The remains of Gunners Joseph William Rowbottom and Albert William Venus, along with the unknown remains of four other soldiers of the Great War were buried today at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Ieper Town Cemetery Extension, Ieper, Belgium on April 20, 2016.
Both Gunners Joseph W. Rowbottom (born 1888) and Albert W. Venus (born 1893) were killed in action on 24 May 1915. Venus belonged to the Royal Field Artillery’s North Riding Battery of the 2nd Northumbrian Brigade and sailed to France exactly 101 years ago on April 20, 1915. His brother, Herbert James Venus, was killed in action at sea during the Battle of Jutland on May 31, 1916.
The six British soldier were all Killed in Action on May 24, 1915, when their battery was involved in a fierce battle at Bellewaarde Ridge, just outside the town of Ieper. They died when German artillery shells hit the British guns. 5 of them belonged to the same gun crew whilst one was a soldier who was resupplying them with ammunition
The entry in official war diary records the day as following: “A shell, apparently about 4in H.E. (high explosive), burst in rear of No.1 gun, a second hit the gable of the farm, and a third, striking the right wheel of No. 1 gun (A subsection), killed No 1037 Cpl TA Carr, No. 1015 Gr JW Clarke, No 1682 Gr G Robinson, No 1308 Gr J Rowbottom and No 1817 Gr AW Venus and severely wounded No 391 Sgt GP Hill, also putting the gun effectively out of action.”
However since some of the remains were mixed up and badly degraded that only 2 of them were positively identified. Shoulder titles from North and East Riding Batteries, Royal Field Artillery were discovered with the remains as well as spurs and other possessions.