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Remembered Today:

Zantvoorde British Cemetery Case #6: 1914 Border Regiment Lieutenant


laughton
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On the first point, yes - they are confusing but my issue is only with the place called "Kruiseik Hill". I would like to be able to say that it is located at 28.J.36.x.y but I have not found anything with the precise coordinates. I am guessing it has to be at 28.J.a.5.5 in Oude-Kruiseecke or 28.J.c.2.2 in Kruiseecke (McMaster Map name versions), as they are the only two at elevation 45 that are clearly the high points. America appears to be on the southern slope at elevation 20. There is no doubt from the CWGC records that most of the men with known graves were recovered in the 28.J.36 or 28.P.5/6 sectors at that time.

 

The 7th Divisional History appears to clarify that on the 25th/26th  they were in the Village of Kruiseik : (Atkinson, C.T.. SEVENTH DIVISION 1914-1918 . Naval and Military Press. Kindle Edition)

  • (location 937 of 8935) The exact sequence of events on the night of October 25th/26th is even more than usually difficult to ascertain. Apparently a German attack developed about sunset and was vigorously pressed under cover of the darkness. The Grenadiers’ right was specially hard beset: while Germans penetrated the line farther to the right, and got into some houses behind the right platoon’s trench. Reinforcements from No. 3 Company came up from reserve, cleared most of the houses, taking several prisoners, and recovered touch with the front line. These Germans would seem to have belonged to a large party which had rushed the Scots Guards’ left trench and pushed on into Kruiseik village.

  • (location 985 of 8935) It was largely the resistance of these isolated detachments in the firing-line which delayed the German advance 3 and gave time for General Ruggles-Brise to rally the remnants of the 20th Brigade and South Staffords on the Western slopes of Kruiseik Hill.

The move to the north of the Menin Road took place on or after 27 October 1914:

  • (location 1058 of 8935) To assist in this General Capper sent the 20th Brigade up to take over the left of the 21st’s line, and on the evening of October 28th the Grenadiers relieved the Bedfords from the cross-roads S.E. of Gheluvelt to a point about 400 yards to the S.W. of them. The Gordons came into line on their right, relieving the Yorkshires, while the Scots Guards and Borders were placed in support just East of Gheluvelt.
  • (location 1106 of 8935) Behind the 20th Brigade’s front line he had the Scots Guards, 6 officers and about 350 men,1 and the Borders, about 100 stronger. These two battalions were ordered forward from Veldhoek and eventually counter-attacked South of the Menin road.... 

    These two battalions were ordered forward from Veldhoek and eventually counter-attacked South of the Menin road. The Borders were the first to get into action. Deploying to their right they made for the windmill, South of the 8th kilometre stone.

  • (location 1172 of 8935 - late October) The new line ran from a farm2 near the junction of the Gheluvelt-Kruiseik and Gheluvelt-Zandvoorde roads to the cross-roads N.W. of Kruiseik and thence to the old line about 600 yards West of Kruiseik, so that the net loss of ground was about 500 yards. Much readjustment was necessary, and in the end the 20th Brigade was withdrawn to Veldhoek.
  • (location 1314 of 8935 - now 31 October 1914) The fighting on the right of the Division, West of the Basseville brook, was heavy enough; on the Division’s left nearer Gheluvelt the situation was, if possible, even more critical. Before the German bombardment started the Scots Guards and Borders of the 20th Brigade, more than half the available reserve, had been brought forward to entrench a second line behind the 21st Brigade on the Eastern edge of the wood later on known as Herenthage Wood (28.J.20).
  • (location 1448 of 8935 2 November when Gerrard KIA) The next day (November 2nd) saw rather more serious fighting on the left flank, where the Germans, pressing forward from Gheluvelt up the Menin road, scored a success over the 1st K.R.R.C. and threatened the left of the 21st Brigade. So serious was the situation at one time that more than half the 22nd Brigade had to be put in to assist the 21st to maintain its position. This, however, it continued to do, the Bedfords getting effective enfilade fire into enemy who were collecting to attack the Scots Guards, while the supporting artillery,1 notably the XXIInd Brigade R.F.A., fired to no small purpose, nipping German attacks in the bud. Actually it was the right battalion of the Division, the Borders, who came in for the heaviest fighting. About 11 a.m. the Northamptons, the left battalion of Lord Cavan’s2 force, were shelled out of their left trenches and fell back a little way, uncovering the Borders’ right. For some time the Germans made no advance; then about 1 p.m. they suddenly pressed forward into the gap and at the same time advanced against the Borders’ front. The attack was heralded by a tremendous blowing of bugles, but this merely served to warn the British reserves to move up, and, when the Germans came on, the Borders held their fire till the advance was close to the wire which they had managed to put up

 

On the second point, agreed - had tried that last week, but these officer files have not been digitized:

It appears that the only ones I can currently get for free during COVID are never digitized. One of the disadvantages of living in Canada.

 

Unfortunately, all the men of the 2nd Border Regiment (other than Abbott and Cook) KIA in late October and early November are named on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Interesting side note is that there is a Private Surtees, perhaps a relative of Lieutenant Surtees (no obvious link other than the name)?

 

As it stands now, I have Lieutenant Gerrard about 4.100 yards away from the remains of the Unknown Lieutenant.

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There is no doubt that Kruiseik hill and Kruiseik village are the same locations, there is no exact map reference but the highest area is on the separation of squares J.36.d and P.6.b. See topographic map below which makes it much clearer.

I think that the location (Veldhoek) for 2 November is wrong in the war diary, the 7th division map has the Borders to the east of Shrewsbury forest. To me it is clear that Lt Gerrard was killed in map square J.26.c which is some 2000 yards away from Kruiseik.

 

You are lucky that the Canadian service records are digitized and available for free, you will need a private researcher to get them from TNA but this doesn't work now due to covid.

 

7 hours ago, laughton said:

Unfortunately, all the men of the 2nd Border Regiment (other than Abbott and Cook) KIA in late October and early November are named on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

Don't understand this, there are a lot with a known grave.

 

Luc.

 

kruiseik.jpg.bf156f575990b75f5740a41c48197693.jpg

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13 hours ago, LDT006 said:

Don't understand this, there are a lot with a known grave.

 

Okay, I should have been clear about the dates: 30 October 1914 - 5 November 1914 after the big change in their location after "Windmill Day" (CWGC Link). I was looking for Border Regiment men that were lost in the period leading up to the death of Lieutenant Gerrard. Let me fill in the blanks for those days that were not on the list in post #24:

  • Page 10 of 373:
    • 30 October 1914: orders to move east of Hooge to support a Cavalry Advance, halting for the day 1.5 miles NW Chateau near Zonnebeke (would have to be in 28.D.13 up near Kansas Cross?). Does not really matter as returned to Hooge (crossroads) area on Ypres-Menin Road 28.I.13 (that places them west of Sterling Castle and the Herenthage Chateau)
    • 31 October 1914: Orders juggled a bit during the day during heavy shelling. Marched back along the Ypres road and then went southwest to Zandvoorde 28.P.3
    • 1 November 1914: Enemy infantry crossing the open moving from "wood to wood". Four (4) men are reported killed, one of which might have been Abbott and the other four are on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

The war diary for 2 November 1914 has the location ZANVOORDE struck out and replaced with VELDHOEK. This makes sense relative to the 7th Division History (location 1448 or 8935) that reports that the enemy was pressing forward from Gheluvelt up the Menin Road, which would take them in the direction of Veldhoek. They are reported to have moved against the Borders front at 1 pm. Map #8 of the Divisional History shows the Borders on the south edge of Stout Wood, east of Shrewsbury Forest.

 

Is the problem here that there are two places (actually more in variations) named VELDHOEK. Google Maps puts the main one north of Langemark? The one I referenced is marked just north of the Hooge-Gheluvelt road on the northeast of the Inverness Copse. That fits into the correct locations, particularly if the reference is to the location of the HQ. That is what places Lieutenant Gerrard more than 4,000 yards to the northwest of the remains.

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I just happened to notice that there is a handwritten report on the 2nd Borders at the end of November (war diary page 17 of 373). It refers specifically to the 2nd Borders forming the right of the Brigade (20th) at VELDHOEK. It appears they held the line for several hours during which they lost heavily. There is a separate page for the earlier action at Krusiek Hill (war diary page 18 of 373).

 

It would appear these are related to congratulalory remarks issued to the Border Regiment.

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7 hours ago, laughton said:

The war diary for 2 November 1914 has the location ZANVOORDE struck out and replaced with VELDHOEK. This makes sense relative to the 7th Division History (location 1448 or 8935) that reports that the enemy was pressing forward from Gheluvelt up the Menin Road, which would take them in the direction of Veldhoek. They are reported to have moved against the Borders front at 1 pm. Map #8 of the Divisional History shows the Borders on the south edge of Stout Wood, east of Shrewsbury Forest.

 

Is the problem here that there are two places (actually more in variations) named VELDHOEK. Google Maps puts the main one north of Langemark? The one I referenced is marked just north of the Hooge-Gheluvelt road on the northeast of the Inverness Copse. That fits into the correct locations, particularly if the reference is to the location of the HQ. That is what places Lieutenant Gerrard more than 4,000 yards to the northwest of the remains.

 

There are several hamlets called Veldhoek, the one we need is close to Gheluvelt.

 

8 hours ago, laughton said:

I just happened to notice that there is a handwritten report on the 2nd Borders at the end of November (war diary page 17 of 373). It refers specifically to the 2nd Borders forming the right of the Brigade (20th) at VELDHOEK

 

I am still convinced that the Borders were at the location that I mentioned before, they moved to Zandvoorde on 31 Oct and there is no mention in their war diary, the brigade and division ones that they moved back to Veldhoek. There is a sketch in the 7th division war diary (page 34) showing the Borders to the south confirming that location. Maybe this report with a wrong location is the reason for the alteration in their war diary.

 

Note: there were several windmills in the area, these were perfect observation posts for the British. One located south of Geluvelt and another at Zandvoorde were put on fire by German artillery on 21 October but still usable. The British then completely destroyed the one at Zandvoorde after their retreat hence Windmill day?.

 

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1 hour ago, LDT006 said:

I am still convinced that the Borders were at the location that I mentioned before, they moved to Zandvoorde on 31 Oct and there is no mention in their war diary, the brigade and division ones that they moved back to Veldhoek. 

 

They moved back north on the 1st to block the German advance. That is from the war diary. They may have then gone south to Shrewsbury Forest. Still a long way away from the remains.

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Having looked at the Division and Battalion war diaries, perhaps an opportune time to also look at the 20th Brigade war diary.

 

October 1914

  • 26 October 1914: page 26 of 339 and onward but nothing specific about Officer deaths or the Borders, other than they are at Kruiseik
  • 27 October 1914: page 30 of 339  records the withdrawal from the Basseville river area, Borders casualties muster 12 Officers and 538 OR
  • 28 October 1914: page 31 of 399 brings word of the imminent attack on the crossroads southeast of Gheluvelt
    • the Grenadier Guards and Gordon Highlanders went forward to the area and the Borders were in reserve near Gheluvelt
  • 29 October 1914: page 31 of 399 and the war diary location changes to VELDHOEK, matching what was in the battalion war diary
    • the Scots Guards and Borders were withdrawn to Veldhoek at 7:30 am
    • page 34 of 399 to establish an outpost line at nightfall from Gheluvelt towards Kruiseik, the 20th Brigade withdrawn to Veldhoek
    • officer casualties are listed by name
  • 30 October 1914: page 35 of 399 brings us another change in location, so this may resolve the issue
    • "probably" to be sent to Zandvoorde-Klein-Zillebeke road, but the message was cancelled
    • the Gordon Highlanders went into the area of Zandvoorde and the Basseville RIver but all the rest went to the rear in reserve
    • this would place them to the west of the forest
  • 31 October 1914: page 37 of 399 now in reference to Zandvoorde
    • has the Scots Guards and Borders taking a position along the eastern edge of the wood running north and south of the Veldhoek crossroads
    • many of pages of details not reported here as during the interim period between Warren and Gerrard
  • NARRATIVE: page 44 of 339 - not a lot of detail

November 1914

  • 1 November 1914: page 50 of 399 and we are at Chateau Heronthal with only 5 Officers and 270 men left in the Borders
    • extensive shelling and Germans massing on the front line
  • 2 November 1914: page 51 of 399 the Northants were removed leaving the Borders open on a flank - heavy infilade fire
Edited by laughton
mustered not killed
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 EDITED Laughton,

My apologies: my earlier post on C.H.Evans was more of a distraction in this thread, so have moved it to the "parent" one on the Cemetery.

 

Clive

 

 

Edited by clive_hughes
original post moved
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I have a German map which has 2 cemeteries marked in square 28.J.32 , just south of the location (28.J.26) where I suspect that Lt Gerrard was killed.

There is a slim chance that the Germans buried some of the British casualties there, but I can't find any information on these cemeteries, these could be British, French...,

So I have asked CWGC today if they have more information on these and where British soldiers were concentrated to.

 

Will keep you informed.

 

Best regards,

Luc.

 

 

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Thanks Luc, I agree with your location of 28.J.26!

 

Sanctuary Wood is perhaps a logical location for the concentrations. Any idea of the names of the German Cemeteries?

 

The furthest one east that is marked on the White Star Atlas is #1402, which is the "Royal Irish Cemetery", but that is in Armagh Wood.

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28.J.32.b.3.3 - the only one I saw in Sanctuary Wood.

 

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8 hours ago, laughton said:

Thanks Luc, I agree with your location of 28.J.26!

 

Sanctuary Wood is perhaps a logical location for the concentrations. Any idea of the names of the German Cemeteries?

 

The furthest one east that is marked on the White Star Atlas is #1402, which is the "Royal Irish Cemetery", but that is in Armagh Wood.

 

Those cemeteries are marked on a German map  as a number of crosses with a boundary but without name, they are encircled in blue on the extract below.

Please note the individual crosses (without boundary) marked in red, these are field graves.

I can't find anything on these cemeteries and hope that CWGC can provide some information.

FYI: The map is from 7 June 1916 and some other known German cemeteries in this area are not yet marked.

 

GMC28J32.jpg.30734f5b88f52f4d300fb08be0ac7d55.jpg

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