IN MEMORy by Pierre Vandervelden

The visit of Commonwealth graves in Communals Cemeteries & Churchyards in Belgium & France

LA MOTTE BREBIERE Communal Cemetery (Somme France)

Left plot: H. Dean - E. Aylward - W. Clorley - J. A. Amesbury
Right plot: H. L. Pavy - R. D. O'Donnell
W. Ludlow & T. Copland
A. Fraser
Portrait from the roll of honour at Williamstown Town hall in Melbourne.
Cpl Thomas Copland 08/06/1918
for his grandson Charles Harris (Aus.)
Thomas Copland was born in Lanarkshire Scotland around August 1885 son of Alexander and Margaret. He served with the Kings Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB) 3 rd Battalion in 1902 for 3 years which was a militia unit to replace regulars who were away fighting – the Boer War in Sth Africa. He was 16.

He married Daisy Cotgreave from Cheshire in Manchester on 26/12/1911. Soon after they set sail for Australia where they had 2 children, Alex and Vera.

Thomas enlisted with the Australian Imperial Forces on 31/1/1916 (service Number 40) at the age of ~ 31.His trade or calling was as an engineer which I suspect was a fitter and turner. Posted originally to the 10th Machine Gun Company which was formed in Victoria he later served with the 23rd Machine Gun Company 3rd Battalion Machine Gun Corps which was attached to the 3rd Division 1st AIF.

He set of with his unit on board the “HMAT Ascanius” on the 27/5/16 from Melbourne leaving behind his wife, son of 2 and daughter of 6 months allotting 3/5ths of his salary to his family. By the 1st January 1917 he was briefly in France before training in England return to France in September 1917. While serving with the 23rd MGC he was wounded in action with a gunshot wound to the left hand on 17/9/17 possibly during action at the Mennin road (Ypres). After initial medical treatment in Boulogne he was transferred to Cambrai for rehabilitation returning to his unit on 11/11/17. One year later this date in November would be known around the world as Armistice day.

Promoted to Lance Corporal on 18/12/1917 and later to temporary corporal on 14/4/1918.

Thomas died in action on 8/6/1918 possibly at the battle for Morlancourt. Details of his death were sent to his wife Daisy, mother in Dumbarton Scotland and a Serg’t J.D. Copland Sig Co. 4th Army HQ British Expeditionary Forces. Maybe his brother?

Amongst his belongings from the field were a silk handkerchief, a religious book and a broken gold ring.

Corporal Thomas Copland lies buried but not forgotten at the La Motte-Brebierre communal cemetery in France 3 miles East of Amiens. He is also remembered on the roll of honour in the commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra Australia (panel 176). His portrait along with many who enlisted and died from Williamstown is also on the Town Hall WWI Honour board.

Pte Hutton Lindsay Pavy 02/06/1918 aged 24
L/Cpl John Andrew Amesbury MM 25/05/1918 aged 25
John won his Military Medal on the night 2nd/3rd/07/1917:
In the trenches east of Messines, the Coy to which this man belongs was engaged in a minor operation against an enemy strong point, and two of his comrades were wounded.
When the assaulting party withdrew, Ptes Amesbury and rees remained behind and drew the wounded men into a shell hole about 30 yards from the enemy strong point.
Pte Rees set out for some stretchers and Pte Amesbury immediately attended the wounded men.
As the enemy were approaching Pte Amesbury kept up a rapid rifle fire on the advancing troops, and against the enemy strong point, although during the whole period he was subjected to heavy fire both from machine guns and bombs; but was able by his great effort to keep off the enemy, and this prevented them from capturing his comrades.
In this action he displayed great coolness and bravery as he was opposed to much superior forces.
A total of two Officers and forty men were engaged in this enterprise.
(from the Commonwealth Gazette N° 219 on 20/12/1917)
for his great great niece Julie Owen

9 casualties

Australian Lance Corporal Australian Machine Gun Corps 3rd Bn. Age 25 Date of Death 25/05/1918 Service No 2020

United Kingdom Sapper Royal Engineers 263rd Railway Coy. Age 36 Date of Death 13/04/1918 Service No R/256524

United Kingdom Sapper Royal Engineers 263rd Railway Coy. Date of Death 13/04/1918 Service No 266678

Australian Corporal Australian Machine Gun Corps 3rd Bn. Date of Death 08/06/1918 Service No 40

United Kingdom Private Cheshire Regiment 18th Bn. Secondary Labour Corps Secondary trans. to (33688) 57th Coy. Date of Death 12/06/1918 Service No 37016

United Kingdom Driver Royal Field Artillery 383rd Bty. 170th Bde. Age 27 Date of Death 01/07/1918 Service No 48363

United Kingdom Gunner Royal Field Artillery 463rd Bty. 179th Bde. Date of Death 26/06/1918 Service No 179692

Australian Driver Australian Machine Gun Corps 3rd Bn. Age 22 Date of Death 05/06/1918 Service No 6594

Australian Private Australian Machine Gun Corps 3rd Bn. Age 24 Date of Death 02/06/1918 Service No 4577

IF You have a casualty picture, please send me a copy, I'll be glad to show it on this page.

IF You want a king size copy of this picture (300/900 ko - 2592/1944 pixels) please e-mail me.

IF You want picture of a particular grave, in this cemetery, please e-mail me.

Casualties informations come usualy from Commonwealth War Graves Commission, see links for more informations © Pierre Vandervelden - Belgium