A Weekly Press from early 1918 featured a group of seven young
men from Alderney, who were all Privates in the RGLI, and all
took part in the battle of Cambrai in late 1917. The service
numbers of these young men run from 1310 to 1316, indicating
that they joined up in the same batch.
Seated in the centre of the group are Sgt Clifford Robin and
Lieutenant E D Davey, about whom nothing is known apart from
the fact that they were demobilised in 1919.
Starting at the left hand side of the back row, 1314 Pte Walter
Clarke survived Cambrai only to be taken Prisoner of War on
13 April 1918. He returned to England on 2 December of the same
year. Next to him stands 1311 Pte William Benwell,
who was killed in action at Cambrai on 1 December 1917, and
has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Cambrai memorial
at Louverval. Privates 1312 Arthur and 1313 Alfred John Caplain
were both wounded at Cambrai but survived the war, returning
to England for demobilisation in 1919. On the far right, 1310
Pte Thomas Allen
died in hospital at Le Havre aged 37, on 13 January 1918, and
is buried there at St Marie Cemetery.
At the far left of the front row is 1315 Pte Batiste Cosheril,
who was taken prisoner of war at Cambrai on 12 December 1917.
His brother, 1316 Pte Emile Cosheril was invalided to England
on 7 December 1917.
Again the fates of this group are representative of the RGLI
as a whole, where such a high proportion of those who enlisted
were either killed in action, wounded, gassed or taken prisoner
of war that after April 1918 it could no longer exist as a fighting
© 2006 Liz Walton