IN MEMORy by Pierre Vandervelden

The visit of Commonwealth graves in Communal Cemeteries & Churchyards in Belgium & France

ABBEVILLE Communal Cemetery Extension (Somme France)

Page 1 The Pictures

Page 2 List of Casualties

Gnr David Wightman 17/05/1918
For Antony Bagshaw (Mansfield Woodhouse UK)
Sgt John Tait 14/11/1890 - 12/09/1918
for his great grandson Douglas Bryson
Pte Robert george Jenkins 01/12/1918
Pte Albert James Simmons 06/12/1917 aged 21
Albert was the son of Thomas and Annie Simmons of 55, Park Road, Bloxwich, his father, who predeceased him in 1913, being a brush maker.
A locksmith by trade, he enlisted in the Army at Bloxwich in 04/1917.
During the latter part of 11/1917, during the Battle of Cambrai, Albert’s bn were in trenches in Bourlon Wood, just east of Cambrai.
He was wounded on Tuesday 04/12/1917 and removed to Abbeville Hospital where he later succumbed.
for Graeme Clarke and the people of Walsall
Civilian Frederick Vincent Taylor 07/02/1919
for Peter Taylor
Frederick was members of the Young Men's Christian Association and member of Lena Ashwell's Concert Party whan that night, returning to Abbeville after a concert, the car he was in have fallen in the river Somme.
He was with Mrs Emily Ada Pickford and two others people.
Mrs Pickford is buried alongside Frederick.
See also here.
Spr Walter Henry Nudds 30/10/1918 aged 20
Walter, 46th Broad Gauge Railway Operating Coy, RE.
He enlisted in to the Royal West Kents, aged 17, but was transferred to the Labour Corps after being wounded on the 26/09/1917.
He was then transferred to the Royal Engineers and died from bronchial pneumonia.
His brother, L/Cpl Albert Victor Nudds 31/07/1916 is buried in Corbie Communal Cemetery Extension.
for Kevin Loughnane
Pte Albert Edward Tooke 14/12/1917 aged 20
Albert Edward Tooke was born on the 11th of November 1897 at 46 Lynn Road, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. Having been a 13-year-old draper’s errand boy in 1911, he went on to work at Bath’s Nurseries before the war, probably R H Bath Ltd, also known as The Floral Farms. Albert was a member of the St Augustine’s Church choir for eight years, and was well known around Wisbech.
He enlisted in Cambridgeshire in the week ending the 24th of September 1915, before reaching the official enlistment age of 18. Albert was listed as a qualified machine gunner while serving with his first unit, the 3/1st Cambridgeshire Regiment, in Britain, as Private 4197. He was part of a draft sent out by the 3/1st to the 1/1st Cambs, which got diverted to the Royal Sussex Regiment once they arrived in France. The draft left the UK on August 17th 1916 and he seems to have reached the 13th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment in very early September 1916.
In October 1916 (about six weeks later) he was wounded in the leg or legs, and evacuated to the 5th Northern General Hospital at Leicester. It is likely he was wounded in the repeated attacks in the Battle for the Ancre Heights. On the 1st of January 1917 he returned to France and was then transferred to the 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment as Private G/14886 in D Company.
In the following months the Battalion took part in the battles of Arras (April to May 1917) and the defence of Monchy (May to November 1917). On the 29th of July 1917, Albert suffered a shrapnel wound above his left eye and a further, small shrapnel wound in his arm. He was hospitalised in France and wrote a cheerful letter to his family to inform them.
He returned to duty with the 7th Battalion, which was involved in the battle of Cambrai. The battle commenced on the 20th of November 1917 and lasted until the 7th of December. The Battalion took part in the initial British attack on the 20th. It was a battle famous for the first use of massed tanks supported by infantry. That infantry element included the 7th Royal Sussex, who attacked successfully at Gonnelieu at 6.20am on the first day. The British tanks completely surprised and terrorised the defending German troops, flattening their barbed wire defences and mopping up any resistance. The Battalion rapidly gained and held their objectives in the German trenches. They were elated by their success, despite a casualty list of three officers and 106 other ranks.
On the next day, the 21st of November, the whole Division formed a defensive flank. The Battalion’s war diary for the 21st shows that only one casualty was noted: a wounded man (other ranks). It was on that day that Albert was recorded as wounded, so he was almost certainly that single casualty. It is possible that he was wounded the previous day and wasn’t recorded as such until a day later but this is doubtful, given the rapidity and relative ease of the action on the 20th.Evacuated through the casualty clearing system, Albert was taken to the 2nd Station Hospital, Abbeville. There he died 23 days later, on the morning of Friday, the 14th of December 1917.
The report of his death in the Wisbech Standard indicated that his fatal wound, almost certainly shrapnel, entered the back of his neck and penetrated his spine. In a letter to his parents, written on the day he died and published the same month in the Wisbech Standard, probably on the 21st, the hospital matron described him as having been ’very, very helpless’, indicating that his spinal injury had left him paralysed.
In Britain, church bells had been rung in celebration after the first day’s success. However, the British attack, despite its early gains, failed a few days later. The Higher Command’s poor planning, and missed opportunities to take unoccupied enemy positions, enabled the Germans to counter-attack successfully at the end of the month and retake their lost ground.
Had Albert survived, the Armistice on the 11th of November 1918 would have fallen on his 21st birthday. He lies buried in the Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension on the Somme, grave reference III. F. 14. His headstone bears the inscription, chosen by his father, ‘One of the kindest, one of the best’.
for his great nephew Peter Tooke

1 992 casualties


IF You have a casualty picture, please send me a copy, I'll be glad to show it on this page.

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Casualties informations come usualy from Commonwealth War Graves Commission, see links for more informations © Pierre Vandervelden - Belgium