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MATCHING UNKNOWN BURIALS WITH DATA WE NOW HAVE


303man
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I have been looking at burial returns in particular concentration burials. The example I have is Bedford House Cemetery. The burial return has An unknown burial. Plot 12, Row L, Grave 17 it has, 838- unknown british soldier Rifle Brigade recovered from co-ordinates 20.U.19.a.6.1 this location is Pilkemstraat If you then cross reference CWGC commemorations on the menin gate to Rifle Brigade and containing the part army number 838 you come up with S/28388 Rfn George Kidson 16th Bn Rifle Bde who fought the battle of Pilkem Ridge. There are a couple of other Rifle Bde candidates that contained 838 in their number but did not fight in that distinct area the likelihood is that this is Kidson buried as an unknown. Do members of the forum think with the technology we now have to cross reference data, some of these unknowns can in all probability now be attributed.

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I think you put your finger on the difficulty when you say "likelihood is that this is Kidson".

It is the issue of excluding other possibilities to make it certain that this is Kidson. I'm sure you would agree with me that it is right for CWGC to be certain of the identity of a burial before making a change

That said, I'm sure that there will be instances where the availabiity of evidence is such that CWGC feels able to accept it. Perhaps this would be one. I presume you intend to contact the Commission with your findings. Please let us know what their response is - that may help others to know if they have sufficient evidence in their own findings to submit a case.

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.... Do members of the forum think with the technology we now have to cross reference data, some of these unknowns can in all probability now be attributed.

Yes, - but :unsure:

I can tell you from ongoing personal experience that the Commission / MoD want to see a lot more than probabilities & likelihoods. They want pretty solid "proof" of the person you claim to be "X" actually being "X", - and they want all other possibilities eliminated.

Having said that, the records available to us today, including the original IWGC burial and re-internment forms, are a tremendous help in moving things forwards. Not a quick process though.

Tom

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Further thoughts......Presumably the "838" in the burial return is recorded as a partial service number. Does it indicate what the evidence for that was?

What I think you'd need to do for CWGC is provide the commentary that excludes the other two possibilities. Where did they serve? You need evidence that they could not have been the man exhumed from the map co-ordinates. You also need to provide the Commission with the similar evidence that Kidson was in the precise area. Can you find details of other burials at Bedford House of 16th RB men killed the same day as Kidson. Can you find details of other unknowns buried at Bedford House exhumed from the map co-ordinates?

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I have been looking closely now, a lot more at the additional CWGC documentation that is available, just tonight there is a plaque listed on line, on checking he is listed as a 29.9.18 casualty by CWGC and Soldiers died, but all the original CWGC documentation has 01.10.18 as date of death? there must be a lot of mistakes and I am not blaming anyone. We live in a different world technology wise. Discrepancies are easier to spot.

in response to John Hartleys post above. I have read a lot about the exhumation companies work after the armistice. Being well aware soldiers wore other mens kit (I myself have a jacket reissued to me with another soldiers details in it).. The exhumation companies were told to list any identifying marks found with the body, an army number on a set of webbing is not a guaranteed ID. The only true verification would be DNA and that is never going to happen needle and haystack, cost etc.

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