Tracing My Great Grandfather, A Last Minute Appeal For Information

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by foxs_marine, Jun 19, 2013.

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  1. I was talking to my Dad on the phone last night & he said he & my Mum are off to France & Belguim on Saturday, touring with their caravan. He mentioned that he had been looking into the fate of his gandfather, who was killed in July 1916, having been a tunneller with the Royal Engineers.

    Dad was hoping to visit a cemetery if he could find where his grandfather was buried. I mentioned that he might not have a cemetery plot if he was a tunneller & told him about the Menin Gate where those men without known graves have their names recorded.

    He said he will try that as by coincidence their first stop is only 10 KM or so from Poperinghe.

    He has done some internet research (or more likely got my Mum to do it) & has received some information, although I don't know who he has approached.
    I will place here the information he has sent me & I would be very grateful if there is anyone here who can tell me any more, especially if they know of a cemetery where my Dad can pay his respects.

    Very Many Thanks,


    Frederick Webb
    Born: Truro, Cornwall
    Resided: Devoran, Cornwall
    Nationality: British
    Date of death: 18/07/1916
    Fate: Killed in Action
    Rank: Sapper
    Service Number: 155779
    Duty location: France and Flanders
    Regiment: Royal Engineers
    Battalion:179th Tunnelling Company
    Commemorated: Britain
  2. Rank: Sapper
    Service No: 155779
    Date of Death: 18/07/1916
    Regiment/Service: Royal Engineers 179th Tunnelling Coy.
    Grave Reference I. K. 38.

    Cemetery details:

    Identified Casualties:867
    Location Information: Albert is a town 28 Kms north-east of Amiens. The Communal Cemetery is on the south-east side of Albert and at the junction of the roads to Peronne (D938 ) and Bray sur Somme (D329 ), and the extension is entirely enclosed by it. The main entrance to the cemetery is on the Peronne road.

    Visiting Information: Wheelchair access to the cemetery is possible, but may be by alternative entrance.

    For further information regarding wheelchair access, please contact our Enquiries Section on 01628 507200.

    Historical Information: Albert was held by French forces against the German advance on the Somme in September 1914. It passed into British hands in the summer of 1915; and the first fighting in July 1916, is known as the Battle of Albert, 1916. It was captured by the Germans on the 26th April 1918, and before its recapture by the 8th East Surreys on the following 22nd August (in the Battle of Albert, 1918,) it had been completely destroyed by artillery fire.

    The Extension was used by fighting units and Field Ambulances from August 1915 to November 1916, and more particularly in and after September 1916, when Field Ambulances were concentrated at Albert. From November 1916, the 5th Casualty Clearing Station used it for two months. From March 1917, it was not used (except for four burials in March, 1918 ) until the end of August 1918, when Plot II was made by the 18th Division.

    During the Second World War the extension was used again, when the French moved into it British casualties from isolated graves in and around Albert.

    There are now 862 First World War and 25 Second World War casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, 12 First World War casualties and 8 Second World War casualties are unidentified. Five graves, destroyed by shellfire, are now represented by special memorials. Two soldiers known to be among the casualties buried here, but whose graves could not be identified, are commemorated by special memorials, inscribed, "Known to be buried in this cemetery".

    This cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

    All from CWGC - Casualty Details and CWGC - Cemetery Details
  3. Beat me to it but here is his medal card:

    Attached Files:

  4. Fox,

    Looking on the CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission - CWGC - Homepage) ion the details that you have posted gives the following:
    Webb, F: 18/07/1916 Sapper, Royal Engineers, 179th Tunnelling Coy, France.
    Burial details are

    *** Others beat me to it as well. ***
  5. See below

    Sapper 155779 18/07/1916 Royal Engineers United Kingdom

    Plot: I. K. 38.

    Tell your folks to be prepared for a very emotional experience.
    Regards, Domart
  6. Can you get free access to medal indexes?
  7. Interesting that he started as DCLI but was reduced in the ranks, one wonder about the back story there, incredibly brave to go into the tunnels.
  8. Not free but let me have the details and i can get WW1 (as above) and a few other but not WW2 yet.
  9. That is brilliant!

    Thanks very much for responding so fast, I'll send them the link to the folks. If anybody knows any more about the unit or their role, I'd be grateful to hear.

    Thanks Again,

  10. hotel_california

    hotel_california LE Book Reviewer

    Royal Engineers 179th Tunnelling Coy: Formed in Third Army area in October 1915, and moved into the Thiepval-La Boisselle sector of the area of the Somme recently taken over by the BEF
  11. Given that your great granddad's date of death precedes the date of the opening of the extension cemetery, I presume that he was originally interred in "an isolated grave" and moved to the cemetery by the French during WW2.


    Please ignore - I somehow got it into my head that great granddad Fred died in 1915, not 1916.
  12. Hello,
    Medal cards are currently £3.36 from the national archives using the internet.
    It's free to view if you visit in person though.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. I watched a documentary on WW1 tunnellers and the original ones didn't even have time to go through basic training at home before heading out to war. It all happened so quick after they were called up for the job in hand.
  14. I bought one yesterday and it arrived by email within a few minutes, it comes with 5 others which are probably the next ones on the list. Same surnames but not connected to the one you want.