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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Memorial Mystery, should he be on it ?

Les T

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I have a 5th cousin whose name is on a WW1 memorial.

On the face of it, he should not be ?


09 Sept 1914 enlisted, passed medical as fit for service and was signed up for 3 years.

13 Sept 1914 Discharged under Para 154 (111) ©

23 Sept 1914 he is dead [Do not have cause of death yet]

From posts here I gather Par 154 is “Discharged not likely to become an efficient Special Reservist”,

which is on his army record, but have not found the meaning of (111) © yet ?

I also see that some people did not want their relatives names put on a Memorial.

So does the opposite apply, that the community could feel a person should be on one ?

I have always felt that there was a connection between his discharge and his death.

[if only that his mates joined but he was rejected]

Any ideas or help anyone can supply would be most gratefully received.

There is to be a “Commemoration” in August for the people named on the Memorial, and they are looking for details about them, which prompted this enquire at this time.

Thank you


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There are many threads on the forum discussing this topic with examples. Put simply the criteria for inclusion on local town or village memorials was probably different for each one and the smaller the community then generally the greater likelihood of anomalies often on the basis of financial contribution or religion.

Clearly there was no argument about his inclusion at the time so who are we a century on to say 'on the face of it he should not be'?

I guess his name is also a mystery which might help with ideas


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Council minutes and Parish council minutes if they survive might record the discussions around the memorial - your County Records Office should be able to help. What memorial is it?

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If the Para 154 clauses are the same as Para 392, then (iii) (c ) would be:

(iii) Not likely to become an efficient soldier-

(c ) Recruit within three months of enlistment considered unfit for service.


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So does the opposite apply, that the community could feel a person should be on one ?

Yes. Absolutely.

Each memorial committee had its own definitions about who should be included or excluded. If there is an inscription on the memorial that migth give a clue as the views of the local "worthies". I know of one memorial near to me where a man who didnt die until the late 1930s is included, as is a 16 year old Boy Scout. Another local one includes a man who, to the best of my knowledge, never lived or worked in the area - but had an aunt who did.

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Clearly something drastic and sudden happened to this poor lad in the space of just a few days - a fortnight from being passed fit to his death. Who would begrudge him his place of remembrance - he tried to do his bit and his family (quite rightly in my opinion) requested his name be included among the fallen and it was deemed right at the time.

I hope he is resting in peace. :poppy:


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Thank you all very much for the information and suggestions.

Had not given details of Memorial, in-case he should not have been on it [see below] and did not want to unset anyone.

Down as R T Trenaman, name was Thomas Robert Trenaman

Hatherleigh's WW1 Memorial, Devon.

I have also gone over my notes and found that he joined the same day as his younger brother William.

William went to France and was discharged 1917 [Par 392 xvi Shell wound] having been :-

Wounded 4 times

1 - 15.02.1915 - Doing Duty

2 - Gun shot wound to head

3 - Gun shot wound

4 – Shell wound [silver War Badge Roll 1914-1920]

Died 1970

As it looks like William was disabled in some way, along with Thomas death, this I would think could be a good reason for Thomas to be on the Memorial, as a way for the community to show it sympathy for the suffering of the family, due to the war.

I will send for Thomas death certificate this week, to see if there are any clues on it.

As a layman my only military knowledge is what I am learning from doing the family tree.

I just took it that you had to die in service to be on a Memorial and everyone who did die would be on one.

This information made Memorials far more personal and meaningful.

May they all Rest in Peace.


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Les, what seems logical now doesn't necessarily apply to what went before!

There was no national organisation regarding War Memorials, they more or less grew out of community shrines in various streets, villages and towns.

Who went on was often down to a combination of who you were, what standing you had in the community, your religion, friends and contribution, as most of these were raised by public subscription so a wealthy/generous donor could sometimes have a distant (in both senses) relative included, especially if the only one they could claim, so as to appear to have suffered in the same way as many thousands of others.

There are often what seem glaring omissions (and sometimes inclusions) of families who lost more than one son in tiny communities, but that can be down to parish pump politics or simply the family having moved for employment elsewhere etc.

We can't impose current standards on the past.

What was done, is done.

All we can do is ensure that everyone is remembered for their willingness to do their bit, whether they stormed an enemy fortress single handed or were knocked down by a bus after stepping out of the recruiting office! Munition workers and civilians killed by direct action in WW1 are still not included, perhaps there is the worst injustice, but perhaps even that will change.

In your particular case, how unfeeling would you think his village if you discovered that he had NOT been included?

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My research into the Buxton, Derbyshire, Memorial shows how random selection was - the local press had a number of articles discussing what sort of Memorial; where to put it, etc. and asking for names. There was a cut-off point when a list of names was published and off they went!

I have found two names of men who actually survived the War and 8 or 9 (including what appears to be 2 sets of brothers) who are not on CWGC or SDGW databases, nor can be identified from the 1911 Census returns - so no idea where they came form.

As others have said - not an exact science at all and very much down the local Committees' decisions.

Good luck - keep us posted on progress.


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Men may or may not appear on local memorials for a multitude of reasons.

As regards the fallen, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records is the 'definitive' list for Britain etc; that said even now the 'In from the cold' project is still turning up the names of men whose names need to be added to those records. A lot of men served and fell. There was plenty of scope for administrative muddle.


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  • 3 weeks later...


Neil, a descendent of Thomas's brother William has said that Thomas died in an accident while in Army training.

Death certificate gives cause of death as 1/ Acute Mania 2/ Exhaustion.

As he was working for at least 3 years before, volunteering for the Army, passing the medical, form filling etc. with out, apparently, any signs of mental heath problems.

It looks to me that his mental health problems stemmed from his army training, an accident or over-wise, which resulted in his death after discharge.

So should be remembered with pride.

He is down as R T Trenaman on the memorial, as he was known as Robert, to distingish him from his father Thomas.

I would like to thank everyone for their help and suggestions.

It has been an interesting and educational journey.

May they all rest in Peace.


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