Information added in 'comments' box on a diary page by another citizen historian - query.
Please can you offer some advice on the following entry, which I have just come across in the 'comments' box on the Diary Page I am working on.
It was added about a month ago by Jude Lambe - Jude, if you are reading this, perhaps you can explain! Or a Moderator,please.
The diary page relates to the first 20 days of 1916, when the Diary records the Bedfordshire yeomanry as being at Desvres, and mainly engaged on "Exercise".
The comments added give a list of soldiers names that were injured, or killed, between January and February 1916, at Hohenzollen Redoubt - and asks that the next person to 'tag' this diary add the names to the page. It goes on to say: "at this time men died and were injured as exercise means active service".
I am confused - for the following reasons:
a) I don't know why Jude thinks these entries should be added to this page. They cover two months, at a different place. There is 60 miles between Desvres, and Loos-en-Gohelle, where the Hohenzollen Redoubt was.
b) I am not sure if all the names listed are actually members of the Bedfordshire Yeomanry. I can only confirm 3 of them: Lieutenant Southern, Private Taylor/851, Private King/964.
c) Even if they are all originally from the Bedfordshire yeomanry, I know from earlier pages of the Diary (October 1915) that quite a large number of soldiers were sent to work with another unit, of Fusiliers. If this explains why the official Diary lists the regiment at Desvres, shouldn't what happened to the soldiers at Hohenzollen be listed under the Diary of the unit they were with?
d) The remark about 'exercise' meaning active service: is this correct? I have been recording the unit activity as 'Training' whenever the regiment has said they were doing exercises.
Thanks for any direction you can give,
by HeatherC moderator
CWGC has 5 Beds Yeo men killed in January and the first half of February. However only one of them relates to the dates on this page and as he is buried in the UK he is likely to have died of wounds, quite possibly some time after the actual action.
The main issue here though is that the project is about tagging what appears on the diary page, not about adding things that do not appear in the diary but may come from another source. I believe you are correct in not adding them to this page. Interesting to see if any of them are mentioned on the February pages when you get tot hem.
I also would consider "exercise" to be "training" and would tag it accordingly.
Hope that helps. Do let us know what further details turn up later in the diary regarding any of these casualties?
Thanks for your prompt reply, noted.
I have completed the February diary entries for the Bedfordshire Yeomanry. There was no mention of casualties. However, on February 13th, it was recorded that the Dismounted company "returned from the trenches" - so I can confirm that there were parts of the regiment, sent elsewhere, who were indeed under fire in the line at this time - although I'm afraid the Diary does not specify where the trenches were.
There are two crossed-out entries for February 12th and February 13th, out of sequence on the Diary pages, which appear to refer to the movements of this Dismounted company. Again, I'm afraid it doesn't say where they started from - but it lists them moving on February 12th to La Bourse, and on the 13th to Fouquerieul (on the outskirts of Bethune), and then on to Desvres.
Unless they were marching round in circles, I can't see that this route would put them at Loos-en-Gohelle as their starting point. If they had been at Hohenzollen, the quickest route would have been to take the road from Loos to Bethune.
However,the crossed-out entry DOES say that the Dismounted company were relieved in the trenches by the 7TH ROYAL SUSSEX - who were indeed listed as fighting in the Hohenzollen craters in October 1915. Were they still there in February 1916? And were the dismounted company from the Bedfordshire Yeomanry there with them?
by HeatherC moderator
CWGC lists Privates King, Looker, Roberts and Taylor from Beds Yeo who all died between 28 Jan and 12 Feb 1916. They are all buried in the same cemetery - Vermelles British Cemetery - which is described as "10 km NW of Lens". It goes on to describe its use from 1915 onwards as "The remaining Plots were made by the Divisions (from the Dismounted Cavalry Division onwards) holding the line 1.6 kilometres East of the cemetery until April 1917".
I have also tagged a Yeomanry diary and have come across the issue of men going back and forth to the Dismounted Units. In general there is no mention of the details of what happens to them while they are there, only when they go to and from them. I don't know if there are separate diaries for these dismounted units, but hopefully someone more knowledgeable than me might be able to comment further.
Thanks very much for checking this out.
So the Bedfordshire Yeomanry were in that line of trenches at Hohenzollern - possibly after the main battle period, but still left 'holding the line' in 1916.
According to an archaeology report in 2005*, "The position continued to be contested in 1916, and the fighting was characterised by mining and counter-mining by both sides."
Poor blighters! Not just shelled, machine-gunned and sniped at; they would have been constantly listening for the sappers burrowing beneath them to blow them to bits.
*Hohenzollern Redoubt, Auchy-les-Mines, France; archaeological excavations February 2005: No Man's Land report No. 4 for YAP films"