour has arrived in Canada!  

guinness-4290612_960_720.jpg

 

 

 

The Guinness looks good

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...
Kyle Tallett

HI, I have just been made aware of this post. I normally avoid forums, and forgive me if this is a bit of a muddled reply, but I am on night duties in a hospital, and knackered after 3 months of covid fighting. I am co author of Battleground Europe Gavrelle, I have had an interest in WW1 R.N.D., I have uncovered glaring identification errors in my time, notable ones are Kirby RMLI in Ancre British (KIA 26/10/17)  and Dickinson in ADANAC (KIA 28/04/17)  errors I assume are due to identification made by numbers on Kit, having previously served in the army I know kit with your number on often goes missing ( near inspection time) and others wear it. Hamoshire was a success.  I have had one success recently, Buckley RMLI in Tournai .  

Work I have done has been mentioned above, as has one of my articles. All of this work was conducted in the mid and late 90's, so pre computerisation, done by putting in the hard yards in archives.  The case of Canadian number 2 and the unknown RM CSM. I found the grave on a visit to the cemetery, at the time I used to note interesting unknowns and followed them up back in the uk. As I knew Gavrelle well I knew that Milne was the only missing CSM at Gavrelle. At the time we had to write to the CWGC with a donation to obtain burial returns. The map reference was given. Yes 2 RM territory. SO I checked the RM casualty list in the  Globe and Laurel and saw CSM J.Campbell. He was not on the CWGC roll. In those situations I go to the Royal Navys casualty records which are the gold standard for the RN. This is ADM242 in the NA. This is a register completed at the end of the war, it gives all the details of every casualty, NOK, where buried (as of 1921ish) etc. Interestingly if there is no known gave, but a burial was known you will find a map reference for the grave. I found Campbell in this register, with no grave reference, so I confirmed that there was a second RM CSM Gavrelle casualty, plus there was no recorded map reference for a burial. I used this record to confirm Hampshire as well. The big problem with burial return map references is that this just notes where the body was found by the retrieval teams in the 20’s. Bodies can be reburied, men can be killed and moved back and buried. So the close proximity of the Campbell and Milne makes identification pretty near impossible. Does the lack of mention of medal ribbons mean its Campbell ( Milne had the MM French and british).

You mentioned Burton-Fanning. I found that the grave of an unknown RM Captain in Orchard dump, did the usual with the CWGC, obtained the grave reference and id method. There were two captains missing at Gavrelle. When looking into it, J.Campbell ( another J.Campbell!!) the other RM Captain was a Lt acting up as Captain. I did submit a case to the CWGC, on the basis that Campbell had very recently been acting up and probably wasn t badged a captain, the case was rejected.  It would be interesting to compare the RN casualty list with the CWGC, I wonder how many RN men are still not officially commemorated.

The last RND glaring ID issue is the case of Ernest Nobbs who was a Lt of the Hood Battalion KIA 25th March 1918. Nobbs was an old marine who rose through the ranks. IT was a case championed many decades ago by my mate Tony Froom who is now very old. In Lebucquiere communual extention. There are many unknown Hood Battalion casualties, amongst them is an unknown Hood Lt. There are only two missing Hood Lt in France, there is Nobbs killed on the march retreat, and there is Eley, Killed at Welsh Ridge near Cambrai. SO georgraphically Nobbs is in the frame. Nobbs indentity disc was handed back to the family from the germans via the red cross. Surviving Hood taken POW record the fact that Nobbs died of a head wound, and they had to bury their comrades together at Berticourt, just south of Lebucquiere. Bit of coincidence that a load of Hood with a Lt appear in a cemetery within a few miles?. I know Tony had more compelling information, however despite being confronted with the evidence the CWGC at the time refused to accept it, and ceased all communication. I often think its who approaches the CWGC< if it was someone high profile the chases of success are higher than the average person.

Link to post
Share on other sites
laughton
15 hours ago, Kyle Tallett said:

I know Tony had more compelling information, however despite being confronted with the evidence the CWGC at the time refused to accept it, and ceased all communication. I often think its who approaches the CWGC< if it was someone high profile the chases of success are higher than the average person.

 

Thanks for your post Kyle, I enjoyed reading your book.

 

I started my research back in the mid-1980's so I have appreciation for your comments about the changes over time. As a Canadian, I initially was only looking at the British Army from the standpoint of the Irish Battalions, where my two grandfathers served, then I got sidetracked in the early 2000's to start much more detailed research on the Canadians in the Great War. As a result, I knew very little of all the other British military units in the Great War until the past few years. It is a steep learning curve for a Canadian but a very rewarding experience.

 

Changes over time have also meant a significant change in the reviews and responses from the CWGC. Although I still have struggles with them in general, I have established a good working relationship with them at various levels and I find them to be most cooperative. I am caught in a bit of a "no-man's land" on many of my cases because they have switched the process of review of Canadian cases from "Ottawa First" back to Maidenhead. I thus have more than fifty (5) older cases (2014+) in limbo from Canada and others proceeding well, where they dealt with British units. There appears to be no rhyme nor reason as to how they select cases for review. As such, I think that you can presume that the CWGC would take a fresh look at any cases that were submitted in the 1990's or earlier, if they even have them in the record books. The only way to find out is to get copies of the original submissions, see what has changed with time, and then check with the CWGC. I would be pleased to follow-up on those cases if you can provide me with the details.

 

As for the identity of the CSM, I recall I had hit a brick wall, but there was a yet unresolved question - perhaps you have the answer:

 

On 18/12/2019 at 11:59, laughton said:

There appears to be a taped interview with R. L. Haine (reference 17 IWM). There is a chance that might have a reference to the death of the CSM. It appears the reference numbers are out of whack in the text but either way there are two interviews, one with Totman and one with Haine.

 

Has anyone on the GWF listened to those interviews?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Kyle Tallett
7 hours ago, laughton said:

 

Thanks for your post Kyle, I enjoyed reading your book.

 

I started my research back in the mid-1980's so I have appreciation for your comments about the changes over time. As a Canadian, I initially was only looking at the British Army from the standpoint of the Irish Battalions, where my two grandfathers served, then I got sidetracked in the early 2000's to start much more detailed research on the Canadians in the Great War. As a result, I knew very little of all the other British military units in the Great War until the past few years. It is a steep learning curve for a Canadian but a very rewarding experience.

 

Changes over time have also meant a significant change in the reviews and responses from the CWGC. Although I still have struggles with them in general, I have established a good working relationship with them at various levels and I find them to be most cooperative. I am caught in a bit of a "no-man's land" on many of my cases because they have switched the process of review of Canadian cases from "Ottawa First" back to Maidenhead. I thus have more than fifty (5) older cases (2014+) in limbo from Canada and others proceeding well, where they dealt with British units. There appears to be no rhyme nor reason as to how they select cases for review. As such, I think that you can presume that the CWGC would take a fresh look at any cases that were submitted in the 1990's or earlier, if they even have them in the record books. The only way to find out is to get copies of the original submissions, see what has changed with time, and then check with the CWGC. I would be pleased to follow-up on those cases if you can provide me with the details.

 

As for the identity of the CSM, I recall I had hit a brick wall, but there was a yet unresolved question - perhaps you have the answer:

 

When doing the book I did investigate all sources. I did listen to taped interviews like those with Joe Murray. I believe I looked at Transcript by accounds of Haine and Pollard. However Haine and Pollard were 1/HAC on the left flank, so had involvement with 1/RM, our two CSM's were 2/RM. AB Down who was with anson gave an account of 2/RM as Anson were their flank guard, but nothing there. I think that this is one of those cases that we shall just have to leave.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Kyle Tallett

This is the entry in ADM 242 the royal navies casualty record for TOm Hampshire. YOu can see that his place of burial map reference is listed. Looking at it he may have been one of the 11 bought in with Lt Lion at the end of may. I wonder if he is buried in orchard dump.

IMG_2045.jpg

IMG_2046.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
laughton

Thanks for that - I will go have a look for anyone with those coordinates! In the middle of hay harvest at the moment.

 

1417546057_TomHamshireBurialLocation.jpg.d24bf467bcf36469f5f1278f3380819c.jpg

 

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...