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Andrew P

French Soldier

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Andrew P

Greetings

While wandering through Fremantle Cemetery on the weekend taking pictures of the war graves located there I stumbled upon what looked to be a French grave.

The inscription I scribled down was as follows

'Ici Repose

J.B.Ceran Tautu

Caporal D'Infantrie Colonial?

NE'A RAIATEA LE 13 NOVEMBRE 1893

DE'CEDE LE 4 JANVIER 1917

MORT POUR LA FRANCE'

Now my first question is how would a French soldier who I presume died of wounds or sickness come to be buried in Fremantle cemetery in Western Australia and do the French have the equivalent of the CWGC that I can check details?

Cheers

Andrew

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Paul Reed

A curious one, Andrew!

My thoughts is that he has died on a troop ship which docked in Australia and was buried ashore - to my knowledge there were no French wounded sent to Australia for treatment in WW1?

There is a French equivalent of the CWGC in Paris, but it only answers enquiries from the direct next of kin of the soldier; they have been under pressure for a while to put this information in the public domain and on the net, but nothing seems to have happened yet - typically French!

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CROONAERT

Just in case you "are a relative" (hint! ), as I have been (once)!

Their address is : Ministere des Anciens Combattants et Victimes de Guerre,

37 rue de Bellechasse,

75 007 Paris,

FRANCE

Dave. B)

PS. It helps your case if you write in French!!!!

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Paul Reed

Dave - Vous etes mechant, jeune homme... ! :lol:

If you do write, expect a LONG wait; I wrote on behalf of a relative once and it took 9 months for an acknowledgement!

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CROONAERT
Dave - Vous etes mechant, jeune homme... ! :lol:

I know Paul! I can't help it! (I think there is still some of the roguish schoolboy still left in me yet :D )

Dave

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Christina Holstein

Since the Anciens Combattants take so long to reply, it might be better to write to Raiatea to see if there's any information available there. It sounds as if it's in the Pacific somewhere. A letter to the Mayor might produce a reply. Sometimes a flanking approach works.

Another possibility is the microfilm list of of soldiers 'Morts pour la France" that is held at the Archives Nationales in Paris. Paul, did you know about this? Every French soldier who was killed, disappeared, or who died of wounds or of injury contracted on service is listed on a small individual file prepared by his unit at the date of his death and they have all been microfilmed. I know this unlikely piece of information because a French friend of mine has recently been successful in looking into the military career of a Vietnamese whose dogtag was recently founc at Verdun. My friend is not Vietnamese, not a member of the deceased's family but he had no difficulty looking up the information he wanted.

Christina Holstein

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Christina Holstein

Just looked up Raiatea on Google and yes, you've guessed, it's in Tahiti. Off you go, Andrew. Don't forget to send us a postcard.

Christina Holstein.

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Andrew P

Hi Christina

It would be cheaper than going to Paris, though I'd better brush up on my 10 french words that I know :D

Thanks for the replies.

I've tried to contact the cemetry authorities to see if they have any extra details but no luck as of yet.

Cheers

Andrew

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Myrtle

Andrew

If you look at the message board at Ancestry.com there is someone looking for information on descendants of a woman called Tautu who was born 1850 in French Polynesia. They are in contact with someone who appears to have some idea of the family history. May be worth a try.

Myrtle

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Paul Reed

Christina - I didn't know that. Most interesting.

Wonder if it would be possible to get copies of this microfilm?

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CROONAERT
Christina - I didn't know that. Most interesting.

Wonder if it would be possible to get copies of this microfilm?

Nor did I. Could be very useful. If it is possible to get copies of the microfilm, I wonder whether anyone would be prepared to turn it into a database (either online or on disc - possibly in PDF format?)? <_<

Thanks for that info.,Christina.

Dave.

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Andrew P
Andrew

If you look at the message board at Ancestry.com there is someone looking for information on descendants of a woman called Tautu who was born 1850 in French Polynesia. They are in contact with someone who appears to have some idea of the family history. May be worth a try.

Myrtle

Thanks Myrtle. I'll give it a try.

Cheers Andrew

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Christina Holstein

I didn't know about the database either until about a month ago. I've never consulted the Archives Nationales.

Christina Holstein.

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Andrew P

Haven't found out much more as of yet as to why this soldier was buried in Fremantle WA, but in case anyone is interested here is a photo of the original grave.

post-1-1060229842.jpg

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christine liava'a

I thought the Mormon church might hold a copy of the microfilm, so looked in the Library Catalogue under France. They don't have that film, but they do hold these, copies of which can be ordered through any Mormon Family History Centre.

Subject World War, 1914-1918 - Registers of dead - France

Titles Names and particulars of all A.I.F. men buried in Heath Cemetery-- Harbonnieres and Pozieres British war cemeteries--Ovillers-La-Boiselle, France Dermott-Powell, Eric, 1926-

Names and particulars of all A.I.F. men buried in the following cemeteries in France : Quarry Cemetery--Montauban, Bernafay Wood British War Cemetery-- Montauban, Longueval Road Cemetery, Pernois British Cemetery, Pernois Communal Cemetery, Vignacourt British Cemetery and Bertaucourt-Les-Dame Churchyard, St. Ledger-Les-Domart Communal Cemetery Dermott-Powell, Eric, 1926-

Names and particulars of Australian servicemen buried in St. Severs Cemetery, Extension, Rouen, France Dermott-Powell, Eric, 1926-

Names and particulars of British soldiers buried in A.I.F. burial ground, Grass Lane, Flers, France Dermott-Powell, Eric, 1926-

Names and particulars of British soldiers buried in the Poziers British Cemetery, Ovillers-La Boiselle, France Dermott-Powell, Eric, 1926-

War cemeteries in France, names and particulars of A.I.F. buried in the Querrieu British Cemetery : Pont- Noyelle Communal Cemetery, Daours Communal Cemetery, Daours Communal Cemetery Extension Dermott-Powell, Eric, 1926-

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christine liava'a

There is a Tahitian from the French Polynesian force buried in Karori Cemetery, Wellington, whose name I can't remember. He is listed in the set of books of Commonwealth War Graves, in the NZ section, if anyone has the set

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Terry Denham

Christine

Your man was Pte TETIAMANA A ATEA 010741 Tahitian Contingent

Died 08.09.18 Age 31 Son of Mrs Mihi A Urarii of Papara, Tahiti

Wellington (Karori) Cemetery, New Zealand - Grave A.3

He was originally included in error in the CWGC register for New Zealand as a Commonwealth War Grave but has now been deleted from this list and added to the roll of Foreign Nationals in CWGC Care.

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Charles Fair

Could this man have been with the Bataillon de Tirailleurs du Pacifique which I assume was part of the French Polynesian Force? This battalion was raised at Noumea on 4 June 1916 and saw action on the Aisne in July and August 1918. A total of 1,067 Polynesians and Kanaks served under the tricolore in the Great War. (I'm not sure where I got these figures from, but I thing they came from the MACVG pamphlet '1914-18 l'Armée Coloniale - les soldats d'outre-mer: monuments et sépultures'.)

I once found a man from this battalion buried at Nogent-sur-Marne communal cemetery on the Eastern edge of Paris - a long way from home in a somewhat less idyllic environment.

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Ian Underwood
A curious one, Andrew!

My thoughts is that he has died on a troop ship which docked in Australia and was buried ashore - to my knowledge there were no French wounded sent to Australia for treatment in WW1?

Try microfilmed copies of the 'West Australian' newspaper, they would include shipping details of the time. You'll probably find this and other relevant archival documents in the State Library in James St. More detailed Port Authority documents would be held in the Maritime Museum in Fremantle.

It's likely if he died at sea, he would've been buried there, rather than in Fremantle, so perhaps the archives of the Fremantle hospital may have details if he was transferred to shore alive, and died of disease later.

Also, I'd suggest that Fremantle would have a fairly active Historical Society given it's early convict heritage. That might be the best place of all to start. Either way keep us informed of any developments.

ian.

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christine liava'a

Thanks for the Karori info.

Something interesting about these two graves is the dates.January 1917, and September 1918.

Over 500 native troops from New Caledonia came home along with the Fiji Labour Corps, on the Kia Ora from Havre, via Colon, Panama, to Suva, Noumea, then Wellington. The Fijians arrived home October 31, 1919 after leaving Taranto September 15, 1919. The New Caledonians would have arrived home a few days later.

When did the other French Polynesians travel?

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Andrew P
Try microfilmed copies of the 'West Australian' newspaper, they would include shipping details of the time. You'll probably find this and other relevant archival documents in the State Library in James St. More detailed Port Authority documents would be held in the Maritime Museum in Fremantle.

It's likely if he died at sea, he would've been buried there, rather than in Fremantle, so perhaps the archives of the Fremantle hospital may have details if he was transferred to shore alive, and died of disease later.

Also, I'd suggest that Fremantle would have a fairly active Historical Society given it's early convict heritage. That might be the best place of all to start. Either way keep us informed of any developments.

ian.

Thanks Ian

Have tried some of these avenues but so far have drawn a blank, but will keep plugging away at it.

I was recently informed that a historian has done quite a bit of research on the cemetery for a heritage trail. Hopefully they might have some more info, so if I find any more about this man, I'll post it here.

Cheers

Andrew

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