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Artefacts found with the Dead


Seadog
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This is prompted by post 3 on this thread:

https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/239119-writing-the-first-world-war-2-july-2016/#entry2407654My understanding is that things found with the remains would be buried with same although I can understand that perhaps in the case of a identified soldier it may be that a personal item such as a watch or ring could in certain circumstances be offered to the surviving relatives but again I am not certain whether this happens.

 

In the case above the remains were not identified to a actual soldier following intensive investigation so why have the artefacts mentioned been donated to the museum by the MOD given that the identification process is finished. These things are grave goods which could prompt the obvious comment which I leave to members imagination.

What for instance happened to the many artefacts found with the Beaucamps-Ligny 15 the majority of whom were identified by name. Can any member post the definitive rules under which such artefacts are treated and why in this case the objects were donated after a full investigation when in my view they should have been buried with the soldier and photos of said objects made available for display.

Norman

Note:This thread relates to "modern" finds only as happens on a regular basis.

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Uuummm a real poser this one.

I can see both sides of this argument, so, as Norman says. It would be good to hear from someone better versed in, the etiquette / procedure regards this situation.

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I can see a case for perhaps retaining any artefacts which may on further investigation post burial help provide an identification for the fallen but there have been such big advances in the task of identification that I suppose that by the time the soldier is buried all possible avenues have been explored and he has either been identified or will never be. Here is a quote from the post in the other thread.

SOFO is enormously proud to have received these artefacts and has continued to research the possible stories behind the unknown soldier.

The artefacts are now on display at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum.

With respect to the poster this makes no sense to me as it also states that no identification was possible.

Norman

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With respect to the poster this makes no sense to me as it also states that no identification was possible.



Norman




Your respect is appreciated. Some more context for you Norman/Seadog - well this is how it was reported in the local press:-



"In 2013 the remains of a body were discovered by a farmer near Arras in France following storm damage caused by heavy rain.


Artefacts found with the body revealed the soldier had been an officer of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.


But despite extensive efforts it has not been possible yet to confirm the soldier's identity......On Tuesday items belonging to the soldier will be handed over to the museum by the Ministry of Defence.....The remains were discovered in a private garden at Henin sur Cojeul, but despite extensive research by the Regiment and the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre the officer could not be identified.


The inscription on the soldier's headstone reads: "An Unknown Soldier of The Great War, Oxford & Bucks LT INF." "



Where/when/how the decision was made about the various artefacts I cannot say.


MC

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Thanks, I will contact the JCCC to ask them just what the procedure is with regards to artefacts found with the remains in respect of modern finds and whether they the MOD decide on an ad-hoc basis whether to dispose of these separately from the burial of the remains. I personally think that such artefacts should always remain with the soldier as they did form what can be best described as "grave goods" when he was originally buried by his mates or by the fortunes of war.

Norman.

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"In 2013 the remains of a body were discovered by a farmer near Arras in France following storm damage caused by heavy rain.

Artefacts found with the body revealed the soldier had been an officer of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

But despite extensive efforts it has not been possible yet to confirm the soldier's identity......On Tuesday items belonging to the soldier will be handed over to the museum by the Ministry of Defence.....The remains were discovered in a private garden at Henin sur Cojeul, but despite extensive research by the Regiment and the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre the officer could not be identified.

The inscription on the soldier's headstone reads: "An Unknown Soldier of The Great War, Oxford & Bucks LT INF." "

If an officer, why is the inscription 'An Unknown Soldier'?

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I honestly do not think that those who participated in the re-burial of this soldier would have been too enamoured by the idea of him being interred alongside the artefacts that were with him at his death:

 

 

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Not sure who these questions are addressed to, but another quote from the press report:-

"In due course it was established that the remains were those of an officer of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. This had been decided because of the few artefacts found with his remains. These included a silver pocket watch, a whistle, a regimental button and some remnants of his uniform. Officers' uniform being of different quality to that of other ranks made it clear that the body was that of an officer although no identification of the actual rank has been possible."

Not my words ! There will always be more questions than answers.

MC

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MelPack, on 09 Jun 2016 - 1:04 PM, said:

I honestly do not think that those who participated in the re-burial of this soldier would have been too enamoured with the idea of him being interred alongside the artefacts with him at his death:

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=75186

Possibly not, but In normal circumstance things such as buttons and bits of uniform plus personal items etc less explosive items should in my view be reburied with the soldier and until now this was my understanding. Not wishing to upset anyone but what difference is there between the people who dig for a living and unearth human remains then remove any artefacts to sell or collect and those who "officially" exhume the dead then remove and give away similar artefacts, the only difference being that the remains are reburied less anything removed. In this case there can be no good reason to donate the artefacts as the identification process is complete so these objects will be of no further use for that purpose.

N

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Thanks Mike for that, what I do not understand is why it is thought that further investigations may result in an identification when I presume the remains and artefacts have already been subject to thorough scrutiny under the auspices of the JCCC of the MOD. What makes people think that further investigation could result in an ID, which I hasten to say would be an excellent result but extremely unlikely given the above. Furthermore why put these grave goods on display, what possible reason can there be for this. As regards the example of the Black Watch soldier I doubt very mush that the only link to identification was a spoon as there must be more too this than just that one item.

Regards

Norman

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