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AliceF

Hello,

I am searching for the grave of my great grandfather, a German soldier. I have been searching for a while, but without success and was impressed how others got help here. A couple of days ago I started by posting my questions under the forum “cemeteries and memorials” (Lichtervelde German Military Cemetery), but got the advice to move the post to this forum instead.

My great grandfather, Gustav Gehrt, was born at the 18th of June 1889 in Allstedt, Apolda, Germany. He was wounded (do not know where and when) and died 28.08.1918. The thing is that never anyone in the family was at his grave (if there is one) and no one knows where he is buried.

The family received a letter regarding his belongings, which is posted from the Feldlazarett 255 (Württ.), Deutsche Feldpost No 765 (and the number No 1050 was written by hand below). From the letter I assume that he died in Feldlazarett 255. I attach this file.

Strangely enough the letter ends with: “The number of the grave is now known, it is the number 469. It is not possible to make a photograph of the grave because of the current war situation.” Well, the last sentence is understandable, but why did they not name the cemetery?

The military unit who he was attached to was the Ersatz Bataillon Fußartillerie Regiment no 18 (Thüringisches Fußartillerie Regiment nr 18), which probably was in Northern France, according to one Forum answer I got.

If anyone of you knows anything about the location of the GermanFeldlazarett 255 in August/September 1918 and maybe also where people who have died there were buried I would be extremely thankful for answering me.

Kind regards

Christine

Dok1.pdf

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JWK

Feldlazarett 255 : http://wiki-de.genealogy.net/Feld-Laz._7/XIII_(255)

which apparently was part of the 27. (2. Württembergische) Infanterie-division

and they were in Northern France in August 1918 :

  • 08.08.1918 - 20.08.1918: Abwehrschlacht zwischen Somme und Avre
  • 08.08.1918 - 09.08.1918: Die Tankschlacht zwischen Ancre und Avre
  • 10.08.1918 - 12.08.1918: Schlacht an der Römerstraße
  • 22.08.1918 - 02.09.1918: Schlacht Albert-Peronne

post-107702-0-58988300-1427738033_thumb.

Jan Willem

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egbert

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AliceF

Hi,

thank you very much for your replies!

I’ll check the links.

Unfortunately the 255 was not in Lichtervelde anymore in 1918.

But the Kriegsstammrollen in Stuttgart I’ll probably have to look at (just not so easy to arrange when living in Sweden – but this has all been postponed far too long). Saw that parts of the Kriegsstamrollen at Stuttgart actually are digitalized now since mars 2015 (http://wiki-de.genealogy.net/Datei:ArchivBW.jpg ) – but not this one.

Best regards

Christine

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AOK4

Hello,

You don't need to check the Kriegsstammrollen in Stuttgart as your relative wasn't in any unit from Württemberg (so the Kriegstammrollen aren't there either).

I have found him in Munitions-Kolonne der 4. Batterie des Fußartillerie-Regiments 18: Kanonier Gustav Gehrt, Allstadt, Kr. Apolda, 26.8.18 bei Hardecourt verwundet, gestorben 28.8.18 Feldlazarett 255 Fins.

I'll check whether I can find something more about I. Bataillon/Fußartillerie-Regiment 18 as the 4. Batterie and the Munitionskolonne belonged to it.

Regards,

Jan

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AOK4

Since your relative doesn't have a known grave, but was buried on a cemetery, he is probably buried in one of the mass graves of Fricourt German cemetery. The French moved a lot of the cemeteries in the wide area to the newly construced concentration cemetery of Fricourt in the 1920's. Most of the unknown bodies were buried in mass graves to save space (they did the same for their own dead).

Jan

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AliceF

Thank you very much for your answer, Jan. Well, as I said I am impressed! The date and place of his injury is of course new to me. I am surprised that you found him in the documents you have available as I got the answer (Volksbund) that all the documents concerning him got destroyed in Berlin (rather Potsdam) in February 1945. So may I ask what type of document you found him in? It’s good to have this part of the puzzle solved!

Massgrave in Fricourt. It seems as none of the relatives that died in the wars got an individual grave.

So do you know the location of Feldlazarett 255 at the relevant time? Was it Hardecourt?

Best regards Christine

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AliceF

Just so that Fins is a place! Did not realize that at once.

Well, I guess than the case is solved then and it is to assume that his remains are in Fricourt now.

I’ll try to go there – sometime.

Thanks so much once more - I would never have managed to solve this by my own!

Christine

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AOK4

A lot of German units have regimental histories published in the 1920's and 1930's. Unfortunately, I/Fußartillerie-Regiment 18 doesn't but the history of II/Fußartillerie-Regiment 18 lists also the dead of the other battalions. These regimental histories have become primary sources in cases where the original archives of the unit is lost.

I have managed to collect in more than 20 years most of these German unit histories in their original printed form (no scans or copies) (only some 200 histories are still missing in my collection).

Jan

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Martin Feledziak

Hello

I might be completely wrong

or Hoffman translated it wrong.

But Ernst Junger mentions "Fins" in one of the many incidents where he picked up wounds. I read at that time, which was 1916, a dressing station had been set up in the church at Fins.(page 105 if you have the book)

Also close to a place called Heudicourt.

post-103138-0-39788500-1427794471_thumb.

(P.S Jan - I don't suppose you have any of the histories for my relations below. I have only one scanned book for Pioneer Regiment No29 )

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JWK

But Ernst Junger mentions "Fins" in one of the many incidents where he picked up wounds. I read at that time, which was 1916, a dressing station had been set up in the church at Fins.(page 105 if you have the book)

which would be this passage :

Am Abend wurde ich mit anderen Verwundeten an den Ortsausgang getragen und dort in

einen Sanitätswagen geladen. Ohne auf das Geschrei der Insassen zu achten, raste der Fahrer

auf der unter starkem Feuer liegenden Chaussee über Trichter und andere Hindernisse hinweg

und gab uns endlich an ein Auto weiter, das uns bis zur Kirche des Dorfes Fins fuhr, die mit

Hunderten von Verwundeten belegt war. Eine Krankenschwester erzählte mir, daß in der letzten

Zeit mehr als 30 000 Verwundete über Fins abtransportiert wären.

"In the evening I was carried to the edge of the village, and was loaded into a field-ambulance there.

Paying no attention to the cries of his passengers, the driver raced down the road which lay under heavy fire,

over bombcraters and other obstacles, and finally delivered us to another car which brought us to the church

in the village of Fins, which was full with hundreds of wounded.

A nurse told me that more than 30.000 wounded had come through Fins recently."

JW

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AliceF

As I said I am impressed. Great that you have collected all these regiment histories, Jan. That is an impressive source. I think it seems likely that he was wounded at Hardecourt, since this is the place named in the sources. He was then transported to Fins, which surprises me (somebody not knowing anything about the military hospital service at that time), since it is 20km away from Hardecourt. Is it likely that he was buried in Fins before moved to Fricourt after the war?

Well, if anybody has more information, pictures of the Feldlazarett 255/cemetery in Fins or Fricourt at that time (1918/1920) I would be still interested. I am also interested to learn more about the Fußartillerie-Regiment 18 especially about the time around summer 1918.

Thanks also for your information, Martin!

I do not know now how long my great grandfather Gustav was a soldier in the Great War. The documents I have concern his death, the wage he received the last month and the pension his wife got for herself and the three children aged 5, 3 and 1 years old.

Christine

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AOK4

Hello,

After looking a bit further, I discovered that the 4. Batterie didn't belong to the I. Battalion of Fußartillerie-Regiment 18, but to the IV. Battalion. This Battalion was the heavy artillery part of the 233rd Infantry Division (other units in the division: Infantry Regiments 448, 449 and 450, Field Artillery Regiment 81).

The division was engaged near Albert in July and August 1918 and was still in line on 22 August, when the British attack started. The division was thrown back on Fricourt, La Boisselle, Bazentin le Grand and Montauban, where it was relieved on 30 August.

Because of the heavy losses, the division was dissolved in September 1918.

Regards,

Jan

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AliceF

Hi,

I still try to find out more on the Thueringisches Fussartillerieregement No 18.

I found on the internet the regiment histories of Battalion II and III. Battalion IV did not have a history, did I got this right? Not easy to find out which Batterie belonged to which Battalion either, but you said the 4. Battery was part of the IV Battalion, Jan. Did the II., III. and IV. Battallion belong all to completely different divisions? If I would like to read something about soldiers in the 4. Battery like my relative, would the story of the II. or the one of the III. Battallion be closer?

I still try to find a website that lists ALL regiment histories, but have not get there yet – only bits and pieces. The Thueringisches Fussartillerieregiment is rarely named at all. For me a copy or CD rom would do, but I have not found one – only originals for 130-160 Euro (of the III. Battalion).

Well, after knowing that Fins was the place of death of my great grandfather – I contacted the Volksbund again and I am waiting for an answer.

I attach a photo with Gustav on the right, the soldier to the left is unknown.

Kind regards

Christine

Dok2.pdf

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AOK4

Hello,

All Battalion belonged to totally different divisions. If you want to know more about the battles where the 4. Batterie of FsAR 18 was engaged, I would recommend reading the regimental history of Feldartillerie-Regiment 81, since the other divisional units (the infantry regiments) don't have a published regimental history as far as I know. You can also check out the 2 volumes of the Ehrenbuch der Schweren Artillerie, since there's all kinds of stories about Fußartillerie-units in there to give you an idea about your great grandfather's experiences.

As I have told before, the internet is not a very revealing place about the German Army in WW1. You really still need printed books and archives... Eike Mohr has published two books about what unit histories were published (I have checked these, so you won't find anything there).

Jan

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AliceF

Thanks a lot for your help, Jan! Christine

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AliceF

Hi,

posting some documents, in case someone else is interested. It’s about the financial aspects after a soldier’s death, the wage and the money the widow got. I have difficulties to relate to the value of 21 M a month Gustav Gehrt received or the pension his wife got. Just know from my grandmother, that it was not possible to live on it.

Comes in bits and pieces since it is difficult for me to keep under 250kb.

Christine


to be continued. C.


The last wage. C.


continued. C.


wage the second. C.


Finally. The pension. C.

Dok3a.pdf

Dok3b.pdf

Dok4a.pdf

Dok4b.pdf

Dok5.pdf

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Ken S.

Gustav Gehrt is listed twice in the German casualty lists first in late 1918 where he is reported as "schwer verwundet". At this time the lists were still alphabetical and had no unit designations, but when he appears again in the casualty list in 1919 he is listed under his unit, along with several others -- but none were with his battery.

http://des.genealogy.net/search/show/6735715

Unfortunately it's next to impossible still to search the last by unit, but casualties from the same regiment (and battery) should exist and if there are any from the same time period as Gustav's death then these could be used to identify a possible burial location.

Also, not all units may have had a "regimental history" but still published information. I have "Festschrift" for another Fußartillerie regiment (Nr. 8) for a reunion, and it contains articles and a detailed list of locations where it's batteries were deployed during the war. Regiments sometimes formed veterans organizations and published newsletters, which contain much information but are very difficult to find.

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AOK4

Ken,

I have checked the list of the fallen of the regiment. However, none of the other casualties (also for the other batteries of the battalion) died in Feldlazarett 255 (they died on the frontline or in another hospital). So that doesn't help us.

I don't know of a Festschrift for Fußartillerie-Regiment 18. There may be something somewhere, but a lot of these Festschrifte only have the programme for the festivities.

Jan

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AliceF

Well, I see what the Volksbund has to say, they were a little reluctant last time three years ago, but then I did not have the location Fins. They have found my grandfather on the Golm in Usedom (even if the individual grave of course is not there anymore) and my grand uncle Willy (son of Gustav Gehrt), who was relocated to Potelitsch, Ukraine. But those were WW2 cases.

Anyway I continue with Fins now (even if I am aware that bodies were moved after the war etc.). In Fins is a British cemetery, where also German soldiers are buried. While the CWGC publishes the list of buried soldiers on each cemetery on the internet, the German Volksbund somehow does not. http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/61500/FINS%20NEW%20BRITISH%20CEMETERY,%20SOREL-LE-GRAND

There are several 100 German soldiers buried in Fins and 89 or so unidentified.

Christine

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Ken S.

A seller on eBay.de seems to have a number of photos which s/he claims are of Fußartillerie-Regiment Nr. 18. They seem to date from 1914/15, though.

Searing the sellers listings using "Fuß" gets 44 returns, c. 30 of which are for the regiment.

http://www.ebay.de/sch/m.html?_odkw=Fu%C3%9FAR&_ssn=miro-antik2012&_from=R40|R40&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=Fu%C3%9F&_sacat=0

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AOK4

These pictures are apparently from the 9th Battery of III. Battalion, which was a completely different unit unfortunately.

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Ken S.

True, but still interesting in what they record -- especially those of the villagers.

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AliceF

Hi,

Thanks for the links to the pictures – interesting, I did not even know that parts of that regiment were in Russia. And good to know in advance that I do not have to look for my great grandfather amongst the soldiers.

Well, you who have worked with WW1 for a long time – you know of course about this webpage here:

http://www.twgpp.org/

photographs of 1.8mio war graves! It gave me the possibility to check for Gustav Gehrt also on the Fins New British Cemetery – who otherwise only lists Commonwealth Soldiers.

Of course, Gustav Gehrt was not amongst them. Otherwise he would have been in the database of the Volksbund. However, I was disappointed. I checked out each single photo of German soldiers on this cemetery. Several Gustavs, but no Gehrt. Not a single Gehrt among 1.8 mio. German soldiers have been buried the days before the 28th of August, on the 28th of August and the days after the 28th of August on Fins New British Cemetery – but not Gustav Gehrt. I wonder why.

Best regards Christine

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AliceF

Well, one should not be impatient with things that happened 100 years ago. In the afternoon the mail delivered a letter from the Volksbund. I think my search has come to an end – even if I have not got a final answer – I got at least two possible options. Either Gustav Gehrt is buried belong the unidentified in Fins or he was removed in the 1920ies by the French and put in a mass grave in Maissemy. The Volksbund will register now Gustav Gehrt in Maissemy.

One could still ask why, but war times lead to the fact that people die young and get buried far from home and often in mass graves.

What happened: The cemetery in Sorel-le-Grand (that must be Fins according to the Volksbund) got destroyed due to war fighting, it is not said when, but I assume in autumn 1918. Only few readable crosses would have remained after the fighting. That would make an identification of many graves later impossible. What is contradicted by the fact that there are still 277 individual graves of German soldiers on that cemetery – a little more than “few”.

Another option that the Volksbund mentions is that Gustav was already put in 28.8.1918 in a grave with more soldiers. I am not sure, since the letter to the relatives contained a grave number, but that grave could comprise of course several bodies. When placing soldiers at Maissemy only those that had an individual grave in Fins, where the name was well readable got an individual grave at Maissemy. If Gustav was in a grave with several other soldiers or his name not readable he would automatically be put in a mass grave in Maissemy.

The Volksbund found Gustav Gehrt on an “Ehrentafel der Gefallenen des Fussartillerieregiments Nr. 18, Munitionskolonne der 4. Batterie“. Here the dates from Jan were confirmed: wounded in Hardecourt 26.8.1918, died in Wrtt F.L. 255, Fins. This information was in the library of the Volksbund, so why they could not help me in 2012, because they did not have the place of death I do not know.

Christine

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