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Casualties Neuve Chapelle

1st Seaforths

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#1 hazel clark

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 09:49 PM

I have been able to obtain the published Casualty lists for around the time of 3rd ypres but as my Grandfather Andrew clark was also wounded and sent home while with the 1st Seaforths, Dehra Dun Brigade (7th Meerut Div.) I wonder if anyone has access to any such records for the spring of 1915?

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Hazel C.

#2 PJA

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 08:27 AM

Hazel,

For Neuve Chapelle, the official return was

Killed : 190 officers and 2,337 men
Wounded : 359 officers and 8,174 men
Missing : 23 officers and 1,728 men

Total : Killed : 2,527; Wounded : 8,533; Missing 1,751 ( many of these were dead). Aggregate : 12,801.

I too have a personal interest here . A family member, Rifleman William Andrade, London Regiment, died of wounds and is buried at Cabaret Rouge. I think that he died a couple of days after he was wounded. i wonder if such casualties were listed among the wounded, or the killed. He was part of one of the Indian brigades or divisions. Apparently, it was practice to integrate one or two British units into these Indian contingents.

Phil (PJA)

#3 Steven Broomfield

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 11:42 AM

All Indian brigades contained one British and three Indian battalions; as the Territorials arrived it was frequently the case that TF battalionswere added to the brigades, leaving three Indian and two (or even three) British battalions. Artillery was British.

In the cavalry it was one British to two Indian regiments per brigade. In WW2 it seems common to have a Gurkha and an Indian battalion with a british battalion in the three-battalion brigade, but in the GW, Indian and Gurkha battalions seemed more interchangeable.

The various volumes of the OH give orders of battle as appendices.

On the subject of the Seaforth casualties, I have the history of the 7th Division at home so will look there later if no-one else gets in first.

#4 Steven Broomfield

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 05:23 PM

Sorry - being a bit dense. I have the history of the 7th British Division, not the 7th Indian (there isn't one of those!), and I'm afraid nothing I have lists individual battalion losses. I suspect Vol 1 of the OH for 1915 (which I don't have) might.

#5 hazel clark

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 05:42 PM

Sorry - being a bit dense. I have the history of the 7th British Division, not the 7th Indian (there isn't one of those!), and I'm afraid nothing I have lists individual battalion losses. I suspect Vol 1 of the OH for 1915 (which I don't have) might.


Thanks for checking. I guess I thought there might be some sort of published list like the ones appearing in the Gazette and the Scotsman on a regular basis later on.

H.C.

#6 hazel clark

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 05:48 PM

Hazel,

For Neuve Chapelle, the official return was

Killed : 190 officers and 2,337 men
Wounded : 359 officers and 8,174 men
Missing : 23 officers and 1,728 men

Total : Killed : 2,527; Wounded : 8,533; Missing 1,751 ( many of these were dead). Aggregate : 12,801.

I too have a personal interest here . A family member, Rifleman William Andrade, London Regiment, died of wounds and is buried at Cabaret Rouge. I think that he died a couple of days after he was wounded. i wonder if such casualties were listed among the wounded, or the killed. He was part of one of the Indian brigades or divisions. Apparently, it was practice to integrate one or two British units into these Indian contingents.

Phil (PJA)


I have spent quite a while getting info. about 3rd Ypres but have only just started looking at Neuve Chappelle. I do have the W.D. courtesy of another member of the Forum, but can't find a list of casualties. Thanks for listing the numbers - they were awful.

Hazel C.

#7 PJA

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 09:21 PM

The Germans were very badly knocked about, too.

Jack Sheldon's new book on the German Army in 1915 is a must for anyone wishing to see things from the Other Side of the Hill.

Phil (PJA)

#8 hazel clark

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 02:00 AM

The Germans were very badly knocked about, too.

Jack Sheldon's new book on the German Army in 1915 is a must for anyone wishing to see things from the Other Side of the Hill.

Phil (PJA)

Interesting you should mention that as I have been thinking that would be a good one to read on the subject.

H.C.

#9 Robert Dunlop

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 04:57 AM

Jack's new book is excellent. With respect to Neuve Chapelle, it complements the article by Wynne in his book 'If Germany Attacks...' Jack has included more information about the role of German artillery units in this battle, as well as further details on the infantry battles, especially around the German counter-attacks.

Robert

#10 Steven Broomfield

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 01:01 PM

Out of interest I have just checked SDGW and ODGW, and fatalities in the 1st Seaforths for the period 9th to 19th March, 1915 are given as 39 o.r. and no officers.

#11 PJA

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 02:24 PM

According to Geoff Bridger's account of the battle, in the Battleground Europe series, the 2/Middlesex suffered a total of 146 deaths in the battle, and the 2/Scottish Rifles lost 149 dead on the first day. Allowing for wounded, this implies total casualties in the order of 500 for each battalion. Perhaps there is a tabular statement we might find for the most significant battalion casualty totals for the battle, including killed, wounded and missing.

Phil (PJA)

#12 Steven Broomfield

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 04:34 PM

There may very well be, Phil, but I find this constant desire for league tables of dead and wounded slightly disturbing. :whistle:

#13 hazel clark

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 05:04 PM

Out of interest I have just checked SDGW and ODGW, and fatalities in the 1st Seaforths for the period 9th to 19th March, 1915 are given as 39 o.r. and no officers.


Hi Steven

In everything I have read it seems that the Indian regiments were badly beaten up in the later attacks, but I had never bothered to look at casualties by Bn. My only interest is in trying to trace the battles in which I think my Grandfather was involved and if possible in this case to determine if this was where he was wounded the first time. It is of course more interesting to read about battles in which one has a personal interest!

Hazel C.

#14 PJA

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 05:08 PM

There may very well be, Phil, but I find this constant desire for league tables of dead and wounded slightly disturbing. :whistle:


Obviously I must be disturbed.

Hazel asks about the casualties of Neuve Chapelle ; it's rather difficult to address the question without encountering the statistics.

Phil (PJA)

#15 Steven Broomfield

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:31 PM

I appreciate that, Phil, but then you ask for "most significant battalion casualties", which sounds like a league table to me.

It also misses, potentially, another point. Supposing the 1st Seaforth went into action 75 strong: a loss of 38 would be over 50%, whereas a battalion at full strength loses 300 men - a 30% loss, say. By my reckoning the Seaforth's losses are far more "significant" than the other unit's, but wouldn't appear in any league table of "significant battalion casualties".

I agree losses are an important factor, but I find it somehow morbid constantly to examine losses in minute detail 97 years after the event.

That's all, but each to his/her own.

#16 PJA

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:19 PM

I agree losses are an important factor, but I find it somehow morbid constantly to examine losses in minute detail 97 years after the event.


Morbid ? Yes, well I suppose it is. Then the Great War was a bloody morbid affair, wasn't it, Steven ?

I think that a valid case can be made, though, for a degree of analyisis of the casualty statistics : how far the burden of loss fell more heavily on some battalions than on others, and why this was so. How the casualties themselves differed in their composition : why, for example, would one battalion suffer 250 casualties, of whom only 25 are killed; while another takes only 100 casualties, but 50 of them are fatal. And how did the wounded fare ? In one unit, virtually all the wounded survive, while in another a terrible mortality rate sets in.
This reflects the different kind of fighting that they encountered : different weapons, different degrees of enemy resolve, different terrain and different speed of evacuation from the field. Morale also impinges here. Another thing : the proportion of officers to other ranks is striking as an indicator. Look, for example, at the tiny proportion of officers posted as " missing" compared with that category for the other ranks ; barely four per cent of the officer casualties at Neuve Chapelle were missing, compared with more than fourteen per cent among the casualties for the men. And look at how high the proportion of killed is among those officer casualties. It's understandable that officers were bound to be more conspicuous. but I wonder whether this was amplified in this case. It would be particularly instructive to investigate this phenomenon among the officers who led the Indian soldiers in the battle.

It troubles me that, in my attempts to discuss these things, I appear unduly morbid. I've even been accused of compiling casualty figures as if they were "football scores". That hurt.

I hope that I've made a convincing case that the casualty statistics are worth analysing and that we should reflect on them. Within those figures are a multiplicity of factors that reflect the differing exigencies of battle. And Neuve Chapelle is, more than most battles on the Western Front, ammenable to study in this regard. it was a relatively short battle, involving sharp attack in a small area, and then defense against stern counter attack. It was, above all, a portentious one.

Phil (PJA)

#17 PPCLI

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 06:47 PM

Hi Hazel,

Below are the main casualty lists for the 1st Seaforths at Neuve Chapelle, killed in action followed by wounded:

Attached File  1stSeaforths.jpg   80.12KB   2 downloads

These lists were published in The Scotsman, 12 April 1915. I searched 1915 to 1917 with 10260 but the only return for your grandfather was dated 10 September 1917, within a huge list of wounded Seaforths. It is always possible that he is listed elsewhere but that the OCR search facility isn't picking him up.

Cheers,

Stuart

#18 PJA

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 07:08 PM

What great stuff, Stuart !

As Steven mentioned, no officers at all. That's unusual. A lot of NCOs, though. What does this suggest ? Devolved command, or fighting which did not require officers to be conspicuous ? Do my eyes play tricks, or is there an Acting Srgt. Piper among the wounded ?

Phil (PJA)

#19 hazel clark

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 07:51 PM

Thankyou so much Stuart. It may be that the the family lore is incorrect and that he was in Scotland for some other reason in the spring and summer of 1915. The story was that he was wounded at Mons the first time, but as you know his regiment was probably on the high seas at that time!!

Thanks so much for taking the trouble to do that - looks like I am barking up the wrong tree.

Hazel