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laughton

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

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laughton

This is a child topic of the Marfaux British Cemetery:

https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/279155-marfaux-british-cemetery/

 

Plot 10 Row E Grave 1

 

Sissons 22 4.J. 58 x 75 places him near Tramery, southeast of Fismes on the south side of the Vesle River.

 

He has the rank insignia of a Second Lieutenant, MGC Collars and Manchester Buttons.

 

The LLT tells us to look at:

(* linked if it has Manchester battalion)

doc2303074.JPG

 

In the cemetery topic linked above I had noted:

Quote

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.

 

@johntanner reported:

Quote

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

 

The question is thus was he someone with original ties to the Middlesex Regiment that was now a Second Lieutenant in the Machine Gun Corps or was he still a Second Lieutenant of the Middlesex Regiment. The 2nd Battalion was in the 8th Division (23rd Infantry Brigade) which was there at the time - details still being investigated. The 2nd Middlesex Regiment war diary is not clear for that date (war diary page 18 of 535). The 23rd Brigade has more detail (war diary page 223 of 575).

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laughton

These are the Second Lieutenants of the MGC that John had identified as being named on the Soissons Memorial. I don't know enough about the MGC to say if these are the units that existed prior to the battalions being created or are these the original Machine Gun Company affiliations, as the CWGC records are not always correct. If they are correct, then where is says 25th Bn that has to be the MGC related to the 25th Division, which was previously the 74th, 75th, 7th and 195th Machine Gun Companies.

 

TORRENS

Second Lieutenant

JAMES

30 May 1918

 

 

VIEW RECORD

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

"B" Coy. 19th Bn.

WILLIAMSON

Second Lieutenant

HAROLD

27 May 1918

 

 

 

VIEW RECORD

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

25th Bn.

HUGHES

Second Lieutenant

FERDINAND

29 May 1918

 

VIEW RECORD

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

25th Bn.

JONES

Second Lieutenant

WILLIAM BARTHOLOMEW

27 May 1918

 

VIEW RECORD

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

134th Bn.

 

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ss002d6252
10 minutes ago, laughton said:

These are the Second Lieutenants of the MGC that John had identified as being named on the Soissons Memorial. I don't know enough about the MGC to say if these are the units that existed prior to the battalions being created or are these the original Machine Gun Company affiliations, as the CWGC records are not always correct. If they are correct, then where is says 25th Bn that has to be the MGC related to the 25th Division, which was previously the 74th, 75th, 7th and 195th Machine Gun Companies.

 

TORRENS

Second Lieutenant

JAMES

30 May 1918

 

 

VIEW RECORD

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

"B" Coy. 19th Bn.

WILLIAMSON

Second Lieutenant

HAROLD

27 May 1918

 

 

 

VIEW RECORD

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

25th Bn.

HUGHES

Second Lieutenant

FERDINAND

29 May 1918

 

VIEW RECORD

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

25th Bn.

JONES

Second Lieutenant

WILLIAM BARTHOLOMEW

27 May 1918

 

VIEW RECORD

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

134th Bn.

 

 

Just for caution purposes - you have to be careful as the CWGC often mix up MG Battalion and MG Company numbering,

.

Craig

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laughton

Exactly - see what I wrote in the text:

Quote

I don't know enough about the MGC to say if these are the units that existed prior to the battalions being created or are these the original Machine Gun Company affiliations, as the CWGC records are not always correct. 

 

The answer may be in the Officer Records:

Edited by laughton
added links

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johntanner

James Claude Torrens was commissioned from 14th R Irish Rifles - source medal roll.

 

Harold Grover Williamson, commissioned 10/16 from 3rd/5th South Lancs - source medal index card

 

Ferdinand Hughes, commissioned 4/17 from Kings Liverpool Regiment - source medal roll

 

William Bartholemew Jones was commissioned in MGC 9/16 with no rank service overseas. 
 

So, again, no clear link.

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johntanner

However, if we go to Lts. on Soissons we have:

 

MILLS HENRY JACKSON H J 24   30/05/1918   Lieutenant Middlesex Regiment Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) "C" Coy. 2nd Bn. France   SOISSONS MEMORIAL   Son of George Thomas Mills, of "Tregaron," Holly Park, Crouch Hill, London.

 

image.png

image.png

image.png

Edited by johntanner

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johntanner

Mills went overseas 28/10/14 with 28th Bn London Regt. Appointed 2/Lt 2nd Middx 22/4/16. Soldiers Died records him twice first as 2nd Middx attd MGC and secondly as 19th Bn MGC, with 2nd Middx as a secondary unit. As a complication he is shown in the BW&VM roll as a Capt.

 

 

 

 

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laughton

Sound like him but then he should have at least two (2) and possibly (3) stars. Maybe that is all that was left. The rest adds up.

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1759362/mills,-henry-jackson/

 

He might have been an "Acting Captain" so he would not be posthumously "bumped up" in rank. The LG will be the decider.

 

Good work!

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laughton

No luck with the London Gazette but I do see it was "Acting Captain" when he was with the Machine Gun Corps and only a "Second Lieutenant" when he was with the Middlesex Regiment (UKNA Link). It appears that he is one of the HUNDREDS (thousands?) of officers that were posthumously "bumped up" by the CWGC.

 

I could not even find his MIC on Ancestry but his will probate showed up immediately. Good, that had a link to his address and other documents, including the medal roll for #1051 28th London Regiment, appointed 2nd Lt. 2nd Middlesex 22 April 1916. The LLT tells us the 1/28th (Artist's Rifles) was established as an Officers Training Corps before it went to the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division. He must have left before that happened on 28 June 1917.

 

His name on the Soissons Memorial and an image of his Death Penny is on his Find A Grave page.

 

I need to find the war diary of the 19th Machine Gun Battalion that perhaps mentions his name and rank at the time of his death. The records show the 19th Division got the word of the attack on 27 May 1918 (war diary page 719 of 869). Reference to their action in the Battle of Aisne-Marne is recorded for May-June 1918 (war diary page 775 of 869). The 19th Machine Gun Battalion did not arrive until the morning of the 29th May 1918, at which time one company was assigned to each of the 57th and 58th Brigades and two companies stayed in Divisional Reserve with the 56th Brigade at Chambrecy (war diary page 777 of 869). One of the reserve machine gun companies was later sent to assist the 2nd Wiltshire Regiment north of Bouleuse. There are other "bits & pieces" of information, such as the movement of an Officer and 4 Machine Guns moving to the high ground south of Ville-en-Tardenois.

 

There is a separate report "Operations of the 19th (Western) Division on the Marne during the period of 29th of May to 19th June 1918" (war diary page 2 of 648) that immediately follows the main war diary entries, which then repeats itself. It would appear this was prepared at a later date and added to the war diary. The map (they used Soissons 22) shows their location on the 29th and movement on the following days (war diary page 4 of 648). It is a PRECISE MATCH for the location of the remains (COG-BR 2303074) near Tramery at Soissons 22 4.J 58 x 75. A casualty list was not included.

 

For more detail it appears I will need to check the brigade level war diaries. I have not located one for the 19th Machine Gun Battalion on Ancestry.

To be continued ...

Edited by laughton
adding war diary notes

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johntanner

War Diary of 19th Bn doesn’t mention him. Just Torrens on 30/5.613E27CD-B07E-4862-BCC3-32C5FAFAB17F.png.14997f9bc9306536aa54518e2d774db6.png

Edited by johntanner

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johntanner

Diary appendix

71FCC4F6-89E1-4CD2-A40B-87CC5D4BB9A3.png

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laughton

Did you check the days prior to the 30th as well? We only know that he died on the 30th, he might have been wounded on the 27th or thereafter?

 

I have been looking for him elsewhere, reading the war diaries for both the 8th Division and the 19th Division (56th Brigade). It would appear that it was one tangled mess and these two divisions were actually working in unison at times. That puts the 2nd Middlesex and the 19th MGC in the same location.

 

Some links for future reference:

  • start of 19th Division, 56th Brigade on 27 May 1918 (war diary page 275 of 767)
  • start of 8th Division, 23rd Brigade on 27 May 1918 (war diary page 223 of 575)
  • start of 2nd Battalion Middlesex Regiment on 27 May 1918 (war diary page 18 of 535)
  • start of 19th Battalion Machine Gun Corps (diary not located on Ancestry)

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laughton

Back to searching the LG and found these under "H. J. Mills" (LG search results). A good lesson, the highlighted POSITIVE search results are not always at the top of the list!

 

The end result was that there was no entry that changed Second Lieutenant H. J. Mills to Lieutenant H. J. Mills. He went to "Acting Captain" when he was instructor at the MGC Training School and then relinquished that rank when he left employment as an instructor. At one point he went to "Temporary Lieutenant" Middlesex Regiment, suggesting that he may have gone back to the Middlesex Regiment after he was finished as an Instructor at the MGC Training School. As I understand the process, he would not have changed his rank insignia while he was a Temporary Lieutenant, however I defer to the experts @Muerrisch here on the GWF.

 

If the path is correct, it would appear that he was with the 2nd Battalion Middlesex Regiment when he was killed on 30 May 1918. The CWGC does say he was attached to the 19th Battalion Machine Gun Corps but his death is not recorded in that war diary, The Middlesex war diary is much more vague, as it just refers to the loss of a lot of Officers.

Some caution is required as there is another Temporary Lieutenant, in the capacity of an "Acting Captain" to be "Temporary Captain" (this link; this link; this link). That man was in the Labour Corps. There is another one in the Royal Garrison Artillery (this link).

Edited by laughton
corrected to Second Lieutenant

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johntanner
On 16/04/2020 at 11:34, laughton said:

Did you check the days prior to the 30th as well? We only know that he died on the 30th, he might have been wounded on the 27th or thereafter?

 

I have been looking for him elsewhere, reading the war diaries for both the 8th Division and the 19th Division (56th Brigade). It would appear that it was one tangled mess and these two divisions were actually working in unison at times. That puts the 2nd Middlesex and the 19th MGC in the same location.

 

Some links for future reference:

  • start of 19th Division, 56th Brigade on 27 May 1918 (war diary page 275 of 767)
  • start of 8th Division, 23rd Brigade on 27 May 1918 (war diary page 223 of 575)
  • start of 2nd Battalion Middlesex Regiment on 27 May 1918 (war diary page 18 of 535)
  • start of 19th Battalion Machine Gun Corps (diary not located on Ancestry)

Have been through the 19th Bn war diary from the beginning of March 1918. No mention of Mills.

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laughton

Thanks to John and his PM the 19th Battalion Machine Gun Corps has appeared!

 

Once again I had also completely forgotten to search the Ancestry  Category called "Various (|Divisional Troops)". This time I have put in a special bookmark on my computer so it appears immediately when starting a search. It is odd, as I would have searched for "Machine Gun" or "Divisional Machine Gun" as you would for all the others, but instead it is filed with a name starting with "V". If it is in there, I have no idea why it does not show up on an Ancestry search?

 

The main link:

  • UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920
    Various (Divisional Troops) 19th Division Piece 2071: Divisional Troops (1915 - 1919)
    • 19 Division Troops, 19 Bn. Machine Gun Corps March 1918 - March 1919
      • arrived at Chambrecy 29 May 1918 (war diary page 407 of 468)
      • 2nd Lt. Torrens death is reported (war diary page 408 of 468)
      • 2nd Lieutenant H. J. James Mills is reported missing since 4 June 1918 (war diary page 409 of 468)
        • we now have him as a Second Lieutenant and missing when they are at SARCY
        • although recorded on 6 June 1918 it is noted that he was missing since 4 June 1918 - earliest date of death?
        • we were only looking for him on 30 May 1918 or earlier, had not thought date might be incorrect

 

I would say we now clearly have him as a Second Lieutenant and he is missing on 4 June 1918!

 

I will return later to look into the rest of the Officers that were killed, wounded and missing that day.

 

UPDATE:

  • Major Scott, mentioned in the same entry as 2nd Lt. Mills, has a date of death of 6 June 1918 (CWGC Link)
  • 2nd Lt. Bruman was wounded on 30 May 1918 and died of wounds on 31 May 1918 (CWGC Link)
  • 2nd Lt. Torrens was reported killed on 30 May 1918 which agrees with the CWGC records (CWGC Link)
  • 2nd Lt. Mills only appears if you search for "Machine Gun Battalion (Infantry) as the "Secondary Regiment" without reference to the 19th Battalion, even though it has that on the CWGC page. That means you can only use the search term "Unit" for the "Primary Regiment". His date of death was given as 30 May 1918 (CWGC Link) five (5) days before he was reported missing.

The war diary has a nicely typed narrative of the operations from 27 May 1918 to 19 June 1918 (war diary page 411 of 468). That details the location of the unit but there are no references to the names of the Officers involved, nor any casualty reports.

 

Both Major Scott and 2nd Lt. Bruman were originally concentrated from a battlefield burial site into the Epernay Military Cemetery and from there to the Terlincthun British Cemetery. I will need to look up the map as they are reported at:

I should look up the COG-BR documents for Epernay to see if any of the others are listed there as "unknown" as they will not show up at Terlincthun unless they had a known grave in the new cemetery.

 

The Avize 1/20000 map is here: https://archives.marne.fr/ark:/86869/a011358428085YM9W7T

  • direct link: https://archives.marne.fr/ark:/86869/a011358428085YM9W7T/1/1
  • Scott, although killed 6 days later than Bruman was found on the north side of the Marne River, whereas Bruman was on the south side of the river. The major community of Epernay is between the two sets of remains at Avize 1/20000 225 x 256.
  • on the Soissons 22 Memorial Epernay is at 6 L 50 x 50, which is some distance south of 4 J 58 x 75 where Mills's remains were recovered
  • check if the southern location was related to an Aid Station or battlefield burial ground
Edited by laughton
added officers and details; oops it was Mills not James, my typo

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laughton

Back looking at this to see where it ranks and to summarize that we now have two (2) candidates for the:

 

"One Cloth Star Second Lieutenant of the Machine Gun Corps with Middlesex Regiment Buttons"

 

This is a similar case to a very recent case for Lieutenant Dickie, an RAF Observer, who was wearing Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) buttons. Glad they made note of these in the two sets of concentration reports!

 

There were only two (2) possible candidates based on the requirement to be a Second Lieutenant with an affiliation to the Middlesex Regiment. As I have marked on their web records below, only one had an affiliation with the Machine Gun Corps.

WHITE

Second

Lieutenant
(the only one)

HUGH REGINALD

27 May 1918

SOISSONS MEMORIAL

VIEW RECORD

5th Bn. attd. 2nd Bn.

Middlesex Regiment

no affiliation to

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

 

MILLS

Lieutenant
(really 2nd Lt.)

HENRY JACKSON

30 May 1918

SOISSONS MEMORIAL

VIEW RECORD

"C" Coy. 2nd Bn.

Middlesex Regiment

attd. 19th Bn.
Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

 

Thanks to John @johntanner for highlighting Lieutenant Mills, who it turns out is just one more of the many cases where there was a CWGC posthumous promotion recorded for the man's rank.

 

It is therefore conclusive that the Unknown Second Lieutenant was Henry Jackson Mills. There are no other candidates.

 

Fortunately the records of Major Scott show us that his burial was related to the hospital near Epernay, as he has both GRRF and COG-BR documents:

 

EPERNAY 16.B.15

doc2620138.JPG

AVIZE 1/20000 224.846 x 260.160

doc2053585.JPG

doc2053542.JPG doc2053557.JPG

 

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laughton
Posted (edited)

I had not previously noticed that Major Scott was concentrated twice in the process of arriving at his final resting place at Terlincthun British Cemetery (see also GWF Topic).

 

His first resting place was the Champillon British Cemetery, which is noted under the typed entry "Where body found" on GRRF 2053557, which is the document on the right in the posting above. The location of that cemetery was AVIZE 1/20000 224.84 x 260.16.

 

The remains of Major Scott then went to the Epernay Military Cemetery, which the GRRF documents tell us was also known as (or later renamed) the Epernay French National Cemetery. There is a GWF Topic about the concentration of that cemetery into Terlincthun British Cemetery, thus Major Scott made that final move as well.

 

To put this all in perspective, the war diary places the unit around SARCY ( 49°12'22.07"N  3°49'25.58"E) , which is about 8 miles southwest of Reims. I place the remains of Second Lieutenant Mills near TRAMERY (Sissons 22 4.J. 58 x 75  49°13'22.81"N  3°48'19.32"E) which is 1.4 miles northwest of Sarcy.

 

The purpose of this analysis of the locations was to provide the necessary evidence that the remains Second Lieutenant Mills were found in the correct location for a battlefield burial, whereas the remains of Major Scott were found where he had been taken, buried and then relocated on two separate occasions.

 

Google Earth Image.jpg

 

Edited by laughton

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laughton

The placement of the machine gun companies is detailed in the appendices (war diary page 411 of 468) as of 29 May 1918:

 

On arrival at SARCY, Commanding Officer reported to G.O.C.
57th and 58th Brigades and received orders as to the disposal of
guns.
Guns etc, were unloaded and Officers sent forward to make
a reconnaissance of the positions to be taken up pending the
arrival of the personnel from CHA
MBRECY.
4 p.m. Guns of both Companies were in position as follows :

 

'B' Company

  • 4 guns just S. of 'R' in LHERY,
  • 4 guns 200 yds N. of point 228 due W. of 'B' in Bois  d'AULNAY
  • 2 guns just E. of 'Y' in AULNAY.
  • 4 guns in reserve at Company HQS at SARCY.
'C' Company
  • 4 guns point 191 S. of 'P' in POILLY.
  • 2 guns 200 yds N* and 2 'guns 200 yds. W. of Cross Roads N. of 'C' in COEMY.
  • 4 guns 500 yds. NW of 'B' in BOULEUSE.
  • 4 guns in old trenches just s" of 'L' in TRESLON.

See also this area in:

1760125494_MGCCoyplacements.jpg.4de804c3cac15a0174d1e5eee14ee1f7.jpg

 

On the 30th and 31st the MGC was forced south to the area of Ville-en-Tardenois and Chambrecy (war diary page 412 of 468). That would suggest that the date of death of Second Lieutenant Mills of 30 May 1918 was more in line with their location near Tramery at the time, only later to be reported missing on 4 June 1918.

 

The location of the remains, using the French Trench Maps "Lambert System" would be JONCHERY-SUR-VESLE 1/20000 214 x 276.5.

https://archives.marne.fr/ark:/86869/a011358428086lf6GbZ/1/1

1927318540_FNA31Fi97-Jonchery-sur-Vesle.jpg.7ccb5f42e8d102670546b35b4db789e5.jpg

 

 

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laughton

The report has been submitted to the CWGChttps://tinyurl.com/Henry-Mills

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JOVE23
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, laughton said:

The report has been submitted to the CWGChttps://tinyurl.com/Henry-Mills

Hello,

 

Spotted a typo on point 4!

 

Quote

4. A Google Earth Image has been provided to show the location of the Marfaux British Cemetery SOISSONS 1/100000 Sh. 22 5.K. 86 x 98 relative to the city of Reims and the location of the remains at Sh. 22 4 . J. 58 x 75, just south of the village of Tramery. The only times that the British Army was active in this general area during the Great War was in the Retreat from Mons (28 August – 5 September 1918 [This should obviously be 1914!]), then almost 4 years later in the latter stages of the 1918 German Spring Offensive. The particular action relevant to this case study was Operation Blücher-Yorck (Third Battle of the Aisne 27 May – 4 June 1918)

 

Might be missing a word on point 7, as well:

 

Quote

During the investigation of the location of the remains, relative to the details in the war diary, it was noted that Major S. Scott’s final resting place was a considerable distance away from the battlefield where he was killed. It was deemed possible that this could raise a question as to the location of the remains of Second Lieutenant H. J. Mills. Major Scott was concentrated twice in the process of arriving at his final resting place at Terlincthun British Cemetery. His first resting place was the Champillon British Cemetery, which is noted under the typed entry "Where body found" on GRRF 2053557. The location of that cemetery was AVIZE 1/20000 224.84 x 260.16.The remains of Major Scott then went to the Epernay Military Cemetery (Hopital Auban Moet), which the GRRF documents tell us was also known as (or later renamed) the Epernay French National Cemetery. This analysis tells us that that the remains of (<-- wasn't there in the original text. 'of' makes the most sense to me) Second Lieutenant Mills were found in the correct location for a battlefield burial, whereas the remains of Major Scott were found where he had been taken, buried and then relocated on two separate occasions.

 

Edited by JOVE23
Found another potential error

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laughton

Thanks! The joy of online reports is that you can repair these errors. It seems sometimes that no matter how many time you read a report, you see what you expect to see and not what you typed!

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