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Remembered Today:

What happens when a missing soldier is found?


LCpl Lee Cope
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Hello folks,

I was sat watching the news last month and felt privelidged to be watching the very respectful way that a group of Soldiers from The Great War had been found and finally layed to rest.

They even had living family members tracked down so that they too could attend the ceremony as the NOK.

I thought how wonderful is that, and then it got me thinking about Two of my ancestors on my Mothers side of the family.

S/32223 - Rifleman Walter Brooks, 7th Battalion Rifle Brigade - ( b ) 1888 Branston, Burton Upon Trent, Staffordshire - Killed in action 16 Oct 1917 - Final resting place is unknown, but is remembered at the Tyne Cot Memorial on panel 145 - 147.

22269 - Private Joseph Brooks, North Staffordshire (Prince of Wales) Regiment - ( b ) July 1895 Branston, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire - Killed in action 30 May 1918 - Final resting place is unknown, but is remembered at the Soissons Memorial.

As far as I'm aware there are no graves for these Two men and I'm still investigating their other Five brothers.

I was wondering if there is anywhere to register as the living NOK for missing WW1 soldiers who are yet to be found. This is just incase a soldier is found with some form of identifying item that was with them at the time of death?

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all.

Regards,

Lee.

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I don't know the exact number, Lee, but remember that many thousands of the men who are commemorated on memorials to the missing are buried in un-named graves in CWGC cemeteries marked as 'Known Unto God'.

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That's very true SG, they could have been found already and like you say, they could have been buried in "Known unto God" graves. :(

I'm under the assumption that Walter Brooks lost his life just after The Battle of Poelcappelle as part of the 14th (Light) Division, 41st Brigade, which then went into The First Battle of Passchendaele.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Poelcappelle

It would be very interesting to add my name and contact details somewhere just in case something was found that hadn't already come to light.

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Lee,

Walter Brooks was reported missing on the 16/10/17, with him listed as missing was A. Barker B/203596 & M. Wilkins S/16857. There are others listed for 16/10/17 where they are all listed as missing believed killed on the 16/10/17.

The 7th RB were relieved during the night of the 16th by the 9th KRRC, with the war diary recording that it was a very trying time for the men where no infantry action occurred and the men had to sit under continual shelling which became intense at times in answer to our practice barrages.

The Brigade diary lists the 7th RB as left battalion in the front line trench with the 7th KRRC as right battalion.

Andy

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14th Div HQ Diary for the time in the trenches


2

post-1871-0-12172300-1419490160_thumb.jp

post-1871-0-84328400-1419490218_thumb.jp

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Lee,

I would imagine it would be very hard for the CWGC or other entity to manage a "living" list of NOK for the MIA. First who defines who is the appropriate NOK amongst descendants and close relatives, then there are the changes of address and contact details, passing of the NOK and so forth.

Cheers,

Hendo

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Many thanks for the information stiletto_33853 it's very much appreciated and has made for good reading.

I tend to agree green_acorn that it would be very hard to manage and organise.

I read an article earlier today that when 11 soldiers had been found, the people in control of the excevation discovered and contacted the NOK via family tree's and DNA.

So there must be a way of contacting someone somewhere.

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Hi Lee

I have done this already for my G-Grandad.

If you phone the CWGC and ask about adding your name as NOK in there "non-public database" so they can be used in case remains are found.

I can give you whatever help you need with this if you have any problems.

Hope this help's

Colin

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That's great news colin,

I'll be sure to contact them in the new year then!

A very many thanks for the assistance.

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They only keep contact details which you would have to make sure were kept up to date and details of your family member but not DNA. If a possible match came up, they might DNA test then but I cannot be sure until I get far (hopefully one day)

Colin

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I have a war diary which gives figures for those killed on almost a daily basis. Unfortunately, there are no grave references given.

Were men buried with their id tag or were both removed?

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Were men buried with their id tag or were both removed?

Depends on exactly when you mean... ... Up until September 1916 (November 1916 to see widescale issue on the W.Front), the British and Empire troops were only issued with one tag anyway. Regulations stipulated that this was to be removed prior to burial (private purchase discs, supplementary issues, etc were considered as personal possessions and removed anyway). Post 1916, one tag was supposed to remain on the body.

Dave

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That's what I thought. So there is always the chance that although men are on memorials they could have been exhumed and buried as 'Known unto God' ?

It is a shame that my gt uncles battalion war diary gives the number of casualties and great detail of training, rest periods, the number of buses used to move them etc but does not mention map refs for burials .

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Very often men weren't wearing any ID when they were lost, as it was common practice for anyone going forward of the line on a working party, raid or recce patrol to be ordered to remove all forms of ID, including disc and battalion/divisional patches, which did make things difficult for later burial details when it came to identifying bodies.

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the next question is bloodline.

I heard somewhere , that the female side of the family were the better for dna

strange I thought for a male soldier, so would be questionable whowas the closest NoK to get a match for the missing.

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