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Edwin Campion Vaughan - Burial of men in Biaches February 1917


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MicahDominicParsons

Hello everyone,

 

I have been reading 'Some Desperate Glory' by Edwin Campion Vaughan and I have taken a particular interest in the following passage.

 

On Thursday 15th February 1917, Vaughan talks about the grizzly task of burying the dead "As I turned to re-enter the dugout, he said 'There's a job for you tonight,' and he pointed out a cluster of corpses three or four years behind the parados. Lying flat on their backs, with marble faces rigid and calm, their khaki lightly covered with frost, some with no wound visible, some with blood clotted on their clothes, one with a perfectly black face, they lay at attention staring up into the heavens. This was my first sight of dead en and I was surprised that it did not upset me. Only the one with the black face has stayed with me. The thick, slightly curled lips, fleshy aquiline nose, cap-comforter pulled well down over his head and the big glassy eyes have become stamped on my brain". 

"When my tour of duty came round, I drew one or two men from the posts and went out to bury the bodies. It was very dark and we had to feel about to find them. When we tried to dig, we found the ground so hard that we could not get a pick into it. According to orders, also, we tried to take off their boots and equipment, but it was not very pleasant pulling frozen corpses about, so we decided that the country could afford to pay for that equipment, and we ended by covering them with old blankets, and piling the corners with stones, until the ground should be soft enough to bury them. 

A few weeks later on Sunday 11th March 1917, Edwin Campion Vaughan makes the following statement "Whilst we were eating, the pioneer sergeant bought in some crosses that he had made for the men whom I had covered with blankets and whom were no buried and when I went to the front line Dunham carried them along". 

Men killed from this battalion between 01/02/1917 to 15/02/1917 were as follows;

Kiboko Wood Cemetery and finally Assevillers New British Cemetery:

. Private F.H. Wells (20723) (04/02/1917).

. Corporal G.E. Williamson (1630) (04/02/1917).

. Private A.T. Jennings (306465) (04/02/1917).

. Corporal John Hodgetts (20993) (04/02/1917).

. Private F. Greening (306462) (04/02/1917).

. Private T. Parkinson (20370) (04/02/1917).

. Private J.G. Baker (20875) (04/02/1917).

. Lance Corporal P. Holey (305481) (09/02/1917).
Thiepval Memorial to The Missing:

. Private William James Bristow (4969) (02/02/1917).

. Private David Mansell (20897) (04/02/1917)

Eclusier Communal Cemetery;

. Private A. Potter (306847) (15/02/1917)

 

The 1/8th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, first went into the line between 01/02/1917 and was relieved by The 1/7th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment on 05/02/1917, the battalion had suffered 10 men killed in action and 13 men wounded in action (one of which seems to have died of their wounds).

On 10/02/1917, the battalion relieved The 1/7th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The 1/7th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment suffered the following casualties between the period 01/02/1917 to 15/02/1917).

 

Assevillers New British Cemetery:

. Private J. Cartwright (20451) (04/02/1917).

Eclusier Communal Cemetery:

. Private W.S. Finch (6575) (03/02/1917).

Bray Military Cemetery:

. Private Charles Coleman (267709) (15/02/1917).

 

I wondered if any of the above men could have been the ones buried by 2nd Lieutenant Edwin Campion Vaughan?

 

It seems that The 1/8th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment always relieved The 1/7th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment and visa versa and the same was so for The 1/6th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment relieving The 1/5th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment (the battalions for the two months that they are in Biaches always occupy the same positions apart from a slight shift in boundary to the right for the brigade front which took place on the ngith of 11/02/1917 and 12/02/1917).

For the period 16/02/1917 to 12/03/1917, The 1/8th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment lose the following men.

 

Assevillers New British Cemetery:

. Private Albert Hollyoake (306755) (23/02/1917).

 

 

For the period 16/02/1917 to 12/03/1917, The 1/7th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment loses the following men.

 

Assevillers New British Cemetery:

. Private G.H. Chatterway (268224) (02/03/1917)

. Private G.E.F. Jean (268201) ((02/03/1917)

. Private O. Miller (266791) (02/03/1917)

. Private Martin Philpott (265973) (03/03/1917).

Eclusier Communal Cemetery:
. Private J. Boon (266880) (12/03/1917).

Bray Military Cemetery:

. Lance Corproal J. Gee (268526) (04/03/1917).

. Private John James Waring (266460) (07/03/1917).

. Private Thomas Joseph Nash (266921) (07/03/1917).

Estaples Military Cemetery:

. Private P.J. Smith (265402) (07/03/1917).

 

In around 2008, a new house was being built in Biaches and three British soldiers were discovered in this area. They were identified by their boots and later buried in Peronne Communcal Cemetery. I was wondering if anyone had any more information on these burials?

 

Best Wishes,

 

Micah Dominic Parsons

Edited by MicahDominicParsons
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