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Webmatters : Ecoivres Church: soldiers' inscriptions

Ecoivres Church

Writing on the wall


Ecoivres Church

Ecoivres Church

Soldiers often left their mark as they passed through villages or encampments.

They would certainly not be the first to have carved their name into the wall of a church.

In the Wellington Quarry in Arras pictures have been drawn on the walls. Down in the Grange tunnels at Vimy an enterprising soldier carved a maple leaf into the wall.

The wall around the base of the church at Ecoivres near to Mont Saint Eloi has a particularly rich collection spanning both wars.

Amongst all the modern inscriptions of undying love for a boy, girl or latest death metal rock group, are carvings dating back to at least 1917.

Trying to identify the soldiers is however difficult, after all a simple name is not a great deal to go on. The other thing that I have remarked is how spelling seems to have been optional. Some engraved their names one way yet signed in another (Greenless / Greenlees).

Some of the Canadians, however, have obliging left a regimental number or the details of their battalion.

For the Canadians I have been able to use their on-line attestation papers to track down the subjects. Unfortunately those do not give battalion details.

For the British I have only been able to check via the CWGC for deaths and for the medal cards.

Private Walter Greenless

W Greenlees
31st Battn
25th Feb 1917

Private Walter Greenless, 100984
Born on the 18th September 1895
A labourer from Fort Sask, Alberta, Canada
Signed up on the 21st July 1915
31st Bn Canadian Infantry (South Alberta)

Wounded but survived the war

Private Walter Maisey

W Maisy
31st Batt
25th Feb 1917

Private Walter Maisey, 447826
Born on the 6th March 1891
A car repairer, born in Chalford, England
living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Signed up on the 4th November 1915
31st Bn Canadian Infantry (South Alberta)

Wounded but survived the war

A Howard

A Howard
Suffolk Rgt
17/3/17

I could only find one A Howard in the Medal Cards who was a Suffolk:

Acting Lance Corporal Alfred Howard 14220
Not listed by the CWGC

Private William David Boag

Regn. No. 853247
3 – 7 – 18
W.D. Boag
A Coy 4th Bn Canadian Infantry

Private William David Boag, 853247
Born on the 8th July 1897 at Queensville, Ontario
Son of Henry and Alice Boag, of Burwash.
A student from Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Signed up on the 28th April 1916
4th Bn Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment)

KIA 9th August 1918 aged 21
He is buried in Bouchoir New Military Cemetery near Roye in the Somme
Grave: II A 27

Private John Henry Brooks

Jack Stirratt
4/25/17

Private John Stirratt 7061421
Born on 12th April 1892 at Liverpool, England
A policeman living in Victoria, BC, Canada
Already a member of the Militia
He signed up on the 9th December 1915

Appears to have survived the war


F Rock Iowa

Private Floyd Rock 417537
Born on the 1st February 1892 at Carlisle, Iowa, USA
A butcher
Had previous service with the US Marines
Signed up on the 21st August 1915

Appears to have survived the war


J H Brookes

Private John Henry Brooks, 477109
No mention of his age on his Attestation papers
Born in Birmingham/Loughborough, England
Son of Edwin and Emma Brookes, of 25 Talfourd St, Small Heath, Birmingham, England
A farmer living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Signed up on the 23th August 1915
Royal Canadian Regiment

KIA 9th April 1917 aged 25
He is buried in La Chaudiere Military Cemetery near Vimy
Grave: VII B 13

J Higgins

J Higgins 3/11/39
R Signals
Stranraer Scotland

Too many listed to be certain
Not listed by the CWGC

J Storey

J Storey
Lincs Regt ST
1918

Too many listed to be certain
Not listed by the CWGC

A Martin

A Martin
4th Canadians
CEF

Appears to have survived the war

 


Within the village there is a large CWGC/French Military Cemetery. From the Church follow the signs towards Mont St Eloi.

At Mont St Eloi itself there is the ruined Abbey; fine views towards the Vimy Memorial; monuments to the French soldiers who defended the village in 1940; and a 2nd World War British anti-tank crew buried in the communal cemetery alongside a number of the French soldiers.