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Casulaty Details

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Name: Robert Mains CROSS
Casualty No.: Ranks: Able Seaman Initials: R M Service No.: Tyneside Z3714
Date of Birth : 15/08/1896 Place of Birth : Age at Death: 21
Unit: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Howe Bn, Royal Naval Division.
Former Unit(s):
Place Enlisted:
Place of Residence: Ryton on Tyne, Co. Durham.
Home Address: 4 Whitewell Lane, Ryton on Tyne, Co. Durham.
Previous Address:
Civilian Employment: Miner (Colliery unknown).
How Died: Died of wounds. On return to active service and in the line on 2nd June 1917 Robert was accidentally shot in the head by a comrade who was cleaning his rifle at the time.
Date of Death: Sunday 3rd June 1917
Place of Death: 41st Casualty Clearing Station, France.
Battle/Campaign: Aavrelle-Oppy Trenches, Arras sector, France.
Locally Commemorated: Ryton War Memorial, Station Bank, Ryton on Tyne, Co. Durham.
UK Commemorated: -
Overseas Commemorated: -
Buried: Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun, France (FR 113).
Decoration and Medals:
Photographs: 1
Service Records: Yes
Death Notice/Obituary: Blaydon Courier, page 8, 16th June 1917.
Family Details:
Son of James Cross of 4 Whitewell Lane, Ryton on Tyne, Co. Durham.
Notes : Robert enlisted in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve on 30th January 1915 and was drafted to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force at Gallipoli, Turkey, 9th September 1915. He embarked at Mudros, 7th May 1916, and disembarked at Marseilles, France, 12th May 1916. He was admitted to the 6th London field hospital, 23rd June 1916 with scabies and impetigo, rejoining his unit on 28th June. Whilst in action he received a gunshot wound to the head, 13th November 1916, and was admitted to the 3rd Field Ambulance and the 2nd General Hospital at Le Harve for treatment. He rejoined his unit on 1st December 1916. After a brief period of leave in England he again rejoined his unit in the front line trenches. He died of wounds in the 41st Casualty Clearing Station, 2nd June 1917. It was stated that whilst passing down the line Robert was hit by a bullet negligently discharged by one of the garrison who was cleaning his rifle. The culprit was Wales Z/2639 Able Seaman Trevor Mortimer Gibbs, Howe Bn. The same bullet also wounded another man; Tyneside Z/8450 Able Seaman Tom Ward, a Lewis Gunner also in Howe Bn. He suffered a fractured left shoulder and was invalided home. He was discharged as unfit for further service on 9th August 1918. Witness statements from Able Seaman T Rowan, Able Seaman H Smedley, Able Seaman G Cockrain and Able Seaman T M Gibbs all stated that the shooting of Able Seaman Cross was an accident.
Sources Used: Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt of Honour Register. Fleet Air Arm Museum. Yeovilton, Somerset.
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