Joseph William Jeffcoate and the lost graves of Lens

On the 1st July 1917 the 1/5th Battalion attack the German forward positions at N13 (white circles). See report here Pages from WO-95-2693-21:5th 1st July 1917

Map showing the area of attack by the 1/5th Battalion (white circles) and the locations of the four bodies identified after the War

What remains a mystery is why the bodies of Alfred Burnett, Frank Praill and Joseph Jeffcoate were found so far from the area of attack by the 1/5th Battalion.

5th Casualties July 1917Forty six men of the 1/5th Battalion were killed on the 1st July 1917 although many of these were originally posted as missing.

The graves of only four men are now known and these were recovered during the battlefield clearances of the 1920s


201347 Pte Joseph William JeffcoateJeffcoate casualty

Joseph was originally posted missing after the 1st July 1917, but his widow was not awarded a pension until February 1918.

JeffcoateJeffcoate discJoseph’s body was discovered at M6b in 1922-23 and identified by his disc and name on cross. He is now buried in Loss British Cemetery.


203506 Sergeant Arthur Edward Trenam aged 26Trenam

Trenam reburialArthur was recorded as killed in action on the 1st July and his body was later exhumed from N.13.c.6.5. close to where the 1/5th Battalion originally attacked.


203475 L/Cpl Alfred William Burnett aged 29

Burnett casuallty

BurnettAlfred was originally posted missing after the 1st July 1917 but his body was later exhumed in 1919 and he was reburied in MAROC British Cemetery.

Alfred’s sister later wrote to the War Office complaining about them sending blood stained possessions belonging to her brother (see below).Burnett Letter


202191 Pte Frank PraillPraill casualty

praill gravePraill spoon

Frank was originally posted missing after the 1st July 1917 but his body was later exhumed in 1919 and identified by his spoon. He was now reburied in Loos British Cemetery.

For more information on Frank see here

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