Thursday, 20 September 2012

Metal Plaque!

Now, this headstone in Chorley Cemetery has a large metal plaque fitted to it. Could it be that the original inscription had worn away or was it a way of recycling a previously used stone? I think it may be contemporary with the date of the last named, so of 1930s manufacture. What ever the reason, it is certainly a striking feature. Pte Walter Robinson who served in the Machine Gun Corps (infantry) is recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as having been 24 when he died, not 23 as recorded on the headstone. He is buried in Delville Wood Cemetery at Longueval in France.

Wikipedia contains a lot of information about the Battle for Delville Wood which was fought over for some weeks during the Battle of the Somme. On 27 August, the Germans re-entered the wood from the north east side. The artillery fire from the Germans had been so fierce and relentless, that only one tree still stood. That tree is still there today. Rain had turned the shell holes into pools of water and mud, many containing already decaying German and Allied corpses. Fighting resumed in all earnest and on 30 August the 72nd and 73 Brigades of the 24th Division were sent in as reinforcements. Both brigades had Machine Gun Corps companies attached Robinson may have been serving with either of theses. The final German forces were driven from the wood on 3 September 1916.


Nicola Carpenter said...

Interesting. I would guess it was put there when the original inscription wore away. With regards to Walter's age, don't forget a lot of people lied about their age in order to sign up to serve, so I would guess the Commonwealth War Grave records are incorrect.

Beneath Thy Feet

Chris said...

At age 23 I don't think he needed to lie to enlist. More likely it is an error, most likely on the Army's part.

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