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Remembered Today:

Battery Valley Cemetery Grandcourt.


james drury

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HI All 

 

Just wondering if anyone can help with a location  for the Battery Valley Cemetery near Grandcourt. I have found reference to it being 800m SW of the village but nothing else. I know it was laid in November/December 1916 and post war the 56 graves moved to Connaught Cemetery, 

 

Any Info on Battery Valley and its Cemetery much appreciated.

 

Many thanks in advance 

 

James 

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57d.R.14.A.8.7 according to the attached Concentration Report is given as Battery Valley Grandcourt.

Burial in Connaught Cemetery now in Plot 11.

 

 

Screenshot 2020-04-27 at 11.03.21.jpg

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Amazing, thank you !

 

I'm researching a soldier of the 34th Machine Gun Company who was killed on the 25th November 1916.

The exact location of his death is given as:

 'centre gun position, R20b3.9,  gun withdrawn to dugout in bank Battery Valley'

 

He has no known grave but is on the Thiepval Memorial.

 

I know form a letter:

'the section buried him very decently and I will let you know the spot where your dear son and the best comrade ever had lies'

 

I was just trying to think of possible sites. I understand the Battery Valley cemetery was laid in November/December 1916 by the 11th Division which the 34th MGC was a part of so thought it might be one. 

 

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The location you gave is the bottom blue marker with the top marker being the location given for Battery Valley.

It mentions shelters along the bank on the trench map also.

 

In case you aren't familiar you can use http://preview.tmapper.com to convert the locations to trench maps and street view etc.

 

The modern day Battery Valley B&B is along the Rue de Beaucourt near these locations also

Screenshot 2020-04-27 at 11.59.55.jpg

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One final thing that might be of interest is this excellent drone shot from@GreatWar360

 

https://greatwar360.com/ne-of-thiepval/

 

Looking towards Grandcourt you really can see the dip in the land into Battery Valley and where the gun location was, the shelter from the bank, and where they would have originally been buried before being concentrated in Connaught Cem.

 

Hope that is useful and glad to be able to help.

 

Screenshot 2020-04-27 at 12.18.00.jpg

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Many thanks. 
 

love the drone shot. I had a 3D google earth shot but this is much better. Very kind of you. 
 

I have a divisional trench map showing trench locations for the 27th November, 2 days after his death. If I plot the cemetery in then it’s in no mans land I think, just in front of the the British front line which I doubt would be the case.  
 

image.jpeg.83aafc3f3340d7b06181ef131525e1a2.jpeg

May be he wasn’t buried there but back towards theipval somewhere. Unless he was buried later and the lines had moved forward.

 

The sections of the 34th MGC that were not in the line were billeted in theipval, or I guess he may have been take to a dressing station and buried close by. 
 

In the letter It does say buried by his section so was thinking more local and Immediate to the scene of the death than being moved off somewhere that’s why Battery Valley seemed promising to me. 
 

shame we don’t have the letter that gives the location as his comrade says he will send. 

 

I don’t think I’ll be able to find out but worth exploring possibilities. 
 

thanks for all the info though 👍🏻

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No problem James, After a quick look through the other deaths around then shows one lead maybe worth looking into more.

 

Pte G Lisk, KIA 27th Nov 1916 was buried at Battery Valley at 57d.r.14.a.8.7 - he was 11th Div (5th Bn Dorsetshire).

He was one of the number then concentrated into Connaught Cemetery later on.

 

That would suggest that that site in Battery Valley was active as a burial site around then.

347412569_Screenshot2020-04-27at13_31_06.jpg.8b77fa67fab6f8ac4cda840762a7e77a.jpg

Looking at other records from 25th Nov 1916 I presume you are researching Harold Gaunt, 39463, MGC. There are 113 UK, Army, France, records from that date so it might be interesting where the rest of the 11th Div in that area were buried that day. This may highlight an ADS location etc.

 

It could also be worth going through the concentration reports for the rest of Connaught Cemetery to try see if the other burials at Battery Valley point anywhere else interesting. The known graves from that Battery Farm location would give you dates that this site was active as a burial ground. But I do believe it was active on Nov 25th because

 

Pte W Stokes, 16870  died in Dec 1916.

Pte Newton 37178 died on the 18th November 1916.

Both were buried initially in Battery Valley and later to Connaught Cem. Thats the only two I checked but It points that it was available then.

1120261754_Screenshot2020-04-27at13_51_35.jpg.22d938f9926ab182efc348bce48c0281.jpg

 

If your man was wounded around that area, they came under fire and sheltered, and that was an active burial ground beside them that day, it is probable in my opionion he was buried there. Especially if buried by his own section. 

 

If I were to put a bet on then my money would be going for that location at Battery Valley!

Best of luck with the research - need to leave the lockdown to go to the shops but that passed a while nicely!

 

 

Edited by JasonMc
typo and wrong pic, fixed
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many thanks fo real that - il keep digging, 

 

Yes it is Harold Gaunt - a relative. 

here is the entry for his service record, the days entry form the 34MGC war diary and the letter sent to his family. they all tie together quite nicely to give a pretty accurate place of death. and like you say I agree his section would have buried him pretty quick and pretty close. 

all I need no is the talked of follow up letter detailing where he was buried - but one can wish ... 

 

2122470676_Screenshot2020-04-28at00_37_39.png.248736ff5cc790a8b08168b73e23bce6.png

 

1584445624_Screenshot2020-04-28at00_39_01.png.33020304c2596b0053ce6194bdd52114.png

 

1194290203_e589c38a-2085-4967-acc0-a46e0e429d6fcopy.jpg.ea7bc0256a005bf5af4193d12aaf7377.jpg

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I had a quick question, please forgive my ignorance. Burrial returns you have shown above, are they available online ? its a new avenue of research for me. 

 

Many thanks 

 

James 

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  • Admin

James, the burial returns are available on the CWGC site. 

 

https://www.cwgc.org/

Michelle 

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Yes, as Michelle says you can get these forms on CWGC.org.

 

For Connaught Cemetery you can bring up all the burials there using

 

https://www.cwgc.org/find/find-war-dead/results/?cemetery=CONNAUGHT CEMETERY, THIEPVAL

 

There may be an easier way but what I do is click in through the men's names. You will see Grave Registration and Headstone tabs at the bottom.

However some also have a Concentration tab - these were concentrated from other cemeteries.

 

When you have a concentration report open you can right click to find the direct link to the image.

 

Here's a direct link to the first sheet of the returns for Connaught Cemetery

https://archive.cloud.cwgc.org/archive/doc/doc1985110.JPG

 

To go through the pages just advance the number in the link so page 2 is 

https://archive.cloud.cwgc.org/archive/doc/doc1985111.JPG

 

And so on up until https://archive.cloud.cwgc.org/archive/doc/doc1985164.JPG

 

 

Looking the names of the two letter writers they were both dead within 6 months. So they likely never got a chance to write another letter with further details.

 

591721558_Screenshot2020-04-28at12_05_45.jpg.4d335ddbb8fd54edb73f5c9fe4a14a29.jpg

 

1790226089_Screenshot2020-04-28at12_06_15.jpg.6df6d70b807554911e972433d66fd834.jpg

 

Edited by JasonMc
fixed link
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This Is not easy :wacko:

 

May be another avenue ?? -  I came across  a newspaper cutting for the death of Reginald Rowell, KIA 13th November 1916 so 12 days before Harold.  Thrown a little when I tried to find him as he was given as 15001 in the 5th Dorsets, which when I look at all service papers  is true.  But then realised they were part of the 11th  Division 33 brigade. 

The Newspaper cutting states he was pert of the 34th Machine Gun Company  - so a probable transfer in the field ? as it is not noted anywhere in the service papers I can find.

 

he is buried in Regina trench Cemetery  -  but I think he was moved there from else where ( says exhumations at the top of the grave registration I think )  - I may be wrong but assuming the 34 MGC curried their dear in the same cemetery, may if I can find where he was moved from it may give a pointer.

 

1708778343_Screenshot2020-04-29at05_02_58.png.3a466e37a91f29876e5bab0ebf264708.png

 

doc2330843.JPG.cda83bf2d3c324faf273f6b162ff479c.JPG

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4 hours ago, james drury said:

assuming the 34 MGC curried their dear in the same cemetery, may if I can find where he was moved from it may give a pointer.

 

According to 34 MGC war diary, 2 ORs were killed on 13 November and 1 gun was destroyed by a direct hit.  On the following map I have pinpointed the disposition of some of their guns (again taken from the war diary).  Those shown as 1.11.1916 were, I believe still there on 13 November as the sites had been selected for the proposed advance which was subsequently delayed to 13 November.  The red lines show the lines to their targets.

 

image.png.af9c6c2afd5ea61b6001596dcab12d9e.png

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15 hours ago, james drury said:

he is buried in Regina trench Cemetery  -  but I think he was moved there from else where ( says exhumations at the top of the grave registration I think )  - I may be wrong but assuming the 34 MGC curried their dear in the same cemetery, may if I can find where he was moved from it may give a pointer.

 

According to the concentration report Pte R Rowell from the 5th Dorsets was originally buried at at 57D.R26.C.0.66 which is South of Battery Valley in Thiepval Village.

I'm not sure on the procedures for recruiting within the division to the MGCs but have seen it plenty of times where men were KIA with the MGC and I can't find records of the move. But it's on the death report so he would have been moved. I'm speculating but the times I've seen men taken to MGC have generally have been taller men (5 10+) as stronger men were picked presumably for the heavier work of moving ordinance. If you find a service report for Rowell I'd bet he wasn't 5'4".

 

You can see all the exact locations of all these burials here and his looks to have been behind the back garden of a house.

 

Working on from Don Regiano's post that might help plot the points and dates on the map and make a bit more sense out of it. 

 

 

Screenshot 2020-05-01 at 11.09.12.jpg

Screenshot 2020-05-01 at 11.14.12.jpg

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Many thanks for this guys, its much appreciated and I'm learning a lot. 

Have plotted as you suggested but don't think it will help my quest. 

 

Just out of interest Harold was 5'7"

 

Was hoping to list all the casualties from 34 MGC with  date then  see if I could trace them and any pattern but luckily for them thy suffered relatively few casualties so don't think that will help.

 

have a feeling he will remain one of the many unknown

 

thanks again 

James 

ps just for interest this is the chap in his 8th NF days pre 34MGC

 

 

 

 

IMG_4556.jpeg

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I had one quick question, so please forgive my ignorance. The paperwork you have been posting (concentration reports etc) is there an index that helps navigate them is perfect cemetery. I’d like do more research in certain ones but haven’t worked out where they are located or if there is an index - forgive if it’s a silly question, still learning. 

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Not a problem. The concentration reports are a little tricky to find but once you get used to them it's manageable.

 

If you have a look over the steps in post 11 again it might help. 

But basically on cwgc website I go through the soldiers in a cemetery in question until I find one which has a concentration tab at the bottom of the page.

 

Opening this picture up I right click to show the address of the file and put this address into the top address bar of my browser. This has a number at the end - you manually need to increase and decrease this number to check all the pages for that cemetery. It's fiddly but once you get the hang of it it's not too hard. 

 

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... thank you  .... feeling a little dumb here after re reading post 11 - go it now .. many thanks .... 

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Haha, no worries, there may be an easier method to do it but thats my way.

 

I automate it in the chrome web browser and have and auto downloader and and url incrementer plugin installed.

Once I find the first record then I tell it to run and download all the records.

The automation makes it quicker but the process is the same as manually.

 

Good luck with the search and keep going as I'm sure you will find out much more.

With this type of research I often find a lull and think everything is doscovered and then you find another path that tells more!

 

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That's great work, you have certainly gathered a lot of information.

Always a great boost to have the full service record.

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  • 3 years later...

@james drury

just following up, we were at Battery Valley Farm this year looking around as one of my great uncles was buried at Battery Valley before being moved to Connaught.

We have just about found the place in the field for the position of B V burials. following a few questions with the locals and researchers, the farmer who owns the field is not happy to let people walk about on the land. However, staying at BV Farm, you can walk along , past the turkey sheds and there is a track going up the rise. You can get a feel of the place , look over the field and turn around to view the incline up toward Ulster Tower and Thiepval, but stop at the end of the rise as the next field is another farmers land.

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Hi, 

Thank you for the followup. Very interesting. 

I hope one day to go and visit the area and pay my respects. 

Many  Tanks 

James 

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