31568 Pte P. McQuade

Pete McQuade shared this message with me recently, a story about his namesake (although he is not a relative). Pete told me,

“Back in March 2018, I visited the Somme region to honour and commemorate the centenary of the death of my Great Uncle, Pte Craven Wood, who was killed in action on the 21st March 1918 at Hargicourt, France, on the opening day of the German Spring Offensive.

Whilst out there I visited many WW1 Cemeteries and after leaving Hargicourt, I drove past a beautiful little Military Cemetery called Templeux le Guerard British Cemetery and I just had to pull over and have a look around.  I took several pictures whilst in the cemetery and one in particular was taken at an oblique angle of the Cross of Sacrifice.

Eighteen months later I returned to France, leading a small party around the Battlefields of the Somme and I once again visited Templeux le Guerard British Cemetery. This time I had a reason for my visit! Prior to this visit, I checked how many Soldiers had paid the ultimate price with my surname of McQuade in the Somme area. Amazingly a match came up for a Soldier who was buried at Templeux le Guerard British Cemetery.  

Buried in plot I.J.46 is 31568 Pte P. McQuade of the 6th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, killed in action on October 3rd 1918, aged 23.  After a bit of research, I discovered that Pte P. McQuade was in fact called Peter McQuade and is therefore my namesake.  Eighteen months earlier when I had taken the oblique photo of the Cross of Sacrifice, I had unknowingly taken it with Pte McQuade’s headstone immediately behind me.  So, during my second visit, our small group held a little ceremony for Pte McQuade and placed a Poppy Cross at the bottom of his headstone.

Peter McQuade was born on November 10th 1894 at Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland and his parents were Patrick and Agnes McQuade.  Patrick was a Coal Miner and in the 1911 Census, Peter would follow in his father’s footsteps as being listed as a Pony Driver in the local Coal Pit.  The family were living on Netherfield Place, Blantyre.

At the outbreak of the Great War on 4th August 1914, there was a tremendous surge of National patriotism and men from all walks of life came forth to enlist for National Service.  On August 23rd 1914, Peter McQuade now aged 19, joined this patriotic throng by attesting to join the Royal Field Artillery as a Driver.  He was posted to the Depot Battalion on September 7th and on October 9th 1914, Peter was posted to 73rd Brigade (Howitzers) Royal Field Artillery with a Service Number of 14402.

He is described as being 5ft 3 inches tall, blue eyes, fair hair, weighed 113lbs and had a chest measurement of 33.5 inches fully expanded with a range of 2.5 inches expansion.  He is listed as now living at Greenside Place, Blantyre, his occupation as a Miner and he was a Roman Catholic.

On October 24th 1914, 14402 Driver P. McQuade RFA, was medically discharged from the British Army from being unfit for Service through Chronic Rheumatism and First Degree of Flat Foot on the right side.  During this short period of Service, Driver McQuade did not leave the British mainland.

I have tried to find details of when Peter finally managed to successfully join the Army but have been sadly unsuccessful, however, he did sign his, “Last Will and Testament”, on 5th August 1918 whilst with Number 1 Company, 3rd Reserve Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who at that time were based in Oswestry, Shropshire.  It must have been at or around this time that Pte McQuade was transferred to the 6th Service Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and his journey to France began.

In less than two months after writing his Will in Oswestry, Peter would sadly be killed in action in France and his Effects would be given to his father, Patrick, who was now living at 11 Cross Row Village, Blantyre.

Peter later added, “Pte Peter McQuade was actually first buried in a small village called Gouy.  All the burials from that cemetery were then transferred to Templeux le Guerard in 1920, so he has been buried twice.”

“May you Rest in Peace Peter.”

Pete is hoping that there may be a relative of Pte McQuade who still lives in the local area and who has not visited the grave so the pictures will be beneficial to them.  

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