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boatrace
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Hello

I am trying to discover what happened to my great grandfather who served in the Great War and died in 1918.

I have found a medals card with the number 34988 and he was in the R S Fus name Robert Milligan.

The problem I have is that I have one document saying he died in France in April 1918 but he is buried in the local cemetery but unfortunately the headstone cannot be read.

Any tips would be gratefully appreciated

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Welcome to the forum.

Best place to start is here -

http://www.1914-1918.net/grandad/grandad.htm

CWGC -

Name: MILLIGAN, ROBERT

Initials: R

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Lance Corporal

Regiment/Service: Royal Scots Fusiliers

Unit Text: 2nd Bn.

Date of Death: 08/04/1918

Service No: 34988

Additional information: Husband of Grace Milligan, of 52, Orchard Place, Auchinleck.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: K. 17.

Cemetery: AUCHINLECK PARISH CHURCHYARD

SDGW -

Name: Robert Milligan

Death Date: 8 Apr 1918

Enlistment Location: Auchinleck, Ayrshire

Rank: L/Corporal

Regiment: Royal Scots Fusiliers

Battalion: 2nd Battalion

Number: 34988

Type of Casualty: Died of wounds

Theatre of War: France & Flanders

John

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Looks as if he made it back to the UK then died of wounds, otherwise he would have been buried in the theatre of war where he died. As he has a CWGC headstone you can be sure he is buried in Auchinleck and not just commemorated on a family headstone.

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he was wounded whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion. He died of wounds in hospital in Cardiff. His service papers are available on Ancestry.

:thumbsup:

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His headstone could still be a family headstone for a UK burial.

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David's quite right. If someone is remembered on a family grave, there is usually no CWGC headstone. If that family marker has become damaged, however, then a case can be made for a replacement CWGC stone to be erected over the grave. It's not straightforward process but I have heard of it happening.

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Hello and Thank you so much for your help.

I have membership to Ancestry so I will check again there especially as you mention Wales? Until a few weeks ago I had no idea that my great grandfather was in the War, now I am even more determined to find out what happened to him.

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Hello I'm back again

I have been trying to find on ancestry the document you refer to about the hospital in cardiff but with no luck can you point me where to go?

Regards

Grace

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Welcome to the Forum,

Try to track down any local (to where he was when he enlisted / served / was wounded) newspapers that were around at the time, several local papers are now being archiveved.

Have a chat to any Aunts / Uncles / Cousins that might be able to provide piccys or share storys - many are just that, but you do sometime pick up a casual remark that will unlock a door to a place full of treasures.

Be prepared to get sucked into the hideous world of the Forum, it can get very indictive

Grant

Grace,

Look for the WW1 service records

Grant

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Well. I never thought there would be that much information, pages and pages of info I cannot thank you enough.

Looking at the letter regarding the medals although it is hard to read it seems that they were not collected, am I right in thinking that these had to be paid for?

With a large family I can understand why. One thing I dont understand is the headstone, why was he not recognised with a typical headstone like other soldiers.

Thank you again

Grace

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For soldiers who died in the UK, families had the option to bury them where they wanted, and erect their own headstone if they so chose (the CWGC headstones didn't start going up until the early 1920s).

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Hello and welcome. My guess would be that after he died in Cardiff hospital, he was brought home for burial. It may be that the family were in straightened circumstances after the loss of his soldiers pay, so he might just have been added to an existing family headstone. His wife obviously completed the Family Verification Form which is where the CWGC get their Additional Information from, but the Form would also have asked if any inscription was required. When initially introduced, it was at a cost to the family. She may well not have had funds for any inscription.

It could be worth an email to the CWGC asking if it would be possible to have a copy of the Verification Form. It should have g grandma's handwriting!

You say it's a local cemetery... would the undertakers or monumental masons still be in business, so you could ask them to check their archives, or the cemetery staff?

Your library might also have the archives for the local paper which might carry news of his wounding, death, obituary, In Memoriam etc... You might continue to be lucky and even find a photo!!

Good luck and come back and let us know what happens!!

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I beleive the verifcation forms were later destroyed. Terry Denham will be able to confirm.

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Boatrace

I notice that according to the CWGC he's buried in Auchinleck Churchyard, if the Church is still operating they may have the burial records, it was not uncommon for soldiers who were returned to their families to be buried in existing family plots as it was less expensive than opening a new one, the family wanted them to be buried with a deceased parent/grandparen/sibling, the parents planned to be buried with them on their death or a combination of those reasons.

It would be worth checking with the Church to see if they have the burial records, this will let you know who's in the plot and when it was opened, your answer will probably be there.

If they don't have the records, they may have been passed to the Council, in this case to East Ayrshire, below is a link with contact details for Auchinleck New Cemetery, it'll probably be the same for all those in East Ayrshire, they should be able to help you if the records have been passed to them, I've searched for graves this way before and they've always been very helpful.

http://www.east-ayrshire.gov.uk/comser/outdoorservices/cems_Auchinleck_New.asp

Sam

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Thanks for the tips,

I have spent the day telephoning relatives in Scotland and they are asking around for any information (fingers crossed for a photo)

My side of the family have lost touch through the years as my grandfather (son of Robert) died before he was 50 and my father also died very young.

I emailed the cemetery link so see if they can help any further.......I will post back with any news

Thank you all

Grace

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Grace,

His death was registered in Newport in 1918

You can order death certs online via - http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/Registeringlifeevents/Familyhistoryandresearch/index.htm

The reference is

District - Newport M

Volume - 11A

page - 245

Quarter - 2nd

Year - 1918

His age at death was 32, so he was born about 1886.

You can use Free BDM - http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl - to find his birth details

Hth

Grant

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Grant,

Given where he was buried, he's probably more likely to be on Scotland's People than FreeBMD (England and Wales only)...

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Grant,

Given where he was buried, he's probably more likely to be on Scotland's People than FreeBMD (England and Wales only)...

David, I think that if he died in hospital in Cardiff, the hospital would have had to register the death (at least that is my understanding of the process).

Simon

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David, I think that if he died in hospital in Cardiff, the hospital would have had to register the death (at least that is my understanding of the process).

Simon

Sorry, I wasn't entirely clear, yes, his death was clearly registered in Wales, but Grant said that you would also be able to find his birth record on FreeBMD, which I think is unlikely.

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Grace

I see from his service record that he was wounded by a bullet in the head, received on 22nd March 1918. The 2nd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers were part of the Thirtieth Division, and saw very heavy fighting that day and the next few days on the Somme just south west of St Quentin as they were pushed back during the German Spring Offensive.

John Buchan's regimental history of the RSF has a page or so on this action - if you haven't got access to a copy please feel free to e-mail me: william@williamrevels.com and I'll happily e-mail you back a scan.

William

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, but Grant said that you would also be able to find his birth record on FreeBMD, which I think is unlikely.

Sorry for being misleading, but having no idea where Auchinleck Churchyard is and the fact that the Grace didnt specify where her Great Grandfather was born, I took a gamble and directed her to a source of birth regiisters which she may have been unaware of (along with a link to the site).

If it isn't any help to Grace then it might be of use to others who are just starting down this wiggley road.

Grant

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  • 2 years later...

Hello

Thank you all for the information. As an update I have all of roberts war records but I hit a brick wall with the cemetary, the records were all burned in a fire years ago.

This year I went to Scotland to his place of birth (Mochrum) and walked where he would have in happier times. I found all the family graves, the churches where they married and managed to build a family tree. I never managed to find the all elusive photo but I did get some pictures of the places where he lived.

Without the forum I would never have managed to do all of this and now I can pass all of this onto my sons. Robert Milligan wont be forgotten.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Update

When I first started with this research back in 2011 I did as said on here and wrote to the war graves about the headstone, I wrote again last month and they have replied saying that the grave was inspected and they have errected a granite marker. I've not seen it yet but thank you all for the advice.

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