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Ronan McGreevy

CWGC confirms that John Kipling is buried in the correct grave

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T8HANTS

Putting aside the potential can of worms of other cases.

As a casual outside observer I feel the CWGC is giving the impression (to me at least) of possibly putting its reputation before other considerations.

Perhaps in the past, providing the widow of Pte Bloggs, and the Mother of Pte Atkins had a focal point for their grief it didn't in some ways matter if the bodies had been mixed up or misidentified, and there was no practical way of identifying them anyway.

However things have now changed dramatically from the point of identification tools, and the CWGC is not doing its self any favours by its apparent "We're right" stance.

We would have much more confidence in their systems if possibly in this case the CWGC went ahead and proved they were right.

Or perhaps admitted there may be some doubt, but because of the practicalities involved it would be best that things remain as they are, for Jack and all the others.

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Mark Hone

The Holts do suggest in their book that the only final way to settle the matter would be to compare the body's DNA with that of Rudyard Kipling, who is buried in Westminster Abbey.

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ss002d6252

I think reputation is everything when you're the 'body' responsible for identifying bodies - anything that damages the integrity of the CWGC is a threat to this (and rightly so) but they need to look where this threat is coming from, and if it's coming from their own actions, look at how this can be resolved. Sometimes integrity and reputation can only be preserved by being open.

DNA is the only real answer but it's use in the identification of bodies by the CWGC is lagging behind that by other agencies around the world - have they ever clarified why they aren't keen on the using DNA ?

Craig

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Moriaty

My recollection is that there were no Kipling relatives from whom a DNA sample could be taken.

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spof

I think reputation is everything when you're the 'body' responsible for identifying bodies - anything that damages the integrity of the CWGC is a threat to this (and rightly so) but they need to look where this threat is coming from, and if it's coming from their own actions, look at how this can be resolved. Sometimes integrity and reputation can only be preserved by being open.

DNA is the only real answer but it's use in the identification of bodies by the CWGC is lagging behind that by other agencies around the world - have they ever clarified why they aren't keen on the using DNA ?

he M

I have always understood it that CWGC was only responsible for the formalities like (re)burial and commemoration while identification was down to the relevant CWGC member government and so it is not a matter of CWGC being keen on using DNA or not. As this case would have been dealt with by the MoD, they would be the ones who made the decision and are subject to the FoI Act.

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ss002d6252

I have always understood it that CWGC was only responsible for the formalities like (re)burial and commemoration while identification was down to the relevant CWGC member government and so it is not a matter of CWGC being keen on using DNA or not. As this case would have been dealt with by the MoD, they would be the ones who made the decision and are subject to the FoI Act.

Interesting, any idea what part of the MoD?.

I might make a request to see what they say.

Craig

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John_Hartley

is that thought too insensitive, and possibly set a dangerous president ?

Yes and yes, IMO

I think it would be totally insensitive to go round speculatively digging up bodies to satisfy the casual interest of, erm, folk like me. And it would be bound to set a precedent of folk wanting all sorts of bodies dug up because it might just be their great uncle Fred.

I think the other side of that coin was demonstrated on the recent John Condon (or not) thread, where a descendent of the man many believe to be buried in the grave with Condon's headstone said that he was satisfied he knew the answer and that, in spite of that, digging up the body to prove it was unthinkable to him.

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ss002d6252

That's always the argument, there does have to be limits but in such a high profile case it's surely damaging to a reputation to be associated with such a situation. Do you know is actually responsible for the identification decision John?

Craig

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John_Hartley

Not sure, Craig. I think some unit at MoD.

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seaforths

Thank you to Ronan for posting the report. I haven't seen it anywhere else but then again, I haven't been looking. Having read the book and visited the exhibition that was running at the IWM on it (and sat in Daniel Radcliffe's chair). I've found this thread very interesting to follow.

They are about to, (if they haven't already) exhume Tsar Nicholas and Alexandra to test their DNA. In this case, they have a bloodstained uniform of his grandfather to test the DNA against. That anything similar survives from Carrie or Rudyard, that could be tested would be most unlikely. However, given the lengths they went to, to try and establish what happened to John, it could be said it may well be something they would want. Rudyard would probably have penned a poem on it!

As an aside, every time I sign on to Ancestry, I seem to get a DNA pop-up, perhaps they would like to take the case on!

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ss002d6252

Thank you to Ronan for posting the report. I haven't seen it anywhere else but then again, I haven't been looking. Having read the book and visited the exhibition that was running at the IWM on it (and sat in Daniel Radcliffe's chair). I've found this thread very interesting to follow.

They are about to, (if they haven't already) exhume Tsar Nicholas and Alexandra to test their DNA. In this case, they have a bloodstained uniform of his grandfather to test the DNA against. That anything similar survives from Carrie or Rudyard, that could be tested would be most unlikely. However, given the lengths they went to, to try and establish what happened to John, it could be said it may well be something they would want. Rudyard would probably have penned a poem on it!

As an aside, every time I sign on to Ancestry, I seem to get a DNA pop-up, perhaps they would like to take the case on!

I'm sure they'd offer to do the test for free for the publicity.

Craig

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corisande

A DNA test like the one being mooted here on Kiplings's remains is not a straight forward "swab in your mouth" test that is touted for genealogy testing. It has to be done by a well outfitted specialist forensic lab

There was a similar test done 7 or 8 years ago on Christopher Columbus' bones, to establish whether the bones thought to be his were in fact his (his bones had been moved several times)

There is a news report here on this link on how the identification was done and you can get others on Google

Long and short was they used DNA from a skeleton known to be a relation of Columbus and tested it from bones believed to be Columbus's . They found the match was "perfect"

So it could be done with Kipling, but the body would have to be exhumed and there has to be a live (or dead if you got the exhumation order) DNA donor to check against

Do the CWGC or the MOD really want the risk of being proved wrong?

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ss002d6252

Do the CWGC or the MOD really want the risk of being proved wrong?

I don't think they do - if one identification is proved wrong then (rightly or wrongly) it casts doubt on other identifications (some of which have obviously been discussed previously).

Craig

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Phil Evans

Craig,

I believe that the relevant MoD department is the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC).

Scroll down to the section on Commemorations and Licensing. Contact details are immediately below.

Phil

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ss002d6252

Craig,

I believe that the relevant MoD department is the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC).

Scroll down to the section on Commemorations and Licensing. Contact details are immediately below.

Phil

Thanks Phil.

Craig

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Ron Clifton

RE post 35, my understanding that the bodies of Tsar Nicholas II and his family were identified using DNA before they were buried in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg. Living descendants of Queen Victoria provided samples for matching. One such descendant may be Prince Michael of Kent, who certainly attended their funeral.

Ron

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seaforths

RE post 35, my understanding that the bodies of Tsar Nicholas II and his family were identified using DNA before they were buried in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg. Living descendants of Queen Victoria provided samples for matching. One such descendant may be Prince Michael of Kent, who certainly attended their funeral.

Ron

It seems that the church are not totally convinced of the original test results because all of the bodies were not found buried together. This is the article I read: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34338802

I think it is difficult for CWGC to backtrack on what they accepted as evidence for John Kipling's identification. However, it would, I feel, have a greater negative effect on their credibility by not puttiing their hand up and saying; we might have got it wrong (if indeed that is the case) by accepting this piece of evidence. I don't think it would cast aspersions on what they have achieved with others. Surely people would be sensible enough to realise that each man or case has it's own individual set of circumstances and evidences. What they don't seem to have shown is a consistency in what they will or will not accept as evidence. It might affect their credibility badly if they are proved to have accepted flimsy evidence and attempted to shirk or deny that the accountability for that lies with them.

I would also think that the person that presented the evidence to CWGC in the first instance has some accountability in the matter. In the event that DNA sampling might be out of the question, a willingness of all parties to meet and present evidence and findings would be seen as a way to achieving an outcome that verifies or refutes the identification and might do more to save the faces of all those involved.

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Will O'Brien

RE post 35, my understanding that the bodies of Tsar Nicholas II and his family were identified using DNA before they were buried in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg. Living descendants of Queen Victoria provided samples for matching. One such descendant may be Prince Michael of Kent, who certainly attended their funeral.

Ron

It was the Duke of Edinburgh who provided the blood sample for comparison purposes (along with two other female decendants whose names escape me at the moment)

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Will O'Brien

Regarding the Kipling situation, whilst I am quite open to the possibility that the CWGC has mis-identified John's final resting place, I think it equally important to acknowledge that the arguement put forward by the Holt's in relation to the true identity of the soldier in the grave is equally flawed. Having followed this story over the past ten years or so, I have always found it disquietening that Toni & Valmi's views are often taken as gospel.

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roughdiamond

Having followed this story over the past ten years or so, I have always been it disquietening that Toni & Valmi's views are often taken as gospel.

For me the Holt'S identification has the same problems as the CWGC one, however the CWGC choose to discount their evidence but accept evidence that's equally as vague.

As I said earlier would the evidence be accepted for anyone with less of a profile, anyone who's dealt with them on trying to get name's etc changed will probably tell you no.

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Muerrisch

CWGC and the HOLTS are, of course not unique in adopting falsely definitive positions: this is a human trait once an argument starts.

My preferred position on such matters is of the mugwump.

Mug on one side of the fence and wump hanging over the other.

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seaforths

For me the Holt'S identification has the same problems as the CWGC one, however the CWGC choose to discount their evidence but accept evidence that's equally as vague.

As I said earlier would the evidence be accepted for anyone with less of a profile, anyone who's dealt with them on trying to get name's etc changed will probably tell you no.

CWGC and the HOLTS are, of course not unique in adopting falsely definitive positions: this is a human trait once an argument starts.

My preferred position on such matters is of the mugwump.

Mug on one side of the fence and wump hanging over the other.

Whole heartedly agree with you both. They are, in my experience, totally immovable. They themselves don't appear to understand or be willing to accept that each man (as I stated previously), has his own set of circumstances. They want to apply the same set of criteria to all but in this instance, perhaps because of who he was, they seem to have veered from the impositions they place on others.

I hope the fence doesn't become too uncomfortable. I might have to nip off and get a cushion at some point. Where CWGC are involved it usually involves a long wait.

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ss002d6252

Out of complete curiosity (at the moment having not really read in to the historical evidence one way or the other ) I have sent an FOI request to the MOD to see what they provide regarding the matter. They may provide nothing but if you don't ask...

Craig

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stuartcphillips

All casualties should be commemorated the same, no matter what age, rank, race etc.. to dig up one person (even they are more well known than the other fallen) and conduct DNA tests is setting a precedent that all other casualties should be commemorated/treated in the same way. DNA testing is expensive and time consuming. To do this for all 1.7 million fallen the CWGC commemorates and remembers would just be too costly. Especially in the current economic climate.

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