George Cragg

George Cragg

Postby Ubarrow » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:27 pm

I wonder if anyone can throw any light upon the death of George Cragg on 26/06/16?

I only have the info from this site and from Ancestry, none of which gives me any clue as to how George died. I can't find any records of action on this day, so perhaps it was a stray shell. Are there any records that might help?

Thanks
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Re: George Cragg

Postby kerchi » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:40 pm

Hi Peter and welcome to the forum.

For starters do you know which battalion George was in as this would help to find any actions around the time of his death? If I know which battalion this will speed up a search in Wylly's book, The Border Regiment in the Great War.
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: George Cragg

Postby Ubarrow » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:00 pm

Yes, he was in 11th battalion. The history doesn't show any specific action at that time but it would seem to have been very "busy" as they prepared for the big push and Therevwould seem to have been lots of shells flying around.
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Re: George Cragg

Postby petertheelder » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:17 am

Hello Peter, Welcome to the forum. As you say in your first post, the details of where the 11th battalion were in late June 1916 are pretty scant. Wylly indicates that they moved from dugouts at Crucifix Corner to assembly trenches in Authuille Wood on June 30, 1916, in preparation for the attack on July 1st. As the attack had been postponed from June 28th, the battalion would have been in or close to the Ancre River valley near Aveluy, south of Authuille and north of Albert. I think that shell fire during that period would have been the cause of most casualties

The Battalion War Diary will likely give you movements for each day leading up to the attack. Other members such as "Spike", and "Kerchi" may be able to provide this information. Also, The Lonsdales were part of 97th Brigade, 32nd Division. A Divisional History might also indicate troop movements prior to the Somme battle.

George Cragg does shows
up in the CWGC War Dead database. www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead.aspx

Rank - Lance Corporal, Service No - 16450, Date of Death 26/06/1916, Grave - Authuille Military Cemetery, location F.5.

Hope this helps sorting out the puzzle of where he was killed.

Regards, Another Peter
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Re: George Cragg

Postby kerchi » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:29 am

Peter,

This what the 11th Battalion war diary say for the 26th June 1916:

Continuous bombardment by both sides. We let off gas at 2.30 PM with apparent success. The 2ND KOYLI commenced to relieve us at 9.30 PM. Relief complete at 12.40 AM 27TH. 2 O.R. killed, 30 O.R. wounded, 9 O.R. shell shock.

You will see that it doesn't say very much but the "continuous bombardment" was probably the cause, as Peter says. It could have been a number of different things, maybe an accidental gun fire, sniper fire (even though the war diary doesn't mention sniper fire on this day that doesn't mean there were some stray sniper bullets wizzing through the air). Also, whenever there was a relief in process, to move a large enough body of men even at 9.30pm at night in the summer (when there is still light), the chances are someone somewhere could get hit but bullets or shells.

The most obvious to me would be that he was killed either because of the continuous bombardment earlier during the day OR as part of this relief (one of the "2 O.R. killed") with the 2nd KOYLI.

Hope this helps.
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: George Cragg

Postby spike » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:35 am

Hi Peter,
I have a copy of the War Diary, but to save time I know Chris has transcribed a lot on his wiki, so I'll copy that here (Sorry Chris). It appears 16450 Lance Corporal George Cragg was one of the 2 O.R killed along with 13625 Sergeant Gilbert Thomas Hogg (both C Company), in this exchange of bombardments, as the Germans were suspecting the offensive to come and trying to retaliate to the British Preparatory Bombardment-

AUTHUILLE SECTOR

23/6/16
Batt left BOUZINCOURT for the trenches, taking over from the 2ND MANCHESTER Regt at 12.30 AM 24/6/16.

AUTHUILLE SECTOR

24/6/16
Our 18 pounders commenced to cut the enemy wire at 5.30 AM and continued during the day.

Enemy retaliation practically nil.
Gas raid on night 24-25 did not come off owing to unfavourable wind.
AUTHUILLE SECTOR

25/6/16
Our guns bombarded the German lines continuously. German retaliation very heavy during the afternoon.

Casualties, 1 O.R. wounded, 2 O.R. shell shock.
AUTHUILLE SECTOR

26/6/16
Continuous bombardment by both sides. We let off gas at 2.30 PM with apparent success. The 2ND KOYLI[2] commenced to relieve us at 9.30 PM. Relief complete at 12.40 AM 27TH. 2 O.R. killed, 30 O.R. wounded, 9 O.R. shell shock.
CRUCIFIX CORNER


27/6/16
Bombardment continued. Batt using SAA[3], grenades etc.
CRUCIFIX CORNER

28/6/16
Zero time postponed for 48 hours. Our artillery bombardment less intense.
CRUCIFIX CORNER

29/6/16
Our artillery bombardment less intense. German retaliation slight.
CRUCIFIX CORNER

30/6/16
Batt moved up to assembly trenches at 10 PM.


This of course were the assembly trenches for the Big Push of July 1st and the bloodiest
day in British Army history.
(beat me to it.... Chris..... 8-) )
SPIKE

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In memory of -19455 Private John Farrer,
A Company 11th Border Regiment k.i.a. 1st July 1916
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Re: George Cragg

Postby authuille » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:55 pm

The Westmorland Gazette of 8 July carries:-

Mrs Willam Cragg of Yewbarrow Hall Longsleddale received word from Sgt Major Atkinson C Company Lonsdales, that her elder son George had been kia on Monday 26th. He joined early in the recruiting days, and a younger brother is now in India with 4th Bn Border. George was educated at the valley school, and passed the greater part of his life in the vale. His father died some years ago, and great sympathy is felt for Mrs Cragg.
Age 21, and a great favourite, with a bright and happy disposition, his many friend will miss him very much.
S M Atkinson says "he was killed while carrying out a very hazardous duty. He lingered about an hour, but was never conscious after being hit. He was buried this afternoon alongside another fine man of ours, Sgt Hogg in a cemetery close to the firing line, and within sound of the guns "
There was a second letter from the Chaplain, expressing the usual condolences.

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Re: George Cragg

Postby Ubarrow » Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:26 am

Thanks everyone, especially from the account in the Westmorland Gazette. I'm reading this sitting at home in Yewbarrow Hall, where George was born and brought up. His mother was my fathers great aunt, and the valley school referred to is just up the road opposite the church containing the memorial with his name on.
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Re: George Cragg

Postby authuille » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:06 pm

Just to add a bit of info. We have lived within 400m of Authuille cemetery for about 50% of the past ten years, and have visited the cemetery on countless occasions, almost always saying "hello" to George and Gilbert Hogg, another Kendalian who is buried alongside George. Although Gilbert's stone carries a different date from that on George's,we know that they were killed on the same day, so far as I can ascertain, at different times. The Army described it as "wastage" Gilbert was well known in Kendal, he ran a very well known,not to say famous photographers business. Curiously, a few years ago, I was in the cemetery, when a young lady placed flowers on Gilbert's grave, when I asked her why she chose Gilbert's grave, she said "he was my grandfather"
If you have never had the opportunity to visit Authuille, it's a lovely spot, built on a slope down to the river Ancre, and while not the most floriferous cemetery, it's surrounded by trees, quiet as can be, and at sunset, one of the loveliest places in which to be buried. Although one would prefer to be 70 years old, rather than 20.
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