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Remembered Today:

Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval


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It would appear that I have not made the ZIP Files for this cemetery, even I was surprised it was not done! I will gather those now and post them here. The request originated at this topic/post. The links will become active once they are done, which generally does not take too long: (the primary process - first run - is now complete)


F7 C2 CWGC Binders


There are some issues with the records filed at the CWGC for this cemetery! In the process of hunting down the COG-BR documents I discovered that there were a great number of other COG-BR and GRRF documents mixed in with Delville Wood. In particular there were many that were related to the Soissons Communal Cemetery Military Extension (and others) that went to the Vauxbuin French National Cemetery. This fellow Jowett (as an example - check his records) was unrelated to Delville Wood but was in the batch. I have manually removed all of those from the series. Pity the person that is ever looking for those!


I never know if I have all the records when I undertake this process. If anyone sees others, even one file, let me know - as that is a clue as to where others may be found. I have a suspicion that not all the COG-BR records are in the batch downloaded, based on the large number of GRRF records. Most COG-BR burial coordinates appear to be generic to a sector, such as where it says "S.18.b" (means 57c.S.18.b) without the internal coordinates after the last letter "b". Probably just too many recovered. I don't see any COG-BR records for the 62c cemeteries, so they may be in another batch (area).

  • yes there were - if you check Angle Wood Cemetery, Ginchy 62c.B.2.c.2.3 in the list below it has 27 London Regiment Soldiers, so I looked them up and they have COG-BR around 1995766, so off to get that batch of records
  • new "large" batch added to the list above, and there may still be more


As always, the process starts with looking at what the CWGC has to say about the origins of the cemetery and then collecting the TMC for the smaller cemeteries and major battlefields that were concentrated into the cemetery. https://www.cwgc.org/find/find-cemeteries-and-memorials/61100/delville-wood-cemetery


Any that do not show TMC may appear as I go through the COG-BR documents.



Delville Wood was a tract of woodland, nearly 1 kilometre square, the western edge of which touched the village of Longueval in the Somme. On 14 July 1916, the greater part of Longueval village was taken by the 9th (Scottish) Division and on the 15th, the South African Brigade of that Division captured most of Delville Wood. The wood now formed a salient in the line, with Waterlot Farm and Mons Wood on the south flank still in German hands, and, owing to the height of the trees, no close artillery support was possible for defence.


The three South African battalions fought continuously for six days and suffered heavy casualties. On 18 July, they were forced back and on the evening of 20 July the survivors, a mere handful of men, were relieved. On 27 July, the 2nd Division retook the wood and held it until 4 August when the 17th Division took it over. On 18 and 25 August it was finally cleared of all German resistance by the 14th (Light) Division. The wood was then held until the end of April 1918 when it was lost during the German advance, but was retaken by the 38th (Welsh) Division on the following 28 August.


Delville Wood Cemetery was made after the Armistice, when graves were brought in from a few small cemeteries and isolated sites, and from the battlefields. Almost all of the burials date from July, August and September 1916. Commonwealth graves from the following were concentrated into Delville Wood Cemetery: (red means I added text)


  • Angle Wood Cemetery, Ginchy 62c.B.2.c.2.3, was in an "excavated shell-hole" in Angle Wood, to the North-West of Maurepas, and buried there were 27 British soldiers (mainly of the London Regiment);
  • Battery Copse Military? Cemetery, Curlu 62c.B.20.a.2.1, was between Curlu and Maurepas. It contained, in addition to French graves, those of 17 British soldiers;
  • Bazentin-Le-Petit German Cemetery was at the South-East end of the village; in addition to the German graves, it contained five British soldiers (who fell in March and April 1918);
    • Bazentin-le-Petit Communal Cemetery Extension 57c.S.8.b.9.2
    • Bazentin-le-Petit Military Cemetery 57c.S.8.a.7.4
    • listed on COG-BR 1995960 at 57c.S.8.d.5.3
  • Courcelette Communal Cemetery German Extension contained the graves of three British soldiers, one from Canada, and 1,040 German;
    • not on DAL but there is a Courcelette British Cemetery at 57d.R.29.d.0.9
    • COG-BR 1995953 57c.M.28.b.6.9 - a Canadian, marked as a German - he may show up on a Canadian Casualty Card as buried in that cemetery, as not destroyed in WWII
  • Ferme-Rouge French Military Cemetery, Curlu 62c.B.19.a.9.9, was close to Battery Copse Cemetery. In addition to the French graves, it contained one British soldier who fell in March 1917;
    • found the lad from March 1917 COG-BR 1995944, which gave us the TMC
  • Guillemont German Cemetery No.1, at the West end of the village, contained 221 German graves and those of seven British soldiers who fell in May and July 1918;
    • there is a Guillemont Road Military Cemetery listed at 57c.S.30.b.5.6
    • COG-BR 1995959 has 57c.T.19.c.1.1 specific for this cemetery
  • Lone Ridge British? Cemetery, Longueval 57c.S.18.a.0.3, between Delville Wood and the centre of the village, contained the graves of 52 soldiers who fell at the end of August 1918;
  • Maricourt (De La Cote) German Cemetery, on the South West side of the village, contained the graves of five British soldiers and airmen;
    • there is a Maricourt Military Cemetery at 62c.A.22.b.0.5
    • COG-BR 1995950 62c.A.15.c.5.0 so a different location
    • another one at 62c.A.15.d.0.6 COG-BR 1995954
  • Martinpuich German Cemetery No.1, at the North-East end of the village, contained the graves of six British soldiers and one sailor who fell in March 1918;
  • Martinpuich German Cemetery No.2, to the West of No.1, contained the grave of one British soldier.

There are now more than 5,500 burials and commemorations of the First World War in this cemetery. More than 3,590 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 27 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of three soldiers buried in Courcelette Communal Cemetery German Extension, whose graves were destroyed by shell fire.


This post will be updated with the information for each of the concentration summaries and the ZIP Files.


Others found of significance:

  • a large group found in one grave at 62c.A.3.b.6.0: COG-BR 1995727.
  • fourteen men of the 14th Royal Welsh Fusiliers 57d.X.29.d.4.4 COG-BR 1995834
  • near Buire sur l'Ancre Old Civil Cemetery 62d.D.30.a.5.5 COG-BR 1995910
Edited by laughton
updating as more records found ...
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The massive amount of data in these records would mean weeks sorting through the data. Some can be based on experience, others by looking at remote locations where there are likely to be fewer candidates.


For example, this one "popped up" only because I had been looking at another case of an Oxford & Bucks Lieutenant earlier this week (this topic). A different time and a different location but it had some overlap in the investigation. He is on COG-BR 1995831. There are nineteen (18) others from this regiment in the Delville Wood Cemetery (CWGC Link). That gives us an idea of the dates that are relevant and the battalions that are there at the time.


I present this now only as an example, not as a case that is or is not a viable UNKNOWN. This is how I start to look at a case and decide where it should go - forward or back in the basket.


Clearly there are a number of 5th Battalion men from August 1916:


surname initials death rank unit #
LEACH H C 30/07/1916 Private 2nd Bn. '7435'
SWINFORD J 30/07/1916 Private 2nd Bn. '6857'
WARDE B C C 30/07/1916 Second Lieutenant 2nd Bn.  
BUFFIN P C 24/08/1916 Corporal 5th Bn. '17596'
CATER E P 24/08/1916 Private 5th Bn. '21790'
COLTMAN J 24/08/1916 Private 5th Bn. '18204'
CROSS H 15/09/1916 Private 5th Bn. '32690'
HARLING A E 24/08/1916 Private 5th Bn. '17858'
HITCHMAN F 24/08/1916 Private 5th Bn. '17943'
MATTHEWS F 15/09/1916 Private 5th Bn. '21395'
PEAKE W J 24/08/1916 Private 5th Bn. '12189'
ROGERS A 24/08/1916 Private 5th Bn. '17725'
SABIN S G 24/08/1916 Serjeant 5th Bn. '10903'
TUBB W J 24/08/1916 Serjeant 5th Bn. '10913'
WASHBROOK A 24/08/1916 Private 5th Bn. '9945'
ZIMMERMAN S 24/08/1916 Private 5th Bn. '14678'
BENNETT W E 31/08/1916 Serjeant 6th Bn. '11178'
NASON T R 31/08/1916 Private 6th Bn. '12751'
STANDBRIDGE F 31/08/1916 Corporal 6th Bn.



If we then look at the Lieutenants that are missing and on the Thiepval Memorial we have seven (7). The obvious from comparing the lists shows as:

  • there is a match with the 5th Battalion and the date of 24 August 1916 = Lieutenant Weston-Webb
  • the 6th Battalion Lieutenant is from another date
surname initials death unit
BARTON C J 7/4/1917 2nd/4th Bn.
CHAPMAN J P 21/07/1916 1st/1st Bucks Bn.
HARRISON N S 30/07/1916 9th Bn. attd. 2nd Bn.
HEATH W R 23/08/1916 1st/1st Bucks Bn.
MORRIS C G N 7/10/1916 6th Bn. formerly 9th Bn.
WEBSTER-JONES A O W 13/11/1916 3rd Bn. attd. 2nd Bn.
WESTON-WEBB H 24/08/1916 5th Bn.
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A Canadian of the 28th Battalion at 57d.R.29.c.4.8 with the classic "spoon" and the number 23697. That is a match to Private Albert Noble #423697.


That number series DID NOT carry the "4" at the front when it was assigned. It had an "A" that was not used and they were later changed to "4", so it would be quite logical for his equipment and personal effects to be marked just as "23697". The question of relying on a number on a spoon is another issue, but one the CWGC has accepted many-many times.


You will see the upper right corner of his attestation papers only shows the 5 digit number. His full service record can be found at B7346-S024.


His casualty card and E-13 says he was killed in the trenches at Courcelette on 26 September 1916 (so that is a match) and was buried behind the parados of trench to right of Courcelette (the TMC are to the right), see Albert 57d.


doc1995876.JPG ?op=img&app=CEF&id=549348a


The 28th Battalion (6th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division) is marked on the right of Courcelette on Sketch 29. They put a trench block in at 57c.M.26.a on the 25th, so that agrees. They were cooperating with the British 23rd Division, on their right, in actions along Sugar Trench, which is south of Courcelette.


He was not lost on the battlefield, rather taken and buried. If it was behind Sugar Trench, then the remains were found exactly where they should have been. If it was on the right of Courcelette, then they are not his remains, someone had his spoon!




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I would say that I never heard of a Canadian at Delville Wood, as the actual location, not a concentration.


Then we have this fellow in 16.Q.4 at 57c.S.18.b.6.2, so in the woods on the southeast corner. Canadians were never there?




But a Google Search, the old reliable stand-by tells me about Shemilt, a Canadian serving with the Dragoon Guards (CWGC Link). It does not say that at the CWGC but it does here in Canada (CVWM Link). He is buried in the Delville Wood Cemetery - just a coincidence?


Then check out the locations, Shemilt is in grave 5.M.5 and was found in the same sector 57c.S.18.b. Is that two (2) coincidences in a very small area?




There must have been another Canadian there serving with the British, but someone who was still wearing Canadian insignia?


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