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Unusual Memorial


Alan_J

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Just back from my latest trip, and have a few questiuons which I'll be posting over the next few days.

Firstly, in Bazentin-le-Petit Military Cemetery is the grave of Captain Harold Teague of the 11th Bn AIF, who died in February 1917. Just to the left of it is a small commemorative memorial which the inscription says was erected in loving memory by the NCOs and men of the 2nd Australian Field Ambulance (see photo below).

Two questions - this seems fairly unusual to me - I can only think of one or two other personal memorials in CWGC cemeteries in France or Flanders, and these are in front of the graves, not to the side. There doesn't seem to be anything about it in the various books I've looked at (including Martin Middlebrooks Somme Battlefields) - does anyone know anything about the story behind it?

Second question - what was on the "pin" on the top of the memorial that is now gone??

Thanks

Alan

post-5390-1130187889.jpg

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Hi Alan,

It is not a 'private' memorial as such, but it is his original headstone, placed there during the war. It is one of a number of examples of these and although strictly speaking the IWGC wanted families to remove them, the fact that a number exist show this was not always enforced.

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Paul,

Thanks for this information.

I don't suppose you know what was on top of the pin do you - or why the headstone was a tribute from a Field Ambulance unit?

I'm just surprised that this doesn't seem to be mentioned anywhere, and I haven't seen anything else in Western Front cemeteries - what other ones are around?

Thanks again

Alan

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I think there was a wooden cross on top - somewhere I have seen an early photo of it. Don't ask me where!

I have always presumed that the mention of the FA was because he died in their hands (they were based in the area at this time), and they buried him?

There was a recent thread about a similar monument alongside the grave of Captain Oldfield at Estaires; but I must say I know of at least two or three dozen such monuments in CWGC cemeteries.

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Below some examples I photographed. In these cases there is either a true gravestone or there is/was (!) an original (stone) tablet.

Cesari, S.E.N. Capt. Royal Army Medical Corps

Dobie, J.S. Priv. Tanks Corps

Farrell, J.P. Driver 9th Bn. Field Artillery

Finn, J.C. Can. Machine Gun Corps.

Forrester, D. Gunner Kent Royal Field Artillery

Gibson, S. Cpl. The Camaronians

Humphrey, N.G. Private RAMC met

Johnson, H.R. Lt. Royal Flying Corps

Lawley, F. Priv. Royal Lancanshire Regiment

Makant, A.W. Capt. 5th Bn. Loyal North Lancs.

Menau MC, J.J. Capt. N.Z. Chaplain

O’Neill, J.P. L. Cpl. 13th Bn. A.I.F. “Accidentially killed...”

Roberts, S. Capt. Staf Royal Engineers

Scott, W.G. Priv. Essex Regiment

Sledgwick, J. Priv. York & Lanc. Reg.

Stevenson, A. Priv. 7th Argyl & Sutherland Highlanders.

Swaine, J. Driver RGA (shot at dawn)

Teague, H.O. Capt. 11th Bn. Australian Infantry

Wanklyn, H.G. Flight Lt. Royal Navy

Williams, B. Priv. Welch Reg.

Regards,

Marco

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Thanks Paul and Marco,

The other one I saw on my recent visit was in Pozieres Cemetery - a small wooden cross placed in front of the grave of (I think from memory) a Captain J. Roy. This looked in fact rather new, and was in front of the grave - I've seen quite a few of these, but not alongside as this one, or the examples you list above Marco.

Thanks for the information.

Alan

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W M Owen

West Yorkshire Regiment has two headstones , one CWGC and the other a marble cross next to it. At the back of Londonthorpe Church Lincs

Keith

post-683-1130242115.jpg

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Keith,

Interesting pictures of this memorial - thanks.

I've also seen similar things in UK cemeteries - it was in France and Belgium that I hadn't come across them, although Marco lists another 19 in addition to Cpatain Teagues, presumably all in France or Belgium?

Alan

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  • 2 months later...

Paul,

Many thanks for posting this, very interesting. I did have a quick look on the Australian archives website, after I visited the cemetery and took my pictures, but didn't spot the MIC download.

So he was MO for the 11th AIF - as you say, this was not clear on the headstone, but would explain the inscription on the original marker. Obviously a very brave man as well from the information on your site.

Cheers

Alan

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Keith,

Interesting pictures of this memorial - thanks.

I've also seen similar things in UK cemeteries

There are similar gravestones around Cumbria witha CWGC stone and a family stone nearby. I'm sure tha familes wanted a personalised stone of their own and were right to do so. It's just a shame that many of the private stones have not had the upkeep given rightly to the CWGC ones and look worse by comparison.

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Thought it may be of interest to post a bit of info on Teague from the two histories of the 11th Battalion AIF.

From 'Fremantle to France' by Ian Gill

'Harold Teague was a native of Bendigo Victoria and was the son of John Henry & Elizabeth Teague. A medical practioner by profession on 1st May 1915 he was appointed a Captain in the Australian Army Medical Corps. On 12th January 1916 in Egypt he was taken on strength of the 2nd Field Ambulance. He proceeded overseas for France from Alexandria on 23rd March and served with that unit until 26th November 1916 when he was attached to the 11th Battalion in the field near Amiens.

Teague joined the 11th Battalion as their new medical officer the following day and served with distinction in the winter of 1916/17 at Flers. On 14th February 1917, while the battalion were in the line at Yarra Bank near Eacourt L'Abbaye, Teague heard that there were some wounded men in need of attention in B Company's lines. After attending to the wounded men, his party set out for a return to reserve positions but were seen by the enemy and shelled by heavy trench mortars. Teague was the only casualty and was killed outright.'

From Legs Eleven History of the 11th Battalion by Captian WC Belford.

'Captain Teague then visited the two wounded men and after attending them the party prepared to return to Yarra Reserve. A German flare burst high in the air and some of the party must have been seen for a heavy trench mortar bombardment was directed at them. There was an immediate scatter and the CO, Captain Hallahan and others took refuge in a trench nearby. When things had calmed down, it was found that Teague was missing. After a long search his body was found lying just off the duckboard track where he had been hurled by a shell or heavy bomb. He was hardly marked, but he was quite dead. He was a true friend to all the troops and a very gallant gentleman.'

Regards

Andrew

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Andrew,

Thanks for posting this - adding a bit more to what we know about Harold Teague.

Alan

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Andrew,

Thanks for posting this - adding a bit more to what we know about Harold Teague.

Alan

'A very gallant gentleman.' Indeed. Thanks Andrew, helps understand the commemorative stone raised by his comrades....

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