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Battle of the Dunes, July 1917


Hugh Pattenden
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Morning, Bob:

 

Thanks for the added information. I do not have a particular interest in weapon systems per se, but always pleased to take on board the fruits of the labours of others who have a variety of particular interests. No matter how many years one's studies have been concentrated on a particular focus - in this case the Great War - there is always much to be learnt from others in the same field and which can only lead to improvements in one's grasp of the complexities of such a seminal few years of warfare. I have just been editing a book on the German defences of the Ypres Salient and am so much better informed about the scale of the systems they employed and their evolution. Certainly 9,000 concrete shelters of one type or the other built in Fourth Army area, is one example. The quantities of materiel and the systems to support and construct were all an eye opener, no matter how much i was aware that there were plenty of these shelters.

 

Anyhow I digress: thanks once more for sharing this (and many other posts on diverse subjects).

 

Nigel (Yep, guessed right - I cannot imagine how you managed that bit of detective work!),

 

Nigel

Edited by nigelcave
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Hi I am new to this forum

.

My Great Uncle Arthur Sidney George was captured at Nieuwpoort on the 10th July 1917. He was a rifleman in D company of the 2nd Btn. KRRC.and so in the front trenches at the time of the attack. He died on 14th Dec 1918 while 'working' at Stotten, Bavaria before he could be repatriated. Unfortunately apart from the information on his service record, CWGC cemetery records and International Red Cross POW details, we know nothing of his experiences and can only piece together small details of what happened.

 

I have yet to read all the threads here but there is some interesting details which may help me.

 

For the centenary my wife and I travelled to the area and were able to observe the ceremony on Monday held at the British War Memorial near the Westfront Visitor Centre - A brief report was on belgian TV (in dutch) http://www.focus-wtv.be/nieuws/slachtpartij-herdacht-nieuwpoort

 

The ceremony was very moving and we met some relatives of others who were there; grand-daughter of POW from a machine gun corp and and grandsons of a Royal engineer tunneller. I have some photos from the event including the flowers laid if anyone would like to see them posted.

 

Regards

 

Martin

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Hello Martin.

Welcome to the forum.

I would love to see your photographs.

I'm especially interested to learn that your great-uncle was in D Company, 2/KRRC - so was my great-aunt's fiance John Thomas Hardcastle, about whom I have posted quite a bit on various threads.  He had been sent to the battalion early in 2017 after being wounded on the Somme serving with 21/KRRC.  He too was taken prisoner, but did not last long.  He died 'of sickness' in a German military hospital at Deinze on 6 August 1917. You'll see on this thread (and the Limburg thread to which there's a link earlier, but that may not apply to your great-uncle) that I had a lot of help from more experienced members about what happened to prisoners.  But I don't know anything very definite about what happened to him either.

I have done quite a bit of work on the commanding officer of 2/KRRC, Richard Abadie, and published a little book about his family.  He was killed on 10 July.

 

Liz

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Martin,

I also would greatly appreciate seeing your pictures of the centenary commemoration.

 

It's fantastic to hear that the regiment was well represented.

 

Will will remember them

:poppy:

 

Mark

 

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4 hours ago, Martin George said:

Hi I am new to this forum

.

My Great Uncle Arthur Sidney George was captured at Nieuwpoort on the 10th July 1917. He was a rifleman in D company of the 2nd Btn. KRRC.and so in the front trenches at the time of the attack. He died on 14th Dec 1918 while 'working' at Stotten, Bavaria before he could be repatriated. Unfortunately apart from the information on his service record, CWGC cemetery records and International Red Cross POW details, we know nothing of his experiences and can only piece together small details of what happened.

 

 

Martin,

Assuming your great uncle was C/4610 Rifleman Arthur S GEORGE, then it appears he was originally with 17th (Service) Battalion, KRRC (British Empire League) and joined 2/KRRC later.  Transfers like this were usually when a man was returned to A1 fitness after a spell back in the UK following a wound or sickness.

 

Do you have his Service Record?

 

Here's his British War Medal & Victory Medal roll entry ...

41629_636897_11099-00116.jpg.e00fcc375170d1c68056080f2a3648c5.jpg

 

Mark

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4 hours ago, MBrockway said:

 

Martin,

Assuming your great uncle was C/4610 Rifleman Arthur S GEORGE, then it appears he was originally with 17th (Service) Battalion, KRRC (British Empire League) and joined 2/KRRC later.  Transfers like this were usually when a man was returned to A1 fitness after a spell back in the UK following a wound or sickness.

 

Do you have his Service Record?

 

Here's his British War Medal & Victory Medal roll entry ...

41629_636897_11099-00116.jpg.e00fcc375170d1c68056080f2a3648c5.jpg

 

Mark

Hi Mark - yes I have his service record, on it he received a gun shot wound to the thigh on 12th July 1916 while with the 17/KRRC and as you say returned to England via 33 CCS and St. Omer hospital. Then spent two month in hospital in Essex. 

I would like to know what happened after he was taken prisoner as he ended up dying possibly of influenza in Steinbach, Bavaria. The POW records suggest he went to Lechfeld camp via Dulmen. I would like to find out more about his POW experience but we have nothing passed down through the family.

 

Regatds Martin

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My post of a POW interview transcript on page 3 of this topic shows the route (and for many of the POWs at the Dunes, timing as well) of the POWs who ended up at Lechfeld.

 

 

Edit: I have also reattached the images of the Northamptons war diary that have gotten lost recently.

 

 

Steve.

Edited by Stebie9173
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3 hours ago, Martin George said:

Hi Mark - yes I have his service record, on it he received a gun shot wound to the thigh on 12th July 1916 while with the 17/KRRC and as you say returned to England via 33 CCS and St. Omer hospital. Then spent two month in hospital in Essex. 

I would like to know what happened after he was taken prisoner as he ended up dying possibly of influenza in Steinbach, Bavaria. The POW records suggest he went to Lechfeld camp via Dulmen. I would like to find out more about his POW experience but we have nothing passed down through the family.

 

Regatds Martin

Martin,

I've sent you some info on a trench raid conducted by 17/KRRC on 11/12 Jul 1916 near FESTUBERT..

Mark

 

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16 hours ago, Stebie9173 said:

My post of a POW interview transcript on page 3 of this topic shows the route (and for many of the POWs at the Dunes, timing as well) of the POWs who ended up at Lechfeld.

 

 

Edit: I have also reattached the images of the Northamptons war diary that have gotten lost recently.

 

 

Steve.

Thanks Steve, this gives me a good idea of what may have happened to Arthur. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 14/07/2017 at 18:44, MBrockway said:

Martin,

I also would greatly appreciate seeing your pictures of the centenary commemoration.

 

It's fantastic to hear that the regiment was well represented.

 

Will will remember them

:poppy:

 

Mark

 

 

Here is a selection of photographs from the Centenery - I had posted some in a similar thread on the Battle of the Dunes -There were also some relatives from the Black Watch (posted with the Australian Tunnellers),  the Machine Gun Corps and one of the Royal Engineer Tunnelling Companies.

 

Martin

IMG_1583.JPG

IMG_1586.JPG

DSC_7576.JPG

DSC_7585.JPG

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Thanks Martin - great photos.  Much appreciated.

Mark

 

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On 14/07/2017 at 14:19, Liz in Eastbourne said:

Hello Martin.

Welcome to the forum.

I would love to see your photographs.

I'm especially interested to learn that your great-uncle was in D Company, 2/KRRC - so was my great-aunt's fiance John Thomas Hardcastle, about whom I have posted quite a bit on various threads.  He had been sent to the battalion early in 2017 after being wounded on the Somme serving with 21/KRRC.  He too was taken prisoner, but did not last long.  He died 'of sickness' in a German military hospital at Deinze on 6 August 1917. You'll see on this thread (and the Limburg thread to which there's a link earlier, but that may not apply to your great-uncle) that I had a lot of help from more experienced members about what happened to prisoners.  But I don't know anything very definite about what happened to him either.

I have done quite a bit of work on the commanding officer of 2/KRRC, Richard Abadie, and published a little book about his family.  He was killed on 10 July.

 

Liz

 

Hi Liz - From what I've learnt so far I believe D company were in the front trenches during the attack, I will look for the other threads soon as I am interested to find out more. My Great Uncle Arthur S. George ended up at Lechfeld POW camp but was put to work and died in Steinbach, Bavaria. I have a copy of the issued death certificate from his Service Record. We are planning to visit his grave in Germany next year.

 

Regarding Richard Abadie, I have seen the drawing depicting the scene of his last stand and would like to get a copy of your book if it is published. Where would I find it?

 

Regards

 

Martin

 

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I can highly recommend Liz's Abadie book - nicely produced and a very interesting read.

Mark

 

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10 hours ago, Martin George said:

 

Hi Liz - From what I've learnt so far I believe D company were in the front trenches during the attack, I will look for the other threads soon as I am interested to find out more. My Great Uncle Arthur S. George ended up at Lechfeld POW camp but was put to work and died in Steinbach, Bavaria. I have a copy of the issued death certificate from his Service Record. We are planning to visit his grave in Germany next year.

 

Regarding Richard Abadie, I have seen the drawing depicting the scene of his last stand and would like to get a copy of your book if it is published. Where would I find it?

 

Regards

 

Martin

 

 

Thank you very much, Martin, both for your photos of the centenary memorial and for your interest in my little book.  If you pm me I shall be happy to advise on obtaining it -  I don't like to advertise too blatantly, but there are still a few copies left ...

 

About D Company, one of Abadie's last messages said three platoons should be in the front line and one in support.  I don't think I've seen a drawing of his last stand so you're one up on me there, I think - I'd be extremely interested to see it, particularly if it was drawn by someone who knew anything about it as opposed to an imaginative reconstruction.

 

6 hours ago, MBrockway said:

I can highly recommend Liz's Abadie book - nicely produced and a very interesting read.

Mark

 

 

Thank you, Mark - much appreciated!

Liz

 

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On reflection I don't think there's any harm in telling you, Martin, that the book can be obtained from the Royal Green Jackets Museum shop in Winchester, online here http://shop.rgjmuseum.co.uk/c322-the-abadies-611-p.asp - also the Canterbury Cathedral shop, https://www.cathedral-enterprises.co.uk/Shop/Books/Books-on-Kent-Canterbury-and-the-Cathedral/The-Abadies-by-Liz-Moloney.

But if I'm out of order, I expect someone will let me know.

Liz

 

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne
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Hi,

 

Liz's book about the Abadies is really interesting, they should make more books of this kind!

 

regards,

 

Cnock

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Thank you Eddie - and your contribution to the Battle of the Dunes section, was, like Mark's and several GWF members', significant -as can be seen from exchanges earlier in this thread. I knew next to nothing when I came on here in 2010.

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  • 11 months later...

Only just come across this thread, Wonderful info from contributors. My GG was with 2Krrc and taken prisoner at Battle of the Dunes His service record seems to have been destroyed in the fire. Recently I came across a newspaper article telling that he was pow.This was something I did not know. It was never mentioned by other family members.He survived and returned to Clerkenwell.

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Glad you've found the topic at last JB - timely too as it's the anniversary tomorrow.

 

We'll not forget them :poppy:

 

Mark

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No, we won't forget them. :poppy:

I remember Lieutenant Colonel Richard Abadie (much mentioned above) who was killed on this day 101 years ago, and my great-aunt's fiance John Thomas Hardcastle of Mulwith, near Ripon, Yorkshire, originally of the 21st Bn KRRC, who survived the battle but died on 6 August in a German military hospital at Deinze.

 

Liz

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  • 3 months later...

My Grandfather's elder brother Sapper Samuel Coade 186835 of 257th Tunnelling Company R.E. was killed at the Battle of the Dunes and he is buried nearby at CWGC Adinkerke Military Cemetery. 257th R.E. were deployed around the 3 floating bridges Putney & Crowder & Vauxhall at the Redan in Nieuport town.

 

Another Great Uncle Sapper John Coade 2442 also fought at the Battle of the Dunes. He served with 2nd Australian Tunnelling Company:

1)  "It was largely the survivors of this (2ATC) party who escaped across the river (Yser). As some could not swim, two Australian, Sappers T.F. Burke and J. Coade obtained a rope. Burke swam across with it and Coade remained to hold it taut while the non-swimmers escaped, and then followed them.   [Official History of WW1 C.E.W. Bean pp 960-964]

2)  "The following members of this Company (2ATC) escaped. 2/Lt EP Hargreaves, Sapper J O'Connell, 2441 Sapper Burke F. and 2442 Sapper Coade J.   2441 Burke F. and 2442 Sapper Coade J. crossed the river (Yser) about the same time. Finding a number of non-swimmers on the enemy side they procured a rope and swam across with it, and remained holding it taut until all present were safely crossed. They were later awarded the Military Medal."   [War Diary - July 1917 No. 2 Australian Tunnelling Company]

3)  "Two other Sappers - F. Burke and J. Coade, both Victorians - also had an interesting experience as well as performing conspicuous acts of bravery and coolness. They swam the (Yser) canal at about the same time as Sapper O'Connell, and finding a number of men were getting back, and were unable to swim the canal, they procured a raft, and making it fast, swam back across the canal, paying it out as they went. When they gained terra firma they tested the rope and, holding it taut, exhorted their comrades to get hold of the rope and pull themselves across. Both miners stood their post until the last of the party - about 20 - had reached the other side and were safe from the hands of the clutching Hun. For these acts of gallantry both Sappers have been presented in the field with Military Medals."    ["Willie Wombat" - Sydney Morning Herald 3rd January 1918].

 

I will be laying a Wreath in memory of both Sapper Samuel Coade and Sapper John Coade at the British War Memorial 1914 - 1918 at Nieuport on Sunday 11th November 2018 at 11 a.m.

 

Christopher Coade

 

 

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Thanks for posting Christopher - remarkable men.  We will remember them :poppy:

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I will also be laying a Poppy Wreath for the KRRC at Nieuport. I was a Territorial Royal Green Jacket Officer in Aylesbury for 12 years and the KRRC are an antecedent regiment of the RGJ who in 2007 merged into The Rifles who have retained the KRRC motto "Swift and Bold"

 

A very good book has been published in 2018 "Nieuwpoort Sector 1917 - The Battle of the Dunes" by Kristof Jacobs, a helpful local Belgian who is showing me around the battlefield .  Lots of interesting maps and photos. The English version ISBN number is 978-1-910500-88-0 (be careful ordering as there is also a Flemish version

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

 

There is more info in this forum than I have found anywhere yet although I will buy the Neiuwpoort Sector Battle of the dunes book soon.

 

My great Uncle Gunner Herbert Lee died on 25th July 1917 in Neiuwpoort, his grave is in Cocxyde Military Cemetary. He died of gas. He was in RFA 72nd army brigade, A battery. I have the war diary for the brigade but as I am new to this I am still deciphering information. 

 

From the war diary entries on 24th July in Sheet 11 SE 4 - enemy used new gas shell giving a mustard oil smell. Very dangerous. Caused us severe casualties.

As his service card was burned I can only assume he was in the aftermath of this battle, correct me if I am wrong.

 

Can anyone tell me what O.R means, is it other rank than officer?

 

 

 

 

 

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Sars - the new gas shell used at Nieuport is discussed in detail in the British Official History of the War in Medical Services - Diseases of the War, Vol. II., pp.291 & ff.

 

Available on-line here

 

However this should be read in conjunction with Simon Jones's excellent blog on Chemical Warfare here, particularly :

https://simonjoneshistorian.com/2014/02/04/yellow-cross-the-advent-of-mustard-gas-in-1917/

... particularly Footnote #2 where he cites W. Volkart, Die Gasschlacht in Flandern im Herbst 1917, (E S Mittler & Sohn, Berlin, 1957) p.46

 

Blue Cross shells were first used on 10/11 Jul alongside Green Cross at Nieuport.  The OH Medical Services states Nieuport was also an early target on 21-22 July for Yellow Cross shells shortly after they'd first been used against Ypres on 12/13 Jul 1917.

 

The main OH volume covering July 1917 - Military Operations France & Belgium 1917, Vol.II - mistakenly states Yellow Cross mustard gas was first used at Nieuport on 11 Jul 1917 (ibid., pp.137-8, fn.4).  The German accounts referenced by Simon Jones make it clear only Blue Cross and Green Cross shell were used in the Operation Strandfest bombardments, which is line with the outline in the OH Medical Services volume.

 

Mark

 

[Edit: re-drafted to clarify the discrepancies in the OH volumes]

 

 

 

 

Edited by MBrockway
Added caveat re validity of the OH version
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