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Remembered Today:

John Field Tyne Cot Memorial KIA 29.9.18


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137294. 9th Machine Gun Company (Inf.)He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial. I think he may have been with the 36th division. I am trying to find out more about his service and where he died.

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By September 18 I thought all of the companies had been merged in to MG battalions. There is a longrrunning issue with some CWGC records recording units as companies rather than battalions, which can really mess with research. https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/machine-gun-corps-in-the-first-world-war/the-companies-and-battalions-of-the-machine-gun-corps/

 

Craig

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6 hours ago, Old timer said:

137294. 9th Machine Gun Company (Inf.)He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial. I think he may have been with the 36th division. I am trying to find out more about his service and where he died.

 

Hi and welcome to the forum.

 

If you check out his webpage on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and scroll down past the bar "CWGC Archives" you will see there are three tabs. One is titled "Concentration".

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1631831/field,-john-albert/

 

The CWGC has added a number of original documents to their website and on this tab they have added a 'Concentration report' dating from early 1920. These reports recorded the original recovery and move to the current resting place of bodies recovered from the battlefield and smaller cemetries and locations that it was not cost effective for the CWGC's predecessor, the Imperial War Graves Commssion, to maintain.

 

That report shows his unit was the 9th Battalion. I suspect the CWGC made an error when it was doing the necessary transcription work to create the website. If you contact them they will check the original records handed over to them by the Army and make the necesary correction. As headstones and memorials don't carry that level of detail there will be no adjustments to be made 'on the ground'

 

Courtesy of the CWGC I've attached the report. You'll see it was actually a marker for John and three other members of the the 9th Battalion, but is recorded that no remains were recovered. It does however give a location, which is probably close to where they were in action on that day. Hopefully some of the whizzier people here can translate that map reference into a location.

 

Hope that gets you started,

Peter

John Field Concentration Report sourced CWGC.JPG

Edited by PRC
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The grave reference is to the east of Polygon Wood with thanks to Linesman:

image.png.c1c33046e616f23a79ae6d321ca6e240.png

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The 9th Battalion Machine Gun Corps were Divisional Troops of the 9th (Scottish) Division, formed in March 1918 from the Divisional Machine Gun Company plus the Machine Gun Company from each of the 3 Infantry Brigades that made up the Division. The companies were then renamed A, B,C and D, having originally been numbered.

 

The Concentration report shows he was in B Company. Probably the simplest way to track the the Battalion War Diary down is from the Divisional War Diary for the period, as this included a copy. It should be possible via Ancestry if you have a subscription, or directly from the National Archive at £3.50 a shot. Unfortunately there appears to be a problems with the National Archive website today, so I can't post links or even just give references.

 

However the early entries in the diary wil probably explain how the old Company numbers mapped across to the new letters.

 

At the time of his death 9th (Scottish) Division were in II Corps and serving as part of the Groupe d'Armées des Flandres (GAF, Flanders Army Group)

 

Wikipedia has this on Fifth Ypres which commenced on the 28th September 1918.

 

The Groupe d'Armées des Flandres (GAF, Flanders Army Group) attacked at 5:30 a.m. on 28 September, after a 3-hour artillery preparation. GAF attacked with 12 Belgian divisions, 10 British divisions of the Second Army and 6 French divisions of the Sixth Army. The British attacked on a 4.5 mi (7.2 km) front up to the Ypres–Zonnebeke road, from where the Belgian army attacked on a line north to Dixmude. The Allied attacks quickly penetrated the German defences and advanced up to 6 mi (9.7 km). Much of the ground west of Passchendaele, abandoned during the withdrawal of early 1918, was recaptured. Rain began to fall but by the evening the British had taken Kortewilde, Zandvoorde, Kruiseecke and Becelaere; Belgian troops had captured Zonnebeke, Poelcappelle, Schaap Baillie and Houthulst Forest. On the southern flank, minor operations by three British divisions advanced to St. Yves, Messines and the ridge from Wytschaete to Hollebeke. The German front line ran from Dixmude to Houthult, Becelare, Zandvoorde and Hollebeke.

Messines, Terhand and Dadizeele fell on 29 September and by the next day, despite the captured ground becoming another slough of mud, all of the high ground around Ypres had been occupied by the Allies.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_Battle_of_Ypres

 

Forces War Records website adds this:

The British Second Army's objectives were to the south and east of Zonnebeek; ground which had been fought over for four years and which British troops had surrendered earlier in 1918. II Corps with 9th(Scottish) Division, 29th Division and 36th(Ulster) Division as reserve occupied the left (northern) end of the British 16 mile front.

 

To the British' left were the troops of the Belgian 8th Division. An intense artillery bombardment shortly before 05.30 on 28th September preceded the attack over ground made muddy by days of heavy rainfall.

 

The advance went well, with 9th Division attacking towards Broodseinde Ridge, by 08.00 Westhoek had been captured and the infantry paused to allow the following artillery and stores to catch up. Stiff resistance was met on Anzac Ridge, but under cover of smoke shells the barbed wire defences and numerous pillboxes were isolated and attacked successfully, so that by mid day 26th and 27th Brigades had secured all their primary objectives, from Polygon Wood to Broodseinde Ridge.

 

By evening Becleare had fallen, despite the spirited resistance of its defenders; by nightfall the overall British advance averaged six miles for the day, with the Belgians experiencing similar success. For the following three days increasing rainfall limited the advance; in addition to the difficulties on the battlefield, the poor condition of the roads made transport movement slow, delaying the supply of rations, fresh water, ammunition and reducing the ability of the artillery to keep pace with the infantry. The German resistance also increased indicating that much needed reinforcements had arrived behind their lines.

Source: https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/blog/2018/09/28/wwi-centenary-fifth-battle-of-ypres

 

Cheers,

Peter

 

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1 hour ago, Colin W Taylor said:

The grave reference is to the east of Polygon Wood with thanks to Linesman:

 

Nice one Colin, that's exactly the spot that I got using Tmapper. I was trying to snip the map to post but had a fat finger moment. Interestingly the bridge over the Polygonbeek a short distance to the west is where the memorial plaque to Clement Robinson, the first Tank VC is sited. Every day is a skool day on the GWF.

 

Pete.

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John Field was originally buried in the field shown in the image below, taken from the road just west of his final resting place.  The trench map is from 1917 but gives you an indication of the layout. [Note the Street View lat and lon is that of the car taking the photograph.  Sheet 28.J.11.c.10.20 is 50.849781, 3.001719.]

image.png.6445d7aca6acbde9775b0c08a23b7262.png

Image credit: National Library of Scotland and tMapper

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