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laughton

Royal Irish Regiment - 2 Lieutenants

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laughton

There are two (2) UNKNOWN Lieutenants of the Royal Irish Regiment in the Cabaret British Cemetery, Plot 7 Row K and Graves 4 and 6.

 

Prior to the fall of this year I was primarily hunting for Canadian Unknowns but the others seemed to be everywhere. Now that I can get the British War Diaries on Ancestry.ca I can start to take a look at those that are immediately obvious. I am certain that if a project like this was "Crowd Sourced", we would turn up hundreds of cases in short order. On this side of the pond, I have always thought it would be a great project for a team of Master's Candidates in Military History at one of the universities. Someone doing a combined degree in Computer Science and History would be most excellent!! The missing link now is that the CWGC only lists the KNOWN SOLDIERS. Imagine if they had ALL THE GRAVES, even if it was UNKNOWN and in the database they also had the trench map coordinates for the remains. The rest would be child's play!

 

Based on the others of the regiment in this cemetery (Doyle, Morrissey, Roberts), also found in Fournes German Cemetery, it would appear they are 2nd Battalion and the date is 15 October 1914 to 25 October 1914. I have not looked at the war diary yet, but will do that shortly.

 

There are only two (2) Lieutenants of this regiment on the Le Touret Memorial,  both for 20 October 1914 (CWGC LINK):

 

  • David Patrick Laing
  • Archibald Maurice Stratford Tandy

 

doc2113062.JPG

 

 

Edited by laughton
Laing not Lang or Land.

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laughton

The war diary tells us that on 19 October 1914 the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment was at Le Riez (there are 3 of them) and some were advancing to Le Plouich 36.N.28. During the afternoon they attacked and seized Le Pilly 36.T.5. There at 9 pm Lieutenant Laing with a machine gun detachment went back to the outskirts of Herlies 36.T.4 to fetch rations. Details and a sketch of the attack is noted to be in Appendices 24 and 25. If you are looking at that sketch, take note that it has SOUTH at the top and NORTH at the bottom, so the attack was from Le Riez in the north to Le Pilly in the south.

 

Still at Le Pilly on the 20th, the war diary reports little evidence of what occurred on that day. Reference is made to Appendices 26, 27,28 and 29. The next page is 24 October 1916, then it jumps to November, December and January. Following that the war diary goes back to the missing appendices, where Laing and Tandy are reported missing in the action of the 19-20 October 1914. The regiment is also missing 3 Captains and 2 other Lieutenants. The sketch is next, followed by a field nominal roll (incorrectly dated October 1915). Laing is a Lieutenant in Battalion H.Q. and Tandy a Lieutenant in "A" Coy.

 

The ICRC Archives have an information request for Lt. Tandy, but no indication that he was ever a POW. There was no record found for Lt. Laing.

 

The remains of both Lieutenants were found in the Fournes German Cemetery at 36.O.31.d.8.2, which is approximately 2,500 yards from where the two Lieutenants were killed in the attack on Le Pilly.

 

I do not think there is any doubt that these two Lieutenants are David Patrick Laing and Archibald Maurice Stratford Tandy. Should the CWGC agree, they would have Special Memorial C Headstones "Buried near this spot", listing alphabetically Land in 7.K.4 and Tandy in 7.K.6.

 

There are also two (2) 2nd Lieutenants of the 2nd Battalion and two (2) of the 3rd Battalion, attached to the 2nd Battalion on the Le Touret Memorial for that day and battle (CWGC Link). One of those is in Plot 7 Row K Grave 14. We can't tell if the other 2nd Lieutenant is in 7.K.13 as they also lost Captain Knox, also listed on Le Touret as missing. No Majors were killed.  In total the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment lost 157 men on the 19-20 October 1914 in France, 145 of which are on the Le Touret Memorial. A number of those, but certainly not all, are in the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, having arrived there by way of the Fournes German Cemetery.

 

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Edited by laughton
Laing not Lang or Land.

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voltaire60

      The service file for Laing is interesting.  His father, Sinclair Laing, 5 Mount Ephraim Road, Tunbridge Wells made numerous enquiries and some reports were forwarded from War Office from news coming from British POWs in Gremany

 

28 th November 1914-   Reports from survivors to family were that he was last seen with Lt. Jackson, when they were surrounded by the enemy  (Could Laing and Jackson be the 2 officers together??)

 

15th March 1915-  WO forwards report from german officer prisoner that Lt Laing was seen in charge of a machine gun in a house at Le Prilly,which was holding them up. Laing was directing fire from an upper window. The MG was causing much trouble and when it's location was identified, it was promptly shelled and building blown to pieces, causing several British fatalities.- House blown to pieces with first artillery shot

 

    Report relayed by Capotain (?), 2RIR, Princes Hospital, Boulogne, 6th February 1915

 

June 1915-  WO forwards 2 letters from British POWs.  Corporal Doyle-  5th June 1915- Laing had been hit in stomach during attack and Doyle had bandaged him

 

 

Service file for Tandy shows he was not with Laing when killed.

    A letter in his service file from Captain J.A.Smethwick.  Was with him when unit attacked in the morning. Killed by bullet through neck- paralysed and died instantly.

       Smethwick was writing from POW camp at Crefeld, 18th December 1914.

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Wexflyer

So, three completely different accounts of how Lt. Laing died...

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voltaire60
11 hours ago, Wexflyer said:

So, three completely different accounts of how Lt. Laing died...

 

     Yes-  War is not noted for accurate reporting. Particularly by those involved. 

          Accounts that Laing had been seen with another officer, Jackson, are consistent with the  the  account of Corporal Doyle.  Accounts from British survivors are from those who were not captured- thus, a time lag when anybody still in the British lines had seen him. Doyle was captured-and, as a Regular, his identification of  Laing and his death is both near contemporaneous and given from captivity in Germany. Doyle had further said that he knew the exact map reference where Laing had died but could not give it, as a POW, for obvious reasons-The file gives no evidence that Doyle was chased after the war for his information.

     The alleged German account is the unreliable one- That a German officer could identify someone from a sufficient distance away that it needed shelfire to blast it-and someone he did not know either- is not credible.

Edited by voltaire60

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micks

Buried in grave I.J.18 at Rue - Petillon Military Cemetery is another Lieutenant from the Royal Irish Regiment who was originally buried at 36.T.5.a.60.85.  ( Le Pilly )

 

The issue of miss identification has arisen so many times that for my part I would not present a report to the CWGC where the linchpin for the case is the rank.

 

Mick

 

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