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Is this Etaples Military Cemetery?


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#1 Tonym

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Posted 25 April 2007 - 08:26 PM

Attached File  Sister_Wake___1.jpg   65.14KB   3 downloadsI associate a photograph posted in “Women in the Great War” (“Where were nurses buried”) in the hope that someone with an extensive knowledge of cemeteries can produce a successful identification.

It was suggested that the photograph shows the burial of casualties of the bombing of the hospital at Etaples on 19th May 1918 and includes to Canadian Army Nursing casualties – Sisters Gladys Wake and Katherine Macdonald. The two coffins containing the sisters are the 5th and 7th from the bottom with their uniforms laid on the coffins.

However their grave references dispute the position of the coffins in the photograph, The references are Gladys Wake XXXVIII L.5 and Katherine Macdonald XXVIII L 8 which, if the photograph was their funeral, should have two coffins between them not one.

My initial thoughts were that the coffin between them possibly contained the remains of two casualties and if that were the case would there be two separate headstones (L.6 & L.7) that would solve the identification problem but if it would be a single, joint headstone, then whose funeral was this?

I did check all the Cemetery Reports for Etaples Military Cemetery and identified names for all the graves from XXVIII L.1 to XXVIII L.8 but surprisingly enough with the exception of XXVIII L.6. Whether I missed it or it was not there I backed off doing another trawl.

Can anybody identify a name for Grave XXVIII L.6, Etaples Military Cemetery or better still can anybody confirm the location of this funeral if it is not Etaples?

I fell asleep last night thinking about it, please help me to have a restful night tonight!

Tony

#2 Sue Light

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Posted 25 April 2007 - 09:04 PM

And just to add to what Tony has put, the original thread is here:

http://1914-1918.inv...i...14712&st=20

But it is quite long, and the relevant bits start at post #32 on page 2. All the nurses involved would appear to be Canadian.

Sue

#3 Tonym

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 01:24 PM

Jim Strawbridge has gven me something to think about on the original thread suggesting an anomaly with the positioning of the uniforms.

Judging by the pieces butting out from the right-hand side of the grave there is still one coffin to go in at the top - 28.L.10, 2nd Lieut Coldwell. If the clothing on the 3rd and 4th coffins down from the top have been placed on the wrong coffins and are moved up one then Sister Macdonald is in the 2nd coffin and Capt. Howse (Canadian Doctor) is in the 3rd coffin down thereby leaving two coffins between the two Sisters this would solve the positioning problem.

Tony

#4 cockney tone

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 02:29 PM

Tony,

are will still guessing its Etaples or is it confirmed please?

Regards,
Scottie.

#5 Tonym

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 03:30 PM

Cockney Tone

If the assumption that some of the clothing was placed on the wrong coffins is correct then we must accept that this is the funeral, at Etaples, for the casulaties of 19th May bombing and the grave containing Sisters Wake and Macdonald.

There is always the possibility that after this photo was taken, if it was an error, it was rectified.

I feel happy to accept that it is Etaples

Tony

#6 cockney tone

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 09:34 PM

Tony,

thank you for that, i visted a number of nurses graves in Etaples a couple of weeks ago and was trying to visulise the location of the photo with what i had seen.

Thanks for posting the interesting photo,

Regards,
Scottie.

#7 ian turner

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 09:25 AM

Tony,

My own feeling is that the 'middle' coffin is in fact draped with another nurse's outfit, not a doctors. I think that the hat is a nurse's hat, and from a different outfit than the two adjcent nurses (or maybe a different rank).

I do not think there is space at the end of the row for a further coffin, and I suspect this photograph was taken after the funeral ceremony.

There appears to be dirt on the middle coffin (of the whole row), and if compared to the other picture of this occasion, the officiating gentleman on the earth mound does look as if he might have just thrown something down (ashes to ashes..).

I do not know the whereabouts of the location, but I doubt the error of placing the nurses uniforms on wrong coffins.

Ian

Edit - on further viewing maybe the officiating gentleman (vicar/priest?) does only appear to be pointing to the grave, not casting down dirt, but I still conclude the photo of the coffins is after the ceremony depicted in the other view (see Sue's link). Ian

#8 Chris_Baker

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 11:07 AM

There is something about the photo that makes me feel it is not Etaples. The "lie of the land", perhaps.

#9 Sue Light

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 11:18 AM

Chris

I think that this thread, and the original one [link on post 2 here - 'Where are the nurses buried'] have become a bit confusing.

http://1914-1918.inv...i...14712&st=20

If you have a look at the linked thread, I felt that the photo on this thread is, in fact, Bagneux British Military Cemetery, Gezaincourt. No-one had agreed or disagreed with me yet - some feedback would be appreciated.

Sue

#10 Tonym

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 12:58 PM

Sue

Since your earlier comment that it is highly unlikely that an error could have been made in placing the uniforms I have to agree with you, I was thinking more in line of the placing of the coffins, particularly as I could not find XVIII.L.6 listed, but that was probably my fault.

What does intrigue me is the difference in the dress on the coffins; if it does turn out to be Bagneux, which it probably will,
the three Sisters were all C.A.N.S. so what could justify the difference?


Ian

Sorry for my lapse of response to your comments but that was Chris's fault, when I tried he was upgrading, however, my comments above tend to agree with you, apart from the uniforms.

Best wishes

Tony

#11 Sue Light

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 04:23 PM

QUOTE (Tonym @ Apr 30 2007, 01:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What does intrigue me is the difference in the dress on the coffins; if it does turn out to be Bagneux, which it probably will,
the three Sisters were all C.A.N.S. so what could justify the difference?

Tony

I really don't know what the answer is. But it strikes me that the placing of uniform was a highly significant act, and was perhaps done to reflect something about each nurse unknown to us. I wonder if the middle grave, which, at Bagneux, would be that of Miss Pringle, shows that she was either a theatre sister, or perhaps one of the recently trained nurse/anaesthetists - I can't think of anything else that would be in white - and the hat added to signify her nationality. If she spent all of her time in the operating theatre, then that would be her working uniform, and perhaps thought to be more symbolic.

Sue

#12 Greyhound

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 05:55 PM

QUOTE (Sue Light @ Apr 30 2007, 12:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If you have a look at the linked thread, I felt that the photo on this thread is, in fact, Bagneux British Military Cemetery, Gezaincourt. No-one had agreed or disagreed with me yet - some feedback would be appreciated.


Yes, I did: when Sue first mentioned that three nurses were buried at this cemetery, I looked at the CWGC details and found that the highest number in this row was 28. That fitted with the grave numbers of the nurses, and the position of the coffins with the uniforms. I must have posted this on the other thread - agree it has got a bit confusing now!

#13 Tonym

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 05:56 PM

[quote If she spent all of her time in the operating theatre, then that would be her working uniform, and perhaps thought to be more symbolic.

Thanks Sue

That sounds logical and the reason why I assumed a white coat and a doctor. So I think that we can safely assume Bagneux Cemetery.

Tony

#14 Sue Light

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 03:37 PM

I've just been having a search for the details of the bombing at Doullens on 29th May 1918, and found evidence to prove that it was indeed the operating theatre that took the brunt of the damage. The first extract is from the war diary of the Matron-in-Chief:

30.05.18
Doullens
Left early in the morning having received a telephone message from Doullens saying that No.3 Canadian Stationary Hospital had been heavily bombed, and 3 nursing sisters killed and one badly wounded. Left as soon as possible with Miss Ridley, Principal Matron, Canadians. On arrival found that one huge triangle in the Citadel had been absolutely destroyed – part of it did not exist and the remainder of the roof had gone leaving only walls. The whole of the theatre and Xray appliances had been absolutely wiped out and the people working in the theatre were not recognisable. No N.C.O.’s were on duty – those who were not killed were badly wounded. I saw the O.C. and the Matron who spoke in the highest terms of the work of everybody. While there the D.M.S. of the 3rd Army arrived with the A.D.M.S. It was arranged that all sisters who could be spared should be moved at once and the wounded sister transferred to Treport.


And the second from her summing up of the Canadian nursing services, written in July 1919 before her return to England. The date here is given as 27/28th which is an error, but this is as transcribed:

About midnight on May 27th, No.3, Canadian Stationary Hospital, in the Citadel, Doullens, was attacked by enemy aircraft, and the main building was struck by a bomb. Three Sisters unfortunately lost their lives and another was seriously injured. The part of the building struck burst into flames immediately – apparently the direct hit was at the main stairway and the wards to one side of it, which was over the Operating Theatre. The Officer patients, 2 Medical Officers, the 3 Sisters and the whole of the operating staff were buried in the ruins of the building. The other Sisters remained at their posts and assisted in the removal of the patients, some having to slide down the debris, as the stairway had gone. The staff, at the time of the bombardment, was 42, and it was thought advisable to reduce it immediately to 20; the remainder being sent on leave or given a rest, at a Convalescent Home. The Matron and the Commanding Officer reported that the Sisters did splendid work, and spoke very highly of their courage and devotion to duty. For their conduct on this occasion, 2 Nursing Sisters were awarded the Military Medal.

Sue

#15 b3rn

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 07:24 PM

If you have a look at the linked thread, I felt that the photo on this thread is, in fact, Bagneux British Military Cemetery, Gezaincourt. No-one had agreed or disagreed with me yet - some feedback would be appreciated.



At Gezaincourt today, a rough then-and-now (original would have been taken on higher ground just a few metres beyond the cemetery boundary)
Posted Image
Posted Image

The headstones in the front row of the plot beginning one-third up the photo are those killed in the bombing of May 27th at Doullens - nursing sisters, doctors, orderlies. From right to left, Captain E.E. Meek, then Sisters McPherson, Pringle & Baldwin.

#16 Tom Tulloch-Marshall

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 07:31 PM

b3rn – The headstone extreme right of the front row in the colour photo is grave 28 of Row A, Plot III, at Bagneux British Cemetery. Is there any evidence or indication that the crosses in the b&w photo relate to that row, and is there any indication when the b&w photo was taken ?

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#17 b3rn

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 07:59 PM

b3rn – The headstone extreme right of the front row in the colour photo is grave 28 of Row A, Plot III, at Bagneux British Cemetery. Is there any evidence or indication that the crosses in the b&w photo relate to that row, and is there any indication when the b&w photo was taken ?

Tom



Unfortunately the original thread photos have disappeared but I think they - and the one on this page - are part of this set of photographs (scroll down a bit) ... which is Bagneux, and the medical sisters, officers & orderlies killed in the bombing raid of May 27, 1918 on Doullens citadel

If you look at this photo...
Posted Image

the row containing the large white cross shows 16 crosses... this appears to be the row directly in front of the burials of the medical staff... at Bagneux cemetery, we counted 16 crosses in the row that begins bottom-left in this photo
Posted Image

the row with those killed in the bombing raid numbers 13 ... in this photo, this is the row you see with the small bush ... the slope of the hill & background are similar (photographer in 1918 would have been back a bit and higher)

#18 Tom Tulloch-Marshall

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 08:36 PM

... - are part of this set of photographs (scroll down a bit) ... which is Bagneux, and the medical sisters, officers & orderlies killed in the bombing raid of May 27, 1918 on Doullens citadel


Thanks - I think that one of the photos in that link might have answered the question which had been niggling me about the b&w photo above. Now I've got to find the magnifying glass :unsure:

Tom

#19 Tom Tulloch-Marshall

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 06:21 PM

b3rn – Firstly; what had confused me with this photo – can we call it photo #3 >

Attached File  photo 3.jpg   47.66KB   0 downloads

was the mound of earth behind the rightmost row of crosses, ie three rows right of the first row visible on the left of the photo above. I thought the men saluting were standing on that earth bank saluting the last visible row of crosses – and given the (wrong) row reference that I had assumed, I was having difficulty relating the photo to what actually exists at Bagneux BC.

Photos in the linked site that you gave in post # 17 immediately made it obvious that the saluting men aren’t standing on the earth bank visible in photo # 3, but on the earth bank farther up the hill and on the other side of the burial trench which is now Row A, Plot III. Hence my confusion.

I believe that the photographer was standing approximately as marked below, and have also marked where the soldiers in the foreground and the nurses graves were. Nb – I think the prominent white cross in photo # 3 is Grave 29, Row F, Plot I, and marks the burial of Private 23589 C Whitehurst of the 13th Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

I also believe that one of the photos in your linked site allows the photo in post # 1 of this topic to be 99% positively identified as the nurse’s burial in III.A.24, 25, and 26 at Bagneux. I’ll post copies of the two photos demonstrating how the photo in post # 1 matches the known Bagneux photos later.

Attached File  Copy of BBC plan.JPG   41.77KB   0 downloads

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#20 b3rn

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 06:39 PM

Tom, I did take another photo today from outside the cemetery boundary - probably a bit forward of your 'x' - but I hadn't seen your post
Posted Image

#21 Tom Tulloch-Marshall

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 07:52 PM

Firstly the photo from post # 1 and then a photo from the linked site – photo # 2.

Attached File  Copy of Post # 1 photo.JPG   42.89KB   3 downloads

Attached File  Copy of Bagneux photo from link site .JPG   36.44KB   3 downloads

Its all down to “trees and angles” – and it isn’t conclusive because the pictures just aren’t good enough, but it works for me. (It would be better if the photo in post # 1 wasn’t cropped so closely above the men).

All that I’ve done is worked out and marked the centre-line of the burial trench in both photos, and then related the resulting angle of correction to the two very close trees (or are they poles ?) behind the groups of men. That then allows comparison of the relevant trees in the background – I’ve marked these 2, 3, and 4. You’ll see that the effective trompe-l'œil here is that you have to move (what appears to be) one tree to the left in photo # 1.

I’m as sure as I can be that the post # 1 picture is the nurses burial at Bagneux.

Does anybody know the date the burials took place ?

Tom

#22 Tom Tulloch-Marshall

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 11:56 AM

…. Sorry, forgot to say … the distances from tree 2 to tree 3, and then tree 3 to tree 4, are not the same. It’s difficult to measure precisely because of the quality of the photos, but in both photographs the distance from tree 3 to tree 4 is as near as make no difference 90% of the distance from tree 2 to tree 3.

Tom

#23 b3rn

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 06:25 AM

Does anybody know the date the burials took place ?


Tom, the funeral took place on 31 May 1918. I've transcribed a report from the hospital's war diary.

Just occurred to me that there are two coffins beside the nurses at the end of the row. But in the cemetery today, there is only one marker at the end of that row after the nursing sisters - that is, Capt Meek C.A.M.C., a doctor who died in the operating theatre during the German air raid. The other doctor killed was Lieut. A.P.H. Sage, M.O.R.C. U.S.A. - and I understand the Americans repatriated their fallen. Could we assume his body was taken back to the United States after this funeral?