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Jim Hastings

Ever come across this in burials in your research

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Jim Hastings

Good afternoon all,

I have been looking into a local man, L/9744 Sjt. L. L. Watson who was wounded at High Wood on 17th August 1916, casevac'd to Netley (RVH) by 22nd August and died from his wounds there on 6th September. In his records it states that he was buried at Netley at 1445hrs on the 8th. However, that was not to remain his last resting place as he now lies in Holy Trinity churchyard in High Hurstwood. There is no correspondence to the effect, but I presume the family requested (and paid for??) his body to be reburied locally. I just wondered how prevalent this was, from the findings of GWF members in their research? I plan to get in touch with the church to see if they have records of a transfer. I visited the grave today, and there is a plot and CWGC headstone, so I believe it to be a grave not a memorial.

Thank you

Jim

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John_Hartley

Never come across this before, Jim. But it can't have been an isolated case.

The army would pay for a local funeral in the UK but the family had to cough up to have him buried at home. Generally, it seems to me that, if folk could afford it they paid for a home burial. Presumably, in this case, the family didnt/couldnt pay at the time, but could afford it later. There should be some local information - the church must have details of when he was buried, I'd think.

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keithfazzani

I am not sure what the rules were then but moving a body once buried is very difficult indeed and requires a Home Office license. Perhaps that route might be worth investigating.

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Jim Hastings

Thanks John and Keith,

I'll report back once I've spoken to the church but another thought I've had is maybe the family telegraphed Netley between the 6th and 8th to tell them not to bury him there, and they made provision to get the body back to High Hurstwood. Watson had been a bricklayers labourer prior to joining the Royal Sussex in 1911 after a period of unemployment, and the family seem to have been farmers, so unlikely they could afford it, although fortunes may have changed later. The HO license would certainly have complicated matters for them too.

I'll dig deeper and see what I can find, following two avenues of approach, i) was he buried at Netley and ii) what the church records indicate

Thank you both for your input, appreciate your time

Jim

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Guest

Hi Jim. Just a thought; it says " The funeral of late 9744 Sergt Watson will take place at Netley Friday 8th inst 2.30 pm "

It doesn't actually say it did take place?

I also noticed this, although it does go on to say he died on the 6th?

2lk61j8.jpg

Mike

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keithfazzani

That would make sense. Moving a body after burial is an extremely unlikely thing.

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Jim Hastings

Hi Mike,

My thoughts as well, re: burial, that family intercepted the authorities intention to bury him there, especially as there is another doc suggesting the NOK visit him prior to death, the family must have sadly known what his imminent fate was. But to be sure I will check with Netley as far as possible, and the church tomorrow (fingers crossed)

I think the 22nd was just a clerical error, it was the date he went to Netley, not dying until 14 days later, poor chap

Thanks all, I'll update when I have answers/more evidence

Jim

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Phil Evans

Jim,

I hope you have success going down the route of checking the church burial registers, or the local papers, first.

Believe me you will not want to start looking for an exhumation order. They are at Kew in HO 85 and 1000 pages of tissue paper to a ledger. I've recently been through 4 volumes and that didn't even cover two years.

Phil

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Jim Hastings

Ladies and Gentlemen I am indebted to Mike (Skipman), who has just sent me this, and the mystery is solved (and saved me some nightmares by the sound of it Phil!!)

"Hi Jim, here's a pressie for you, that I found in the The Sussex Agricultural Express Friday 15 September 1916, (of all places.)

Young Sergeant Buried at Hurstwood-We regret to announce the death from wounds of Sergeant Lancelot Leopold Watson, the 5th son of Mr Lambert Watson, of the Bungalow, Parkhurst, Buxted. He joined the Royal Sussex Regiment 5 years ago, when the battalion was stationed at the Curragh Camp in Ireland. He subsequently came to Woking with the Regiment, and was soon a prominent member of the Regimental cricket and football teams. He went out as a Lance Corporal with the Regiment on the outbreak of war and was present at the famous retreat from Mons. After the battle of the Marne he was promoted to Corporal in the field for detecting some men and women spies at a farm. His next great day was when they charged the Prussian Guard, and then came the battle of the Brickfields at La Bassee, where the Royal Sussex held the Keep, and where after the battle he was promoted to Sergeant. He went through the battle of Loos unscathed, although an explosive bullet exploded under him and blew to pieces a button on his coat. He was very seriously wounded in the great push on the 16th of August by a bomb, and received 18 wounds. The doctors gave hope of his recovery, but he passed away at Netley on the 6th of September, at the age of 23, having joined the Army at the age of 18. He was a very promising N.C.O. and held in high esteem by his officers. He was offered a commission about a year ago but refused it. His body was brought home to High Hurst Wood and buried with full Military honours, and amid many manifestations of sorrow, on Saturday, the firing party and trumpeter being supplied by the 13th Reserve Cavalry Brigade at Maresfield Park. The coffin was covered with the Union Jack and on it was a sword and helmet, and he was borne to his last resting place by 6 Sergeants. The Rev Thomas Constable officiated, and the Hymn " Fight the good fight " was sung at the graveside, the vicar saying a few touching words about this young hero. Deceased was well known in the district, and a great number of people came to pay him a last respect. Appended is the list of floral tributes:-

A token of tenderest love, and in never fading memory of our dearest Lance, from father, brothers, sisters and Rhoda ' Peace perfect peace, earth's struggles shall cease and Jesus call us to heaven's perfect peace. "

" In loving memory of our dear cousin, from Olive and Archie.

" Sacred to the memory of a young hero, from Mr and Mrs Whitehead. "

" With deepest sympathy, from Mr and Mrs Wilmhurst and family. "

" In deepest sympathy, from Mr and Mrs Frost. "

" With deepest sympathy, from Mrs Odell. "

" With deepest sympathy with those who hold the brave young soldier in loving memory, with all his sympathy, from the Rev T Constable. "

" With deep sympathy, from Mr and Mrs Kingsland. "

" In remembrance of one of our brave boys, from Mabel, Fred, and Teddie Frost. "

" From the deceased sergeant's brother Bertram E Wtson, Shadwell Cottage, High Hurst Wood, Buxted. "

Thank you so so much Mike, this is outstanding!! Mystery solved

Big thank you to you all,

Have a good evening, Jim

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Guest

You're welcome Jim. Excellent detail, wish I could find that much on the men I am researching. I have to say, the credt, again, goes to The British Newspaper Archive, and their excellent search facility :thumbsup:

Mike

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jgreen

Hello Jim, glad to read that your question has been answered. According to the burial records at Netley, some names of the deceased were recorded in the records, then later crossed out and written in the remarks column is "removed by friends or relatives". Whether this means that they were buried then exhumed or not, I don't know.

There were some Belgian soldiers removed a few years after they were buried by the authorities and 3 Americans, 18 months after they were buried.

Julie

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Jim Hastings

Thank you Julie, that is very interesting about the Belgians and Americans. I wonder how many relatives/friends did claim the bodies of their lost ones?

Hope your research is going well?

All the best

Jim

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ph0ebus

I am familiar with a AEF fellow (Sgt. Carl Sohncke) that I was researching who was KIA at the Battle of Cantigny, intentionally buried in a shell hole in 1918 and was subsequently exhumed years after the war ended and his body transported back to the US and buried in the family plot in Queens, New York.

-Daniel

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Phil Evans

Jim,

Good to see that, thanks to Mike, that was sorted speedily.

The relevant volumes of HO 85 show vast numbers of Belgians and Americans repatriated for burial in their respective home countries. With respect to UK casualties who died in military hospitals, a surprisingly high number seem to have been brought home for burial. I just looked through my research on Lewisham Military Hospital (link on my website below) and when you take out the locals, I would think that the majority were buried in their home town / village.

Locally, Forest Row Cemetery contains the grave of Pte George Gregory, 10th Bn Royal Sussex, who, according to his gravestone, died at Shoreham Camp.

Phil

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Jim Hastings

That is interesting Phil, and yes, Mike saved the day!!

I have another DoW man buried locally too, SD/799 Pte A GURR at St Margaret's in Isfield. He was wounded at Boar's Head 30th June 1916 with 11th Sussex and died in hospital in Orpington on 4th July, but was buried back in Isfield. There was a big write up in the local paper too, 20th Hussars forming the honour guard this time. He was from a farming family too IIRC, so I wonder how much it cost them to recover their loved ones body, as mentioned above I assume the army offered only a local burial?

All the best, Jim

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johnboy

Q JIM so I wonder how much it cost them to recover their loved ones body, as mentioned above I assume the army offered only a local burial?

Is it possible that some men were buried before the NOK were notified? [France].

I doubt that there was any mortuary space. Men who died in the field were probably buried straight away. Some in marked graves some not. Their details and effects , if any, were then handed in. These were then probably forwarded to London and NOK notified.

Maybe most NOK were just glad that their relative had been found and ben buried. Maybe it never occured to them to have the body exhumed and brought back. If the body had been buried with others and ID removed, they might never know if they got the right body.

If a soldier died in a UK hospital away from his home town things might have been a bit easier as the cost would have been for transporting the body.

As an aside, did soldiers have life insurance?

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Guest

I haven't seen any evidence of this, but I wonder if funds were available from comfort funds and the like. There seems to have been an incredible amount of money donated over the war years. There were also organisations like " The Ancient Order of Foresters " which offered a type of Life Insurance, there may have been many others?

Mike

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Guest

If the answer is not on this page, it will probably be in Hansard somewhere?

BURIAL ALLOWANCE.
HC Deb 04 February 1915 vol 69 cc140-1 140

60. Mr. MURRAY MACDONALD

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether the allowance made by the War Office for the burial of soldiers who die at home from the effects of wounds or disease is fixed without regard to the circumstances of each case; whether his attention has been called to the case of the Royal Scots Fusilier who died in Linlithgow Fever Hospital on 20th January from enteric fever, and who, but for the public 141 spirit and generosity of the citizens of Linlithgow, would have been buried in a pauper's grave; and whether provision will be made to prevent the recurrence of such a case in the future?

Mr. BAKER

The amount of the allowance to which my hon. Friend refers is decided on the merits of each case. I have no information with regard to the particular case quoted, but if my hon. Friend will furnish me with the name of the soldier I will have inquiry made.

Mike

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Jim Hastings

Nice find (again!!) Mike! Watson seemed a popular man from a well established family in the neighbourhood, so maybe, along with the military allowance they clubbed together to get him returned to the village. I've traced a historian focusing on the village, so I will write up something on Sjt Watson from his docs and Mike's great find for him and see if he has any other info to add.

I'm sure for hygiene, moral and morale reasons, among others reasons, Johnboy, men killed or DoW at the front / F&F were buried as soon as possible, well before the fateful telegram hit the home mat, but, as Phil mentions in post #14 many UK deaths were buried back in their home areas and interesting how the authorities geared up for that. UK military hospital cemeteries would have been overflowing had they not, I presume, again not good for morale.

It is amazing how many facets of the Great War you don't get to think about until you stumble over the case, and this is where the forum glows, drawing experience and knowledge and evaluating what probably happened. A big thank you to all - again I have learnt do much

Have a good (and as dry as possible) day all

Jim

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Phil Evans

I think Mike's comments regarding the Friendly Societies is probably most valid. It has caught my notice, looking at service records over the years, just how many men subscribed to them, in the absence of a National Insurance system.

The only documented evidence I have of costs for transportation being covered by the War Office, is from the file of 2nd Lieut. H. G. Donaldson, 20th London Regiment attached to the RFC. He died of injuries sustained in February 1918 in a flying accident. It was several months later when his father received a discretionary payment and then after lengthy correspondence.

post-20576-0-03751200-1384264344_thumb.j

Phil

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Jim Hastings

Great bit of evidence Phil, so it looks as though the cost was down to NOK and/or Friendly Societies ...

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johnboy

Is there any evidence of bodies brought back from France to be buried in UK?

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Phil Evans

It didn't happen officially.

If you want to get some idea of the situation, have a scan down the CWGC archive catalogue, Part 1, Section 7B, Item 268 onward. Not much detail, but you can get a good overall picture of the policies.

Phil

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Guest

Is there any evidence of bodies brought back from France to be buried in UK?

Have evidence of an American soldier's body being brought back from France, and buried Exeter.

Mike

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johnboy

Have evidence of an American soldier's body being brought back from France, and buried Exeter.

Mike

That sounds an interesting story. Why was he buried in Exeter?

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