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German List, What might be going on here?


Bennett
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I am researching an Officer casualty who was KIA in a trench raid 2 June 1917 in the lead up to the Messines battle. His trench raid failed and he was left in the German front line. A follow up patrol intended to recover him failed and he was reported missing.

An official war office telegram sent to his family on June 14th reported him missing.

Here is the 'German List' part. On June 9th a letter from the office of the Military Secretary was sent to family saying his name had been placed on a list of "Missing Officers" to be forwarded to the Netherlands Legation in Berlin so that it might be "circulated" for a search of hospitals and POW camps.

A slightly later war office telegram to family confirms that he was indeed killed in action during that June 2, 1917 trench raid.

Then on October 7, 1917 a second letter directed to family states that this Officer's name does appear on the "official German list" forwarded from the Netherlands Legation stating " Ramsay Stuart, Capt. LNL Regt. died 3.6.17

I originally assumed that Captain Ramsay was KIA 2 June during the failed raid and his body was recovered 5 days later from the German trench during the successful Messines attack of 7 June.

I hope this request is not becoming too complicated but the information from the returned German list suggests to me that since the Germans identified him by name perhaps he lived until 3 June and maybe the Germans gave him a battlefield burial ??. He was later buried in a CWGC cemetery a few miles behind Brit lines.

Any guidance appreciated and no penalties for guesses Ralph

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I hope this request is not becoming too complicated but the information from the returned German list suggests to me that since the Germans identified him by name perhaps he lived until 3 June and maybe the Germans gave him a battlefield burial ??. He was later buried in a CWGC cemetery a few miles behind Brit lines.

It may have been that he was identified by virtue of the original enquiry list or that he (although he shouldn't have) had some identifiable information on him. Was anyone else captured during the raid who could have identified the body ?

Craig

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Ralph,

For anyone else following this, the ICRC index card is here and the German casualty list is in PA 14215.

If it was a night time raid on the night of 2nd / 3rd, then he may well have died on the 3rd.

Do you know anything about 2nd Lieutenant E S Williams? His GRR Form has him as dying on the 2nd, but this has been amended to the 3rd on the main CWGC page. Was he on the same raid?

It is difficult without the actual burial returns for the cemetery, but looking at the layout of the graves, I would be inclined towards his body being recovered on, or very close to the 7th. Whether, or not, he had been buried by the Germans, is impossible to say, but if they weren't under any pressure before the 7th , then most likely he was afforded a battlefield burial by them.

Phil

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Perhaps he was wearing one of the discs specially issued for such raids. As Phil pointed out, he could have been recovered quite quickly after receiving a German burial as has happened here (The Scotsman 4th November 1918) :

post-70679-0-23469300-1414784721_thumb.j

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Thanks very much to all for your input.

Phil- Thanks for the ICRC source that I was unaware of and I agree with your likely scenario for his burial. There were Other Ranks killed and missing from Company D during this raid and will be cross referencing the CWGC databases in the slight hope of further details. Also will check for 2/Lt. Williams who was second in command on the raid with Captain Ramsay. His gallant attempt to recover his body cost him his life. I will write to the CWGC to see if their records hold any further details for Capt. Ramsay burial in St. Quentin Caberet.

Seaforths- thanks I was unaware of a "special identity disc' possibility and will check the 7th HQ records operational orders to see if such may have been issued. And with the raid zero hour at 10:50pm there is little difference between June 2&3.

Again Thanks

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