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laughton

Marfaux British Cemetery

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laughton

Now that we have started looking at men lost in the Battle of Aisne 1918 it appears that I have to expand the cemetery list. These are the two that started this search:

 

Looking around the area (use this) these ones pop up as candidates: (numbers are known men not total)

 

Starting at the top of the list to collect the documents: (links will appear ones the files are collected and processed - done)

 

What the CWGC has to say about the cemetery and concentrations, to which I will add the Trench Map Coordinates (TMC):

Quote

Marfaux was captured by the Germans in May 1918, and retaken, after severe fighting, on the 23rd July, by the 51st (Highland) and 62nd (West Riding) Divisions and the New Zealand Cyclist Battalion.

 

The cemetery was begun after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from the battlefields and from other Military Cemeteries in the Marne, including:-

 

  • BASLIEUX MILITARY CEMETERY Reims 1/50000 288.5 x 208.3, a little North of the village of Baslieux-les-Fismes: 41 soldiers 25th Div., May 1918.
  • BOIS-D'AULNAY BRITISH CEMETERY, CHAUMUZY, South-west of Marfaux across the Ardre: 22 soldiers, mainly 51st Div., July 1918.
     
  • BROUILLET GERMAN CEMETERY: 4 soldiers, May-June 1918.
     
  • BUSSY-LE-CHATEAU FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY Suippes 256.6 x 267.0, East of the village: 3 soldiers, August 1918 (and 800 French, 200 German, 10 American).
  • CHALONS-SUR-VESLE FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY Soissons Sh 22 3.K. 95 x 50, 1 soldier, June 1918.
     
  • CHAMERY MILITARY CEMETERY Soissons Sh. 22 4.L. 45 x 08, South-west of the village: 1 soldier (and 19 French).
     
  • CORMICY FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY (not the permanent MAISON-BLEUE FRENCH NATIONAL CEMETERY, at the Cormicy Aguilcourt cross-roads on the main Laon-Reims road).
     
  • COURVILLE MILITARY CEMETERY Reims Sh, 34 282.2 x 206.8, in South part of village: 22 soldiers, May-June 1918 (and 250 French and 130 German).
     
  • CRUGNY HOSPITAL CEMETERY, a German cemetery: 1 soldier, June 1918.
     
  • CUITRON BRITISH CEMETERY, MARFAUX Jonchery-sur Vesle 220.6 270.8, in the middle of a cornfield, made by the 62nd Div. Burial Officer: 60 soldiers (mainly 8th West Yorks), July 1918.
  • FISMES GERMAN CEMETERY (in Hospital grounds): 1 soldier, June 1918.
     
  • LAGERY HOSPITAL CEMETERY, a German cemetery: 1 soldier, June 1918.
     
  • LES VENTEAUX GERMAN CEMETERY, MONTIGNY-SUR-VESLE: 6 soldiers, May-June 1918.
     
  • MARFAUX CHURCHYARD EXTENSION Jonchery-sur Vesle 219.95 270.05, made by 59th Field Ambulance: 11 soldiers, June 1918.
  • MONTIGNY-SUR-VESLE MILITARY CEMETERY N.W.E. Sh. 10, used by French until 27th May and then by Germans: 60 soldiers, May-July 1918 (and 1400 French and 1100 German).
    • not sure of that code so see COG-BR 2303005, a number of graves recovered
       
  • MOULIN DE L'ARDRE BRITISH CEMETERY, MARFAUX: 22 soldiers (all 51st Div.), July 1918.
     
  • NANTEUIL-LA-FOSSE MILITARY CEMETERY (Marne), made by Field Ambulances: 38 soldiers (and 16 French), May-July 1918.
     
  • PEVY GERMAN CEMETERY Soissions Sheet 22 3.K. 15x755 soldiers, May-July 1918.
     
  • POURCY BRITISH CEMETERIES No.1 and No.2, MARFAUX, both made by the 62nd Division: 77 soldiers and 14 soldiers, July 1918.
    • No. 1 - Jonchery-sur Vesle 220.8 269.9
    • No. 2 - Jonchery-sur Vesle 220.9 270.1
       
  • PROUILLY MILITARY CEMETERY Jonchery-sur-Vesle 285.2 x 217.0, started by Germans and continued by French: 7 unidentified soldiers (and 500 French and 120 German).
     
  • ROMAIN MILITARY CEMETERY Soissons Sheet 22 3.J.30x95, near the Chateau: 3 soldiers, June 1918 (and 350 French and some German).
    • Soissons Sheet 22 is in the McMaster collection (see this map)
       
  • ST. GILLES MILITARY CEMETERY Reims 1/50,000 283.2 x 205.2, 1 soldier, May 1918 (and 756 French and 246 German).
  • SAPICOURT FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY, COURCELLES-SAPICOURT Jonchery-sur Vesle 281.45 217.5: 2 soldiers, June 1918.
     
  • SERMIERS COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION Reims 269.4 x 226.8, 3 soldiers, July 1918 (and 30 French).
     
  • VAUX-VARENNES MILITARY CEMETERY, BOUVANCOURT Berry-au-Bac 289.0 x 218.71 soldier, buried by enemy, June 1918 (and 400 French and 60 German).
     
  • VENTELAY FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY Soissons Sh, 22 2.J. 65 x 25,  2 soldiers.
     
  • VILLE-DOMMANGE MILITARY CEMETERY Soissons Sh. 22 4.L. 25 x 454 soldiers, June-July 1918 (and 830 French and 170 German).

 

There are over 1,000, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over 300 are unidentified and special memorials are erected to eight soldiers from the United Kingdom known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of 12 soldiers from the United Kingdom, buried in other cemeteries, whose graves could not be found. Ten of the New Zealand Cyclist Battalion who fell in July 1918, whose graves could not be found, are commemorated on a memorial erected in the shelter. The cemetery covers an area of 4,162 square metres and is enclosed on three sides by a low rubble wall.

 

These ones were not on the list above:

  • ECUEIL FARM FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY Jonchery-sur-Vesle 223.7 x 269.9, COG-BR 2303055
  • COURCELLES-SAPICOURT FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY Jonchery-sure-Vesle 281.45 x 217.5, COG-BR 2303061

 

So far all the burial coordinates are in the unknown French format from map Jonchery-sur Vesle.

 

So no burial return coordinates and slim pickings for any Unknowns. That is now all changed since we have figured out the map codes and found the missing COG-BR documents!

Edited by laughton
updating details in stages; added more cemeteries to list; found new files

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laughton

It might be of assistance if we use the known coordinates that are provided on the CWGC documents for the cemeteries. For example. the Marfaux British Cemetery is located at:

  • Jonchery-sur-Vesle TMC: 1/20000 220.8 x269.9
  • CWGC GPS given as: Latitude: 49.16402 Longitude: 3.90401
    • it is on the D386 0.56 miles southeast of the village
  • on Soissons 22 Marfaux is on the bottom line of the square 4.K, so it might be Soissons 22 4.K.8.0
    • in luck, the real coordinates are given on the GRRF documents as "Soissons 1/100000 S.22.5.k.86 x 98"
    • that is correct as it is southwest of the village, which tells us the numbers are based on the range 0-100 or percentage as it is 86 of 100 across the bottom and 98 of 100 across the top - but the horizontal and vertical markers are not the same distance as it is a rectangle - so best to just do it as percentage with a ruler!
  • still would need 76SW to get the British coordinates
  • 718181426_MarfauxtohelpwithSoissons22-seethattopic-marked.jpg.7bef0fe2ba55be14bddfb2667d5fbdc7.jpg

     

We might not know all the details for that one but we do have it for the Hermonville Military Cemetery:

  • GRRF: Soissons 1/100000 Sh. 22.2.K.90 x 10
  • COG-BR 2011829Soissons 1/100000 Sh. 22.2.K.920 x 115 (a bit different)
  • COG-BR 2011833: Berry-Au-Bac 1/20,000 289.5 x 222.5 - that is the set of coordinates causing our issue so we need to see them on a map
  • CWGC GPS:  Latitude: 49.34061 Longitude: 3.90848, on the north side of the village on the Chemin Rural des Dourdonnes
  • NLS Trench Map Approximation:1/20000 76SE.33.b.5.3 
    • the cemetery is not yet marked
    • the NSL overlays show the cemetery is now in the tree line just north of where the map shows elevation 106.6
  • 1261911558_HermonvilleCemetery-marked.jpg.d595d7b57e979b4bb43e16e0b79a0c5c.jpg

So if we had enough of these we could create our own map with the various trench map coordinates, draw grids and get an approximation. Better if we can find the maps!

 

Edited by laughton
typos

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laughton

The problem of using the French Trench Maps and coordinates was subsequently resolved and the details are posted in my blog:

 

Using French Trench Maps in the Unknown Project

 

I am back here today looking for any Aviators from the July 1918 action at the Marne.

 

A useful trip back, as I have discovered a new group of COG-BR documents in the COG-BR 2303044 series. I will collect those and add them to the Shared MediaFire site. That might also reveal the trench map coordinates for a number of the other concentrated cemeteries.

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laughton

While I was adding the new information, this one jumped off the page:

 

There are a number of COG-BR sheets in this new series, another assignment to go through them all in detail - to follow!

 

Edited by laughton
moved McLaughlin to a separate topic, more to follow

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laughton

There is an interesting case of an Unknown Officer of the Middlesex Regiment, that must be a Second Lieutenant, with an affiliation to the machine gun unit. That has led me astray during the review of the war diary, but I will return to finish this off!

COG-BR 2303074

 

There is only one Second Lieutenant of the Middlesex Regiment on the Soissons Memorial after May 1, 1918 (CWGC Link). He was 2nd Battalion and the war diary is clear that they were at that location. More to follow, probably in a new topic.

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johntanner

But there are four MGC (Inf) 2nd Lts on Soissons.  None with an obvious Middx link.

 

surname forename initials age_text honours date_of_death date_of_death2 rank regiment secondary_regiment unitshipsquadron country servicenumberexport cemeterymemorial gravereference additionalinformation  
1758733 HUGHES FERDINAND F     29/05/1918   Second Lieutenant Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)   25th Bn. France   SOISSONS MEMORIAL      
1758889 JONES WILLIAM BARTHOLOMEW W B     27/05/1918   Second Lieutenant Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)   134th Bn. France   SOISSONS MEMORIAL      
1760467 TORRENS JAMES J 27   30/05/1918   Second Lieutenant Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)   "B" Coy. 19th Bn. France   SOISSONS MEMORIAL   Son of James Torrens, of Everton, Knock, Belfast.  
1760757 WILLIAMSON HAROLD H 19   27/05/1918   Second Lieutenant Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)   25th Bn. France   SOISSONS MEMORIAL   Son of John and Jane Williamson, of 90, Dilston Rd., Newcastle-on-Tyne.

 

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laughton
On 12/04/2020 at 08:07, laughton said:

More to follow, probably in a new topic.

 

Okay, he now has his own topic so we can look into the details and keep them all together.

 

Marfaux British Cemetery: Case #2 - Second Lieutenant MGC Collars & Middlesex Buttons

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