Author Topic: Private John Gill 2nd/7th Battalion Kings Liverpool Regiment KIA 31 May 2017  (Read 395 times)

Offline AAK

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Hello, I'm new to the forum and seeking to find out more about my great uncle, John Gill.

According to the documents we have, he was attached to the Royal Engineers at the time of death. It appears that there was an approx. eighteen-month gap between his death and notification to the family, which may or may not be significant.

He is commemorated in Cite Bonjean military cemetery, Armentieres.

I would like to know:

1. What would have been the most likely circumstances that would have led him (and others, presumably) to be moved from his battalion to the Royal Engineers?

2. Are there other examples of the battalion working with the Royal Engineers at this time? I can't find any trace.

3. There is no mention of a battle on 31 May 2017, so what are the most likely circumstances when he died?

4. This might seem a naive question, but what does 'killed in action' actually mean - does it cover death from injuries following a battle?

5. Would he have been in France at the time of his death, given he is commemorated with his compatriots, or could he have been posted elsewhere and commemorated at Armenieres as this is where the battalion is commemorated?

I realise that this is quite a list of questions - if anyone has anything that can shed light on the likely situation I would be very grateful to hear from you.

With my thanks

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Offline jim1

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Re: Private John Gill 2nd/7th Battalion Kings Liverpool Regiment KIA 31 May 2017
« Reply #1 on: Monday 12 November 18 20:07 GMT (UK) »
To answer your first question, it was common for Infantry Battalions to provide working parties under the supervision of the R.E.
The war diary may state that prior to his date of death working parties were provided.
A large number of men were killed outside of battle conditions. There was always shelling, sniping etc. that went on continuously. KIA means (as far as they were aware at the time) he died at the time of the event possibly from shellfire. Dying later in a CCS is usually listed as "died from wounds".
This is what the LLT says about the 2/7th.
2/7th Battalion
Formed in Bootle in October 1914 as a Second Line battalion.
8 February 1915 : came under orders of 171st Brigade, 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division.
February 1917 : landed in France.

Looking at their diary states he was working with the 171st. Pioneer Coy.
This would be the brigade (171st.) Coy.
Warks:Ashford;Cadby;Clarke;Clifford;Cooke Copage;Easthope;
Edmonds;Felton;Colledge;Lutwyche;Mander(s);May;Poole;Withers.
Staffs.Edmonds;Addison;Duffield;Webb;Fisher;Archer
Salop:Easthope,Eddowes,Hoorde,Oteley,Vernon,Talbot,De Neville.
Notts.Clarke;Redfearne;Treece.
Som.May;Perriman;Cox
India Kane;Felton;Cadby
London.Haysom.
Lancs.Gay.
Worcs.Coley;Mander;Sawyer.
Kings of Wessex & Scotland
Census information is Crown copyright,from
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

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Online CaroleW

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Re: Private John Gill 2nd/7th Battalion Kings Liverpool Regiment KIA 31 May 2017
« Reply #2 on: Monday 12 November 18 23:03 GMT (UK) »
He was awarded the British and Victory medals but no theatre of war shown on MRI and no other info shown
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Offline AAK

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Re: Private John Gill 2nd/7th Battalion Kings Liverpool Regiment KIA 31 May 2017
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 13 November 18 07:44 GMT (UK) »
Thank you so much for your swift replies and for this useful information. Please forgive my ignorance, but what do the letters LLT and MRI stand for as I would like to consult the sources?

Also, if I can ask some specific questions:

jim1: was the brigade (171st.) Coy part of the RE?

CaroleW: is the info about medals from MRI or another source? If so, which?

As you can see, I have a lot to learn!


Online CaroleW

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Re: Private John Gill 2nd/7th Battalion Kings Liverpool Regiment KIA 31 May 2017
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 13 November 18 11:00 GMT (UK) »
Hi

No problem.  The info in my reply was only from the MRI entry.  His regimental number was 267593 but his WW1 service record has not survived.  Over 60% of such records were burnt during the WW2 blitz.

I think killed in action means he died in battle but somebody with more knowledge may be able to add to that
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Offline jim1

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Re: Private John Gill 2nd/7th Battalion Kings Liverpool Regiment KIA 31 May 2017
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 13 November 18 11:02 GMT (UK) »
LLT=Long, Long Trail. The 1st. place to look for anything WW1.
The information re his medals provided by Carole came from the Medal Roll. These were compiled by the Regts. & Corps of all men entitled to Campaign Medals.
http://www.royalpioneercorps.co.uk/rpc/history_main2.htm
Pioneer battalions, created as an expedient in 1914, were a new concept in the British Army. Intended to provide the Royal Engineers with skilled labour and to relieve the infantry from some of its non-combatant duties, Pioneers became the work horses of the Expeditionary Forces. The Coldstream Guards and over three dozen County regiments, each created at least one pioneer battalion. Several new Army battalions were raised specifically as Pioneers, while others were converted Territorials or Kitchener units formed originally as conventional infantry. Adopting a badge of a cross rifle and pick, these battalions wired, dug and revetted in all weathers and in all terrains. On many occasions they abandoned their working tools and fought alongside the infantry in repelling enemy attacks
I think the diary entry re the 171st. Pioneer Coy. is a bit misleading. Brigades didn't have their own Pioneers as they operated at Divisional level, so would be the 57th. Divisional Pioneer Battalion.
The first reference to the 57th's PB is 1918 but obviously they had Pioneers prior to this.
It looks to me that men with useful skills were brought together by the 171st. Bde. to form a temporary Pioneer Coy. to work alongside the Divisional RE.
The 171st. Bde. was an Infantry Bde. in the 57th. Div.
Corps such as RE operated at Div. level.
What he did pre war may give you an idea as to why he was attached to them at the time.
The diary of the 421st. Coy. R.E. (who were one of the 57th. Div. R.E. allotments) says that the 2/7th. KLR & the Pioneers were working for them throughout May 1917.
The 2/7th. at the end of the month. Unfortunately there's no mention of any enemy activity or casualties at that time.
Neither of the other 2 R.E. Coys. in the Div. state any losses at the end of May either.
Warks:Ashford;Cadby;Clarke;Clifford;Cooke Copage;Easthope;
Edmonds;Felton;Colledge;Lutwyche;Mander(s);May;Poole;Withers.
Staffs.Edmonds;Addison;Duffield;Webb;Fisher;Archer
Salop:Easthope,Eddowes,Hoorde,Oteley,Vernon,Talbot,De Neville.
Notts.Clarke;Redfearne;Treece.
Som.May;Perriman;Cox
India Kane;Felton;Cadby
London.Haysom.
Lancs.Gay.
Worcs.Coley;Mander;Sawyer.
Kings of Wessex & Scotland
Census information is Crown copyright,from
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

Offline MaxD

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Re: Private John Gill 2nd/7th Battalion Kings Liverpool Regiment KIA 31 May 2017
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 13 November 18 16:39 GMT (UK) »
Picking up your last query and building on Jim's  ferreting out for whom men of his battalion were working at the end of May 1917.

The battalion war diary records only the fact of his death without detailing the location or the circumstances.  Sadly that is not untypical..  Looking at the war diary for 421 Company Royal Engineers for whom his battalion was working we can be fairly sure that he was among about 400 men of his battalion under direction of the Royal Engineers reconstructing support line and front line trenches, deepening and widening trench drains, constructing machine gun posts and dugouts.  Typical tasks for infantry in support of Royal Engineers.

The area they were in is on the trench map and image at this link:
https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/side-by-side/#zoom=15&lat=50.7014&lon=2.9222&layers=101464966&right=BingHyb

The blue trenches are ours, the ones in the area of the squares marked 16/17/22/23.  The enemy trenches are in red, not far away, well within sniper range and, as Jim has said, periodically shelled.

Armentieres where he is buried is just off the map to the bottom left.  He isn't "commemorated" there which would imply his body was not found, he has a grave there.  It would have been the closest cemetery being used at the time.

MaxD




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

Offline jim1

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Re: Private John Gill 2nd/7th Battalion Kings Liverpool Regiment KIA 31 May 2017
« Reply #7 on: Tuesday 13 November 18 16:52 GMT (UK) »
A possible explanation.
421st. Coy. R.E. diary:
On the 27th. a man was reported drowned while bathing in the River Lys.
The end of month casualties don't mention this.
It may be him but wasn't reported to his Batt. C.O. until the 30th.
Warks:Ashford;Cadby;Clarke;Clifford;Cooke Copage;Easthope;
Edmonds;Felton;Colledge;Lutwyche;Mander(s);May;Poole;Withers.
Staffs.Edmonds;Addison;Duffield;Webb;Fisher;Archer
Salop:Easthope,Eddowes,Hoorde,Oteley,Vernon,Talbot,De Neville.
Notts.Clarke;Redfearne;Treece.
Som.May;Perriman;Cox
India Kane;Felton;Cadby
London.Haysom.
Lancs.Gay.
Worcs.Coley;Mander;Sawyer.
Kings of Wessex & Scotland
Census information is Crown copyright,from
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

Offline MaxD

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Re: Private John Gill 2nd/7th Battalion Kings Liverpool Regiment KIA 31 May 2017
« Reply #8 on: Tuesday 13 November 18 17:35 GMT (UK) »
I'd suggest not.  That was probably Sapper GAP Marshall of 421 Company died that day, buried same cemetery (although his top level details say 42 Coy, the grave details and Effects have 421).

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