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laughton

Dormans French National Cemetery: Case #1 - Unknown Aviators B15 and B16

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laughton
Posted (edited)

This is a spin-off of this topic:

Jonchery-sur-Vesle British Cemetery: Case #3 - Lieutenant Aviator at Courthiézy

 

I have replaced the information in that topic that is related to the Dormans French National Cemetery and placed it here, leaving a link to this topic at the old post.

 

Luc reported that there were three (3) other unknown airmen in the nearby French National Cemetery at Dormans who needed to be investigated (see this post). That was an important issue related to the case at Jonchery-sur-Vesle, given the close proximity of Dormans to Courthiézy. The CWGC would most certainly question the Courthiézy airman case if there were other candidates from the same location at the same time.

 

These are details of the three unknown airmen:

 

B4  

 

Dormans 1/20000 260.1 x 206.1 (that is south of Troissy and east of Vassy)

a) Turnberry Ayrchire & Adjudent Aviateur

b) Officers Uniform RAF & Black Tie. Maker's name: McBirney & Milne, 433 Strand W.C., 83 Coventry St. W.

 

B15 

 

Dormans 1/20000 209.2 x 267.3

Unknown English Aviateur 18/6/18

No rank badge found but an Officer

 

B16 

 

Dormans 1/20000 209.0 x 267.3

Unknown British Aviateur

Officer Rank Badge - ring on sleeve

Regimental buttons of Royal Highlanders

 

 

In the case of the man in B4:

  • that seems to be related to a location in Scotland Turnbury & Ayrshire in the Firth of Clyde
  • did he come from there or is that where the uniform was made?
  • that case is not included as part of this new topic at this time

In the case of the man in B15:

  • three (3) missing for that date but not anywhere near this area
  • Nicholson & Leight at Neuville-St.Vaast 51b.A.3 and Mulroy at Aveluy Wood 57d.W.14
  • see entry for B16, so my guess would be that this is Captain Roy Edward Dubber, the Canadian
  • that means the date is 18/7/18
    1540678_1.jpg
    Toronto Star 23 July 1918

For the last man in B16:

  • with the secondary regiment of the Royal Highlanders he is one of these 8 men on CWGC

    • that will need to be checked in detail to make sure there were not others that were not recorded

  • Dickie DH9 D5684 Observer 107th Sqn. 18 July 1918
    • Captain (Pilot) was R. E. Dubber, a Canadian - also missing, possibly the man in B15
  • Skinner Sopwith F1 Camel B7357 Pilot 46th Sqn. 3 May 1918 - combat over DON
    • okay found that, way up north in Lille sector, area of 36.G.25

 

 

For Graves B15 & B16 the Trench Map Coordinates were nearly identical DORMANS 209 x 267:

 

Here are the maps showing the crash site southwest of Reims and northeast of Dormans. That was good for the Jonchery case as that location could not be confused with a site at Courthiézy.

 

1453596279_Map267x209areaNEDORMANSGoogleEarth.jpg.f092d3499764ef4b4e1ef6900683647c.jpg

 

388585960_Map267x209areaNEDORMANS.jpg.c135928b728b0a561bb576b6feefb23b.jpg

 

I will continue with the details on the possible candidates shortly.

Edited by laughton

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laughton
Posted (edited)

The related documents:

 

The Sky Their Battlefield II:

 

There is little detail in Trevor's book for Dubber (Canadian Pilot) and Dickie (British Observer), other than they left at 6:33 am on a bombing operation. The introduction for the activity on the 18th refers to the area west of Reims. In addition we can infer (correctly I hope!) that the three (3) planes of the 107th Squadron that left at 6:33 am, all left from Courmont / Fresnes-en-Tardenois. Google Earth shows me that aerodrom would be approximately 14 km west-northwest of the location where the remains were found (yellow line below). That detail is in the record of Mollet & Rawlings in C6252.

1530387840_GoogleEarth.jpg.d93613ef249ee23cab13b7e0550782fd.jpg

 

COG-BR 1996165

doc1996165.JPG

GRRF 2254167

doc2254167.JPG

 

Both are listed as "Airman of the Great War - Unknown Officer".

HD -SCHD 2093933 - last entry

doc2093933.JPG

 

HD-SCHD 2093935 - first entry

doc2093935.JPG

 

Dickie

Dickie-cropped.jpg.1188cbf1e309a38b13fac2d5ca34e88a.jpg

Dubber

Dubber-cropped.jpg.b87b8d4732aba9cb6c8ad0f02652ee0a.jpg

 

I should have noted that these are the men that had an affiliation with the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders).

 

CWGC Database Candidates:

McCASH

Lieutenant

JOHN WATSON

23 November 1917

Age 24

ARRAS FLYING SERVICES MEMORIAL

VIEW RECORD

Royal Flying Corps 3rd Sqdn.

United Kingdom

WILSON

Second Lieutenant

JOHN COOPER

17 October 1916

Age 28

ARRAS FLYING SERVICES MEMORIAL

VIEW RECORD

Royal Flying Corps

23rd Sqdn.

United Kingdom

DICKIE

Lieutenant

CECIL BARRON

18 July 1918

Age 20

ARRAS FLYING SERVICES MEMORIAL

VIEW RECORD

Royal Air Force

107th Sqdn.

United Kingdom

MEARNS

Captain

ANGUS HUGHES

24 June 1917

Age 22

ARRAS FLYING SERVICES MEMORIAL

VIEW RECORD

Royal Flying Corps

57th Sqdn.

United Kingdom

SKINNER

Second Lieutenant

ROBERT LEONARD GRAHAME

03 May 1918

Age 20

ARRAS FLYING SERVICES MEMORIAL

VIEW RECORD

Royal Air Force

46th Sqdn.

United Kingdom

SMITH

Second Lieutenant

JAMES BONNEY

15 August 1917

ARRAS FLYING SERVICES MEMORIAL

VIEW RECORD

Royal Flying Corps

43rd Sqdn.

United Kingdom

RAY

Second Lieutenant

PHILIP OLIPHANT

13 April 1917

Age 23

ARRAS FLYING SERVICES MEMORIAL

VIEW RECORD

Royal Flying Corps

53rd Sqdn.

United Kingdom

ROBERTSON

Second Lieutenant

ARCHIBALD GARDEN

08 June 1917

Age 19

ARRAS FLYING SERVICES MEMORIAL

VIEW RECORD

Royal Flying Corps

66th Sqdn.

United Kingdom

 

Edited by laughton
added HD-SCHD image; added note in red

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laughton

Taking a look at the Aviator in B15,we know the date is incorrect, as only three (3) aviators are missing that day and none from squadrons that are in the Aisne-Marne sector:

  • Trevor's (fetubi) list:
    • May: 52
    • June: 2, 43, 73, 80, 102, 2AFC,7, 32, 49
    • July: 27, 32, 43, 49, 54, 73, 80, 82, 98, 107

UPDATE: I only just noticed that someone did recognize that error in the date as it is stroked out on the GRRF. This is the same GRRF document that shows the change from Melbourne (moved to X.14) and Aitken (moved to X.20) to Auster (now B.18) and Phipson (now B.19). They are the two that were associated with the plane marked "Highbury Aircraft Coy." on COG-BR 1996169.

 

CWGC LINK

 

If we were to take that as the burial date and include those from the 16th to 18th the list expands to eight (8), but again, none of those are in the sector:

 

CWGC LINK

 

The NKG men were in these squadrons: 3 (2), 4, 41, 56 (2), 103 (2)

 

With the corrected date of 18 July 1918, to match the burial in B16 at the same location, we have only three (3) candidates (CWGC LINK). we know that  Lieutenant Dickie is in grave B16 so it would be logical that Captain Dubber is in B15, both of 107th Squadron. The "third man" is Lieutenant Anderson of 32nd Squadron, which is on our July Squadron list as well.

 

Anderson is reported lost more than 17 miles west of where the remains of B15 and B16 were recovered. Hard to make a case that it might be Anderson and not Dubber!

Edited by laughton
red update

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laughton

The two we are looking at in this case are:

We have now collected most of the documents and those, along with the records noted above, are now in a Shared MediaFire folder here:

Because they are 107th Squadron, we are also comparing them to what happened to these two men, who are buried in Vailly British Cemetery:

 

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laughton

I had left this case for the week to check and make sure that there were no other candidates for the airman in Dormans B.16. In particular I was concerned about the other airman in Dormans B. 4 (this separate topic), in the event that might be the grave of Captain Dubber. With the limited list of missing airmen and the precise location of the remains one would think we could figure out who was in grave B.4 but there is no clear match.

 

The closest remains to the occupant of B.4 are those of two of the known airmen, Auster B.18 and Phipson B.19.

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