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laughton

Operation Michael March 1918: Where are they?

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laughton

It appears that there are more of these of interest than I first thought, thus worthy of their own topic. It is a derivative of this topic:
Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery: Case #1 - Captain Royal Irish Rifles

 

I had this in the other topic but have now cut it out and pasted it here so we can add the others. If you have additions to this list, please post them and I will add them to the list. This may be a case where we will find a number of these men as we work through the related cemeteries in the area. Personally I did not know a lot about the battle of "Operation Michael" as it was not an event that involved a lot of the Canadian Corps, however once I realized that it is where my Great Uncle was killed and my Grandfather captured (both 21 March 1918) it most certainly caught my attention. In German it was known as the “Kaiserschlacht” (Kaiser’s Battle).

 

Michael Case #1

 

Captain John Brown (8th Bn, attached 1st Bn, 107th Brigade, 36th (Ulster) Division) who remains listed as an unknown on the Pozieres Memorial.

Where is he?

  • I know he was in the same general area as my Great Uncle 2nd Lieutenant James Kennedy, also 8th Bn. attd. 1st Bn. on the CWGC. My Great Uncle, originally an Unknown Second Lieutenant, is buried in grave 2.F.13 of the Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery (COG-BR 2762205). Oddly, I cannot see any information on COG-BR 2762205 that enabled the GRU to separate my great uncle from Second Lieutenant John Crawford Thompson, also KIA 21 March 1918. The logical answer has to be that Kennedy was 8th Bn (disbanded 7 February 1918) and Thompson was 5th (Extra Reserve) Bn, both attached to 1st Bn.
  • On the same COG-BR as my Great Uncle is Lance Corporal Robert Henry Boyle, also of the 1st Bn. Royal Irish Rifles. He was identified by papers and buried in grave 2.F.18. He was not the Unknown Lance Corporal (5 candidates) that is listed on the same COG-BR, found at the same location, and is buried in grave 2.F.15.
  • We need to keep our eyes open for an Unknown Captain or an Unknown Officer of the Royal Irish Rifles that was found in the vicinity of 66c.A.22 (Castres).

 

Michael Case #2

 

Lance Corporal Hugh Dougan #6512 of the 16th Bn. Pioneers, who I mentioned above in Post #2. I should not leave him "hanging".

Where is he?

  • He should be with Captain Baillie (also 16th Battalion), who I say was recovered at 66c.B.20.c.3.4.
  • This is at or near the same location as my Grandfather Captain Josiah Kennedy, 12th (Service) Battalion was captured.
  • He may in grave 2.F.2 as that Unknown Lance Corporal was recovered at 66c.B.20.c.3.4, where we know 16th Bn men were recovered.
  • As such, I can not separate him from the five (5) Lance Corporals of the 12th (Service) Battalion 108th Brigade who were in the same area
  • He would not be one of the Lance Corporals from the 107th Brigade (1st, 2nd, 15th Battalions)
  • I have not yet checked on the 21st Entrenching Battalion
     
    surname forename unit # cemetery memorial
    BELL JAMES 12th Bn. '17255' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    GOLDSTONE LEONARD 12th Bn. '44748' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    McMULLAN HUGH 12th Bn. '19118' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    PAY ERNEST EDWARD 12th Bn. '44766' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    SMITHSON HENRY ROBINSON 12th Bn. '44764' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    GRAHAM JOSEPH 15th Bn. '2831' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    DYER GEORGE 15th Bn. '45308' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    HIRST EDWARD THOMAS 15th Bn. '43258' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    HOLMES HERBERT 15th Bn. '41421' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    KELLY WILLIAM 15th Bn. '12978' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    DOUGAN HUGH 16th Bn. '6512' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    McHENRY H 16th Bn. '6750' PREMONT BRITISH CEMETERY  5.A.26
    BOYLE ROBERT HENRY 1st Bn. '18/1370' GRAND-SERAUCOURT B.C.  2.F.18
    CONFREY PATRICK 1st Bn. '9709' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    FALLON ARCHIBALD 1st Bn. '6853' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    JOHNSON JOSEPH 1st Bn. '3096' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    QUINN JOSEPH 1st Bn. '25' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    VEIGHEY ANDREW 21st Entrenching Bn., late 10th Bn. '532' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    COOK WILLIAM CHARLES 2nd Bn. '43780' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    HOUSE ALFRED 2nd Bn. '40010' POZIERES MEMORIAL
    O'NEILL HUGH 2nd Bn. '5631'

    POZIERES MEMORIAL

 

So where exactly was the 12th Battalion, other than we know they were in the Jeanne D'Arc Redout, which we now know to be 66c.B.19.d & 66c.B.20.c (see posts that follow). It was there that 22 Officers (including my Grandfather Kennedy) and 566 ORs were killed or captured (war diary page 391 0f 817).

  • Bell #17255 "A" Coy 12th Bn is listed by the German's as a Serjeant (not Corporal) found dead (ICRC) at the dressing station Bahndamm (that is German for dressing station), shot in the chest and buried 50 metres from the dressing station at the crossing of the road St. Quentin - La Fere?  Looks as if recorded as a "common grave", so a number of men were buried there. They might still be there! Now that we have a location, perhaps someone should check?
  • nothing of significance for any of the others, at best just reported missing

 

Michael Case #3

 

Second Lieutenant Edmund De Wind, V.C., most certainly a worthy addition to this list! Born in the UK, moved to Canada and enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, prior to gaining an Officers Commission in the Imperial Army - that same path that both my grandfathers followed. As a member of the 15th Bn. Royal Irish Rifles,107th Brigade, 36th Ulster Division he would have been with my Great Uncle James Kennedy, also a Second Lieutenant of the Royal Irish Rifles 107th Brigade that was killed that day. They may have known each other?

 

This Second Lieutenant would be found in the same area as the Captain referenced in Michael Case #1 above.

 

Fifty-three men of the 15th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles were lost that day, 46 are named on the Pozieres Memorial (CWGC Link).

  • Hamilton and Lee were found at 66c.B.7.a.2.6
  • Scott was recovered from the Essigny-le-Grand German Military Cemetery at 66c.G.18.b.9.6
  • Jackson, probably wounded and died at the medical facility, was concentrated from the original Nyons Cemetery
  • Tyerman has no details - a bit of a mystery?

 

Edmund De Wind is listed here:

 

Quote

The London Gazette," dated May 13, 1919, records the following: Victoria Cross
For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice on the 21st March, 1918, at the Race Course Redoubt, near Grugies. For seven hours he held this most important post, and though twice wounded and practically single-handed, he maintained his position until another section could be got to his help. On two occasions, with two N.C.O.'s only, he got out on top under heavy machine gun and rifle fire, and cleared the enemy out of the trench, killing many. He continued to repel attack after attack until he was mortally wounded and collapsed. His valour, self-sacrifice and example were of the highest order.

 

The following report appears in Jerry Murland's text "Retreat and Rearguard- Somme 1918, The Fifth Army Retreat":

Quote

The Racecourse Redoubt was dug into the railway embankment south of Grugies and garrisoned by one company of 15/Royal Irish Rifles, a garrison that included 35-year-old Second Lieutenant Edmund de Wind. In 1914 de Wind – who was born in County Down – was living in Canada and working for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Edmonton. Like so many young men who had emigrated to the Dominions, he chose to remain in his adopted country and enlisted as a private soldier in the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada. He sailed for France with the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division in September 1915 remaining with them until 1917 after which he was commissioned into the Royal Irish Rifles. On the morning of 21 March  1918 de Wind and his men caught their first glimpse of German infantry at 9.40am. For seven hours he  and a few dozen men held the position. Although he was twice wounded he refused to surrender, climbing out on to the parapet under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire on at least two occasions to clear  German troops out of an adjoining trench. It was only after he was wounded a third time, and fatally,  that the position fell and the survivors taken prisoner. It does appear that after de Wind had been  wounded the survivors surrendered soon afterwards leaving us to consider the remark made by Lieutenant Claude Piesse that where units were under an officer who was willing to hold out until the bitter end they generally did so until that officer was killed or wounded. As far as Father Henry Gill was concerned 15/RIR had been ‘sacrificed’ and de Wind’s award of the Victoria Cross was a poor substitute

 

Updated: There appears to be a conflict in the location where the men were reported lost. The Race Course Redoubt is reported south of Grugies in the text above, which agrees with the trench map (66cNW1 Grugies 2A OS January 1918 13/1/1918 wo297_1622). That is a railway embankment and it appears to still be in place today at about GPS 49.802688 3.267745 (49°48'09.7"N 3°16'03.9"E). The men of the 15th Battalion that were recovered at 66c.B.7.a.2.6 (COG-BR 2762200). That is also on the railway embankment but NORTH of Grugies. Both locations appear to be where a trench crosses the railway:

  • northern location at 66c.B.7.a.2.6 is Riom Trench
  • southern location at 66c.A.24.b.3.3 is St. Etienne Trench

This could be a case of incorrect coordinates recorded by the GRU Squad 34, as both appear very similar on a trench map, or the location of the redoubt was incorrect. The war diary for the period March 1st to 20th is noted as "missing: (War diary page 110 of 181). It picks up on 21/22 March 1918 and deals only with Quartermaster's' Stores and Transport personnel that were not in the action. As for the others, the war diary says "The battalion itself was gone, killed, wounded and prisoners". On further examination I note that the graves of the three men of the 15th Battalion that were recovered had crosses on their graves, suggesting that they were intentionally buried, perhaps by the Germans as the British did not stay in the area past 22 March 1918.

 

I was not able to locate the war diary for the 107th Infantry Brigade (now found - see below). By fluke I did hit on the 36th Division Divisional HQ war diary and for the narrative of 21-28 March 1918 (War diary page 180 of 536). It has 108th Brigade on the right, 107th Brigade centre and 109th Brigade left. The 15th Battalion was in the forward zone and the 1st Battalion in the battle zone. The 109th on the left is reported to be in the Boadicea Redoubt, which is 66c.A.11&17, so due west of Grugies and more in line with the northern location of the railway embankment. Then we have a direct reference to the last message received from the "RACECOURSE", location specified as 66c.A.18.d.2.2. That is just southwest of the Sugar Factory. For reference, they also give the specific reference to the "JEANNE D'ARC" as 66c.B.19.d & 66c.B.20.c. That is a direct match to our case for the Captain of the Royal Irish Rifles (this topic).

 

The daily entries for the Divisional HQ reports that the 107th Brigade Battle Headquarters were at 66c.G.8.a.55.75. It was also reported that the men at the Racecourse Redoubt were still holding out at 1 o'clock in the afternoon. Everyone was completely out of the area on 22 March 1918, having crossed over the St. Quentin Canal at HAMEL 66c.G.1.

 

Having the Divisional war diary provided the information necessary to find the 107th Brigade (war diary page 2 of 303). The specific section for March 1918 has a narrative of the operations as well (war diary page 180 of 303). The battle zone and redoubts were under gas and shell fire at 12:15 pm. Heavy casualties are reported a 1:45 pm but they are still holding the railway cutting.

 

Michael Case -NEW - these now appear as separate posts starting with #4

 

Edited by laughton
Updating with additional cases .... now in separate posts

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jaykayu
14 hours ago, laughton said:

I have not yet checked on the 21st Entrenching Battalion

 

Hi Richard

 

War diary for 21 Entrenching (WO/95/828/10) lists them on 21/3/1918 at Villesselve, with B company at Voyennes . . These locations are approx 17km & 21km respectively from 66c.B.20.c.3.4.  On 22/3/1918 they (apart from B company) moved towards Ham to a location south of the canal 15km from 66c.B.20.c.3.4.  On 23/3/1918 they were in action before retiring south to Brouchy and then back to Villeselve area on the 24th.  So this would discount Lance Corporal VEIGHEY of 21 Entrenching.

 

Regards

 

J

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laughton
2 hours ago, Chris_Baker said:

Very interesting, Richard.

 

I can see how you got hooked on this back in July - nice write up! Back when you did the initial research on my Grandfather Kennedy I knew next to nothing, so a lot of water has passed under the bridge.

 

One piece of this puzzle I have not yet figured out is how a number of these men ended up in the Bouchoir New British Cemetery. For example, 44 year old Rifleman William Mctaggart of the 16th Bn Royal Irish Rifles is reported deceased on 21 March 1918 and is recovered at 66e.Q.4.b.90.15? He should have been at the Jeanne D'Arc Redoubt 66c.B.20.c.3.4 with Captain Baillie and my Grandfather Kennedy. That is a distance of 45 kilometers (28 miles)?

 

For 21 March 1918 there are five (5) known and a host of unknown men of the RIR in the cemetery (CWGC Link). That includes 1st (2) , 10th (1), 16th (2) battalions.

 

It looks as if the date of death was not really known, which would explain the situation.

  • Bass 41355 - Soldiers' Effects says 21/28-3-1918, so date of death appears to have been later than CWGC recorded
  • Curtis 47509 - Soldiers' Effects on or since 21-3-1918 so they did not know his date of death
  • Davis 43466 - Soldiers' Effects 21-3-1918 presumed dead
  • Eccleston, Sydney17/1578 10th Bn - Soldiers' Effects 21-29-3-1918, so date of death not really known

 

Edited by laughton
added information from Soldiers' Effects

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dickaren
5 hours ago, laughton said:

 

I can see how you got hooked on this back in July - nice write up! Back when you did the initial research on my Grandfather Kennedy I knew next to nothing, so a lot of water has passed under the bridge.

 

One piece of this puzzle I have not yet figured out is how a number of these men ended up in the Bouchoir New British Cemetery. For example, 44 year old Rifleman William Mctaggart of the 16th Bn Royal Irish Rifles is reported deceased on 21 March 1918 and is recovered at 66e.Q.4.b.90.15? He should have been at the Jeanne D'Arc Redoubt 66c.B.20.c.3.4 with Captain Baillie and my Grandfather Kennedy. That is a distance of 45 kilometers (28 miles)?

 

For 21 March 1918 there are five (5) known and a host of unknown men of the RIR in the cemetery (CWGC Link). That includes 1st (2) , 10th (1), 16th (2) battalions.

 

It looks as if the date of death was not really known, which would explain the situation.

  • Bass 41355 - Soldiers' Effects says 21/28-3-1918, so date of death appears to have been later than CWGC recorded
  • Curtis 47509 - Soldiers' Effects on or since 21-3-1918 so they did not know his date of death
  • Davis 43466 - Soldiers' Effects 21-3-1918 presumed dead
  • Eccleston, Sydney17/1578 10th Bn - Soldiers' Effects 21-29-3-1918, so date of death not really known

 

Hi Richard,

The CWGC probably has the dates of death for these men incorrect as they were almost certainly killed 26th/27th March during fighting around the village of Erches. This would be understandable due to the chaotic situation during the first week of the retreat. An excellent account of the fighting and retreat can be found in the book "A long week in March" by Michael Nugent

Richard

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laughton

It appears, particularly in the matter of Michael Case #3 dealing with the Royal Irish Rifles, that I need to sort out exactly where each battalion was on that fateful day. I have now found R.I.Rifles Officers in the Grand-Searaourt British Cemetery as well as the Savy British Cemetery (linked to topics not cemeteries). My guess is that there are more known officers, so I just need to find out in which cemeteries there are concentrations from 66c.A (10th Brigade) and 66c.B (108th Brigade & 16th Pioneers).

 

As the location of the grave for Captain Baillie has already been located (subject to CWGC approval process), it leaves only the two (2) Second Lieutenants in the 108th Brigade (12th and 16th Battalions) to locate:

 

surname forename death rank battalion brigade location
MAGOOKIN WILLIAM DOUGLAS 21/03/1918 Second Lieutenant 12th Bn. 108th 66c.B.
BAILLIE HUGH MONTGOMERY 21/03/1918 Captain 16th Bn. Div Troops 66c.B. (found)
PAUL DAVID 21/03/1918 Second Lieutenant 16th Bn. Div Troops 66c.B.

 

Second Lieutenant Magookin would have been with my Grandfather (A/Captain Kennedy - survived POW). also of the 12th Battalion. I have this on his web page concerning the war diary entry:

Quote

War Diary of 20th and 21st March 1918 recording the opening of Operation Michael at 4:30 am with an “extremely heavy bombardment”, including gas shells. The battalion was in the front line trenches at the Jeanne D’Arc Redoubt (defensive position). By 5am communication with the rear was cut off and by 12 noon the battalion was surrounded, with 22 Officers and 566 other ranks in the line, now reported as missing. With the battalion surrounded and missing we know that many of the men were captured and became Prisoners of War with Captain Kennedy. The CWGC Reports that only 36 men were killed in action, of only which Private Denton remains were eventually recovered.

 

The Divisional H.Q. records (War diary page 182 of 536) giver the location of the JEANNE D'ARC REDOUBT as 66c.B.19 and 66c.B.20.c, That should simplify the process of finding the Second Lieutenants, if (a big if) they were killed there and buried there. If they were in the large group that was taken away as POWs (wounded perhaps) then they may have died elsewhere and buried by the Germans. We would not expect to see them in the area where the 108th Brigade was fighting. I was not able to find MAGOOKIN on the ICRC database, which I also checked as "MacGOOKIN" as there were a number of Irish with that spelling as well. He may be in the database somewhere with a different spelling - even if just and inquiry. There were also some under "GOOKIN".

 

Second Lieutenant David Paul did have an ICRC record, stating only that he was missing 21.3.18 and that there was "negatif envoye" as of 18.5.18.

 

For the record, there are a number of Royal Irish Rifles in Sectors 66c.G.8 and G.14, which is due south of Grand-Seraucourt, but they appear to be from earlier in March. THey may have been buried in the communal cemetery or the french extension of that cemetery.

 

On going back to the COG-BR records for Grand-Seraucourt, I also noticed some additional named men recovered at 66c.B7.a.2.6. That is interesting, as that is the northern location of the railway embankment NORTH of Grugies. There has been some question as to whether the men were in their final battles at that northern embankment of the one south of Grugies. Those are men from the 15th Battalion (107th Brigade) and not associated with the missing men of the 108th Brigade (see here for COG-BR 2762200 for Charters and the two Drummer boys).

 

The recheck of all the Grand-Seraucourt COG-BR documents did not show any R.I.R. Officers that were missed, or could have potentially been Officers not so recorded. Magookin and Paul may be in another cemetery, or not yet recovered. See @Chris_Baker post above (this one) about the missing graves, perhaps not yet uncovered.

 

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laughton

 Michael Case #4 - 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles Officers

 

Note: I had been updating and adding these to the first post, but now that it appears the list will continue to grow I have separated them into new posts. Some may eventually spring off into new topics.

 

Second Lieutenant Maurice Anderdon McFerran, 5th Bn. attached 2nd Bn., is missing on 21 March 1918. He is specifically mentioned (war diary page 5 of 72):

Quote

About 10 a.m. 2/Lieutenant M. A. Mc Ferran, M.C. was killed in the neighbourhood of GRUGIES, whilst endeavouring to ascertain the situation.

 

The village of GRUGIES is located in sectors 66c.A.12 and 66c.A.18. He might have also gone to the area on the railway embankment where a number of men appear to have been lost. See also the references in Michael Case #1 about the location of the various redoubts.

 

On that same page are references to Lieutenant G. E. Lynch and 2/Lieutenant W. L. P. Dobbin (both "D" Coy, 2nd Irish Rifles). Both are named on the Pozieres Memorial, so they are now on the"Operation Michael Watch List". Note that Lieutenant Lynch does not appear on the Royal Irish Rifles list for he CWGC, rather he is listed as 7th Bn. Durham Light Infantry, attached 7th (South Irish Horse) Bn., Royal Irish Rifles. Same on the UK National Archives. Something odd there as the Long. Long Trail tells us:

Quote

Converted into infantry and became the 7th (Service) Battalion (South Irish Horse), the Royal Irish Regiment on 1 September 1917.

 

Thanks to @Becstar who noticed that some of the Officers showed up in the Ham British Cemetery, which would be immediately after they left the area of Grand-Seraucourt.

 

The 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles (107th Brigade) fell back on the Le Hamel - Happencourt road on the evening of 21 March 1918 (war diary page 5 of 72). They then moved to an old French Trench system southeast of Happencourt 66d.L.11. Now we are moving off the 66c sector map into 66d where the other Royal Irish Officers start to appear. It was also in this area we noticed the Entrenching Battalion Officers.

 

Once again we run into another "CWGC Affiliation" issue as on 22 March 1918 the 2nd Battalion war diary tells us that they moved to Cugny 66d.R.20 on the 23rd where the battle continued to rage. On 24 March 1918 (war diary page 6 of 72) they were attacked and suffered extensive loses. Here they reported the Casualty Officers:

  • Captain Thomas John Chichester Thompson - missing
    •  he did not show up on the previous lists, even when I investigated missing Captains with the Royal Irish Rifles as the Secondary Regiment
    • here lies the problem, the CWGC has him listed as 4th Battalion attached to the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers
    • the Pozieres Register has similar wording but not exactly, it says 4th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, attached to 2nd Battalion, but no regiment name
    • obviously the correct statement is "4th Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers, attached 2nd Bn Royal Irish Rifles"
    • the only one I see in the UK National Archives is a 2/Lieutenant Thomas Thompson of the Princess Victoria's (Royal Irish Fusiliers)
  • Captain J. C. Bryans - missing
  • Lieutenant & A/ Adjutant Morgan Edward Jellett Moore - missing (recovered post war)
    • have to check that one, as he is listed as being back in the Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery COG-BR 2762266
    • that is correct, he was recovered brom 66d.R.23.c.4.4 which is 3,000 yards due east of Cugny
  • Lieutenant Richard Brereton Marriott-Watson - missing
    • correctly listed as 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles
    • remembered on the Pozieres Memorial - so now one of our candidate missing officers on this list
  • Lieutenant John Kemmy Boyle - missing (found later as POW)
    • obviously captured, as he did not die until 21 October 1918 and is buried in Germany
    • he does have a record at the ICRC
    • PA 42191 tells us he was at Festung lazarett (hospital)
  • Lieutenant E C Strohm - missing (appears to have been POW)
    • don't see him on the CWGC - must have survived
    • he is on the UK National Archives as Lieutenant Edward Charles Strohm
    • he too has a record at the ICRC
    • PA26224 listed as a 2nd Lieutenant captured at Cugny 24 March 1918
    • appears to say he "arrived from Rastaff at Lahr", I assume a POW camp from which he was repatriated

The Ulster History had a map showing the line of retreat for the division:

i_230ab-large.jpg

 

So if I have this correct, we have two Officers here that were killed whose remains were not knowingly recovered:

  • Captain Thompson
  • Lieutenant Marriott-Watson

 

There are some of these in the Ham British Cemetery, but as they are also with an Officer of the 23rd Entrenching Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (i.e. 2/Lt Haddock) we can not separate them without further details. You will note that Haddock was of the 14th (Service) Battalion which was the ones that Chris's LLT refers to as the "Young Citizens Volunteers". Those I imagine are the same affiliation as the ones noted on this COG-BR 2763389 (and others) as "Y.C.V. Regiment". The text indicates that they were buried by the Germans. The RIR OFFICER is the last one on that sheet. He would be still wearing RIR insignia, as demonstrated by Haddocks listing. The only other 23rd Battalion officer that is missing is Second Lieutenant Robert Victor Lyons, so it is either him or Marriott-Watson. My guess is that it is Lyons given the association with the other men of the unit also found at that precise location.

 

Chris's site for the ENTRENCHING BATTALIONS also tells us: (check on the second part of this as Haddock is listed by the CWGC as both units)

Quote

No special badges or other insignia were issued to men who were transferred into the Entrenching Battalions. They would retain their original regimental and battalion identity until posted to other units.

 

Men who lost their lives while serving with Entrenching Battalions do not have this information included in the details recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which recognises them by their original regimental and battalion identity.

That should mean that any men lost, Officers or OR, should be wearing insignia of the original battalions so any with the YCV are ex-14th Battalion now 23rd Entrenching Battalion.

 

The sheets for the HAM BRITISH CEMETERY have references to both the British and French map coordinates, however we can get some idea of what the French ones mean from those that appear in both formats (i.e COG-BR 2763385 and COG-BR 2763387). This means that French Map Nesle 1/20000 68-13 is the same as 66d.J.35.c.2.8. That is the grave 2.C.5 of an Unknown British 1st Lieutenant, no regimental affiliation provided.

Edited by laughton

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dickaren
3 hours ago, laughton said:

 Michael Case #4 - 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles Officers

 

Note: I had been updating and adding these to the first post, but now that it appears the list will continue to grow I have separated them into new posts. Some may eventually spring off into new topics.

 

Second Lieutenant Maurice Anderdon McFerran, 5th Bn. attached 2nd Bn., is missing on 21 March 1918. He is specifically mentioned (war diary page 5 of 72):

 

The village of GRUGIES is located in sectors 66c.A.12 and 66c.A.18. He might have also gone to the area on the railway embankment where a number of men appear to have been lost. See also the references in Michael Case #1 about the location of the various redoubts.

 

On that same page are references to Lieutenant G. E. Lynch and 2/Lieutenant W. L. P. Dobbin (both "D" Coy, 2nd Irish Rifles). Both are named on the Pozieres Memorial, so they are now on the"Operation Michael Watch List". Note that Lieutenant Lynch does not appear on the Royal Irish Rifles list for he CWGC, rather he is listed as 7th Bn. Durham Light Infantry, attached 7th (South Irish Horse) Bn., Royal Irish Rifles. Same on the UK National Archives. Something odd there as the Long. Long Trail tells us:

 

Thanks to @Becstar who noticed that some of the Officers showed up in the Ham British Cemetery, which would be immediately after they left the area of Grand-Seraucourt.

 

The 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles (107th Brigade) fell back on the Le Hamel - Happencourt road on the evening of 21 March 1918 (war diary page 5 of 72). They then moved to an old French Trench system southeast of Happencourt 66d.L.11. Now we are moving off the 66c sector map into 66d where the other Royal Irish Officers start to appear. It was also in this area we noticed the Entrenching Battalion Officers.

 

Once again we run into another "CWGC Affiliation" issue as on 22 March 1918 the 2nd Battalion war diary tells us that they moved to Cugny 66d.R.20 on the 23rd where the battle continued to rage. On 24 March 1918 (war diary page 6 of 72) they were attacked and suffered extensive loses. Here they reported the Casualty Officers:

  • Captain Thomas John Chichester Thompson - missing
    •  he did not show up on the previous lists, even when I investigated missing Captains with the Royal Irish Rifles as the Secondary Regiment
    • here lies the problem, the CWGC has him listed as 4th Battalion attached to the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers
    • the Pozieres Register has similar wording but not exactly, it says 4th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, attached to 2nd Battalion, but no regiment name
    • obviously the correct statement is "4th Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers, attached 2nd Bn Royal Irish Rifles"
    • the only one I see in the UK National Archives is a 2/Lieutenant Thomas Thompson of the Princess Victoria's (Royal Irish Fusiliers)
  • Captain J. C. Bryans - missing
  • Lieutenant & A/ Adjutant Morgan Edward Jellett Moore - missing (recovered post war)
    • have to check that one, as he is listed as being back in the Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery COG-BR 2762266
    • that is correct, he was recovered brom 66d.R.23.c.4.4 which is 3,000 yards due east of Cugny
  • Lieutenant Richard Brereton Marriott-Watson - missing
    • correctly listed as 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles
    • remembered on the Pozieres Memorial - so now one of our candidate missing officers on this list
  • Lieutenant John Kemmy Boyle - missing (found later as POW)
    • obviously captured, as he did not die until 21 October 1918 and is buried in Germany
    • he does have a record at the ICRC
    • PA 42191 tells us he was at Festung lazarett (hospital)
  • Lieutenant E C Strohm - missing (appears to have been POW)
    • don't see him on the CWGC - must have survived
    • he is on the UK National Archives as Lieutenant Edward Charles Strohm
    • he too has a record at the ICRC
    • PA26224 listed as a 2nd Lieutenant captured at Cugny 24 March 1918
    • appears to say he "arrived from Rastaff at Lahr", I assume a POW camp from which he was repatriated

The Ulster History had a map showing the line of retreat for the division:

i_230ab-large.jpg

 

So if I have this correct, we have two Officers here that were killed whose remains were not knowingly recovered:

  • Captain Thompson
  • Lieutenant Marriott-Watson

 

There are some of these in the Ham British Cemetery, but as they are also with an Officer of the 23rd Entrenching Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (i.e. 2/Lt Haddock) we can not separate them without further details. You will note that Haddock was of the 14th (Service) Battalion which was the ones that Chris's LLT refers to as the "Young Citizens Volunteers". Those I imagine are the same affiliation as the ones noted on this COG-BR 2763389 (and others) as "Y.C.V. Regiment". The text indicates that they were buried by the Germans. The RIR OFFICER is the last one on that sheet. He would be still wearing RIR insignia, as demonstrated by Haddocks listing. The only other 23rd Battalion officer that is missing is Second Lieutenant Robert Victor Lyons, so it is either him or Marriott-Watson. My guess is that it is Lyons given the association with the other men of the unit also found at that precise location.

 

Chris's site for the ENTRENCHING BATTALIONS also tells us: (check on the second part of this as Haddock is listed by the CWGC as both units)

That should mean that any men lost, Officers or OR, should be wearing insignia of the original battalions so any with the YCV are ex-14th Battalion now 23rd Entrenching Battalion.

 

The sheets for the HAM BRITISH CEMETERY have references to both the British and French map coordinates, however we can get some idea of what the French ones mean from those that appear in both formats (i.e COG-BR 2763385 and COG-BR 2763387). This means that French Map Nesle 1/20000 68-13 is the same as 66d.J.35.c.2.8. That is the grave 2.C.5 of an Unknown British 1st Lieutenant, no regimental affiliation provided.

 

When taken prisoner Captain Bryans was congratulated on the stand of the 2nd RIR by a German officer who also promised that Captain Thompson and Lieutenant Marriot Watson would receive a proper burial in Cugny Churchyard- see A Long Week in March by Michael James Nugent page 182.

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laughton
2 hours ago, dickaren said:

When taken prisoner Captain Bryans was congratulated on the stand of the 2nd RIR by a German officer who also promised that Captain Thompson and Lieutenant Marriot Watson would receive a proper burial in Cugny Churchyard- see A Long Week in March by Michael James Nugent page 182.

 

Hmmm ..... but I do not see any listing for a Cugny Churchyard cemetery, not on the CWGC website, the DAL list or the White Cross Atlas.

 

I suspect that it might be in the CUGY MILITARY CEMETERIES that were concentrated into Grand-Seraucourt as it says this:

 

Quote

CUGNY MILITARY CEMETERIES (Aisne, near Ham; the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles held out and were annihilated here 24 March 1918); used by British and Germans, it contained 88 British graves of February-June 1918. 

 

When I was working on that cemetery I did not find the details, rather I provided this:

 

Quote

CUGNY MILITARY CEMETERIES DAL has a Cugny British Cemetery at 66d.R.14.d.3.2? (Aisne, near Ham; the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles held out and were annihilated here 24 March 1918); used by British and Germans, it contained 88 British graves of February-June 1918. 

  • COG-BR 2762283 - CUGNY COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION 66d.R.20.d.3.8
  • GRRF 2005767 for 6 on a Kipling Memorial, POWs whose graves are lost

 

Most definitely CUGNY is at 66d.R.20 so I need to find a Churchyard Cemetery with a similar address. My detailed UKNA trench maps do not cover that area so the best reference in the church marked on the McMaster Map at 66d.R.20.d.2.5. I will look in the morning for 88 graves from that area. That is close to where Lieutenant Moore was found (see above) but he was to the east of Cugny.

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dickaren
43 minutes ago, laughton said:

 

Hmmm ..... but I do not see any listing for a Cugny Churchyard cemetery, not on the CWGC website, the DAL list or the White Cross Atlas.

 

I suspect that it might be in the CUGY MILITARY CEMETERIES that were concentrated into Grand-Seraucourt as it says this:

 

 

When I was working on that cemetery I did not find the details, rather I provided this:

 

 

Most definitely CUGNY is at 66d.R.20 so I need to find a Churchyard Cemetery with a similar address. My detailed UKNA trench maps do not cover that area so the best reference in the church marked on the McMaster Map at 66d.R.20.d.2.5. I will look in the morning for 88 graves from that area. That is close to where Lieutenant Moore was found (see above) but he was to the east of Cugny.

 

If they were buried in the churchyard, graves are now lost? The church is away from the communal cemetery in which there is one WW1 unknown.

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laughton

Going through the COG-BR for Grand-Seraucourt looking for men that were concentrated from the specific area of the Cugny Churchyard:

 

COG-BR 2762217 Unknown British Soldier Plot 4 Row A Grave 19 66d.R.20.d.3.2

  • if you put that into the converter you get GPS of 49.706579 3.155842 which takes you to Rue de l'Eglise (Church Street)
  • narrowing down on that area on Google Earth and we find the church at 49°42'25.79"N 3° 9'22.42"E

COG-BR 2762283 Two (2) Unknown British Soldiers, from what is named the "Cugny Communal Cemetery German Extension" at 66d.R.20.d.3.8 so almost exact. They were in the French Section and crossed as German but were exhumed British. Is there a clue with the "Green Triangle on to of tunic sleeve"? Is it the marking of the 10th Royal Irish Rifles, 107th Brigade as shown on the LLT for the 36th (Ulster) Division? That battalion was disbanded 20 February 1918 - no idea where the Officers went.

36div.jpg

 

Is the main clue that there were only two (2) men concentrated from this location? This does seem to be more to the north but still in within the village at 49°42'32.6"N 3°09'20.8"E. Going to Google Earth, it does take us back to Rue de l'Eglise (Church Street) and there clearly you can see the church. It appears there is some difference between the church location marked on the trench maps versus the one that appears in Google Earth. Another day and another puzzle!

 

doc2762283.JPG 287246887_Grand-SeraucourtCOG-BR2762283.jpg.bc1300c7735395a361148015b2297ca7.jpg

 

The CWGC database did not reveal any Officers of the 10th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles that went to the other units, died and are listed on the Pozieres Memorial. There were twenty (20) men, three (3) that went to the 36th Machine Gun Corps and seventeen (17) to the 21st Entrenching Battalion:

 

surname forename death death2 rank unit at time of death #
ADAMS DAVID 21/03/1918 Serjeant Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) '1146'
ARMITAGE SAMUEL 21/03/1918 Rifleman 21st Entrenching Battalion '42667'
BALLARD FREDERICK CHARLES 21/03/1918 Rifleman 21st Entrenching Battalion '42183'
COCHRANE THOMAS 21/03/1918 Rifleman 21st Entrenching Battalion '2306'
DALE JOHN HENRY 21/03/1918 Regimental Serjeant Major 21st Entrenching Battalion '14407'
DYER WILLIAM  21/03/1918 Rifleman 21st Entrenching Battalion '12291'
GIDDINS JOSEPH 21/03/1918 Rifleman 21st Entrenching Battalion '42703'
GRAHAM THOMAS 30/03/1918 Rifleman 21st Entrenching Battalion '233'
HAUGHEY HENRY 21/03/1918 Rifleman Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) '12200'
HUTCHINSON THOMAS 21/03/1918 Rifleman Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) '5325'
MARSHALL WILLIAM 21/03/1918 Rifleman 21st Entrenching Battalion '132'
McADAM CHARLES JOHN 29/03/1918 Rifleman 21st Entrenching Battalion '44637'
ROBINSON DAVID 21/03/1918 Corporal 21st Entrenching Battalion '15864'
RODGERS WILLIAM 21/03/1918 Rifleman 21st Entrenching Battalion '1211'
ROSS SAMUEL 21/03/1918 29/03/1918 Rifleman 21st Entrenching Battalion '15879'
SALMON WILLIAM RICHARD 21/03/1918 Rifleman 21st Entrenching Battalion '43327'
SKELLY JAMES 21/03/1918 Corporal 21st Entrenching Battalion '6717'
TURNER GEORGE 21/03/1918 Rifleman 21st Entrenching Battalion '1652'
VEIGHEY ANDREW 21/03/1918 Lance Corporal 21st Entrenching Battalion '532'
WILSON JAMES 21/03/1918 Rifleman 21st Entrenching Battalion '904'
Edited by laughton
added table of 10th RIR men

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WhiteStarLine
On 05/01/2020 at 07:59, dickaren said:

 My detailed UKNA trench maps do not cover that area so the best reference in the church marked on the McMaster Map at 66d.R.20.d.2.5.

NLS has this trench map and it is accessible from preview.tmapper.com, showing a short distance from the church to the location (as described in post #11).

 

image.png.680e228b2c341ce908adde5b4b56a108.png

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laughton

Yahoo! That means that I have to find the two bodies that were at 66d.R.20.d.20.38 (the red crosshairs).

 

Anybody going on a battlefield visit close to Cugny? Would be fantastic to find out what burials are in that churchyard (if any). This
is very similar to the case for the Brielen Schoolyard in Belgium (Where is Fred & Fred?).

 

Thanks. I use tmapper but I had not looked at the NLS maps for some time. I did not know that they have the 70 SERIES maps that are missing from the McMaster collection so that is great information!!

 

I see now that the 1/20,000 that you referenced has both the CHURCH (red) and the COMMUNAL CEMETERY G.E.(green) clearly marked which was not on the 1/40,000. That puts it in the same location as the Google Street View, whereas I was getting it where the "yellow dot" is shown. It appears then that the communal cemetery takes up a large portion of 66d.R.20.d.central with the German Extension (where the two bodies were recovered) at 66d.R.20.d.3.8.

40v76gn3ljw462s6g.jpg

 

CemeteryImage.ashx?id=24110

 

So these are NOT the bodies that were referenced in "dickaren" (the other "Richard") post. I have not found anything that says those two bodies were exhumed, so perhaps they are still there?

 

The only CUGNY cemetery recorded in the CWGC database is the Cugny Communal Cemetery where they record seven(7) WWII aviators and the one UNKNOWN of the Great War.

 

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JOVE23
On 04/01/2020 at 08:33, laughton said:

The sheets for the HAM BRITISH CEMETERY have references to both the British and French map coordinates, however we can get some idea of what the French ones mean from those that appear in both formats (i.e COG-BR 2763385 and COG-BR 2763387). This means that French Map Nesle 1/20000 68-13 is the same as 66d.J.35.c.2.8. That is the grave 2.C.5 of an Unknown British 1st Lieutenant, no regimental affiliation provided.

I can suss out the coordinates on French trench maps well enough, but I can't find this map in particular! Sorry I can't be of any use here.

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Paul Thompson

Hi. I have just recently found this post and I have been trying to follow it. My g-g-uncle was Andrew Veighey (and I am proud to say that I have his medals). Is there no way of identifying where he could possible be buried as an unknown soldier of the Great War? I know he is listed on Pozieres memorial but has no known grave. Is it possible to even narrow it down to one or two places? Thanks. 

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laughton

@Paul Thompson

 

Lance Corporal Andrew Veighey #532

Death 21 March 1918

21st Entrenching Battalion

from 10th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles

 

You may have noticed that his name was on the list in the very first post in this topic. At that point in time I had not dealt with the men of the 21st Entrenching Battalion. A possible man of the 10th Royal Irish Rifles, which by that point in time had been disbanded, then appeared in the Cugny Communal Cemetery Extension (if that is what the "green triangle" represented). One could assume that the men to the 10th Bn that went to the 21st Entrenching Battalion might still be wearing their original markings. Your great-great-uncle thus appears again in the list in the eleventh post. The fact that he was an NCO (a Lance Corporal) means there is a better chance of identification that a Rifleman but certainly not as good a chance as an Officer.

 

Member @jaykayu deals with the matter of Lance Corporal Veighy in the second post, where he says they were at Villesselve Villeselve 66d.Q.35 or Voyennes ("B" Coy), which is about 2.3 miles southwest of Cugny (GPS = 49°41'27.37"N 3° 6'38.25"E). The CWGC LIST of cemeteries near Villeselve includes:

  • Cugny Communal Cemetery
  • Ham British Cemetery the largest in the area with 486 known)
  • Annois Communal Cemetery
  • Flavy-le-Martel Communal Cemetery
  • Eppeville Old Churchyard
  • Caillouel Churchyard
  • Jussy COmmunal Cemetery

If your man was still listed at the time as being of the 10th Bn Royal Irish Rifles,then I see there are 18 others on the CWGC LIST for that date. Most are listed on the Pozieres Memorial. Checking on the details, 16 of the men were in the 21st Entrenching Battalion:

 

ARMITAGE SAMUEL Rifleman Royal Irish Rifles 21st Entrenching Bn., late 10th Bn. '42667'
BALLARD FREDERICK CHARLES Rifleman Royal Irish Rifles 21st Entrenching Bn., late 10th Bn. '42183'
COCHRANE THOMAS Rifleman Royal Irish Rifles 21st Entrenching Bn., late 10th Bn. '2306'
DALE JOHN HENRY Regimental Serjeant Major Royal Irish Rifles 21st Entrenching Bn., late 10th Bn. '14407'
DYER WILLIAM  Rifleman Royal Irish Rifles 21st Entrenching Bn., late 10th Bn. '12291'
GIDDINS JOSEPH Rifleman Royal Irish Rifles 21st Entrenching Bn., late 10th Bn. '42703'
MARSHALL WILLIAM Rifleman Royal Irish Rifles 21st Entrenching Bn., late 10th Bn. '132'
ROBINSON DAVID Corporal Royal Irish Rifles 21st Entrenching Bn., late 10th Bn. '15864'
RODGERS WILLIAM Rifleman Royal Irish Rifles 21st Entrenching Bn., late 10th Bn. '1211'
ROSS SAMUEL Rifleman Royal Irish Rifles 21st Entrenching Bn., late 10th Bn. '15879'
SALMON WILLIAM RICHARD Rifleman Royal Irish Rifles 21st Entrenching Bn., late 10th Bn. '43327'
SKELLY JAMES Corporal Royal Irish Rifles 21st Entrenching Bn., late 10th Bn. '6717'
TURNER GEORGE Rifleman Royal Irish Rifles 21st Entrenching Bn., late 10th Bn. '1652'
VEIGHEY ANDREW Lance Corporal Royal Irish Rifles 21st Entrenching Bn., late 10th Bn. '532'
WILSON JAMES Rifleman Royal Irish Rifles 21st Entrenching Bn., late 10th Bn. '904'

 

I would start with the Ham British Cemetery Records and see if you can find any of the men listed as unknowns. They will probably be listed as RIR. Also look for any men that were concentrated from an area around 66d.Q.35There are some strange map coordinates on the COG-BR documents for that cemetery, which I have not looked at in detail, but it appears they are French trench map coordinates.

 

It is not an easy project to look for a specific unknown, but it can be done. It takes patience and a lot of research, knowing all along that the chances of finding the man are slim. It took me 5 years to find Private John Montanelli, then all of a sudden there he was, buried in a cemetery far away from where he was killed in action (concentration cemeteries were open at different locations at different times after the war).

 

Happy Hunting!

 

 

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jaykayu

Hi Paul

 

As Richard mentioned, Andrew Veighey is on the Pozieres Memorial as being with the 21st Entrenching Battalion, made up of men previously with the 8/9th and 10th Royal Irish Rifles.  The 21 Entrenching war diary is WO-95/828/10 and can be downloaded from the National Archives currently for free, it's only 12 pages but does cover the 21st March 1918 when your Great Great Uncle died.

 

In it you will see that on 21 March their HQ and 3 companies were at Villeselve near Ham, with one company under captain Hackett at Voyennes 12km away (they didn't join the Battalion again until 26 March at Bouchoir).  On 22/3 the companies at Villeselve were ordered north to a line near Ham between Sommette and Vert Gallant. On 23/3 they moved back south to Broucy, and on 24/3 to south west of Villeselve before withdrawing via Guiscard to Beaulieu Les Fontaines 9km away.

 

I agree that Ham British Cemetery is your best option - there are a number of unknown Royal Irish Rifles soldiers there and it's just 2.5 km away from the above route 21 Entrenching took .

 

Cheers

 

J

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JOVE23

Finally found a Nesle map! https://archives.marne.fr/ark:/86869/a0113584280851v3OYY/1/1

 

Though...I'm not sure it's covering the proper area. Here's the assembly table for all the 1:20,000 maps for the French Army: https://archives.marne.fr/ark:/86869/a011358428085pWLdOr/1/1 ... seems there should be standalone maps for Nesle, Chaulnes, and Ham, but I haven't had any luck finding them.

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jaykayu
11 hours ago, JOVE23 said:

Finally found a Nesle map! https://archives.marne.fr/ark:/86869/a0113584280851v3OYY/1/1

 

Though...I'm not sure it's covering the proper area. Here's the assembly table for all the 1:20,000 maps for the French Army: https://archives.marne.fr/ark:/86869/a011358428085pWLdOr/1/1 ... seems there should be standalone maps for Nesle, Chaulnes, and Ham, but I haven't had any luck finding them.

 

 Good detail on this map!  Many more of the woods are named on it than on other maps I have seen of the area. As you mention, the standalone maps will be really useful if they are ever discovered.

 

Cheers 

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