Captain C.C. Maud

Captain Maud’s temporary wooden cross, c.1914.

Captain Maud’s temporary wooden cross, c.1914.

The Museum of Somerset will be the venue for the Somerset Remembers temporary exhibition, which will open in August 2014.

There are many objects linked to the First World War already on display in the Somerset Military Museum. One of the most memorable is a wooden cross that marked Captain C.C. Maud’s temporary grave.

Maud was one of 4,756 members of The Somerset Light Infantry who died during the First World War. He was killed while leading his men in an attack at Ploegsteert, Belgium, in December 1914.

During the Christmas truce a German officer returned Maud’s body, declaring that he was ‘the bravest of the brave’.

Captain Maud is buried in Ploegsteert Wood Military Cemetery. A Commonwealth War Grave Commission headstone marks his grave.

Captain Maud’s temporary grave behind the front line, c.1915.

Captain Maud’s temporary grave behind the front line, c.1915.

Captain Maud’s Commonwealth War Grave Commission headstone, 2013.

Captain Maud’s Commonwealth War Grave Commission headstone, 2013.

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6 thoughts on “Captain C.C. Maud

  1. A poignant reminder of the sacrifice made by a member of the 1st Bn, Somerset Light Infantry.

    Captain Maud died the same day as 2nd Lieutenant Stanley Benskin Henson – an officer of the Special Reserve originally from Wedmore in Somerset. This young subaltern had returned at his own expense from Penang Island, where he was employed as an officer in the Straits Settlement Police, to rejoin his regiment and was placed in command of a platoon in B Company. He was killed leading the charge across No-Man’s-Land. As his CO later informed his grieving parents:

    ‘As to the manner of your son’s death, I can only tell you he died a very brave man. He was leading his men in the attack on the German trenches, and had outstripped the rest of his company by about twenty yards, when he was shot through the heart and killed instantly. Those of his company who were fortunate to come out of the action alive speak in the highest terms of your son’s courage. He was a great loss to the Regiment.’

    Henson’s body was recovered by the German troops from No-man’s-Land during the unofficial Christmas Day truce and returned to his regiment. Later that day he was laid to rest in what is now Ploegsteert Wood Military Cemetery. (Plot II, Row C, Grave 4.)

    2nd Lt Henson was the first soldier from Wedmore to fall during the Great War.

    • Presumably both Captain Maud and 2nd Lieutenant Henson died in the Somerset’s attack on the “birdcage” east of Ploegsteert Wood. I visited Ploegsteert Wood Military Cemetery a couple of weeks ago, and thought that you might be interested in a recent picture of 2nd Henson’s gravestone: http://www.flickr.com/photos/13706945@N00/8963333751/

      Thankfully, Ploegsteert Wood is a peaceful place now and was extremely beautiful in the spring sunshine (I even heard a cuckoo).

    • Hello Tim. Are you related in any way to Stanley? He was my grandfather’s cousin. My grandfather, William Henson (born 1900) also fought in WW1 and told us about Stanley. He didn’t talk about the war at all other than to say all wars are terrible. After the end of WW1 my grandfather left England for Australia only to return once. We of course live in Aust. and I hope one day to visit Ploegsteert to pay my respects.
      Regards, Tim Henson.

    • Thanks Tim, It is fascinating to get a brief glimpse of the person behind the name on the gravestone.

      P.S. That photograph of 2nd Lieutenant Henson also appears in Tony Spagnoly and Ted Smith’s A walk around Plugstreet (Barnsley: Leo Cooper, 2003), which also includes photographs of Captain Maud and other SLI officers killed on the 19 December 1914 (p. 27).

  2. Thanks Michael – taken from a ‘Death Card’ distributed to the congregation when his memorial was unveiled the following year in Wedmore. Further detailed biographies of all 62 men from the Isle of Wedmore who fell in action are near completion.

    Tim

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