Posted 07 July 2007 - 08:38 am
I have been researching Cpl Thomas Browne, 26 Battalion AIF, a native of Swinford Co Mayo, Ireland. Cpl Browne along with 6 comrades; 4468 L/Sgt McMurtrie, 1701 Pte Ronaldson, 3084 Pte Lang, 555 Pte Skerrit, 4214 Pte Smith, 3157 Pte Wood, were taken prisoner during a German counter attack, following the successful taking of the village of Lagnicourt on 26 March 1917. It seems they were all taken prisoner at the same time.
Of the 7 prisoners, only l/Sgt McMurtrie and Pte Lang were repatriated after the war. Of the others nothing is again heard of and they are all listed as missing and are commemorated on the Australian memorial at Villiers Bretonneau. Cpl Browne was definitely alive when captured, to quote his file “he was big Irishman. I could see him being marched away distinctively".
After the war, Cpl Browne's mother attempted to find out what had become of her son, but was given only the scantiest of information.
My main question is would have L/Sgt McMurtrie and Pte Lang have been questioned on their repatriation as to the events of 26 March 1917, considering the probability of a “war crime" or just to confirm what had become of their comrades. and if so would this information survive.
And as a really long short, perhaps L/Sgt McMurtrie and Pte Lang recounted to their family and friends what happened to them following their capture.
If you could she any light on these events it will be greatly appreciated.