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Regulus 1

British two seater loss 15 sept. 1917

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Regulus 1

Hi,

Were trying to identify two unknown's burried on the cemetery at Bovekerke. Their RFC plane came down in this area on the 15th of september 1917. Well, it was found that day it seems.

With the today's knowledge of the war, it is perhaps possible to identify those two unknown's and to let the CWGC know about it. Any Ideas ?

It is not found in Henshaw's excellent TSTB, and he didn't find it in later research.

The CWGC has no ideas on the matter...

There is no info to be found localy, not in church registers or civilian ones...

The RAF doesn't have any clues neither or at least didn't 3 years ago...

I have a last idea, but can't get any confirmation and am still awaiting answer from CWGC.

It's been seven years I'm trying to identify these men. I'm not going to give up on them, but it seems that nothing fits.

There is no possibility upon a French or Belgian crew...

So, any ideas or help is welcome !

Thanks and best from Johan :(

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Regulus 1

Hi,

Just got word from the CWGC and my for the moment last possibility seems to be impossible.

So any other ideas are very welcome !

Thanks and best from Johan

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PFF

.TWO POSSIBILITES-CWGC ARRAS Flying Memorial:

Deaths before 15-9-1917 that occured on same day

Pearson, Oliver Charles 10-9-1917

Sisley, Arthur Jackson Smith 10-9-1917

Both served with 70th Squadron

CAN ANYONE HELP AND CONFIRM THESE POSSIBLE IDENTIES???? :)

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Regulus 1

Interesting idea ! I've always considered a two-seater, but this is a possibility also as they were lost the same moment in the same area, though not close to Bovekerke, it certainly could be !

I've also been thinking about a 36 HD Sqdn from Seaton Carew crew on the 25th September, 2nd Lt's HJ Thornton and CA Moore who left in the night of 24/25 September 1917 probably at 01.50 AM in chase of the Zeppelin raiders and which never were found. Zeppelins normally made it close to the Dutch coast. Desorientation, running out of fuel,... I know, also a longshot, but well, any ideas are welcome !

Thanks and best from Johan

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PFF
:) Just placed a query on this mystery on website "The Aerodrome" with a appeal for help. Hope this works :)

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PFF

Received Answaer on "The Aerodrome" (People) to query "Please Help on two Unknown RAF Burial Query"...according to correspondent "Jempie" these two

aviators were BELGIUM who died 15 July 1917...

Baron Charles Kervyn de Lettenhove

Compte Jacques de Meeus

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Regulus 1

Hi,

Yes just saw it, but here's a piece from my book on the WW I cemetaries I'm preparing :

- Lt. Charles Baron Kervijn de Lettenhove of the 4th Escadrille, born at Wakken in 1892 and was a volunteer of the air force. He had already been wounded on the 15th June 1917 when he was crashing with his plane from a height of 3000 meters, breaking both his feet and sustaining head injury. On the 18th April 1918 he was killed in action in a dogfight. He had one official victory, on the 8th July 1917 together with de Meeus, curiously no source mentions the location. His younger brother Georges ended the war with 4 victories and and least 9 more claims ! These were shared victories in fact.

So that story doesn't fit... What's more he's burried at Hoogstade Belgian Military Cemetary...

Best from Johan

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dfuller52

I just found this note as it contains mention of Sisley, who I am researching. He was a Canadian from Toronto and was killed in Sopwith Camel B3927.

Invalided out after serving with the Canadian Field Artillery, he recovered and enlisted in the RFC as 3/AM (58999) and on the 23rd of May was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the RFC. It seems he was last seen descending over enemy territory on September 10th 1917.

He was the 43rd victim of Werner Voss

43. 10 Sep 17 Sopwith Camel 17:50 Paschendaele-Langemarck

His brother, Donovan Laurier Sisley was also killed while serving with the RFC in 1918.

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josquin

Regulus,

The Aerodrome site gives the following details that pertain to your enquiry:

On 10 September 1917, Ltn. Werner Voss, then of Jasta 10, shot down Sopwith Camel B3927, at Langemarck, at 1650 and Camel B3787, SW of Poelkapelle, at 1655.

B327 was piloted by 2/Lt. Arthur Jackson Smith Sisley, of 70 Squadron, RFC; B3787 was piloted by 2/Lt. Oliver Charles Pearson, of 70 Squadron, RFC. Neither

airman was ever found and they are only commemorated on the Arras Flying Memorial. Bovekerke is not far from Langemarck and Poelkapelle, and only

two unknown soldiers are buried in the churchyard there. Given the foregoing, I believe a reasonable case can be made for Lts. Pearson and Sisley as the

two soldiers interred at Bovekerke. These details are on The Aerodrome site, under the categories Aces (Werner Voss) and Aircraft Numbers. One

possible complication, however: 2/Lt. Oscar Lennox McMaking, of 45 Squadron & Lincolnshire Yeomanry, was shot down by Ltn. Voss on 11 September

1917, E of St.Julien, in Camel B6236; he was never found, as well, and is remembered also on the Arras Flying Memorial. Three possibilities, then,

given that the airmen apparently were not found until 15 September 1917? Trevor Henshaw, in The Sky Their Battlefield, states that Lts. Pearson and

Sisley were last seen between Roulers and Staden and were posted as KIA after combat with enemy aircraft over Houthulst Forest-Langemarck, on

10 September.

Regards

Trelawney

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Regulus 1

Hi Trelawney,

The mystery has been solved in November 2005, and I seem to have forgotten to tell this to the Forum, for which I'm sorry, so I'll translate the whole story how we came to the identification of Sgt William Harold Roebuck from 48 Sqdn and post it on the forum tonight or tomorrow !

Thanks and best from Johan ! :blush:

SO : MYSTERY SOLVED !!!

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Regulus 1

Oops, seems I posted a text in english in 2008 on The Aerodrome Forum, when the Spaenhiers group tried to say that they had solved the mystery after using our sources on the Dutch WW I forum, so here it is :

In 1997 I ran into an unknown gravestone of the RFC at Bovekerke churchyard, West-Flanders, the man in question died 15 September 1917.

It was something that intrigued me and it was curious that an RFC member who died on that day could not be identified. Soon it would become a goal to be able to put on a name on this grave.

Although not having plans to publish any further on the matter when we probably solved the mystery in November 2005, I recently was confronted with the fact that someone else used my material which was on the Dutch WW I forum, and tried to convince the press that he had done the job leading to the probable identification of the pilot. He even had the guts to mention the forum as a source !

As the Dutch WW I forum contains the name of the pilot and the moment in 2005 we came to this conclusion, it was not hard for us to show that we had come to that conclusion much earlier, and we also got confirmation that a new article on the matter will be published on the websites and newspaper who published the original article with the wrong information.

In order not to be confronted with other persons or the same one claiming the same matter again, we decided to go public on the matter, although the work is not yet completely finished.

After having asked the question on a number of specialised forums such as the Aerodrome, The Great War Forum, and having received the precious help of many members, also Trevor Henshaw took a further look on the matter, but we came to the conclusion at the time that we could not identify the pilot on that moment.

We decided to look at the possibility of another nationality and meanwhile started the search also on the Dutch WW I forum at Forum Eerste Wereldoorlog :: Index

A number of possibilities came forward which we all invested one by one, and in which especially Jean-Pierre Lauwers from Brugge was active and extremely helpful.

Finally there lasted on possibility, a pilot who died of wounds. Having done quite some research on this, we had to come again to the conclusion that it was a dead end…

Locally no information was found, and we continued the search.

What about a pilot who was MIA ? On first look we didn’t find anyone MIA in that period. We even went back one month, without result.

However, meanwhile, we had also found out that Bovekerke church seemed to have been used as a reserve lazarett/fieldhospital.

So a wounded man became very evident. But who ?

We went back to Mr. Henshaw’s excellent The Sky Their Battlefield. And by searching on the CWGC site we found a pilot who had been shot down a few days earlier, his gunner was found and buried, but the pilot’s grave remained unknown, and he was listed on the Arras Flying Services Memorial.

On the 11th of September they left their airfield and one of the planes of the Squadron had a meeting with a DFW C-type, which is mentioned also in the RFC Communiqué of the day : 2nd Lt's J Binnie & Tuffield, 48 Squadron, shot down a DFW two-seater out of control near Dixmude.

They ran indeed into a plane of probably Flieger Abteilung (A)224 at 10.15

Target that day probably was Bruges. At around 11.10 (all hours are British time) a plane of the same unit, 48 Squadron ran into a pilot of the I Marine Feldjasta with the name of Lt. Friedrich von Götz, who was about to take his first aerial victory, not that it would bring him much luck, as he was killed the same evening near the coast.

His claim was above Wijnendale, on a plane going in the direction of it’s own lines, so towards Diksmuide, which was no longer that far away. The plane was a Bristol F2b, the crew, pilot Sgt WH Roebuck and the gunner 2nd Lt HT Batson.

According to the RFC they were both KIA. And here we found something curious, ok both KIA but only one of the two had a known grave at Larch Wood Cemetery in the Ypres area…

If you go from Wijnendale towards the Diksmuide area, you will pass the area of Bovekerke, Werken, etc.

So the plane certainly crashed in the area. Body not found ? It leaves us with two possibilities :

First, and the most probable one, he is found badly injured, taken to the Bovekerke fieldhospital which is very close by and died of his wounds on the 15th of September.

Second, he fell out of the plane before it crashed and his body was only recovered on the 15th. Very doubtful, as this area is quite populated with German soldiers and local population. And it would not give an exact date on his grave.

So option 1 is the most obvious one.

The only other possibility is a loss one month earlier at Vladslo, but as there was another field hospital there, there’s no chance at all that they would have taken a wounded man to Bovekerke instead and that he only died a month later of his wounds is making the odds even unbelievable small.

The name of the gunner buried at Larch Wood cemetery is 2nd Lt. Henry Thomas Batson who originally served with The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) and was 28 years old.

The pilot of his plane had at least two confirmed victories

The first one on 17 august 1917 in BF2b A7115 above Oostende at 10.25, recorded as destroyed and the second one on 4 september 1917 also above Oostende at 19.00, in BF2b A7217 recorded as Out of control. Both claims were Albatros DV planes and were made together with 2nd Air Mechanis William Walker, who would total 5 victories and receive the DCM.

Anyway, on the 23rd november 2005 Jean-Pierre Lauwers and I agreed that the unknown gravestone at Bovekerke church yard most probably belonged to Sergeant William Harold Roebuck, service number 5788, member of 48th Squadron RFC.

And this, this is the most important thing of this whole story, with just a little luck, we have been able to identify a grave of a WW I soldier, that had the mark unknown on it for 88 years. That is what we do it for, not personal honour. Lest we forget !

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Regulus 1

And sorry, originally I made the mistake of thinking there were two unknown graves at Bovekerke, while there's only one, my bad.

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Regulus 1

Okay, just to make things clear how we came to this conclusion :

1. Bovekerke was a reserve lazarett, or a reserve field hospital during 3rd Ypres on the German side.

2. On the losses on the 11th September 1917 nothing corresponded on the French side, and none of the British were close enough to transport a wounded or dying man to Bovekerke

3. We started an investigation that perhaps the month was wrong, but that didn’t give any results as well. For some time the Belgian crew de Meeus-de Lettenhove was a possibility as they were shot down on the 15th July 1917, until we found their completely forgotten grave at Vladslo

4. We also looked at every possible German claim, planes, flak, etc on the 15th of each month and also in the weeks before 15 September 1917, no possibilities

5. We looked into the days that followed on the 15th September 1917 but again, no possibilities, the only loss of an MIA was 2nd Lt. Herbert Haslam from 6 Sqdn RFC, but Beselare was much to far…

6. We decided also to look into other years, 15th September 1916 and 1918, again no possibilities.

7. Trevor Henshaw looked deeper in the matter, and could not find any matches at all for the 15th September 1917

8. Nearest field hospitals in the area were Torhout, Ichtegem, Vladslo and Bovekerke at the time, so the location which was the closest can be considered as the location where they would transport a wounded soldier.

9. So a wounded man was the most logical and only possible conclusion. This gave us a few possibilities, so we returned a month in time.

- pilot Sgt WH Roebuck and the gunner 2nd Lt HT Batson of 48 Sqdn in a Bristol F2b on the 11th September 1917, while returning from a raid on Brugge, shot down after they flew over Wijnendale by Lt. Friedrich von Götz from the 1 Marine Feld jasta at 11.10 hours, both KIA according to the archives, but only Batson has a known grave at Larch Wood Cemetery. Von Götz was shot down the same day by a plane from 9 Naval Sqdn, so there is no report from this fight, only a confirmation of his victory in the German archives.

- On the 3rd of September there was a German claim, but this seems to have been or uncorrect, or the plane made it back.

- On the 18th of August 4 Naval Sqdn lost Flight Sub Lt. Charles Raymond Walker Hodges, flying Sopwith Camel B3938, he was 19 years old, his grave was never found and he crashed at Vladslo

- On the 17th August a plane from 22 Sqdn was lost between Handzame and Kortemark, but crew is buried at Larch Wood Cemetery.

This left us with two possibilities : Roebuck and Hodges.

Hodges was shot down at Vladslo, he is listed as KIA and if he was wounded the most logical would be that he was transported to Vladslo field hospital. If he survived it would mean that he died of wounds almost a month later, little chance on that.

Roebuck probably crashed between Wijnendale Chateau and the Ruidenberg, the closest field hospital in his case was Bovekerke, and it was the fastest way to transport him also to a hospital. It would also mean that he died 4 days later of his wounds, which makes him the only and best candidate to be the man resting in the unknown grace at Bovekerke.

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jermil

I have recently come into the possession of the Victory Medal and the Bronze Memorial Plaque to Sergeant Roebuck.. They turned up in an antique dealers in Jersey, Channel Islands.

Pic attached for anyone that is interested.

Regards

Normanpost-38841-0-57724500-1416334084_thumb.j

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Sarah

As part of our communties rememberance celebrations I have just been informed that William H Roebuck lived in my house. Thanks to you I have now been able to find out a bit about the man who bravely fought and gave his life for his country. I am of no relation to William, however I truly appreciate the effort you have gone to give a unmarked grave an identity and allow a brave man to have his name remembered. Thank you

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josquin

Johan,

William Harold Roebuck, R.F.C. Sergeant service number 5788, was born in 1895, at Horwich, Lancashire.  A resident of Horwich

when he enlisted in the R.F.C., in 1915, his civilian occupation was a mechanical fitter.

Henry Thomas Batson was born in 1889, at Croydon, Surrey. He was Christened on 31 March 1889, at Croydon, and lived there

until his enlistment.  Serving first as a Private with the Honourable Artillery Company (service number 5171), he was later

commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the 10th Battalion of the Royal West Surrey Regiment and was subsequently

attached to the Royal Flying Corps.

Congratulations on your success in solving the mystery of Sgt. Roebuck's location--great work!

Best regards,

Josquin

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thetrenchrat22

I’ve just start to look at the cemeteries in Belgium and noticed that the above as an unknown airman buired in it. 

 

Have you submitted a case to the CWGC and what has been thier reply in the matter at hand

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