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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

How long for a missing soldier to be presumed dead?


Aurel Sercu
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I am sure that my question has been asked before, maybe not as a Topic, but somewhere indirectly as a posting in it. But I would not know how to find that, even using the Search Machine.

I am doing some research on a man who was reported missing after a patrol on 9-10 June 1916.

In a letter of end November 1916, it is said that his death "has now been presumed, for official purposes, as having occurred on 10th June, 1916".

This is a little more than 5 months.

My (simple ?) question : is this a short period, or long or an average ?

I am not saying that I have reason to believe it is (too) long, I just haven't the faintest idea. There may or must have been cases where it was considerably shorter, or considerably longer. All I want to know : can this period of 5 months be considered "normal".

A link to a Topic where this has been discussed would be fine.

Aurel

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Not sure,

Many of the 4th Lincs missing at the Hohenzollern Redoubt, had their status being defined in Sept 1916, whereas some 6th Lincs men missing in Aug 1915 at Gallipoli were not "presumed" dead until 1918.

I guess the individual circumstances will have more to do with it, rather than a set time.

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Thanks, Jim and Alan !

And thanks, Alan, for embarrassing me. :rolleyes:

For ... I myself was in that Topic to which you gave a link to !

But that was almost 6 years ago. (On second thoughts, this is alarming. For I have always thought that whereas my short term memory is declining, my long term memory is still fine. Or ... is 6 years a short term ? I sure hope so ! B)

Aurel

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I think 12 months was 'normal' but perhaps additional information came to light in the case you speak of. It could have been information from another man, wounded or taken prisoner, or it could have been that enquiries via the Red Cross had been completed and were negative.

Ken

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Thanks, Ken. That helps too.

So it seems that my 5 month term is rather 'short'. (But I have to add : he was an officer, and as Paul Reed pointed out ...)

Aurel

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Thanks, John.

Yes, I had noticed your Topic, and first intended to join it, but seeing that somehow it went in a slightly different (and interesting !) direction, I hesitated to "hi-jack" it. And so I opened a new topic.

Aurel

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Thanks, John.

Yes, I had noticed your Topic, and first intended to join it, but seeing that somehow it went in a slightly different (and interesting !) direction, I hesitated to "hi-jack" it. And so I opened a new topic.

Aurel

Aurul,

perhaps there was no official guidance on this issue and it was on a case by case basis. It would also seem that individual families would make the assumption that as there has been no word from him and he is not a POW he must be dead. Not knowing must have been very difficult for the families to deal with.

Regards

John

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