1917 - 1/1st at War
1917 - St Julien
Many of these missing soldiers will be those buried under headstones marking them as an ‘Unknown British Soldier’ or as a ‘Soldier of the Great War, Cambridgeshire Regiment’. Often these were men found by Graves Registration Units looking for bodies on the battlefields in the post-war period. Such discoveries were usually placed in larger ‘concentration’ cemeteries, while sometimes a number of small cemeteries in close proximity, such as around the Schwaben Redoubt, would be concentrated into one larger plot, such as the Mill Road Cemetery at Thiepval, but remains are still being found to this day.
For instance, in 2014 the remains of a soldier of the Cambridgeshire Regiment were discovered during road-widening work near Thiepval, which is on the Somme battlefields. Accompanying military insignia indicated he was a Cambridgeshire, but it was has not been possible to identify him. He was buried in October 2015 as a “Soldier of the Great War, Cambridgeshire Regt, Known unto God”, at the Connaught Cemetery, located next to Thiepval wood, where there are also 11 graves of known Cambridgeshires.
The location of the road-widening work would indicate he was killed during fighting in October and November 1916, most likely during either the attack on the Schwaben Redoubt on October 14 or St Pierre Divion on November 13. The missing from this time are listed on the massive Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, and among almost 50 officers and other ranks on the panel dedicated to the Cambridgeshire Regt’s men with no known graves are approximately 40 from October/November 1916. No doubt some of these men are buried as unknowns in the likes of Mill Road Cemetery, on the hill which was the Schwaben Redoubt at Thiepval.
So far the team running this website has located approximately 30 graves of men buried under Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) headstones marking them as unknown soldiers of the Cambridgeshire Regiment. There are, of course, other Unknown British Soldiers found at the same map reference points as known Cambridgeshires and buried alongside them, so it is certainly possible some of them might be their missing comrades.
Locations of these unknowns include: Somme area – Heath Cemetery, Meaulte Military Cemetery, Mill Road, Serre Road No 2, Tincourt New British Cemetery. Ypres area – Hooge Crater Cemetery, New Irish Farm, Perth (China Wall), Tyne Cot, Voormezeele Enclosure No 3 and Zandvorde New British. We’d welcome information from anyone who finds a grave of an unknown Cambridgeshire in any other cemeteries on the Western Front (please do this through the site email address firstname.lastname@example.org)
Among the dead of the Cambridgeshire Regiment there had been three men who had never been recorded by the CWGC, even though they were proven casualties and listed as such in the publication ‘Soldiers Died in the Great War’. This was rectified by a member of this website team during the 1990s when he was able to get Pte Alfred Charles Hicks added to the Tyne Cot Memorial, and L/Sgt Edward Taylor and Pte Alfred Walter Waymen DCM added to the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.
The Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial lists the highest number of Cambridgeshires with no known graves, almost 90, from their time in the Ypres area during March-May 1915 and again during March to early August 1917. The Menin Gate lists those with unknown graves who lost their lives prior to August 16, 1917 and has about 54,000 names on its memorial panels.
Few of the Cambridgeshires killed during March to May 1915 have known graves. They were buried in or near the trench lines and their graves subsequently lost in later fighting. Bodies found later by the Graves Registration Units were moved to many cemeteries, and some unknown Cambridgeshires from this period were reburied at Hooge Crater Cemetery. Those Cambridgeshires killed on July 31 1917 account for many of the names on the Menin Gate, when again bodies were subsequently lost in the mud of the Passchendaele battlefields. A few unknown Cambrigeshires are located in New Irish Farm Cemetery, which was on their line of advance on July 31 1917.
Those with known graves who died after August 16, 1917 in the Ypres area are listed on the Tyne Cot Memorial, located about 9km from Ypres (Ieper). It lists approximately 35,000 names including about 80 Cambridgeshires, who fell during the fight towards Passchendaele and also around Voormezeele in April 1918. Again the missing Cambridgeshires were either buried or lost on the battlefields and, if found, some are among those reburied at Hooge Crater, Perth (China Wall), Tyne Cot and Zandvorde New British cemeteries. There are unknown Cambridgeshires in Perth (China Wall) and Zandvorde New Military Cemeteries, particularly from the fighting at the Tower Hamlets Ridge on September 26 1917, and there is no doubt some listed as Unknown British Soldiers in these two cemeteries will be Cambridgeshires.
On the Somme, there are almost 50 unknown Cambridgeshires, who were lost in the Somme offensive in 1916, listed on the Thiepval Memorial, which contains about 54,000 names, and only slightly fewer on the memorial at Pozieres, which lists 14,300 names of the missing and includes Cambridgeshires lost during German Spring offensive of March 1918.
During the Advance to Victory in the period from August 8 1918 in Picardy and Artois, the missing Cambridgeshires, nearly 20, are listed on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial, which has about 9,000 names. There are two missing Cambridgeshires who fell in June 1916 listed on the Loos Memorial (20,000 names), near Lens. They are 2nd Lt Harold Vaughan, killed on a night patrol, and Pte John Jones, who committed suicide. Only one Cambridgeshire Regiment soldier, Lt Eric Hopkinson MC, missing on a patrol at Armentieres, is on the Ploegsteert Memorial (11,000 names), located 12.5km south of Ypres.
The team behind this website are still working to locate the resting places of Regiment's missing and if possible identify them. Even after 100 years new or forgotten clues and information come to light. The remains of the missing continue to be found and as more and more modern building work continues on many of the old battlefields remains, such as those found in 2014, will continue to surface.
While the majority of the officers and men who died serving in the Cambridgeshire Regiment during World War One are buried in war or civilian cemeteries with headstones giving their name, rank and date of death, a third of them have no known graves and are all listed on the impressive memorials to the missing in France and Belgium.
Most of these almost 290 missing men are listed on either the memorials at Pozieres, Thiepval, Tyne Cot or Ypres (Menin Gate) dedicated to either the fighting on the Somme or around Ypres, with a few named on those at Loos and Vis-en-Artois, and one on the Ploegsteert Memorial.
Cambs section on the Thiepval Memorial.
Cambs section on the Menin Gate.
This site went live on the 14th February 2015 to mark 100 years since the 1/1st Cambs went off to war.
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM
Email us: email@example.com
Copyright 2015, 2016, 2017 by Felix Jackson. The information and images on this site should not be reproduced without prior permission.