continued from Part 2…..

 

Whilst we’re on the subject of Belgium, and specifically those who are missing following the  Battle of Broodseinde, there are four other soldiers who appear on the Menin Gate Memorial, who were killed on 4 October 1917 and also have no known grave.

They are:

  1. 258A DAY, Percival Francis
  2. 388 TUTILL, Thomas Daniel Cecil
  3. 1077 ROBINSON, James Albert
  4. 3910 SMITH, Ross

What makes the investigation into the cicumstances of these men difficult is there is evidence linking DAY and TUTILL, and evidence linking ROBINSON and SMITH, but no defininative proof linking all four together.

If we were to look for one black sheep of the group, to focus on first, it would be ROBINSON. The Roll of Honour records state that ROBINSON is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, however photographs of the 3rd Battalion panels do not show his name.

3rd Battalion - Menin Gate Missing

3rd Battalion - Menin Gate Missing

Whilst his name is missing from the Menin Gate Memorial his name does appear on Panel 38 of the Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial.

Robinson does not have a Red Cross File, however, his Service Record provides us with some clues as to possibly why his name is not listed against the 3rd Battalion.

When ROBINSON enlisted, on 12 March 1916, he was originally assigned to the 1st Light Trench Mortor Battery, he arrived in England on 26 October 1916 and after recieving training he was immediatly transfered to the 3rd Battalion as a reinforcement and sent to France in March 1917. When he was killed in Belgium on the 4 Octobter 1917. He had only been with the Battalion for less than 6 months when he was killed.

So armed with this information it would suggest that he may well be listed under the 1st Light Trench Mortor Battery names and not the 3rd Battalion names. However, at the time of publishing I have not been able to obtain photos of the panels listing these men (if at all). [UPDATE]: Confirmation of ROBINSON’s listing on Panel 7 of the Menin Gate Memorial as 1st Light Trench Mortar Battery soldier.

Further to ROBINSON’s status, in his Service Record there is evidence that he was in fact buried with there being another one of those entries similar to the soldiers mentioned in Parts 1 & 2.

ROBINSON - Service Record entry

ROBINSON - Service Record entry

There is no further evidence in his service record supporting his burial location. There is however a mention in SMITH’s Red Cross file of  ROBINSON being killed along side SMITH and “one or two others by a shell”. Whilst the Red Cross file does not confirm that ROBINSON as being the same person as discussed above, it is safe to assume this because the only other ROBINSON in the 3rd Battalion who was killed was in France in 1916.

The connection between DAY and TUTILL is a bit more definite in that they both have their burial location listed as being J.4.B.7.5 on Sheet 28E in their respective Red Cross files (DAYTUTILL).

J.4.B.7.5

J.4.B.7.5

DAY also has his burial location stated as ” 1 mile S of Broodseinde & Zonnebeke and 1 mile ENE of Polygon Wood”. In TUTILL’s Red Cross file there is some confusion as to the circustances of his death, and there are also witness statements that say he was killed along with 6 other’s.

Conclusions:

  1. DAY, TUTILL, ROBINSON and SMITH were all killed on 4 October 1917.
  2. ROBINSON’s name is not physically recorded on the 3rd Battalion panels of the Menin Gate Memorial.
  3. Both DAY and TUTILL’s burial locations are stated as being J.4.B.7.5 on Sheet 28E.
  4. SMITH and ROBINSON were more than likely together at the time they were killed.
  5. There is no evidence to suggest that all four men were together at the time of their deaths.
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