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Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery: Case #3 - Captain Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

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This is a derivative of this topic for the Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery:



  On 21/03/2019 at 16:04, laughton said:

COG-BR 2762240 - Captain Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (CWGC Link) 66d.R.18.c.3.1 also a large burial area

My original entry was incorrect as the COG-BR was changed from 66c to 66d. I have now fixed that in both locations.


That turns out to be an odd case. Definitely there would have been men of the 1st, 2nd. and 9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (109th Brigade) involved in the retreat and rearguard action of the 36th (Ulster) Division. The specific location is about 4,500 yards east-northeast of Cugny past Flavy-le-Martel, which is not on the direct path of the retreat of the division recorded in the divisional history (this map). Easily could have been a burial area off to the side.


The problem is that there are no Captains on the Pozieres Memorial. He is not named on GRRF 2005710. There are no Captains with the Fusiliers as the "Secondary Regiment".


On checking further there was a Captain J. F. Harvey on the Pozieres Memorial, clearly shown on panel list PL2200460. The date is correct and he was 9th Battalion but it would appear someone has said he is in Plot 3 Row G Grave 8 of the Noyon New British Cemetery. This must be a recent change, as his CWGC file still shows the Pozieres documents not any related to Noyon. Here is what the CWGC has to say:


Noyon was the British G.H.Q. on the 26th - 28th August 1914. It was entered by the Germans on the 1st September 1914, by the French on the 18th March 1917 and by the Germans again in March 1918. The French finally retook it on the 29th and 30th August 1918. It was twice bombarded by the enemy and in 1918 practically destroyed. Noyon Old British Cemetery was made by the 46th Casualty Clearing Station and the 44th Field Ambulance in March 1918, in a woodyard near the railway station. It contained the graves of 144 soldiers from the United Kingdom, one American medical officer, two Italian and three French soldiers. All these graves except the French were removed, after the Armistice, to the New British Cemetery.


Back to the Noyon British Cemetery and we find there was an Unknown Captain of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers recovered from the Brouchy Churchyard (Grave No. 1 - SPEC-EXH 2618471). The COG-BR 2618474 tells us he was found with Private J. Douthart #27685. also 9th Battalion KIA 21 March 1918 - so there is a two (2) day time difference. Brouchy is at 66d.Q.16 which is on the side path on the map in divisional history (see here) for noon of 24 March 1918. One has to ask why the Captain that died two days later is in the first grave?


We can check what the records say (war diary page 195 of 258). It does say the battalion went to Brouchy and were there on the 22nd and were involved in operations from there north to Aubigny 66d.K.11. They took heavy casualties on the afternoon of the 23rd. On the 24th they went south at some point to Villeselve 66d.Q.35. There is a list of casualties (war diary page 201 of 258) showing Captain Harvey and six (6) other Officers KIA. Lieutenant Starr remains on the Pozieres Memorial. Of the 2nd/Lts (Gilmour, Clements, Houston, Green and West). Fawcett and Barton also died or were found dead. Green is not on the CWGC List I had as he died on the 26th. Only Fawcett's remains were recovered at one of the strange French Map coordinates HAM 1/20,000 66-58.


That logically puts Harvey as the Captain at Brouchy Churchyard. Perhaps whomever did the report on the find of Captain Harvey accounted for the other Captain at 66d.R.18.c.3.1?

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