A recent National Post news item featured Norm Christie and his belief that 44 Can Scots are buried, and were forgotten in the post war cleanup, near Neuville St Vaast which is just North of Arras. See the story here . His thesis is the men were temporarily buried in a crater known as CA 40 in the centre of the battle field but the markers were lost. CA 40 was unknown to the Canadians prior to the advance on the maps you see below. However – records we have seen, are not clear that they were moved from where Sgt Simmons is shown to be buried. The burial files we have extracted from the Black Binders section of the National Archives show Pte Attwood, Pte Armitage, Pte Ball, Pte Hooper, Lcpl Laycock, Pte Owen, and Sgt Simmons being buried at the point mentioned below and curiously, there names being stamped with VIMY MEMORIAL. We assume the rest have similar notations.
To muddy the water in this historical shell crater even more, we see the notation on Pte Attwood`s file as shown below. The supposition is as follows. They were buried in C40, the battles moved west. By the time the Graves Registration Unit showed up, the temporary grave markers had disappeared.
I was just contacted by a member of the Can Scots Assn aka 16th Bn CEF and I came up with the info below. The soldier data comes from Commonwealth Wargraves info that I extracted from their site. The lost soldiers are as follows – all were killed in action 9 April , 1917.
Lost men of this story
The location of Crater C.40 from info available at present is 50.35035°N, 2.77716°E WGS 84 system. The images above for the soldiers and Sgt Attwood below establish the cluster of graves at C40. Sgt Simmon`s burial record which has his location on page 2 below. The notation in the above image correlates to a location on the ground. So next we look for a WW1 Map from the Linesman system which you can get here www.greatwardigital.com. We then see the location as shown in the image below.
The following image shows you where it is in relation to the Vimy Monument (where all the soldiers are currently remembered as so far they have no known grave). The final image shows you how close the site is to Arras 7.2 Km (only 902 metres from the Vimy Monument).
The actual track or “TRACE” in military parlance can be seen at the image below. They started from the left side of the map and followed the path to the right staying between the two blue lines. (click to enlarge)
The image below is where the site is on a modern map of France (click to enlarge)
Here are the points noted on the map with the corresponding GPS latitude and longitude
|RAP Top||50.34820°N, 2.77181°E|
|RAP Middle||50.34406°N, 2.77083°E|
|RAP Lower||50.34315°N, 2.76504°E|
|Bn HQ||50.34884°N, 2.77229°E|
|CA 40 Crater||50.35035°N, 2.77716°E|
|16 Bn Right||50.34892°N, 2.77479°E|
|16 Bn Left||50.35159°N, 2.77494°E|
|OP Line Right||50.34932°N, 2.77614°E|
|OP Line Left||50.35181°N, 2.77618°E|
|4 Coy Centre||50.35117°N, 2.77561°E|
|3 Coy Centre||50.34994°N, 2.77483°E|
|GE Frt Line Right||50.34947°N, 2.77744°E|
|GE Frt Line Left||50.35225°N, 2.78019°E|
|Black Line Right||50.35066°N, 2.78888°E|
|Black Line Left||50.35314°N, 2.78807°E|
|Sgt Gates MG||50.35277°N, 2.78905°E|
|Lt Cowan MG||50.35152°N, 2.78916°E|
|Red Line Left||50.35279°N, 2.79227°E|
|Red Line Right||50.35133°N, 2.79462°E|
|Block 1||50.35071°N, 2.79622°E|
|Block 2||50.35070°N, 2.79556°E|
|Block 3||50.35198°N, 2.79421°E|
|Block 4||50.35158°N, 2.79229°E|
|Zivy Crater||50.35444°N, 2.77806°E|
The maps are from the “Linesman” map system available at www.greatwardigital.com.
The maps are as follows
- Modern Map – IGN France Top 25 Nord Picardie Champagne Ardennes
- WW1 Map – 51BNW – BA – 030717
3rd BDE published a report on the Attack – read it here – the Canadians couldn’t see Crater CA 40
Fundraising link – I gave – every bit helps look in the left of the page that will pop up when you click the link. Norm Christie has done great work in the past and this project is worthy of your support.