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Remembered Today:

Staff Serjeant Douglas Allan Heath, RAMC, died 24/12/15


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I'm researching the above chap, Staff Serjeant Douglas Allan (one record has Alan) Heath, a friend's great-uncle in the Royal Army Medical Corps, who died of wounds on Christmas Eve 1915, and is buried at St Sever Cemetery, Rouen.

I have his medal card showing that he arrived on the Western Front 8th July 1915. Also the 1891, 1901 and 1911 census returns, showing that he was born in Worthing, the youngest of seven children of a commercial traveller, Alfred Heath, and his wife Kate. In 1911 he was living with his widowed mother and two of his sisters in a large flat in a smart part of Kensington. Aged 20 he had no profession [so was possibly a science (medical?) student?].

Does anyone know more about him? I would love to find out which unit he was attached to, and where/how he was wounded. RAMC research has always seemed to me to be something of a black-art, but I know that there are experts on the Forum - any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, William

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No one has replied to my question regarding details about this particular chap - and indeed it was something of a long shot.

But given that he died of wounds, what kind of activities might a Staff Serjeant be doing so close to the front? Was this likely to have been an administrative post, or a nursing one? A Field Ambulance, or Dressing Station? He appears to have been well-educated and from the middle-classes, aged 24, so not a battle-hardened old NCO; would this have been normal for a man of this rank?

Any thoughts would be gratefully received, as I report my findings back to my friend.

Thanks, William

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Thanks Barbara - that is fantastic! Many thanks, William

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Nothing extra here really but attached is his name from a large list of casualties that appeared in The Times on 10 Jan 1916 (p.12).

Also this is a little curious. A search of the NA on HEATH and regiment no 33557 brings up two medal cards, the other also a Staff Sgt of the R.A.M.C (Arthur Heath).


Or perhaps he was also known as Arthur?




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S/Sjt 33557 RAMC:

Looking at the two MICs I can see that D A HEATH died in December 1915 and was only eligible for the 15 STAR, but Arthur HEATH was eligible for the Victory and the British medals (only). (No date of entry).


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Thanks Martin and CGM; I had thought that there might be a second medal card, since the first was for the 14/15 star only, but I forgot that I could look under number (ie 33557) - and clearly I didn't think to look under "Arthur"! :doh: .

Either he called himself "Arthur", or the clerk made a mistake, but the second medal card is clearly the right chap. Douglas Allan/Alan Heath is definitely his correct name, and my friend tells me that an inscription in the family bible just says "Uncle Doug died Christmas Eve 1915".

It looks likely that he was wounded at Loos - almost all of the 15th (Scottish) Division casualties seem to have happened on 26th Sept 1915, which means that he may have taken 3 months to die, which is not a happy thought. Perhaps the war diary of the 45th Field Ambulance might give more detail?


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  • 2 months later...

Hi William,

D A Heath attended Emanuel School Battersea. He left Emanuel on 19 December 1907 and is remembered on the School memorial. There may be some more information in the School Magazine The Portcullis. I will take a look.

Firstly, I would be very interested in speaking with the family member and to see any documents they may have particularly the family Bible inscription and anything else they might have. I am Old Boy of Emanuel myself and next year I am organising a free public exhibition to commemorate all Emanuel alumni who served in both world wars. Please see my blog http://emanuelschoolatwar.wordpress.com I am also writing a 400 page illustrated book to accompany the exhibition.

I will also send you a direct message.

Kind regards,


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Hi Daniel,

I have replied to your message privately - essentially the MacDonald family have no photos or records of any kind of an "Uncle Doug", apart from this one mention - they didn't even know his surname, but only one Douglas died that day, and Heath is one of a number of family surnames so it all started to fit.

I have e-mailed you all the information that I have, and can e-mail you copies of the documents that I mention in my e-mail if you like. The MacDonalds are not e-mailers/internetters, but if I bump into them in the village I will mention that you are keen for any information that may turn up in the future of their great (great?) uncle Doug.

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