DELVILLE WOOD

LONGUEVAL - SOMME - FRANCE

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ANCRE BRITISH CEMETERY

Beaumont-Hamel, Somme, France

One unknown South African rests in this cemetery.

Grave III.E.31.

This grave of an unknown South African infantryman fallen on the 13th November 1916, and situated in the midst of a row of graves of the Royal Naval Division, is indeed a mystery.

A this date, the South African Infantry Brigade and the Bailey's South African Sharpshooters (the two South African infantry units serving on the Western Front) were far from this sector.

We are suggesting a hypothesis.

In the Roll of South Africans who fell 1914-1918 (edited after the War by the South African authorities), there is an only one man who served in the Royal Naval Division, who was killed in action on the 13th November 1916 near this spot, and who had not a known grave.

Sub Lieutenant Joshua Laurence OATES, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, who served in the Trench Mortar Battery of the 188th Brigade (Royal Naval Division). He is commemorated on Thiepval Memorial.

Perhaps he wore a South African badge (by personal whim), which was the only identification evidence.

But it is only a hypothesis.

 

Ancre British Cemetery C.W.G.C. Web Page