Wednesday, 22 April 2015

S is for St Eloi

Milo Massey Cudmore  (1888 - 1916) was the cousin of my great grandfather Arthur Murray Cudmore.  Milo was the son of Daniel Henry Cashel Cudmore (1844 - 1913) and Martha Earle Cudmore née McCracken (1855 - 1938). He was the second youngest of nine children.

On 27 March 1916 Milo Massey Cudmore was killed in action at St Eloi near Ypres. He was a Lieutenant with the Royal Field Artillery assigned to 31 TM Bty (trench mortar battery).

In 1913 Milo was a station hand on Elderslie Station,  near Winton, Queensland. He sailed to England on the P & O ship Orsova arriving 2 January 1915.

On 12 January 1915 Milo Massey Cudmore then a cadet with the Officers Training Corps was appointed 2nd Lieutenant with the Royal Field Artillery. ( The London Gazette Publication date: 12 January 1915 Supplement: 29039 Page: 464 ) He was promoted from temporary 2nd Lieutenant to temporary Lieutenant on 1 January 1916. ( The London Gazette Publication date: 21 January 1916 Issue: 29445 Page: 849)

News has been received in Adelaide from Lieutenant Collier R. Cudmore, of the Royal Field Artillery, that his brother, Lieutenant Milo Massey Cudmore, also of the Royal Field Artillery, was killed in action in France on March 27. He was a son of the late Mr. Daniel H. Cudmore, of Avoca Station, New South Wales, and Mrs. Cudmore, of Adare, Victor Harbor. He was also a grandson of the late Mr. Peter McCracken, of Melbourne. The late Lieutenant Cudmore, who was 27 years of age, was educated at St. Peter's College and at Magdalene College, Oxford, where he took his B.A. degree. When war broke out he left a North Queensland station for England, where he obtained a commission in the Royal Field Artillery. He had been in the trenches since February 15, 1915, first with a field battery and latterly in command of a battery of trench mortars. In August last he was wounded in the left arm during the attack on Loos. For his conduct on this occasion he was mentioned in dispatches and was awarded the Military Cross. (PERSONAL. (1916, April 6). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8709251)

One of the large craters on the St Eloi battlefield probably taken some time after the battle. The scale of the crater can be seen by the wagon and person on the far side of the crater. Image from http://www.warmuseum.ca/firstworldwar/history/battles-and-fighting/land-battles/st-eloi/

The battle of St Eloi began with the detonation of six mines beneath German lines on 27 March 1916, huge explosions meant to destroy the sector’s German defences. The explosions left massive craters which can still be seen today. (http://www.firstworldwar.com/today/steloicraters.htm; http://www.toerismeieper.be/en/page/334-349-364/minecrater-saint-eloi.html)

St Eloi, now known as Sint-Elooi, is a small village, about 5 kilometers south of Ypres. There is no grave for Milo Massey Cudmore. He is listed on the Menin Gate memorial at Ypres, one of 54,000 names on that memorial.
 
Although Milo Massey Cudmore did not serve with the Australian armed forces he is remembered at the Australian War Memorial on the Commemorative Roll. Milo Massey Cudmore is also remembered on the Magdelen College roll of Oxford University. He had graduated in 1908.

In 1939 his brother Paul (1883 - 1969) presented the Lamp of Maintenance to the Victor Harbor branch of Toc H. (IN and OUT of the CITY. (1939, April 15). The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1954), p. 15. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article55750141) Toc H (Talbot House), now an international Christian movement, was founded by an army chaplain as a club for soldiers at Poperinge twelve kilometers west of Ypres, Belgium in 1915. There is still a Toc H campsite at Victor Harbor.  The Cudmore family were based at Adare House in Victor Harbor, South Australia.

Members of the Cudmore family who owned "Adare" at Victor Harbor about 1900. Back Row, l-r: Roland, Henry, Mary (Minnie), Paul. Front Row, l-r: Collier, Martha, Daniel H;, Danny (on footstool), Mil. Image from the State Library of South Australia id B 48077


Additional sources
  • Cook, Tim (1996) "The Blind Leading the Blind: The Battle of the St. Eloi Craters," Canadian Military History: Vol. 5: Iss. 2, Article 4. Available at: http://scholars.wlu.ca/cmh/vol5/iss2/4