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War Diary

Image below borrowed from Wikimedia.

Lavery, John (Sir) (RA) (RSA) – The Cemetery, Etaples, 1919

It is with gratitude that I have found and finally registered with The Great War Forum.  The research and the heart felt participation of so many has been invaluable as I have piece-by-piece reconstructed the military history of some of my family.   In order to respect the anonymity of the participants, I have used no names, but wish to point out this site for any individuals who are doing research on their own relations.

Yesterday, I wrote…

My great grandfather, John Moors, was killed while wounded in Canadian Hospital #51 during the bombing raid of May 19, 1918, leaving his widow and children to grieve in Hamilton, Ontario.  I am so grateful to this site for sending me to various links regarding the circumstances of that night.  I was wondering if anyone knows if the wounded/or killed soldiers of this night were awarded the Victoria Cross.  Where would I obtain information on whether or not our family holds that history?

From a member.

Hi and welcome to the forum, as you can see this thread  originally dates from 2008 and refers to the raid of the 1st June 1918.

My great uncle was also killed during the raid on Etaples  on 19th May (in all probability one of those referred to in the  Matron-in – Chief’s war diary (from Sue Light’s Scarlet finders site above) as one of the casualties brought in from the IBD see http://www.scarletfi…

It is arguable whether the Infantry Base Depot (where the hospitals were located) was a legitimate target as it was a staging post for reinforcements, but at the time there were no air raid precautions were in place when the first raid took place on the 19th.  There was no black-out and the hospitals were clearly marked with  the Red Cross.

The raid on Etaples was conducted by Boghol (Bomber Squadron) 6 of the Imperial German Army Air Force.  The Squadron flew AEG bombers
( http://www.wwiaviati…ers_german.html ) and was based at Matigny, close to Saint Quentin.

The series of raids  became known as ‘the hospital raids’ and later cited as the League of Nations grappled with the ethics and morality of aerial bombardment during the subsequent post-war decades.

I’ve previously posted a link to the Canadian War Memorial site where there is a film of the funerals the following day(s)…m.php?id=531255
four minutes into the film it can be clearly seen the padre is reading the eulogy over a mass grave.

Etaples cemetery (the largest CWGC Cemetery in France) is unique in that officers and men are segregated (the nurses are buried with the officers) whereas the casualties from the air raid are in a long line across the front of plots LXV – LXV111 (see CWGC…LITARY CEMETERY click VIEW CEMETERY PLAN). It’s slightly raised and looks over the rest of the cemetery and probably not a bad place to spend eternity.  From this I assume the internments shown in the film are of the other ranks, including your relative and mine, rather than the nurses who, with the officers killed that night are interred in plot XXV111.

Given the dates include those who died the following day I suspect the film shows the mass funeral on the 21st May but I have no evidence for this.

There are a number of posts on the forum concerning the raid/casualties e.g. http://1914-1918.inv…showtopic=70354

I have a copy of the War Diary for one of the Canadian Hospitals but can’t put my hands on it at the moment but it was available online in the Canadian War Memorial collections.

As far as I know no decorations were awarded as  a result of this action and no VC has ever been awarded to a soldier named Moors (VC database Ancestry).

I am grateful to this member and to all of the Great War Forum.

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