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#26 Keith Miller

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 11:27 PM

Richard

Relatives identified for Capt Bethell and contacted..

Marriage Henry M Bethell 3rd Qtr 1915 to Annie Dara W Fowler, d !st Qtr 1957, Worthing.

#27 Auimfo

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 02:05 AM

Mel/Tim

The point I made in 2009 from Robin's book about Oberst von Lünenschloss order, commanding officer of the 12th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Brigade, comprising RIR 16 and RIR 17 (who were opposite the 2/7th Warwicks) which said on 24th July 1916 that any English dead in and behind the trenches are not to be taken to Fournes, but buried in a suitable place between the support lines and the 2nd line position is still a point for further research..


Richard,

Your point is well made. I've just had a look back through Corfield's book and a few things stood out about this.

Firstly, as Corfield notes, if any British soldiers were taken to Pheasant Wood then it was obviously AFTER this order was given. By that time, the Australian dead would have already been placed in the mass graves at Pheasant Wood so any later arriving British would be in the top layer. It would be very interesting to find out in what position within the graves the two remaining 'unidentified British' soldiers were located. If found among the lower layers of bodies, then we must begin to question the chances of them really being British.

Secondly, by the time this order was given the mass graves at Pheasant Wood had already been dug and being used for Australian dead. Why then does the order not specifically direct the remaining British dead be transported to Fasanenwaldchen. Instead it just suggests a "suitable place between the support lines and the 2nd line position". To my way of thinking, this strongly implies that the British weren't taken to Pheasant Wood but that another site was was created once Fournes became full.

Cheers,
Tim L.

#28 Siege Gunner

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 09:55 AM

... if any British soldiers were taken to Pheasant Wood then it was obviously AFTER this order was given.

The 12th Reserve Infantry Brigade order signed by Weissmiller was timed and dated at 6.45pm (German time) on 24 July — 5 whole days after the short-lived British break-in to RIR 17's positions on the evening of 19 July.

Given that RIR 17 was able to begin its clear-up a day earlier than RIR 21, and that the number of enemy dead in its positions was much smaller than in RIR 21's sector, the order, which was one item in daily orders for 24 July, not a free-standing directive, seems more likely to have been hypothetical than to refer to bodies actually known to be still remaining in the front-line area. Implicitly, the graves made at Fournes for enemy dead brought back during the main clear-up had been closed, and any further British bodies found during reconstruction of the positions, or perhaps retrieved from the near part of NML, should be buried locally, between the support line and the second line on the ridge. There is no certainty, however, that there actually were any such bodies.

Beyond the improbability of two British bodies being transported right across the battlefield area — first to the rear of RIR 17's sector, then along the Hochstrasse (road/railway on the back side of the ridge), and then through Fromelles and down to Pheasant Wood (two and a half sides of a large square — because the lateral trench railway was damaged at various points between RIR 17's and RIR 21's front-line positions) — it was German army doctrine that the unit in situ was responsible for burying the dead (its own and the enemy's) in its own sector.

#29 CarltonLM

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 06:38 PM

Richard,

Your point is well made. I've just had a look back through Corfield's book and a few things stood out about this.

Firstly, as Corfield notes, if any British soldiers were taken to Pheasant Wood then it was obviously AFTER this order was given. By that time, the Australian dead would have already been placed in the mass graves at Pheasant Wood so any later arriving British would be in the top layer. It would be very interesting to find out in what position within the graves the two remaining 'unidentified British' soldiers were located. If found among the lower layers of bodies, then we must begin to question the chances of them really being British.

Secondly, by the time this order was given the mass graves at Pheasant Wood had already been dug and being used for Australian dead. Why then does the order not specifically direct the remaining British dead be transported to Fasanenwaldchen. Instead it just suggests a "suitable place between the support lines and the 2nd line position". To my way of thinking, this strongly implies that the British weren't taken to Pheasant Wood but that another site was was created once Fournes became full.

Cheers,
Tim L.


Tim

I was thinking long and hard about this issue about what evidence could exist to support claims that another burial site exist between the support lines and the 2nd line position.

If you assume the order was indeed carried out then the starting point would be the order itself. I had to borrow a copy of Robin's book so I'm unable to see if the order is referenced any where. Presumably he had a copy and did it contain any other clues? Would be worth seeing the original material that he wrote about.

Secondly if another grave was dug then after the war did the CWGC return and re bury who ever was in it- again the CWGC archives may help and thats a point I will follow up.

Thirdly I know there was an photo taken of the area that showed from a few thousand feet after the battle the graves at Pheasants Wood, though no one realised it for a long time. Presumably it would be worth looking again at that picture to see if there are any likely indications of grave(s) in what loosely could be described as the support and 2nd line. No idea how to access that myself but I'm sure some one knows.

There are also a number of German postcards out there showing the dead being collected/buried after the battle. Do they offer any evidence?

Finally I suppose actually carrying out a field walk if that was at all possible of any likely area pinpointed ( I suspect not but you never know) as occasional clues on the surface may be apparent..

Richard




#30 Auimfo

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 12:12 AM

Mick,
You may well be right with your interpretation of the order but it seems a little more definite than that. It doesn't say "Any English dead remaining" but instead "English dead still remaining". I know that's a fine line of difference but perhaps a crucial one. Of course, we're both just reading the English translation and to fully comprehend the inference of the order, we'd need someone to read how it was originally written in German. (sorry, I don't have a copy!)

But what can be inferred from this order in either case is that before the 25th, British soldiers were buried at Fournes and after it somewhere else but seemingly not Pheasant Wood.

I was interested with your description of the light rail system. I've been looking over the McMaster maps trying to work out how the Germans transported British soldiers from RIR17 to Fournes and it seems like a long and awkward route via Aubers, up to the outskirts of Fromelles and then back down to Fournes. Do you know of a more direct route?

I'm still thinking there may be another mass grave of British somewhere behind the Wick Salient between the support and 2nd line and probably bordering the light rail.

Richard,
Records of Grave Unit clearances from that area would be very useful indeed. Will wait to see what you come up with.

I believe the aerial photographs came from the archives of the IWM so if any others are available depicting this part of the battlefield, that's where they can be found.


Cheers,
Tim L.

#31 Siege Gunner

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 08:19 AM

The light railway (Leier-Bahn) between RIR 17's front line positions and Aubers first joined the track along the ridge (Höhen-Bahn) and then, after a short distance, branched off to Fournes (Roeper-Bahn/Pilly-Bahn). So there was no need to go all the way along the ridge to Fromelles.

#32 MelPack

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 01:02 PM

Mick

Your post has raised some interesting points.

Could you conduct a similar exercise to establish why it would have been improbable for Pte Patrick Gearing 53rd Battalion AIF to have been buried at Fournes?

Mel

#33 tharkin56

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 06:39 PM

Keith

If you know the relatives of Captain bethell i have local articles about him photos, article from private Wallace who bandaged capt bethells wound.

Actually i may as well post them

#34 Siege Gunner

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 07:08 PM

Assuming that Pte Gearing started out where he was meant to be, the answer almost certainly involved RIR 16.

Hypothesis: He was taken prisoner by one of the companies of RIR 16 that moved across to support RIR 21, and subsequently died (of wounds, by shellfire ...) inside RIR 16's sector. RIR 16 reported that no enemy troops succeeded in entering their trenches directly, so there were, in principle, no enemy dead to be cleared from their positions. When their own dead (under 100) were transported to the rear for burial at Fournes, Gearing went with them and was then buried with the British dead brought in from RIR 17's positions.

Speculation, certainly, but by no means improbable.

#35 Auimfo

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 10:57 AM

Ok, I'll admit to tearing my hair out.. :wacko:

Someone suggests a theory and I think, "yes, that's highly likely"

and then someone else suggests an alternate theory and I think, "good answer, very possible"

and finally someone else replies with a counter-counter-theory and I think, "oooh, quite plausible indeed"

AAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My life for even the smallest clue..........

Cheers,
Tim L.

#36 tharkin56

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 07:44 PM

considerable anxiety has been caused amongst a large circle of friends not only in coventry but throughout the midlands by news that Captain Bethell is missing. the first intimation was conveyed to Mr.. bethell on tuesday following the receipt of a telegram. i regret to inform you Captain Bethell missing believed killed 20th july. In view of information to hand Mr. bethell is not without hope that his son may still be alive. he was known to be shot down by gallantly leading an attack on the german second line of trenches and may have been taken prisoner. When last seen his servant was bandaging a wound he had received in the head..

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#37 tharkin56

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 07:59 PM

http://www.cwgc.org/...casualty=408934

Private keening was injured at fromelles and died near;y a year later at Catterick miltary hopsital. I could see no other burials at st.johns from the Royal Warwicks

Is this the only known Fromelles burial in the UK ?

#38 SPOF

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 08:53 AM

Is this the only known Fromelles burial in the UK ?


Based on the Roll of Honour in the back of Don't Forget Me Cobber there are quite a few more. I make it out as the following burials are of Fromelles men:

All Saints Churchyard Extension Orpington Kent UK (1)
Bilton (St Mark's) Cemetery Warwickshire UK (1)
Birmingham (Lodge Hill) Cemetery UK (1)
Brighton (Bear Road) UK (1)
Bristol (Arnos Vale) Cemetery (1)
Bristol (Arnos Vale) Roman Catholic Cemetery (1)
Brookwood Military Cemetery Surrey UK (1)
Cambridge City Cemetery Cambridgeshire UK (6)
Chelmsford (Writtle Road) Cemetery (1)
Clacton Cemetery Essex UK (1)
Edinburgh Eastern Cemetery Scotland UK (1)
Epsom Cemetery Surrey UK (1)
Fort Pitt Military Cemetery Kent UK (1)
Greenwich Cemetery London UK (2)
Hastings Cemetery Sussex UK (1)
Hetten Cemetery Durham UK (1)
High Wycombe Cemetery Buckinghamshire UK (1)
Ingham Churchyard Suffolk UK (1)
Ipswich Old Cemetery Suffolk UK (1)
Keighly (Morton) Cemetery York UK (1)
Kensal Green (All Souls')Cemetery London UK (2)
Kensal Green (St Mary's)) Roman Catholic Cemetery London UK (3)
Leeds (Lawn Wood) Cemetery Yorkshire UK (1)
Little Wratting (St Mary's) Churchyard Suffolk UK (1)
Lodge Hill Cemetery Birmingham UK (1)
Manchester Southern Cemetery UK (3)
Melcombe Regis Cemetery UK (1)
Northampton (Towcester Road) Cemetery Northamptonshire UK (1)
Norwich Cemetery Norfolk UK (1)
Nottingham General Cemetery Nottinghamshire UK (1)
Nunhead Cemetery London UK (2)
Polmont Church Stirlingshire Scotland UK (1)
Portsmouth (Kingston & Milton cemeteries) Hampshire UK (1)
Sheffield (Burngreave) Cemetery Yorkshire UK (1)
Shorncliffe Military Cemetery Kent UK (1)
Southend-on-Sea (Sutton Road) Cemetery Essex UK (5)
Stoke on Trent (Hartshill) Cemetery Staffordshire UK (3)
Tottenham Cemetery Middlesex UK (3)
Warwick Cemetery Warwickshire (1)
Welford Road Leicester UK (1)

Probably a mix of hospital burials and men who died in hospitals but werre moved closer to home - even Australians with British connections.

Glen

EDIT: Removed an incorrect entry.

Edited by SPOF, 10 July 2011 - 09:51 AM.


#39 CarltonLM

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 04:57 PM

If it was carried out are there post war records showing any recovery of bodies between the support lines and the 2nd line positions? Would that be the CWGC records?

Richard

I would suggest that you contact the CWGC direct. The archivists are very helpful in answering queries and will undoubtedly assist you with relevant burial returns.

A word of warning though, it may take some time for them to respond depending on the volume of queries that they are having to contend with.

Mel


I have made contact with the archives section of the CWGC. There apparently is a way of finding out if the area was searched after the war and if war graves were found. They need to know the trench map references which I assume is this map here:

http://lt1.mcmaster....map_id=121

If you supply the map reference they will look up what they hold on file.

From my reckoning its squares 13, 14,15, 16,18, 19, 20, 21 and 22

Richard

#40 MelPack

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 11:08 AM

Richard

That is good news. The bad news is that I am completely inept at reading maps - perhaps Mick or someone else more able in that department could oblige?

Mel

#41 MelPack

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 05:34 PM

Richard

As an afterthought it did occur to me that if you submit the co-ordinates for the squares either side of the Wick Salient from the British line right through to the German second line then at the very least you should secure a good indication of the numbers recovered in NML.

Mel

#42 Fedelmar

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 10:02 PM

Mel ... during a discussion I was having with Sherlock on the area we agreed that it was approximately 1 km square in the area under question.

I am with you ... not very good with maps!

Bright Blessings
Sandra

#43 Keith Miller

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 01:26 AM

Each square referred to, by Richard, has the prefix letter N.

Each of those squares is then further divided into four squares: a (top left) b (top right) c (bottom left) and d (bottom right).

So for square 13 the relevant references would be for the bottom 2 squares within N.13. ( N.13.c and N.13.d ), as N.13.a and N.13.b contain British lines only.
Other squares would need all four references.

The source map referred to has a guide to giving references to a location in the margin.

#44 SPOF

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 06:56 AM

How to read a trench map

http://www.1914-1918...trench_maps.htm

#45 Fedelmar

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:53 AM

:unsure:

Oh my ... one look at that and my eyes glazed over!!!

#46 SPOF

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 01:11 PM

:unsure:

Oh my ... one look at that and my eyes glazed over!!!



Sorry. I'll expand on Keith's post and translate it into Australian :ph34r:

Keith has explained the "sub squares" and each of those in marked into 10x10 or 100x100 grids. you then count in from the left and then up from the bottom so, for example, if a burial return states 9 c 40 80 would be in the bottom left "sub square" and then 40\100ths in and 80\100ths up.

Glen

#47 Fedelmar

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:53 PM

that shoved me right up the gum tree without a ladder!

Thanks Glenn :)

#48 SPOF

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 02:03 PM

:lol: :lol: :lol:

#49 CarltonLM

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 06:16 PM

Richard

As an afterthought it did occur to me that if you submit the co-ordinates for the squares either side of the Wick Salient from the British line right through to the German second line then at the very least you should secure a good indication of the numbers recovered in NML.

Mel


Mel

I have been back in touch with the archives who were very helpful.

I have made a request for information on any burials discovered post war in squares N13,N14,N15,N19,N20,N21,N25 and N26

Lets see what that reveals

Richard




#50 Fedelmar

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 10:24 PM

Richard
what sized area would that be please?

Sandra