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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Charges for repatriation


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Among the service records of a casualty I have been researching was a letter from his regiment to his parents .

They are requesting payment of " £3.10.0 being the railway company charges for the conveyancing of the corpse from Rugeley to Rotherham "

They seem to have insisted on a written guarantee by the undertaker that the deceaseds parents would pay these charges.

I was surprised that such a charge would be made . Was this standard procedure ?

The soldier had died of pneumonia in Feb 1916 while in camp at Rugeley

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I have seen it in records. They were also charged for an inscription that was over the allowed number of letters.

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Thanks johnboy

Wasn't the inscription charged at 3d a letter ?

I have seen on some CWGC burial reports pencilled in the margin what looks like a cost/price for each headstone

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It looks as if this soldier died near Rugeley, (two big army camps nearby), and his family chose to have his body brought home for burial at their own expense, rather than opting for a burial at the Government's expense in a suitable cemetery near where he died. This was an option available to the Next-of-Kin when soldiers died in the UK.

The grave near Rotherham, however, would still have been an official war grave, even if the family chose to erect a private headstone on it. They would, of course, have been allowed a CWGC stone if they wished, when these became available post-war.


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Thank you Tom & johnboy

He died in Rugeley camp hospital Cannock Chase. Pvte 24333 Albert Victor Agus 11th battn Y&L , his military service was just 1 month.

There is correspondence concerning how the corpse was dressed - wrapped in a sheet rather than clothed in socks and pants - and also mention of the condition of the coffin.

This may have just been the next of kin trying to avoid paying I suppose. They also made a claim to the National Relief Fund.

He lies in the family grave at Masborough cemetery with a private headstone.

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I've seen a case where the army subsequently paid money towards funeral expenses (and this was a man transferred to Reserve Class W due to ill-health).

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