No.11 Military Mission - Unmarked Grave Possibly Identified

Discussion in '1940' started by Drew5233, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Can you help with this unit?

    It was formed in France 1939/40 and was probably disbanded shortly after or before the evacuation at Dunkirk was finished.

    I've tried searching for a file at the National Archives on this formation but not had any joy and if one exsists may help to answer the question that I'm trying to find out.

    Is the unidentified grave 2.H.28 at Esquelbecq cemetery that of Second Lieutenant Piers Richard Edgcumbe, 12th Royal Lancers, Royal Armoured Corps?

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

    The full story that possibly ties the grave to him can be read here:
    CL1 likes this.
  2. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Surly it would be down to opening the grave and getting a DNA sample then if a relative was still alive matching them.
    It may help to find CWGC criteria on this kind of thing
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Chris Harley is working on it (It's his thing)

    I'm just trying to find out more about the man and his unit. For example if he is mentioned in Field Returns for 12th Royal Lancers-If he was transfered to 11 Mission it would be in the Field Returns, I'll look those up next week at the National Archives.

    What I really want to identify at this stage is whether there is any official documentation on 11 Military Mission.

  4. walmer_10

    walmer_10 Junior Member


    2/Lt Edgcumbe's Mission had various names but by the time he was killed in action he was serving with No.3 Military and Air Mission. The Mission was also known as the Hopkinson Mission and I have a nominal roll with his name on it.

    He is listed in my nominal roll of former members of GHQ Liaison Regiment and associated units. A copy can be bought here:
    GHQ Liaison Regiment: A Nominal Roll with Short Biographies by ASHER PIRT in Biographies & Memoirs
    It includes every member of the Mission that Edgcumbe served in.

    I was discussing his death with a former member of the Mission the other day.

    With best wishes

    GHQ Liaison Regiment
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive


    I replied to your PM and thanks for posting. Do you have any info on the circumstances of his death?

  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    WO 361/3

  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive


    Second Lieutenant Piers Richard Edgcumbe is listed at the bottom of the officers on the first page.
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Taken from the same file:

    The SS Abukir is reported as lost on the 29th May 1940

    Hand written note on the formations nominal roll at the side of 2nd Lt. Edgcumbe's name says he was killed in action on the 27th May 1940, two days before the ship sank.
  10. idler

    idler GeneralList

    No.3 Air Mission references (not exhaustive, but a reasonable start):

    Attached Files:

  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Anyone know what OS/8E could stand for written after his date of death?
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    A close up of the writing:


    Anyone care to say what is written under Killed in Action?

    The last bit is next of kin informed 8/6/4?
  13. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I think that it says 'Place not stated'
  14. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    N/K advised 8/6/40

    Attached Files:

  15. Pete Keane

    Pete Keane Senior Member

    I think Rich has got it 'place not stated'.
  16. Pete Keane

    Pete Keane Senior Member


    Read the cutting - like to think that the u-boat captain died a terrible, lingering death, was he ever identified?

  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Sorry for the delay but I nodded off at my laptop and woke up at 3am this morning to the prods from a not to happy Andrea !

    I've finished reading the file and this is the only other mention of the two men and I guess it does in away place them together. I wonder if LCpl F L A Rouke was with them when he was wounded. There is no mention of either of the two men being on the SS Abukir.


    Hi Peter, It was a E-Boat.
  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  19. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I wondered why it suddenly went quiet last night Andy.

    The death of Piers Edgcumbe is a puzzle, particularly why some sources have linked him to the 'Aboukir' (maybe just an assumption).

    The documents here show that they were certain on 8th June that he had been killed on 27th May. As we can see from the confusion over the wounded Lance Corporal, 8th June was far too soon to have known exactly who was captured or wounded, or indeed still on their way back through the southern ports unless there had been witnesses to the death

    I should have thought, bearing in mind the family's military connections that they would have found out all that could be learned from surviving officers and yet according to a website which refers to his sister (who died only last year), he was 'lost at Dunkirk')

    I think on balance that there is a good chance the unknown grave is Piers Edgcumbe but it could also have been another officer. In the absence of any confirming identification material in the hands of the French authorities relating to the burial then I doubt if it will ever be certain.

    The Cobbold Family History Trust :: Family Tree
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I agree Rich. I have this feeling though that 'Killed at Dunkirk' in many cases as far as relatives etc are concerned can refer to the whole 1940 campaign even if killed fighting in Belgium.

    I've got a few more related files to look through but I think the answer may lay with Mr Guy Rommelaere.

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