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Alan Rogers

A Middlesex Regiment soldier recorded as wounded and missing

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Alan Rogers   
Alan Rogers

I am researching Pte G/11343 George Rogers (my uncle)for the 100th anniversary of his death in April 1917.

He was a member of 21st Battalion Middlesex Regiment and I have the hand written War Diary (Army Form C2118)  for the first 18 days of April 1917. His death was notified to my father (his declared next of kin) as having died on 10th April. The War Diary mentions an action  on 8th April in which 26 OR killed 38 OR wounded and 1 OR wounded and missing.

A note refers to an entry dated 30th April with the words "One body since discovered and buried unidentified assumed to be that of missing man". The War Diary gives no name or even service number of Other Ranks killed, wounded or missing. George Rogers has his name inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial as having no known grave.

The Action was at GOUZEAUCOURT WOOD. I can find the town but not a "bois" of that name. The action seems to have been successful by the standards of WW I . They took a cross road and were congratulated by the Corps, Division and Brigade commanders.

Would the note imply that he was buried in an unmarked grave on the battlefield or in a "Known unto God" grave in a cemetry?  If there is an inscription on the Thiepval Memorial would there also be a   "Known unto God" grave? Is there a war cemetery near to GOUZEAUCOURT ?

Do you know anything recorded of the part of the Western Front at this time involving 21st Battalion the Middlesex Regiment?

Can you tell me if this action was part of a large operation?

Any help would be much appreciated.

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ss002d6252   
ss002d6252

The effects records also show he died on 10 April.

The difference in the date could be explained if a formal roll call of the missing wasn't made to the 9th when the action was over (quite common for a few days delay if the unit were in action)- if this report was them made after about mid-day then it would then usually be reported under the next day's report to the brigade (i.e. the 10th).

 

Craig

Edited by ss002d6252

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clk   
clk

Hi Alan,

 

Welcome to the Forum.

 

There is some good information on researching soldiers, and the readily available resources here on the LLT.

 

Gouzeaucourt Wood is (largely) in square 28 of this map view - west of Gouzeaucourt itself.

 

There is a CWGC cemetery in Gouzeaucourt. However, the info says that it wasn't started until November 1917. I would guess then that the chap referred to in the 30th April entry you mention may have been buried in a small battlefield concentration, (very close to the position that the Battalion occupied at the time) and that the grave or his marker was lost during the later periods of heavy fighting in the area. The CWGC info says though that in addition to original burials, a number of bodies were relocated there post war; and that the cemetery contains the remains of near 400 unidentified men. Whether George is one of those men, regretfully I don't think that you'll ever know.

 

George has some surviving service papers here on Ancestry.

 

The (very) broad movements of Battalions of the Middlesex Regiment are here on the LLT.

 

The war diary for the Battalion is here at the National Archives, or here on Ancestry. Brigade HQ and Division HQ (general staff) diaries will probably give you a lot more contextual info.

Brigade is here at the National Archives, here on Ancestry

Division is here at the National Archives, here on Ancestry

 

Good luck.

 

Regards

Chris

 

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Alan Rogers   
Alan Rogers

Chris, Craig,

Thank you very much for the generous help. I will follow up the sources you suggest.

George possibly saved the life of his younger brother James (my father) by recommending in a letter home that he join the navy before he was conscripted into the Army. George was reported dead shortly afterwards. My father spent most of the rest of the war in destroyers hunting U-boats. I want to put something together for my four grandchildren on the 100th anniversary of George's death.

Regards,

Alan Rogers

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