29th Battalion CEF and 862601 Pte. John Crosby

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    pylon1357
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    29th Battalion CEF and 862601 Pte. John Crosby

    Post by pylon1357 on Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:26 am

    As a collector of men to the 180th and 208th Battalions CEF. I am always on the hunt for groups and items to men of these two Battalions. A couple of weeks ago, I acquired a broken medal group with some original paperwork to John Crosby. Crosby was an original member of the 180th, so he fits my theme perfectly.

    I have another group in my collection to 862816 Pte. George Gilmore, the two men's service parallel each other. Both original members of the 180th Bn, both passed through the 123rd PrBn on their way to being TOS in the field as reinforcements for the 29th Bn May 28, 1917. Finally both men killed or presumed killed 21 August 1917 in the area of LENS. Neither man has has a known grave,


    I was looking over some of Crosby's paperwork and letters etc, when I came across a letter from his married sister Annie, in Toronto Ontario, to his mother in England. This letter is dated March 1919. In the letter, Annie stated that her husband was still in the CEF and was employed at the Gratuities Department. Every returning soldier went through this office to fill out their Gratuity paperwork. One day her husband struck up a conversation with a returning soldier of the 29th Bn. No name was given, but the conversation came around to John Crosby. The soldier state he did in fact know Crosby well, and he personally buried Crosby and a Sargent behind Mount St Aloy.

    Now armed with this information, I naively thought I may actually have a sot at finding John Crosby. As I looked into the casualties of the 29th Bn on the 21st of August 1917, I became increasingly mortified to come to the following conclusions..

    According to the CWGC there are 118 29th Bn fatalities for the date of 21 August 1917. The diary shows 7 Officers Killed, 58 Other Ranks Killed and 50 Other Ranks Missing, for a total of 115 all ranks killed or missing. So the numbers are pretty staggering.

    I looked at the entries for each man on the CWGC, I was floored at the following results..... 1 casualty buried in London Cemetery Extension. 3 causalities buried in Loos British Cemetery, with one of the three listed as "Believed to be Buried in this Cemetery" The final and most staggering number, 114 men have no known grave and are commemorated on the Vimy Memorial, including my men John Crosby and George Gilmore.

    I can only imagine the carnage that occurred in the area of these men's burial location after they were buried, to have so few of them identified or possibly never found.


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    Cliff

    http://www.irishregimentofcanada.ca

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