Author Topic: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)  (Read 4470 times)

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #30 on: April 21, 2017, 10:49:24 AM »
It would seem that the campaign casualties suffered by the British were 1298 officers and 27405 Other Ranks.

My impression is that due to the circumstances of the enemy's attack on the 27th May 1918, many units were overwhelmed and forced to surrender.   As regards the number killed in action, I decided to see the trend by relying on the names inscribed on the Soissons Memorial.        In this connection, I selected the names recorded in respect of the Manchesters, Leicestershires,Royal Berkshires, East Yorks. and the Worcestershires as being representative.

In respect of the Manchester Regiment, 4 names are recorded, 3 attached to the Worcestershires and 1 attached for service with the Royal Berks.  In respect of the Leicestershires, over 120 names are recorded, including the names of 5 officers.   The Royal Berks. had 67 killed, including 4 officers.   The East Yorks. had over 100 killed, including 5 officers and in the case of the Worcestershires they had 168 killed.     One interesting aspect of  this research was to discover the number of 18 and 19 year olds who were killed in action.    For example, I found that the R. Berks. had at least 26 soldiers in that age group killed, the E.Yorks. some 29 and the Worcestershires  about 32.  Sadly, of course, they have no known grave.    In numerous cases no age was quoted by the CWGC.

As regards burials of those killed in the campaign, I have been unable to find where they would have been interred, except for those recorded in Rethel French National Cemetery. Comments are welcome.    PhilipG. 

Offline charlie

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #31 on: April 22, 2017, 10:40:25 AM »
Philip,
I agree with you regarding many being taken PoW and the circumstances, despite a prolonged search I have been unable to ascertain what proportion of the 29000 casualties were taken PoW, wounded or killed. For the period 27th May to 5th June the Soissons Memorial records 2646 deaths. The La Ville aux Bois, Hermonville and Jonchery sur Vesle cemeteries would seem to contain larger numbers of dead for this period. Even so they do not contain "large" numbers, they also have a high proportion of "Unknowns" which one would assume some of which are recorded on the Soissons Memorial.

As you known the Official History indicates that the replacements sent to France in the aftermath of the March and April offensives, consisted mainly of 18-19 year olds and returning wounded. I would suggest that the young recruits arriving in a theatre of war for the first time were more vulnerable due to their inexperience.


(In a British cemetery in the region - alas I cannot remember which one - I found the grave of a WW2 RNZAF pilot buried alongside a French civilian.    Ideas of a Lysander aircraft dropping off spies immediately came to mind).

During my searching I found the Pilot and Frenchman you refer to in a previous post buried in La Ville aux Bois British Cemetery. They were FO JRG Bathgate DFC RNZAF and Capitaine AE Moreau FFF, both died on 11.12.1943. Your idea of a Lysander and a Spy would seem to be born out by the fact FO Bathgate was on 161(Special Duties) Sqn operating out of RAF Tempsford.

Charlie

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #32 on: April 22, 2017, 03:41:37 PM »
Charlie,
Thank you for your recent post to which I will return shortly.

In the meantime, many thanks for your piece re F/O Bathgate and the Lysander.   Early in 1941 I had a "dice" in a Lysander at RAF Ringway (Polish pilot testing the aircraft).   The memory is still here today.   Observer type parachute on chest and sitting on some kind of a post upon which had been attached a large motor bike type saddle.   The aircraft stalled out at about 60 knots.    But now a brief return to Manchester Regt. matters.

Did you notice 18337 Pte John Smith of the 20th Manchesters, Kia 27th May 1918 is buried in La Ville-aux-Bois British Cemetery?   It suggests that Other Ranks from the Manchesters were, as well as officers, drafted to other regiments and took part in the campaign.  I note his name is in the "Book of Honour" as serving in No. VI Platoon of "B" Coy.   PhilipG.







I note he is in the "Book of Honour" serving with No. VI Platoon of "B" Coy.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #33 on: April 23, 2017, 01:29:29 PM »
Charlie,

Firstly, thank you for directing me to the three cemeteries which, to my relief, indicate a goodly proportion of those killed did in fact receive proper burial.   As Robert Graves told us, during an enemy advance suitable burial of British soldiers did not always take place.   Secondly, my overall impression of the campaign is in respect of the high number of prisoners the Germans were able to take.   

I found that 5 Army Chaplains were made prisoner along with 37 RAMC officers, 21 Machine Gun Corps officers and 18 R.E's of commissioned rank.  As regards the number of officers who became Pows and served in the Infantry, I came up with 15 Royal Berks., 16 Northants, 12 E.Lancs., 19 Green Howards, 14 Leicesters, 20 E. Yorks. and 17 Lincolns.    Those sort of numbers must indicate a high number of NCO's and men who became Pows too?

However, it all came right in the end.   PhilipG.

Offline charlie

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.
« Reply #34 on: April 23, 2017, 08:00:56 PM »
Philip,
I have eventualy found some numbers relating to the numbers of KiA, PoW and wounded, but only for the 5/DLI who were one of the worst affected.

Officers - 10 KiA, 5 Wounded and 9 PoW
ORs - 53 KiA, 151 wounded and 446 PoW

using the same percentages this would give (very unscientific I know) the following breakdown of the total casualties:

Officers - 531 KiA, 260 wounded and 480 PoW
ORs - 2192 KiA, 6303 wounded and 18635 PoW

Given the numbers on the Soissons Memorial, I think the figures are reasonable.

I had not seen Pte Smith in the cemetery records. I wonder if he had been recovering from wounds in France or had been attached to a training establishment and then "combed out" due to the manpower shortage. It would otherwise seem strange if he had been posted from Italy to France or that he had not been rebadged to his new Regiment in the 6 months since the battalion left France for Italy. But you know as well as I do, that strange things happen in the Forces.

There also seems to have been some doubt as to his identity. The Graves and Concentration Reports first record him as a Captain, then a Corporal and lastly as a Private. This was as late as 1924, three years after he had been re-intered.

Charlie

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #35 on: April 25, 2017, 10:49:29 AM »
Charlie,

Once again some very interesting research.  I think you are "spot on".  As to the exact figure for POW's, I still have been unable to find the answer,  PhilipG.