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For those who like working on very long shots and officers with no known grave.


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This is a rabbit hole for me and I do not have the time to investigate further. However I am aware that there are some on the forum who like a research challenge!

 

I have recently researched the following officer for the Worcs Regt Museum:-

 

CROYDON-FOWLER, Lieutenant, HILGROVE, 1st (Garr.) Bn. attd. 2nd Bn. Worcestershire Regt. 12 October 1918. (Vis-en-Artois Memorial - France)

 

His papers contain the following information:-

 

Was his body ever recovered and is he lying in an unmarked grave somewhere?

 

image.png.220ab035eff2ba9074258fe13144a551.png2069157199_1918_10.13Croydon-Fowler.jpg.2ea09e7774c7b34d8d244b6aebbcd137.jpg

 

 

 

After his death his father was angry that none of his son's belongings of any value were returned to the family. He wrote "“Surely our own soldiers do not rob their own dead.” In 1919 his son's gold identity disc was found amongst the effects of another deceased man (by inference not a German soldier).

 

Researchers on the forum have achieved some amazing thing over the years so over to you!

 

Promenade

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Tom Tulloch-Marshall

Could you possibly be a bit clearer as to where on the map CROYDON-FOWLER is meant to be ?

Tom

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Tom,

 

All I have to go on is the comment in the message which I presume is the notation close to the River Selle at the top of the map.

 

Thank you for your interest.

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Promenade

 

In 2011 I became interested in the 33rd Division and their action on the Selle in October 1918. The following year I visited the CWGC cemeteries in the vicinity of the French villages of Neuvilly and Montay in the hope of identifying the graves of Lieutenant Croydon-Fowler and 2/Lt Surry of the 16th KRRC. I was able to find the grave of 2/Lt Surry in Montay-Neuvilly Road Cemetery with a rededication service being held in October 2018. Unfortunately I still have not been able to locate the grave of Lieutenant Croydon-Fowler. 

 

 

 

 715065058_MCEWAN6-100-BDE-p743.jpg-MAP(3).jpg.ab3d7dc4ff1748325f221de30d4fc688.jpg

 

This map located in the war diary for the 100th Infantry Brigade records the boundaries for the attack on the 12th October 1918. Your map indicates that Lieutenant Croydon-Fowler was buried north of Le Cateau at 57b K.9.c.6.1 on the boundary between the 33rd and 17th Division

 

 

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Hello Micks,

 

Thank you  for your response. It really is impressive that you have already taken the time to investigate Croydon-Fowler, all credit for you for doing so! It also illustrates the depth and extent of the research that has been carried out for WW1, especcially on the Western Front. I only have a cursory knowledge of the CWGC grave registration document releases and did not know whether there were some clues in those. I suppose in the light of your email that it would make sense to close down this thread.

 

Once again many thanks

 

Promenade

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I wonder if the grave marker is that point just SW of the number 15 -  it looks as if it could have been a Maltese cross but has smudged.

 

Edwin

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Yes my mistake. It is a more logical burial location considering the position of the battalion HQ at K.26.b.3.6.

I will see if there is any additional evidence in the brigade war diary.

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Firstly a thankyou to those who have taken the time to look at this thread

 

Owing to Covid access to the Worcs Regt archive is restricted - however someone was in today and has forwarded the following related to Croydon-Fowler - not sure if it helps:-

A letter on file dated 26/1/20 written from Old Cattle Market Inn, Market Place, Plymouth by Private Alfred Ronald Ford M.M:- “We were in a position just on the left of Le Cateau, in a sunken road. On the night of 11 October 1918, we advanced our position to the other side of the canal. In the early hours of the 12th we had to withdraw to the sunken road, owing to a heavy barrage by the Germans. Two of us, with our N.C.O. in charge, had to remain where we were, with the Lewis gun. Seeing that all the Battalion had got back safely, we ourselves went back under heavy fire, our N.C.O. being killed. I got back safely with the gun, the first officer I spoke to was 2nd Lt Croydon-Fowler, he told me to get a shovel and dig myself in, I once went for a shovel, which was on the other side of the road, as I was about to dig myself in, I heard a shell coming and immediately fell to the ground, being covered with blood and earth. When I got up 2nd Lt Fowler was blown to pieces, there being 7 killed and 10 wounded with the same shell. We were relieved on same night. I learnt later from the adjutant of the Battalion that Captain Crowe V.C. of the Battalion, was in charge of the burial party. I was not present at the burial of the late officer, as to what became of the effects, that were on his person at the time of his death, I know nothing.” [was he reburied?] A letter from 2nd Lt HS Laughton dated 20/10/18 reads:- “Doubtless you have already received details concerning the death of your son in action on the 13th of this month. I have made a reproduction from the operation map [presumably the map above] of the ground we fought over marking the place where he is buried. I was standing by his side when he was hit and my men buried him where he fell, normally the body of one killed in action is carried down from the line but during an attack this is of course not possible at the time. We were only able to put up a rifle with a steel helmet on it to mark the spot but the ground is now well behind the lines and I hope we will be able to direct a cross to his memory.”

 

Promenade

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Hi Promenade

 

Based on what Private Ford wrote above about the sunken road, and 2nd Lt Laughton's map above it does look like Croydon-Fowler was buried at the site of the 'smudged cross'  at 57b.k.15.c.6.7.  

 

The  info in your posts is excellent - can I ask if the Worcestershire Reg Archive you mention is at the Worcs. Regt. Museum?

 

Jay

 

43348829_2Worcs121018.png.0f52c3cb034d5053c492aeeebe6054c4.png

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Hi Jay,

 

Yes it is - I am one of the volunteers there. I should add a word of explanation that the Worcs Regt Museum itself forms a part of the City Museum and that the Regimental Archives are housed elsewhere in the city.

 

Promenade

Edited by Promenade
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What became of the others that were killed by the same shell?

Do we know their names?

Do we know the name of the soldier that was recovered with his gold ID disc?

Where was this soldier recovered from? 
Was the burial location ever marked with a cross?

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Taking your questions in sequence:-

 

1/2. The following men are listed as killed in action 12/10/18 with 2 Worcs:-

 

LIVERSIDGE, Serjeant, ALBERT, 12605. 2nd Bn. Worcestershire Regt. 12 October 1918. (Vis-en-Artois Memorial - France)

 

HARRIS, Private, GEORGE WILLIAM, 57758. 2nd Bn. Worcestershire Regt. 12 October 1918. Age 19. Son of George and Elizabeth Harris, of 325, Brettenham Rd. Walthamstow, London. I. B. 6. (Montay-Neuvilly Road Cemetery - France)

 

CASSIDY, Private, PATRICK WILLIAM, 11047. 2nd Bn. Worcestershire Regt. 12 October 1918. Age 27. Husband of Gertrude Cassidy, of 49, Albion St., Everton, Liverpool. II. C. 14. (Selridge British Cemetery - France)

 

FAGG, Private, WILLIAM RICHARD, 57811. 2nd Bn. Worcestershire Regt. 12 October 1918. Age 19. Son of Richard and Edith Rose Fagg, of 29, Great Fenchurch St., Folkestone. (Vis-en-Artois Memorial - France)

 

3/4. Unfortunatley not - no further details are known

 

image.png.3424e86845cf7e749c29d449ccc719e8.png

 

5. Unknown

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Thanks for that Promenade. Although there is some suggestion there may have been little to bury I’ll have a look through the GRRFs for those two cemeteries mentioned.

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22 minutes ago, Promenade said:

Hi Jay,

 

Yes it is - I am one of the volunteers there. I should add a word of explanation that the Worcs Regt Museum itself forms a part of the City Museum and that the Regimental Archives are housed elsewhere in the city.

 

Promenade

Many Thanks

 

I have searched the online Concentration Returns  of Montay-Neuvilly Rd Cemetery - which has a 2nd Worcester casualty of 12/10/18 - and in these I can see the remains of just one person found in square 57b.k.15  in 'map references where body found', which was a King's Royal Rifles casualty.  No other casualties were found within 500 yds of the spot where Croydon-Fowler was buried.  CWGC say there are 61 Unidentified burials at  Montay-Neuvilly Rd Cemetery, however the online Concentration Returns only have details for 46 Unknowns (No Worcesters indicated) , so there may be some Returns at CWGC Archive Maidenhead.  

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Much appreciated jaykayu - looks like there may be no trail to follow which backs up 'Micks' posting. I have no idea what additional information may be held in Maidenhead if any.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Admin

Welcome to the forum. This forum deals with the Great War (WW1) so your query is outside our remit I'm afraid.

Michelle 

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