Posted 09 December 2002 - 11:42 AM
To answer Ron's question regarding why men of the 17th Londons (KIA 15/9/16) who were buried in small battlefield cemeteries or whose remains were found by the battlefield clearance parties during 1920-21-22 period were not concentrated in London Cemetery.
The original London Cemetry was itself only a small battlefield cemetery like many in the vicinity of High Wood and Bazentin le Petit. Why the decision to keep London Cemetery open and close the others down I do not know. The original part of London cemetery is the front row as you enter the gate. The cemetry was surveyed by the Graves Registration Dept and a drawing of it was made by Lieut. H E Funn (Connaught Rangers) on 17/9/20.
Caterpillar Valley Cemetery was chosen to be enlarged and all the bodies from surrounding battlefield cemeteries were moved there plus all those found during the battlefield clearances of in and around HIGH WOOD.
High Wood was cleared and searched many times. Despite what people say. It had to be. How do you account for the fact that 677 men that now lie in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery were found (map reference to a 50 by 50 yard square) in High Wood.
In fact nearly 3000 bodies of the 5000 or so in Caterpillar Valley Cem. were dug up in the region High Wood, New Zealand Memorial, Wood Lane, Matinpuich- Longueval Road area in the early 1920's.
After the original battlefield clearances and after Caterpillar Valley Cem was built, any further bodies discovered by farmers, road works, building work etc were put into the London Cemetery Extension. As you can guess by the size of the extension, hundreds more bodies were discovered mostly in the 1930's.
My research, by the way, is taken from original GRU registers for Caterpillar Valley Cemetery held at the CWGC H.Q.
According to Soldiers Died CD Rom. 71 o.r's and 4 officers from the 17th Londons were killed in 15 September,1916.
34 are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
29 are in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery
5 in London Cemetry
1 in Delville Wood Cem.
1 in Aubigny Communal cem (he DOW and cemetery is 15km N.W. of Arras
1 in Dartmoor Cem Becordel-Becourt
2 in Ovillers Military Cem
1 in Serre Road No.1
1 in Serre Road No.2
Perhaps the last four were found when London Ext was full and put in cemetries where they still had space.