I'll name that grave in one

R.N.D. UNKNOWN GRAVE IDENTIFIED
CWGC Records error occludes identity of Royal Marine for 88 years

The two Anson Battalion R.N.D. graves in Tournai Communal Cemetery Allied Extension.

Thanks to the in-depth research carried out during the compilation of the "RND Roll of Honour" it is now possible to show beyond any doubt, that the grave shown above of an unknown "Seaman of the... Anson Battn. R.N.D." is actually that of PLY/18155 Private Walter George BUCKLEY R.M.L.I.

The primary reason for the failure to correctly identify this grave previously, lies in a set of errors contained in the CWGC's records. These errors all relate to Royal Marines serving with the Anson, Hood & Drake Battalions of the R.N.D. in late 1918, all of whom are incorrectly recorded as having died whilst serving with the 1st Royal Marine Battalion.

THE EVIDENCE

The first indication came from Private Buckley's Casualty Form AFB.103, a copy of which was obtained from the Fleet Air Arm Museum:-

Buckley's AFB.103 clearly shows he was posted to the Anson Battalion 1st September 1918, & that the report of his death orginated in a memo from the OC Anson Battalion (Lt.Cdr. Wm. Arblaster MC RNVR) 14/11/18.

Secondly, the Imperial War Museum's publication of Anson Battalion casualties (compiled from the original R.N.D. casualty returns) also lists Private Buckley as "Anson Battalion".

However, it was only when the above photograph of the two Anson R.N.D. graves at Tournai was forwarded to us, that we were able to deduce that Private Buckley must be buried as the unknown Anson seaman 10/11/18.

Further investigation showed that ten Anson Battalion men (4 officers & 6 Other Ranks) were killed in their last attack of the war, 10th November 1918, as shown in their "Summary of Operations" found in the Anson Battn. War Diaries (WO/95/3111/81201) shown below (images show only the title page & the relevant last page recording the number of casualties):-

The Anson War Diary figure of four officers & six O.R.s killed concurred with our own "RND Roll" findings. We had already noted that the CWGC gave only nine Anson casualties 10/11/18 & that Private Buckley was the tenth man; incorrectly listed as "1st R.M. Battn.", the only man without a known grave, & that he was comemmorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial to the missing.

Of the nine:-
Eight are buried in Valenciennes (St Roch) Communal Cemetery:-

Temp.Sub.Lt. Frank Edward BROOKS MM & Bar RNVR [CWGC gives Frances Edward (Tommy) Brooks]
R/835 AB Tegid JONES RNVR
Clyde Z/1766 AB George MITCHELL RNVR
Temp.Sub.Lt. Charles Andrew RICHARDS MC RNVR
Mersey Z/397 AB John SIMPSON RNVR
Tyneside Z/4723 AB.HG (L/Cpl.) Ernest SMITH RNVR [CWGC gives incorrect rank "AB"]
Temp.Sub.Lt.
Frederick Edwin TRENHOLM RNVR
Temp.Sub.Lt. Harry YOUNG RNVR

And one, R/1707 AB Robert John HORRY RNVR, was buried in Tournai Communal Cemetery Allied Extension. We also noted that AB Horry was "Originally buried in Spiennes Churchyard, Grave No.3, Sch.2-1c (2 miles South of Mons)".

Once we learned that there was an unknown grave of an Anson Battalion man who died 10/11/18 buried next to AB Horry, it was a simple matter to deduce that Private Buckley was that man.

We imagine that Buckley was also originally buried in Spiennes Churchyard with AB Horry & that both men were exhumed & reburied at Tournai in the early post-war period.

PLY/18155 Private Walter George BUCKLEY Royal Marine Light Infantry
Anson Battalion, R.N.D. Killed in action 10/11/1918.
Enlisted in the R.M.L.I. for 12 years (long service) 31/5/15 age 18.
Draft for BEF 23/7/18, joined Base Depot Calais 24/7/18, posted to Anson Bn. 1/9/18-10/11/18 DD.
Vis-en-Artois Memorial (MR 16)
CWGC incorrectly record his unit as 1st R.M. Bn.
Anson Bn. War Diary (Summary of Ops. 10-11/11/18) states six Other Ranks KIA 10/11/18 (CWGC lists only five).
AFB103 & IWM Roll of Honour give "Anson Bn."
Buried in the grave of the "unknown" Anson Bn. KIA 10/11/18 in Tournai Communal Cemetery Allied Extension, adjacent to the grave of R/1707 AB R.J. Horry RNVR, Anson Bn. KIA 10/11/18, Plot I, Row G, grave 11 (likely originally buried in Spiennes Churchyard with AB Horry & exhumed/reburied at Tournai post-war).
A Baker ; Next-of-Kin: Mother, Mary Buckley, 7 Duncan St., Devonport.


The following listings are of 32 Royal Marines who died whilst serving with the Anson, Drake & Hood Battalions of the R.N.D. in late 1918. All are incorrectly recorded by the CWGC as "1st R.M. Battn.":-

 

ANSON BATTALION (21)

PO/15045 Pte. Herbert John Catchpole RMLI Anson Bn. 27/09/1918 Missing, later reported KIA or DOW on or shortly after 27/9/18.
PO/2058/S Pte. George Cresswell RMLI Anson Bn. 27/09/1918 KIA
CH/19270 Pte. Wm. Alfred Hart RMLI Anson Bn. 27/09/1918 W&M, asmd. KIA
CH/2189/S Pte. Edward Mills RMLI Anson Bn. 27/09/1918 DOW
CH/2446/S Pte. William Henry Salway RMLI Anson Bn. 27/09/1918 KIA
PO/2729/S Pte. Geo. Thomas RMLI Anson Bn. 27/09/1918 DOW at 149th RN FA (BW Neck & L.arm)
PO/2242/S Pte. Jas. Forbes Cuthbert RMLI Anson Bn. 28/09/1918 KIA
CH/18984 L/Cpl. Chas. Goodchild RMLI Anson Bn. 28/09/1918 DOW
CH/21281 Pte. Clifton Holmes RMLI Anson Bn. 28/09/1918 KIA
CH/18429 Pte. James Lalley RMLI Anson Bn. 28/09/1918 KIA
PLY/1250/S Pte. F.C. Botting RMLI Anson Bn. 29/09/1918 DOW
CH/1132/S Cpl. Herbert Wilson RMLI Anson Bn. 29/09/1918 DOW in 149th RN Field Ambulance (SW Back & R.leg).
PLY/1856/S Pte. George Bowden RMLI Anson Bn. 30/09/1918 KIA
PO/2644/S Pte. Harry Capel RMLI Anson Bn. 30/09/1918 W&M, L.R. KIA
PO/16690 Pte. Bertie Hedgecock RMLI Anson Bn. 30/09/1918 KIA
CH/19806 Pte. Francis Fred'k John Huntley RMLI Anson Bn. 30/09/1918 DOW (wnd. same date)
PLY/1268/S Pte. Leonard Alfred Morris Pengilly RMLI Anson Bn. 30/09/1918 KIA
PO/2758/S Pte. Fred Riley RMLI Anson Bn. 30/09/1918 KIA
CH/2197/S Pte. Arthur Chas. Franklin RMLI Anson Bn. 03/10/1918 DOW at 53rd GH (GSW R.leg 27/9/18)
PO/2422/S Pte. Frank Gray RMLI Anson Bn. 08/10/1918 KIA
PLY/18155 Pte. Walter Geo. Buckley RMLI Anson Bn. 10/11/1918 KIA

 

DRAKE BATTALION (4)

CH/19860 Pte. Henry Lee RMLI Drake Bn. 27/09/1918 KIA
PLY/13776 Pte. Fernley Alfred Flood RMLI Drake Bn. 08/10/1918 DOW (adm. 149th RN FA wnd. 29/9/18)
CH/20750 Pte. William Morris RMLI Drake Bn. 08/10/1918 KIA
PO/19898 Pte. Arthur Wm. Widger RMLI Drake Bn. 08/10/1918 Missing, L.R. KIA or DOW

Please note that PLY/256/S L/Sgt. Wm. Leo Burton RMLI Drake Bn. KIA 29/9/1918, had his unit corrected from "1st R.M. Bn." to "Drake Bn." by the CWGC quite recently, thanks to our submission of documentary evidence.

 

HOOD BATTALION (7)

CH/17344 Pte. James Henry William Jermy RMLI Hood Bn. 27/09/1918 KIA
PLY/2108/S Pte. Henry John Richards RMLI Hood Bn. 27/09/1918 DOW in 52rd Divn. ADS.
PLY/2431/S Pte. William Butler RMLI Hood Bn. 29/09/1918 KIA
PO/2773/S Pte. John Torry RMLI Hood Bn. 29/09/1918 KIA
PLY/2232/S Pte. Lewis Austin Davies RMLI Hood Bn. 30/09/1918 KIA
CH/2348/S Pte. Thomas Keenan RMLI Hood Bn. 30/09/1918 KIA
PLY/2221/S Pte. William Howard Tolley RMLI Hood Bn. 30/09/1918 KIA