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velo350

Fromelles16: July 19th events

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phil andrade

Being that this is such a long running thread, what I post now might well have been discussed already, so please accept my apologies if this is so.

There is a confluence here between the Fromelles story and the news regarding the discovery of the Red Cross archives at Geneva which contain details about some of the casualties of the Great War. Peter Barton has been prominent in both stories. We have a five year run up to the centennial. Interest seems to intensify....the further away in time, the more pronounced this public ( and private ) enthusiasm becomes. The availability of DNA technology and IT compounds the effect.

Where will we be in 2014- 2018 ? Perhaps there will be a vast and comprehensive endeavour to exhume and identify hundreds of thousands of soldiers buried as "Unknowns", and that will be for British and Commonwealth dead alone. What of the French, Germans, Italians and others? Remember that TV series "Finding the Fallen" ? On the one hand I experience a sense of gratification that so much is now being done to stimulate interest in the Great War, and it is poignant and fitting that every effort be made to honour and cherish the memory of the war's victims. On the other hand, I imagine a host of issues of litigation and expense, and politcal, diplomatic and racial antagonisms.

This is going to be tricky, and it will be fascinating to see how the balance is struck.

Phil.

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Brian in France

I have two questions. On the BBC this morning they said that many of the dead could not be identified as they did not wear ID tags at that time. Is that true? I read somewhere that the dead could not be identified because of the practice of taking the ID tags off them so that next of kin could be informed, is that pure fiction? If not, how were the deead comfirmed?

Secondly, will the excavation of these graves starting today only find the remains of those killed at Fromelles in 1916 and not anyone with no known grave from the nearby battle of Aubers Ridge in 1915?

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manchester terrier

Hi Brian W

the British ID tags were made out of a fibre board material, similar to gasket cardboard. They have rotted over the years. The troops were issued with two tags worn round the neck on the same piece of string. The idea was that one tag would be left with the body and the other removed for recording purposes. This page at Digger History seems quite informative.

cheers

baz

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4thGordons

"Covered" (i.e. mentioned) on CNN today too.

Chris

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Marc Thompson
The troops were issued with two tags worn round the neck on the same piece of string. The idea was that one tag would be left with the body and the other removed for recording purposes.

Baz,

Others will be able to confirm, but I believe that the No. 1 lozenge shaped identification disc was not sanctioned until September 1916 so would not be worn in July 1916. This doesn't rule out the possibility that some unofficial second tag may have been worn by some men in July 1916.

Marc

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CT-Guards

Is it likely that there will be a new cemetery built for these men, albeit if the casualties are identified or not?

Regards

(Apologies if this has been raised earlier).

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bpc59
Is it likely that there will be a new cemetery built for these men, albeit if the casualties are identified or not?

CT-Guards

Yes, there is going to be a new cemetery just across the road from where the grave pits are - the details are on the CWGC site Here.

Regards

Brian

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1690philip

ITN news at 6.30pm tonight has a news story about Fromelles. Short notice but I have just seen it advertised.

Phil

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manchester terrier

Cheers for that info Marc. I wasnt aware of that, so now I know a bit more !

cheers

baz

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CT-Guards
CT-Guards

Yes, there is going to be a new cemetery just across the road from where the grave pits are - the details are on the CWGC site Here.

Regards

Brian

Brian, thank you.

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stevew

Apologies if I have missed something somewhere.

The beeb were making the point about DNA. I thought it was the Australians who going down that road and the British weren't. Has something changed and the British now going to consider DNA?

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Fedelmar

First ... Australians had their ID returned by the German Authorities. This was one of the clues to identifying who the men were. There has been several discussions about what ID discs were made of. There is evidence that some Australian discs were made of metal.

Second ... although Australia has been in the forefront of the project it has always been a combined effort despite the fact that little coverage has appeared in the UK media.

Bright Blessings

Sandra

www.fromelles.net

post-11785-1241563164.jpg

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Peter and Ellen

The "first cut" ceremony was conducted on the Mass Grave site yesterday morning at around midday.

The site is now on biological lockdown but they will provide a small viewing opening near to the memorial stone.

A lot of emotion as they opened the ground over Pit 4.

Peter

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Clio

'....despite the fact that little coverage has appeared in the UK media'

...dont think so.

Now the bandwaggon is rolling, the national media are jumping onboard and summoning all the cliches they can dream up.

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hatless

I'm one of those the media coverage has summoned from the woodwork! And having searched the net, this looks like the best place to find a bit more information.

My great uncle seems to be a candidate for being in one of the pits being excavated. He died on 19th July 1916, and served in the 2nd/6th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment. As far as I can tell, not really understanding the terminology, this became part of the 183rd Battalion that was part of the 61st Division, also known as the 2nd South Midland Division, which was at Fromelles on that day. I believe it would have been his one and only day at the front line.

He is listed on the working list on the CWGC website. His name is on the Loos Memorial. I have the notice of his death, which describes him as Killed in Action.

Some questions - sorry if this isn't the right place to ask them, if it isn't, please redirect me.

How can I find out more about my great uncle? Can I find out more details about his role in the army?

Is there a good book about the 1916 Fromelles battle?

I understand the British soldiers were in a different area of the fighting from the Australians. Does this mean his body might not have been collected by the Germans?

I've emailed the CWGC as a relative, and I've also emailed the Times journalist. Is there anything else I should do?

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bpc59

Hatless

What is your great-uncle's name?

Regards

Brian

PS - and welcome to the Forum!

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hatless
Hatless

What is your great-uncle's name?

Regards

Brian

PS - and welcome to the Forum!

Frank Walter Bailey, private 3718.

Thanks for the welcome.

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bpc59

Hatless

Had a quick look on CWGC & Ancestry - you will probably have seen his entry on CWGC here.

This is his Medal Index Card

post-9084-1241694040.jpg

which tells you that he was eligible for the Victory Medal & British War Medal - so he didn't go into theatre until 1916.

The Soldiers Who Died tells us that he was born in Erith, Kent & resided in Bristol.

Doesn't look like his Service or Pension files are available (many were destroyed in WW2).

Hope that helps your research.

Regards

Brian

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hatless

That's wonderful! Thank you. I had no idea he was born in Kent.

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Andrew Hesketh

As a 'Fromelles Project' sub forum has been created since this thread began, it may be worth members starting new threads on subjects rather than tagging new things to this monster. It will prevent things getting lost in the mix.

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Terry_Reeves

The working list published by the CWGC throws up some interesting points with regard to the 2/7th Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Some 25 of those listed have numbers that belong to the 1917 re-numbering of the TF. Whilst I accept that this is very much a preliminary list, I can only think of two explanations for this:

1. The date of death or presumed death is wrong, which is unlikely given the time difference.

2. That the men who were presumed missing were included in the re-numbering the following year because there was no evidence of their death at that time.

It would be interesting to see if this theory applies to other regiments as well.

TR

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Fromelles

Having more than a passing interest in the 32nd Battalion's (AIF) involvement during the battle most of the missing that were buried in the Pheasant Wood pits were listed on a German 'Death List' dated 4 Nov 16 and a few on a list dated 9 Sep 16. The list were compiled from the ID discs found on the men, before being removed as sent back to the NoK via the Red Cross and the Military Authorities (hence why no discs will be found on the remains today).

Using the pers files as the reference, of the 46 member of the 32nd Bn buried at Pheasant Wood:-

4 - 9 Sep 16, Death List

40 - 4 Nov 16, Death List

2 - Not stated on records but both records do mention that the Germans list them as being killed on 19 or 20 Jul 16.

Does anyone have knowledge of these 'Death Lists' surviving as these lists should confirm all the names of the men (of those that could be identified) who are actually buried at Pheasant Wood, particularly the 61st Div men as their records, in many/most instances, no longer exist.

Being unfamiliar with the German 'Death Lists', it is of course possible they contain many more names of soldiers killed on other parts of the front that played no part in the Fromelles debacle.

Dan

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Seadog

Some info for members, today (Thurs) the Bristol Evening Post newspaper has published an article on Fromelles which includes the names of those on the CWGC site with a Bristol address. Anyone who thinks that they may be related is asked to e-mail the newspaper as below:

d.clensy@bepp.co.uk

Or phone on:

0117 9343344

Norman

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ianw

Although confusingly named, this is the main Fromelles discussion thread and most interesting to review the history of the Forum's collective wisdom on the Fromelles question.

I note that way back in May 2008, a Roger Lee commented in an official press release that there would be "probably no British remains at all". This was pre-excavation. He proved to be bang on but how did he know?

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velo350

Well this seems to bring this thread back full circle. I started this thread just before the discovery of the mass graves at Pheasant Wood was announced.

I am again planning to visit Fromelles for the anniversary of the battle and would like to know if any other relatives of the 61st Division men are planning to visit.

As only 3 of the men found at Pheasant Wood have been identified as British, I am hoping that the efforts of the 61st Division are not overlooked on 19th July.

Would any relatives of the 61st Division men be intrested in ensuring that there is a coordinated effort to represent the actions and sacrifices of these men at this years ceremony?

Please let me know if you are interested.

Mike B

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