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(ROYAL) BERKSHIRE CORNER CEMETERY EXTENSION


The Memorial to the Missing dominates the cemetery. It was unveiled on 7 June 1931 by the Duke of Brabant and was designed by H Charlton Bradshaw and sculpted by Sir Gilbert Ledward. There are 11,447 names of the missing listed on the wall panels, most are from the fighting that took place outside the Salient, the Battle of Armentieres in 1914, Aubers Ridge, Loos, and Fromelles in 1915, Estaires in 1916, and Hazebrouck, Scherpenberg and Outersteene Ridge in 1918.


The Memorial takes the form of a circular temple and is 22m in diameter and 12m high, with the names of the missing listed on panels within. There are two large stone lions at the entrance.


Shot at Dawn

There are three men listed on the Memorial who were executed in 1914 and 1915 under the terms of the British Army Act and whose graves were subsequently lost.


Private Archibald Browne, of the 2nd Essex, 12th Brigade, 4th Division. He was the fourth soldier to be executed in the war and the last in 1914. He was a veteran of the fighting in August 1914 and had taken part in the retreat from Mons and had been in action at Le Cateau, the Marne, and the Aisne. He had deserted from his battalion in November 1914, after assisting a sick soldier to an Aid Post. He was caught, wearing civilian clothes, by the French police after he had broken into an empty house in Hazebrouck. He was charged with desertion, plundering, and escaping arrest. At his trial he claimed that he had been captured by the Germans, escaped and was looking for his regiment. He was found guilty and executed at 7am on 19 December 1914, age 26.


Private A Pitts, 2nd Warwickshires, 22nd Brigade, 7th Division. He deserted his battalion while under fire near Zonnebeke on 24 October 1914 however, he was arrested in Boulogne, on 12 January 1915 when he gave false information about himself in an attempt to evade detection. He was executed by firing squad on 8 February 1915 at Rue Bataille near Sally-sur-la-Lys.


Private Thomas Hope, 2nd Leinsters, 17th Brigade, 6th Division. He joined the battalion in September 1914 and deserted on 23 December 1914. The battalion was in the line at L’Epiniette and he was ordered to collect rations from the dump in the rear. He never returned and was arrested disguised as a Lance Corporal of the Military Police on 9 February 1915 near Armentieres. At his trial on 14 February he claimed that he had been returning with the rations when he was captured by the Germans, had then escaped and was looking for his regiment. He subsequently informed the court that the real reason for his desertion was that he had heard that two of his brothers had been killed in action. His disciplinary record weighed against him as he had a conviction for desertion when in camp at Cambridge, and a further conviction, in France, for being absent during a march. His commanding officer Major Bullen-Smith added a comment to the court that Hope had made up his mind not to serve creditably and to avoid all military duty. He was found guilty and on 27 February Sir John French, then commander-in-Chief, confirmed his death sentence. He was executed on 2 March 1915, age 20.

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