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2/7yh. Warwicks


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#1 chalkie

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 08:41 AM

As the 2/7th. Warwicks were in action at the very south-west end of the battle, I have always been doubtful that any would be found at Pheasant Wood. After talking to the very knowledgeable staff at the Fromelles Museum however, I have changed my view somewhat and now believe that there just might be a chance that some are now unidentified at the new Cemetery. It appears that not only did they take the first line trenches with just 4 wounded, but they quickly entered the reserve trenches also, but a rapid counter attack was decisive. This left bodies in the first and reserve trenches, and common sense says that the Germans could not leave them there. The light railway ran just at the back of the reserve trenches to Fromelles, clearly marked on trench maps and visible from aerial photographs. So maybe they used this means to transport bodies lying in their trenches to Pheasant Wood. Something that might however be a problem, and not mentioned in the diary for that day, is that around 60 Germans were captured when the first wave overran the front line trenches. These 60 or so were ordered across 'no mans land' to surrender, but in one of those regrettable incidents of war, were thought to be a counter attack and at least half of them were shot dead. Perhaps then the Germans were not too well disposed to 61st. Division bodies after this incident. We searched the local CWGC but could only find 3 named 2/7th. bodies, these were at Aubers Ridge Cemetery.
From trench map co-ordinates scaled to fit Google aerial views, the attached photograph fits perfectly as Masselot Street Trench in a remarkable state of repair. Where the trench ends on the photograph is where the front line trench scar is clearly visible on Google and is also correct for the co-ordinates in the diary. The 2/7th. filed out to the right to fill the lines between here and Rue Trivelet.
Chris

I will have to send the photograph separately as I need to reduce the file size.

#2 chalkie

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 09:02 AM

Sorry for the delay, here is the photograph.

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#3 CarltonLM

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 09:22 AM

As a relative of a 2/7th battalion member I too have followed their particular story with interest and tried in a similar way to work out what happened to those killed behind enemy lines. A year on and after having had relatives DNA tested I can be sure that Len Twamley is not at Pheasants Wood. I've also been kindly helped by previous postings which indicated the importance of Fournes German Cemetery and the reburials of unknown British soldiers from there at larger British cemeteries after the war. I'm also on record as saying I think this is very much the end of the line unless some other infomation turns up indicating other burial sites similar in nature to Pheasants Wood. I continue to have my curiousity stimulated by Peter Barton. He clearly said in the Channel 4 documentary there could be up to 30 other burial sites in the area. Not seen any information on what this is based on. It could be that after the war some/all of these sites were known about by the CWGC and therefore dealt with.

In any event I particularly feel sorry for the 2/7th lads who did not even get a mention of the Channel 4 documentary. They have no memorial naming them individually on the battlefield, (yes they are at Loos) and in my relative's case do not have their name on a memorial along with thousands of others in their home city.

I agree the railway mostly likely transported their body afterwards, probably some distance from where they fell. The answer to their where abouts is most likely in the Bavarian records for the regiment that faced them which was not the same one who dealt with Pheasants Wood. The Red Cross in Geneva in due course may give further clues. Time will tell.

Richard



#4 Tjapaltjarri

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 04:44 PM

Looking back at my records in November of the 2/7th Warwickshire Regiment there were still some 30 Men on SPVA's "Priority List" - ie people for whom relevant DNA related relatives were being sought. I am sure we located a few of these and Mel should be able to confirm but if there were some 2/7th men over and above the ones we established relatives for and were tested, then there's still an outside chance that something might turn up. So fingers crossed, but all the good and likely theories on our British boys seem to have floundered.

Best,

Howard

#5 Doug C

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 11:20 AM

Sorry for the delay, here is the photograph.


Looks like we were touring the area just behind you on the 18th!
Photo taken on Fauquissart - Trivelet road.
Picked up a car in Lille, and visited the museum in Fromelles before visiting Le Trou,Laventie, Fauquissart, Aubers Ridge and the Loos memorial. Didn't really get a chance to ask questions in the museum, as an organised trip had already filled the place. I did hear, however that there may, someday, be a new museum created in Fromelles. It certainly needs more space to expand and show off the artefacts.

As part of my recent interest in Arthur Macdonald, and his service with the 2/7 Warwickshires, I've now read various books, articles, diaries etc. about the battle, and it appears that there is very limited source information about what happened at the extreme right-hand end of the line, compared to the detail that's available for the Australian section.

There do seem to be a few of us interested in this small area of the battle, and the fate of the participants!

Douglas

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#6 chalkie

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 12:10 PM

I would be very interested if anybody could explain how, or even did, the 2/7th. Warwicks in this battle and others in other battles who were attacking at an extreme end get any form of protection on the flank. In this case nobody attacked the German troops just the other side of Rue Trivolet so it would seem that they had all the time in the world to pick off the advancing Warwicks on their left, in some cases just the width of a road away.
Chris

#7 Alan Tucker

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 06:37 PM

Doug

I will at some stage write a full history of the 2nd Line Warwicks at Fromelles as part of my wider study of the whole regiment. I am part way through the Somme at the moment and then I will start it.

Alan

#8 chalkie

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:18 AM

Many thanks Alan, I look forward to it. good luck with the Somme aspect, a major work no doubt. I wonder if any other members are writing even short papers about Regiments, Battalions etc. Perhaps a listing will be produced one day. I have one about the 13th. Glosters - The Forest of Dean Pioneers, based on the war diary but illustrated where I have been able including photographs etc. Up for grabs if anybody would like a copy.
Chris

#9 Rockdoc

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:55 AM

If anyone comes across references to Private 268352 Thomas Edmund Butlin in the records I'd be pleased to hear about them. He was my Grandfather's cousin and was killed on 22nd March 1918 at St Quentin. He has no known grave and is remembered at Pozieres.

Keith

#10 Doug C

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 10:49 AM

Doug

I will at some stage write a full history of the 2nd Line Warwicks at Fromelles as part of my wider study of the whole regiment. I am part way through the Somme at the moment and then I will start it.

Alan

That should be quite interesting.

As for the issue of what happened at each end of the battle, I found this line in Paul Cobbs book which relates to the Left flank: To fill the remaining gap between the New Zealand and Australian units the British 60 Brigade (20 Division) was transferred from the Ypres Salient for the duration of the attack, though this brigade would take no part in the action apart from providing covering fire.
I haven't seen any reference yet as to who covered the right flank. Might be interesting to read their war diaries if I can find out which regiment was there on the 19th/20th.

Douglas

#11 Doug C

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 12:10 PM

Ok,

I've now spent quite a lot of time googling to try and find out who occupied the trenches to the right of the 2/7th Warwickshires on the 19th/20th July, without success.
Maybe I'm just not using the right search terms?
The area in question would be from Fauquissart to Mauquissart (towards Neuve Chapelle)

Can anyone assist?

Thanks

Douglas