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Divisional Cemetery- 2 Duke of Wellington’s Regiment-


David_Blanchard

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Trying to find out more about Divisional Cemetery west of Ypres. Historical details from CWGC state that 23 men of the 2 Duke of Wellington’s are buried here- all died in gas attack 5 May 1915 on Hill 60.

 

Trying to find out why- was there a Advanced Dressing Station near here?


Other men from this regiment in this attack are buried in Perth China Wall Cemetery- from Transport Farm- I would imagine they died at the Advanced Dressing Station there in May 1915. But why were the other men transported further down the medical evacuation chain and buried at Divisional Cemetery?

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13 Field Ambulance, that I believe served 13 Brigade, was west of Ypres. Here's an extract from the War Diary for 31 May 15 (from Ancestry) showing its locations:

 

584366676_13FAJUN15(800x424)(800x424)(640x339).jpg.778f88902d5b2294561aab8ec2b81130.jpg

 

Acknown

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Thanks for this reference. So it would appear that the 13 FA were based at an Advanced Dressing Station near where Divisional Cemetery is today. 
 

David 

Edited by David_Blanchard
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Perhaps the ADS just along the road at Belgian Battery Corner. The house that served as the ADS there has recently been demolished.

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Not sure why the Grave Registration Report Forms (GRRF)  are missing for Divisional Cemetery and looking at Richard Laughton’s zip files I note that Dickebusch Military Cemetery has been misfiled in the Divisional Cemetery folder and I failed to find it elsewhere in the zip files. I did however find them hiding in the CWGC archive cloud.

 

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As with many similar trench burials where several names appear on single headstones, it is questionable as to what we see above ground corresponds with beneath. Whilst the names appear to follow the GRRF there are some anomalies. The GRRF originally recorded 24 typed names for row C grave 18, a handwritten name was added and two names were removed sometime later. The date of death for all was originally recorded as 6th May 1915 later amended to 5th. From what I see for grave C 18 there are eight headstones containing the names of 23 soldiers laid out as follows –

 

Walsh/Clapp

Donley/Jenkins/Peckover

North/Thomas/Aherne

Beverley/Woolbar/Wharton

Chapman/Kitson/Lucas

Rothery/Collinson/Hodgson

Stevens/Irving/Roberts

Plews/Mullen/Wilson

 

Pte 14022 Ernest Gregson’s remains were found on or around 15th March 1919 and identified on the Concentration of Graves Report Form (CoG) as ‘Pte E Gregson No.4 Double Company 3rd Batt W Riding Regt’ no effects were forwarded (Insanitary) and there is no indication of what item contained this information. These remains were reinterred at Perth (China Wall) Cemetery. Sometime later his name was removed from the GRRF for Divisional Cemetery as it was found this soldier had a grave. – Had a mistake been made and this was a Memorial Cross? Was there a known head count for the trench burial? Sadly in the fog of war and the passing of time we are unlikely to ever know.

 

Pte 10252 F Halon – having had a quick scout around I can find no trace of this soldier and very little that may fit with what is recorded on the GRRF, it may appear that at the time IWGC investigations came to the same conclusion. As a result this soldiers name was removed from the GRRF.

 

Pte 10735 A(fred) Collinson’s name was added at the end of C 18, his name now appears where Halon’s name would have appeared between Rothery and Hodgson. IWGC investigations may have revealed that Halon and Collinson were the same man and some transcription error may have occurred, this could explain his placing in the headstone names.

 

There are a further six 2nd Bn soldiers buried here all casualties of the same action, almost all original dates of death recorded on the GRRF also being amended to 5th May and laid out as follows –   

 

Heaton and Johnson - single headstones B 2

Keene B 3 – there is a grave space between Johnson and Keene

Medley B 4

Ogden B 5

Mansell C 17

 

Using the CWGC database with 5th to 9th May 1915 (Belgium & France) as a search parameter for the 2nd Bn casualties we get 198 hits. 94 of these have no know grave and are remembered at the Menin Gate. Of the 104 that have known graves (this number includes 4 Special Memorials), these can be broken down as follows –

 

36 - Bailleul Communal Cemetery & Extension – Soldiers Effects Register (SER) records several of these as having died at 3rd Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) of ‘            gas poisoning’.

2 - Boulogne Eastern Cemetery – SER record both having died at 13th General Hospital, Boulogne.

29 - Divisional Cemetery – SER record all these soldiers ‘killed in action’. Having looked at the SER for other regimental burials around the time, the 14th Field                Ambulance (5th Division) appears several times.

1 - Divisional Collecting Post Cemetery & Extension – grave concentrated here from 28.I.29.d.2.4, SER records death ‘official accepted on service 5/5/15’  – the              identity of this grave may be questionable.

3 - Hazebrouck Communal Cemetery – SER record these as having died at 1/1st South Midland CCS of ‘gas poisoning’.

1 - Hooge Crater Cemetery – grave concentrated here 1919 from Lock No.9 Cemetery (28.I.19.b.6.3) a small cemetery around 600 yards north west of the                   Collecting Station at Trois Rois. SER records killed ‘in action (gas poison)’.

1 - Klein-Vierstraat British Cemetery – grave concentrated here from 28.N.22.b.8.4. SER records this man having died at 82nd Field Ambulance (27th Division).

5 - Larch Wood (Railway Cutting) Cemetery – SER records all ‘killed in action (gas)’. I have assumed these soldiers were buried here shortly after their deaths.

1 - Le Treport Military Cemetery – SER records this soldier having died at 16th General Hospital of ‘gas poisoning’.

8 - Perth (China Wall) Cemetery – 4 named graves were concentrated here, from 28.I.20.a.90.25 (1 named + 1 UBS West Riding) SER records ‘killed in action’.              28.I.20.a.9.3 (1 named + 1 UBS exhumed from same grave) both these references are around 250 yards north of the Collecting Station at Trois Rois. SER                records ‘killed by gas poisoning 6/5/15’. Also from 28.F.29.d.8.8 (2 named) – This map reference must be incorrect – these soldiers would be buried well                behind German lines to the north east of Ledeghem, The CoG records both graves were marked with crosses and the CoG is further annotated ‘aphixated’            with dates of death 6th and 7th May. SER records both having died of ‘gas poison’ at 83rd FA (27th Division). 4 names are also recorded on Special Memorials          to those whose graves were lost at Transport Farm Cemetery Annexe, a small cemetery around 150 yards east of present         day cemetery. SER records 3            killed ‘in action (gas)’ and 1 records ‘14th FA’.

3 - Poperinghe Old Military Cemetery – SER records these soldiers having died at 84th Field Ambulance (28th Division).

2 - Railway Dugouts Burial Ground (Transport Farm) – SER records both having been ‘killed in action’.

11 - Reninghelst Churchyard Extension – SER records these soldiers as being ‘killed in action (gas)’. The war diary records the 15th Field Ambulance (5th Division) was stationed here               during this period.

1 - St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen – SER records this soldier having died at 12th General Hospital of ‘gas poisoning’.

 

Tracking the burials and concentration of graves from this event does show what appears to be several evacuation chains of several medical units of II Corps. The various medical war diaries briefly consulted, although difficult to collate dates with places, sub-divisions and bearer squads, do furnish some further details which play out with the above details.

During April 1915 the 5th Division ADMS moved from Poperinghe to Boeschepe along with the main body of 13th Field Ambulance (FA) and were in charge of the Divisional Rest Centre there. The main bodies of 14th and 15th FA were located at Reninghelst. The 14th FA arrived here on 23rd April but left 3 officers and 150 bearers at the dugouts in the railway embankment near Transport Farm, this area is also later described as a Collecting Station. Plus 3 officers and 24 men near the crossroads 1.5 miles south of Ypres, this area may be the crossroads close to the embankment near Lock No.9 and in the vicinity of Shrapnel Corner. A detachment of 14th FA was also left at the farm in H.18.a, this is the adjacent square to Divisional Cemetery at 28.H.11.d.95.25 and around 300 yards south to the farm. Gas cases are recorded frequently in the war dairies, the impression given is these victims were best treated outdoors in the open.

 

Late April describes the roads to Poperinghe as being heavily congested with military traffic, refugees and wounded. Both Poperinghe and Ypres were being targeted by hostile artillery which threatened the closure of No.2 ADS and The Asylum – 14th FA had been stationed at the latter prior to their move to Reninghelst. Many medical units were being moved from Poperinghe during this time with patients being motored to the CCS at Bailleul. Motor transport was used to convey the casualties and sometimes civilians, 8 ambulances (3 horse) are noted using the road between 3rdCCS at Poperinghe and the ADS at Ypres where many wounded were laying out along the roadside.

 

An Advanced Deporting Centre (ADC) is noted outside Ypres during late April, but I have not yet found any further reference to this place. Advanced Dressing Stations (ADS) are recorded at Rue de Lille (No.2 ADS) Ypres. On 5th May a further ADS is described as being in the rear (south west) of 15th Inf Bde HQ near Zillebeke Pond and the railway embankment. It is also noted that 5 medical officers and around 200 bearers of 14th FA are in the forward area. Owing to hostile MG fire and heavy shelling around Hill 60 the 14th FA bearers had been unable to get any closer to the front line. Also recorded for 5th May is the use of motor transport being available at the ADS which includes 2 buses and 5th Division ADMS war diary recording that 2 officers and 29 men died there on 5th May – I have assumed this is the ADS at Ypres and this number dead may equate to those 2nd Bn soldiers now buried at Divisional Cemetery. 11th May records the 14th FA had a bearer subdivision at the ADS on Rue de Lille (described as a Distribution Centre – ADC?) and a bearer subdivision at The Asylum close to the railway, the war diary entry implies the unit had been here for some time.

 

The ADS on the 13th FA map posted above is not described in the war diaries (or not that I’ve seen) and may have been used by other units. The rough area may suggest Hengebaert Farm, Dickebusch (28.H.21.b.4.2) or Green Hunter Cemetery, Vlamertinghe (28.H.22.a.9.8), both these small cemeteries (46 burials in total) were concentrated to White House Cemetery, St. Jean. At this point I have not checked if any of those buried here belonged to units of the 5th Division, nor what medical units that may have been stationed here. An earlier sketch map from the end of Aprilcontained in the 13th FA war diary shows an ADS in the vicinity of Divisional Cemetery where 13th FA bearers were collecting wounded from during the month. It is also worth noting that an isolation tent for infectious cases was set up near Ouderdom, the war dairies record several cases of German measles and Spanish fever during this period.

 

43112_1540_0-00090.jpg.cb6fbf3d240fb16f22dc2533f2a472fc.jpg

 

Those 2nd Bn soldiers who are buried at Divisional Cemetery appear to have died in the care of a detachment of 14th FA stationed at the Asylum or farm close by, this may be the ADS noted on the 13th FA map now manned by the 14th FA detachment. It is likely these casualties were led or carried here by 14th FA bearers via a presently unknown route. There is some suggestion that a route back to this ADS just east outside Ypres was via an ADC on Rue de Lille, Lock No.9, Shrapnel Corner and the Collecting Station and ADS in the vicinity of the railway dugouts near Transport Farm, where this appears to be the limit of 14th FA bearer’s approach to the front line. Evidently many were totally overcome by the effects of gas and died at the various links in the evacuation chain. Those that survived the journey back to the ADS at Ypres were then taken on to Poperinghe via 84th FA horse transport or to Reninghelst via 5th Division FA horse transport. From these places patients were transferred to the larger CCSs at Bailleul by both horse drawn and motor transport. Some survived longer and made it to the large hospitals by the coast before they too became victims of the deadly gas attack.

 

It seems fitting to post here an extract or visual memory taken from the 2nd Bn war diary. I believe these graves were removed to the extension shortly after the war.

 

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doc1813995.JPG

Edited by jay dubaya
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Jay,

 

this is an absolutely phenomenal piece of work you have put in here. I have been looking at most of the diaries you mention, but I am completely blown away by the research you have put in. And I thought I had done a shift. 
 

thanks very much- once I read it all over I am sure I will get back to you.

 

thanks very much, brilliant.

 

David 

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