September 2011


continued from Part 5…..

It is with this post that we recognise the remaining names of those men of the 3rd Battalion who were killed in Belgium and have no known burial location. The absence of solid or corroborating evidence as to their location means that the research into these men finishes here for the moment in the hope that sometime in the future more information is discovered.

Their names were:

5034 BELL, George Francis
6236 BUSHBY, Arthur Harrison
6404 CHARTERS, Frank
4439 CHRISTENSEN, Frederick
5993 CLARKE, Evelyn Clarence
6967 COCHRAN, Alfred Joseph Edward
6878 CULLEN, Leo Lawrence
4024 DRISCOL, James Pearce
2626 FROST, John Herbert
1565 ISON, John Bathurst
1781 JARRETT, Tomas James
3814 JONES, Alfred
4507 LARAGHY, John Franklin
7025 LIVERMORE, Walter
97     MARSTON, Jack
7048 O’LOUGHLEN, Patrick Joseph
5152 PAGE, Harry
2369 PECK, Frank Archibald
2414 PARKER, Charles Samuel
2699 WATERS, Oliver Clive
7089 WELDON, John
6144 WEST, Harold John
7082 WILES, Nathaniel John
4585 WOODS, Louis
4577 WORLEY, Robert
1107 WRENCH, William Garrick

Lest We Forget

 conitnued from Part 4……

November 9th, 1917, as the Battle of Broodseinde was winding down a new offensive, the Battle of Poelcappelle, was just begining. The start of the operation was brought forward by a day to take advantage of the ground taken and held during the preceding week. However, the allied forces were unable to take advantage of this momentum. It was also on this day that three men of 5th Platoon, B Coy lost their lives and through the circumstances of war, now have no known grave:

  1. 5708 MACPHERSON, Stuart Gordon
  2. 6322 MCKENZIE, William Henry
  3. 6535 MITCHELL, William

Now you’re probably asking yourself, okay what makes the circumstances of these guys so special? Well, other than MACPHERSON, the main thing tying them alltogether is that they were all a part of the same Lewis Gunner team. The second is that according to WW1 Red Cross files MCKENZIE and MITCHELL were killed alongside 6384 WALSH, George Frederick, so again you’re probably asking, so what?

The main problem that exists with this is that WALSH is the only one of those four with a  known burial location.  All four were apparently taken by stretcher bearers to a Canadian Dressing Station, and subsequently WALSH was buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, located mid-way between Ypres and Poperinge which was adjacent to a location called Remy Siding.

This begs the question what happened to the other three men?

In MCKENZIE’s Red Cross file there is a report from Pte. MANKIN that states “I saw the dead bodies after the explosion of the shell. Our S/Bs [Stretcher Bearers] took the dead and wounded to the Canadian D/S [Dressing Station]. I think the dead would be buried near it.”

MCKENZIE Red Cross File

MCKENZIE Red Cross File

In WALSH’s Red Cross file there is an account given by Pte CAMBAGE which outlines the fate of WALSH, MCKENZIE & MITCHELL, “The three men were on a Lewis Gun. A shell dropped near the Gun, killing MITCHELL and MCKENZIE and wounding WALSH badly, who died before he got to the D/Station [Dressing Station]”. However, the vailidity of this witness statement is made less so with his next comment “I did not see this myself, but was told by Private J. P. ROCHRIG, 2772 (ex 35th Battalion)”.

WALSH Red Cross File

WALSH Red Cross File

This story of WALSH being wounded and removed to a Dressing Station is however confirmed by LEE in a subsequent witness statement. There is also another statement by BARTON which says that WALSH “was buried by Pte G WALLCE, B Coy, at Anzac Ridge in the field”.

WALSH Red Cross File

WALSH Red Cross File

This story of WALSH’s burial is supported by Pte MCNIVEN who states “was buried by Pte Wallace, Stretcher bearer, B Coy, 7th Pltn, on Passchendale Ridge, close to the Zonnebeke-Roulers Railway, and on the right hand side of it, the same day”.

WALSH Red Cross File

WALSH Red Cross File

If we use this description of the location of his burial and use it in conjunction with the disposition map of the Battalion at this time it helps to form an opinion as to where  MACPHERSON, MCKENZIE & MITCHELL might actually be buried. The Battalion disposition map has the B Coy HQ located on the right hand side of the railway line directly south east of Tyne Cot Cemetery. The map also appears to show a machine gun position located directly to the east. If this was in fact the location of the men when they were hit by the shell then in all likely hood their burial location may in fact be between there and the Aid Post (also marked) located on the Northern Divisional Boundary to the North East of B Coy HQ and the cemetery.

Conclusions:

Based on the testimony by MCNIVEN it is likely that only WALSH was removed to the dressing station (hence the reason why he ended up in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery) and MACPHERSON, MCKENZIE & MITCHELL were buried in the vicinity of the B Coy HQ (to the right hand side of the railway line) near where they were killed.

continued in Final post…..