Author Topic: Buried Rouen 1918 but at which theatre of war was Joseph Henry Blakemore killed?  (Read 428 times)

Offline ankerdine

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Joseph Henry Blakemore died in August 1918 and is buried at St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen. Would he have been fighting at Amiens at around that date? How can I find out where the 119th Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery were stationed?

My husband and I are intending to travel to Normandy in September to commemorate the 100 years since grandfather Joseph Blakemore's death. Is anyone else intending to do a similar trip?

Judy
Blair, Marshall, Williamson - Ayrshire, Wigtownshire
Saxton, Sketchley - Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire
Brown, Green - Rutland
Hawker, Malone, Bradbury, Arnott, Turner, Woodings, Blakemore, Upton, Merricks - Warwickshire, Staffordshire
Silvers, Dudley, Worcs
Deakin - Staffordshire

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Online MaxD

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Re: Buried Rouen 1918 but at which theatre of war was Joseph Henry Blakemore killed?
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 25 July 18 17:05 BST (UK) »
Those batteries are among the most difficult to track down as they tended not to keep war diaries throughout the war.  119 Siege for example has a diary only for July 1916 to October 1917.  They were organised with others into Heavy Artillery Brigades, later called Groups and then called Brigades again.  The task therefore is to establish which Heavy Artillery Brigade 119 Siege belonged to August 1918 and hope it kept a diary.  I'll get back.

As far as the theatre of war is concerned it was most definitely France.

MaxD
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Offline ankerdine

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Re: Buried Rouen 1918 but at which theatre of war was Joseph Henry Blakemore killed?
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 25 July 18 17:43 BST (UK) »
Thank you Max. I didn't use the correct terminology there.

I did find an interesting article on siege batteries with photos. It's amazing what information is out there if you knowwhere to look.

Judy
Blair, Marshall, Williamson - Ayrshire, Wigtownshire
Saxton, Sketchley - Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire
Brown, Green - Rutland
Hawker, Malone, Bradbury, Arnott, Turner, Woodings, Blakemore, Upton, Merricks - Warwickshire, Staffordshire
Silvers, Dudley, Worcs
Deakin - Staffordshire

Online MaxD

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Re: Buried Rouen 1918 but at which theatre of war was Joseph Henry Blakemore killed?
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 25 July 18 20:17 BST (UK) »
Thanks to a knowledgeable and kind gentleman in another more specialised site, I am able to provide more info.

First thing to note is that Joseph died in No 3 Stationary Hospital  (from the Effects Register) which was located on the racecourse just outside Rouen along with a number of others.   The "Soldiers died in the Great War" says he died of wounds**.

The battery was part of 77 Brigade Royal Garrison Artillery.  The diary that is relevant is downloadable from the National Archives for 3.50 here:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/5d17f79d665942469a5caebea1cc645c

If he had been wounded, I would expect, perhaps not to see his name, but at least for the diary to record shelling on the battery positions at some time within say two months  of the date he died.  There is no such event recorded which is an unanswerable puzzle.

The batteries moved quite a lot during July and August and as we don't know when he went to hospital one cannot say for sure where he might have been wounded.

Although he wasn't there on the 25th August, the battery had been in the area between Lihons and Rosieres-en-Santerre, about 30 miles due east of Amiens since 14th August, prior to that they had been way up in the north near Boulogne.

The specific guns 119 SB was equipped with were 6 inch Howitzers:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BL_6-inch_26_cwt_howitzer

Hope that helps, ask if you need more.

MaxD

**
PS.  I should at least air the possibility that the "Soldiers died in the Great War" is wrong and that he died of an illness, flu was rife at the time and acounted for many deaths.  The Effects Register and the Commonwealth War Graves site both use "died" whereas it was normal to use "died of wounds" where that was the case.  That might account for the lack of evidence that the battery was attacked at some time.  I air this only for the purists who
may surface the idea!  Speculation one way or another.  Has the family solid evidence of the cause of death?
Double  Essex/Suffolk
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Offline ankerdine

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Re: Buried Rouen 1918 but at which theatre of war was Joseph Henry Blakemore killed?
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 25 July 18 23:04 BST (UK) »
Thank you for the work you have done to uncover more details of the death of Joseph Henry Blakemore.

After Joseph's death my husband's grandmother married again and any reference to her first husband was politely hardly ever mentioned.

However, my husband remembers a family story which mentioned a fire in a dugout. Could this then have been the cause of death and not an actual bombardment.

We visited his grave some years ago and at least one other soldier nearby died on the same day. There were Australians and Canadians in the same area too.

We should like to read the war diary so I shall go ahead and order it. Thank you for the link.

I think we can now make something more positive out of our trip to France later this year.

Judy

Blair, Marshall, Williamson - Ayrshire, Wigtownshire
Saxton, Sketchley - Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire
Brown, Green - Rutland
Hawker, Malone, Bradbury, Arnott, Turner, Woodings, Blakemore, Upton, Merricks - Warwickshire, Staffordshire
Silvers, Dudley, Worcs
Deakin - Staffordshire

Online MaxD

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Re: Buried Rouen 1918 but at which theatre of war was Joseph Henry Blakemore killed?
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 26 July 18 09:36 BST (UK) »
You are most welcome.

Indeed, I should have listed accident as well as illness, both of which would be categorised as "died". It was common practice for dug outs to be constructed on gun positions for protection of the detachment, for the command post and for ammunition and stores.  As far as I can see, the diary has no record.

The cemetery in which he is buried took men from about a dozen hospitals in the Rouen area, including ones run by the Australians and Canadians.  12 men with the same date are buried in that particular cemetery all of whom would have been from the hospitals.

I am sure your trip will be worthwhile.

MaxD
Double  Essex/Suffolk
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Sokser/Klingler Austria/Croatia

Online MaxD

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Friends on another site have come up trumps with much more information.  I have sent you a PM.

MaxD
Double  Essex/Suffolk
Randle/Millington Warwicks
Sokser/Klingler Austria/Croatia

Offline ankerdine

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Re: Buried Rouen 1918 but at which theatre of war was Joseph Henry Blakemore killed?
« Reply #7 on: Friday 02 November 18 21:54 GMT (UK) »
Max

We want to thank you for providing us with details of where this soldier finally met his end and how that came about.

We visited the area in September and also went to the cathedral in Amiens.

The whole trip was a moving experience added somewhat by the additional locations which you had mentioned.

It really brought home to us how vast that landscape was and how little cover was available for those fighting. So many young men of different nationalities gave up their lives at that time, alone and away from their loved ones.

We cannot begin to understand.

We intend to send you a PM in the future.

Thank you sincerely.

Judy and John Hawker
Blair, Marshall, Williamson - Ayrshire, Wigtownshire
Saxton, Sketchley - Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire
Brown, Green - Rutland
Hawker, Malone, Bradbury, Arnott, Turner, Woodings, Blakemore, Upton, Merricks - Warwickshire, Staffordshire
Silvers, Dudley, Worcs
Deakin - Staffordshire

Online MaxD

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Re: Buried Rouen 1918 but at which theatre of war was Joseph Henry Blakemore killed?
« Reply #8 on: Saturday 03 November 18 09:38 GMT (UK) »
I am delighted your trip was a success and glad to have helped a little.

MaxD
Double  Essex/Suffolk
Randle/Millington Warwicks
Sokser/Klingler Austria/Croatia