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Burials at sea


Ferguson73uk

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If a wounded soldier sadly died while returning to England on a hospital ship while crossing the English Channel, would he have been buried at sea if the ship were in mid-crossing or would the body always be landed for burial?

 

The reason I ask is that a casualty I am looking at boarded a hospital ship but has no known UK burial. He is remembered on the Brookwood Memorial in Surrey.

 

Jonathan

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I don't know the answer but logically a Channel crossing would probably be shorter than the time needed to prepare the body for a burial at sea.

Therefore I'd expect an Army fatality to be buried in the UK in the circumstances above.

Regrettably, there were probably many examples of men succumbing to their wounds whilst in transit and I don't see the crew taking time to arrange sea burials except in exceptional circumstance.

But I know little, so wait for an expert to hove into view.

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I am certain that a man who died on a crossing from Calais/Dover, etc would not have been buried at sea. Not only would there not be time to prepare, but the Channel is so shallow that it is not practical. Today, only a few places are alloted for burials. There is one off the Hull pensinsual, and another way down after Lands End, but nowhere else to my knowledge.

Even then, bodies are occasionally washed up.

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I have come across a couple of men wounded at Gallipoli who died on hospital ships presumbly on route to Malta or elsewhere and were buried at sea.

I believe SDGW shows these. 

 

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Many thanks for these replies. If he is named on the memorial wall at Brookwood then his burial must have been lost (which seems odd), or perhaps in a site that the CWGC no longer maintain?

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Is there the possibility that he died by going over the railings under his steam?.  Would that put him on the Brookwood memorial?

 

Craig

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Are you sure he was crossing the Channel?   The Hollybrook Memorial records men lost at sea all over the globe; according to the CWGC website, this memorial is now full and such casualties are now remembered on Brookwood.  Just because the memorial is in England doesn't mean he was lost near to home.

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This is the chap:

Name: Thomas Davies
Birth Place: St. Clears, Carm.
Death Date: 23 Jul 1916
Death Place: Home
Enlistment Place: Bargoed
Rank: Corporal
Regiment: Welsh Regiment
Battalion: 10th Battalion
Regimental Number: 16317
Type of Casualty: Died of wounds
Theatre of War: Home
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If he died at sea between France and UK would not the theatre of war have been shown as France not Home?

Where did you get the info in your original post?

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From Steve John's site on the West Wales Memorials:

 

Thomas Davies, Corporal, 16317, Welsh Regiment. Thomas was born at Brynonen, near Bwlchnewydd Chapel, Laugharne in 1886, the Son of John and Margaret Davies. The family moved to St. Clears when Thomas was young, and resided at Penpitch, with John working as a Platelayer with the GWR. The family later moved again, to 38, Henry Street, Bargoed, Glamorgan, and it was there that Thomas enlisted into the 10th (Service) Battalion, The Welsh Regiment. The Battalion had formed in 1914 and trained at Rhyl, then moved to Winchester, where it became part of 114 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. Thomas landed with the battalion at Le Havre on 2 December 1915, and the Division moved to the Armentieres sector, where they were initiated into trench warfare. In June 1916 the Division marched south to the Somme, where on 7 July 1916 it launches its assault on the fortified Mametz Wood. The initial attack was repulsed at a heavy cost of lives due to well positioned German machine guns, and after a change in Commander renewed its assault on 10 July. The initial assault was renewed by 114 Brigade on the right, with two battalions of 113 Brigade on the left. Thomas was with the 10th Welsh in reserve, on the ground overlooking the wood. Later in the morning the 10th Welsh were sent into the wood to reinforce the Brigade, and it was at some time after this that that Thomas became wounded. Thomas was evacuated to the Casualty Clearing Station at Heilly, before being moved again to one of the hospitals on the channel coast. Two weeks after being wounded at Mametz Wood, Thomas was stretchered aboard a Hospital Ship, to be moved back to a hospital in England for more specialist treatment. Sadly Thomas died of his wounds on the journey home, on 23 July 1916. He was about 29 years old. The location of his grave is not known, so Thomas is remembered on the Brookwood Memorial, Surrey. Thomas is not commemorated at Laugharne or St. Clears.

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Have you looked to see if his service record is available?

Have you tried seeing if he was perhaps buried in his home town or town he was born? If he worked for the railway I wonder if they provided transport of a coffin for free?

Perhaps the author of website can tell you where he got the info from , service record, casualty records etc?

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59 minutes ago, Ferguson73uk said:

Thomas was stretchered aboard a Hospital Ship, to be moved back to a hospital in England for more specialist treatment. Sadly Thomas died of his wounds on the journey home, on 23 July 1916. He was about 29 years old. The location of his grave is not known, so Thomas is remembered on the Brookwood Memorial, Surrey. Thomas is not commemorated at Laugharne or St. Clears.

 

please consider the following points

 

(1)  I cannot see from the above where it is stated that he died at sea  He is most likley to have died after he had disembarked in England

(2) Quote  The location of the grave is not known   (he would not have a grave (as such) if buried at sea

(3) shown as death place Home on SDGW (not at sea)

 

 

regards Ray

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From the CWGC website

Re Brookwwood Memorial

 

 

The Brookwood 1914-1918 Memorial is a memorial to the missing and commemorates casualties with no known grave. The majority of the casualties commemorated by this memorial are servicemen and women from the land forces of the United Kingdom, who subsequently died in the care of their families. They were not commemorated by the Commission at the time but, through the efforts of relatives and research groups, including the “In From The Cold” Project, these casualties have since been found. There are still many cases to be resolved and the memorial therefore allows for further names to be added. 
Unusually and because of the varied circumstances surrounding many of these casualties, investigative work continues and this may lead to the identification of their burial locations. Whenever a casualty’s grave is located and verified, commemoration will move to the burial site and thus some of the entries on the memorial will no longer be required. As a result and when memorial panels are replaced, these entries will be removed. 

 

Died at home his grave subsiquently lost ?

Regards Ray

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3 minutes ago, RaySearching said:

From the CWGC website

Re Brookwwood Memorial

 

 

The Brookwood 1914-1918 Memorial is a memorial to the missing and commemorates casualties with no known grave. The majority of the casualties commemorated by this memorial are servicemen and women from the land forces of the United Kingdom, who subsequently died in the care of their families. They were not commemorated by the Commission at the time but, through the efforts of relatives and research groups, including the “In From The Cold” Project, these casualties have since been found. There are still many cases to be resolved and the memorial therefore allows for further names to be added. 
Unusually and because of the varied circumstances surrounding many of these casualties, investigative work continues and this may lead to the identification of their burial locations. Whenever a casualty’s grave is located and verified, commemoration will move to the burial site and thus some of the entries on the memorial will no longer be required. As a result and when memorial panels are replaced, these entries will be removed. 

 

Died at home his grave subsiquently lost ?

Regards Ray

Just checked the effects records - he died in the 1st Western general hospital in Liverpool.

 

Craig

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There you go,   Craig has given you the answer above

 

now where is he buried ?

 

 

Regards Ray

 

 

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Looks like the website you got your info from is mot correct.

If he landed at Dover or Folkestone he was obviously still alive to be transferred, probably by train to Liverpool. Maybe you need to find out where the hospital buried their dead. It may well be a cemetry that has been lost over time.

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A quick luck on freebmd (on my phone, in Italy)  shows only one candidate in Liverpool - Thomas H Davies died aged 39. I have my doubts though as a child of the same name also died during the same period.

 

I suppose the hospital may have been based in area of Liverpool that didn't come under Liverpool registration district.

 

Craig

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I think it was under Fazarkely .  Everton  

Liverpool [Everton] Cemetary.. 

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His body may have been retuned to his home town for burial as many were

 

He was the son of Mrs Margaret Davies, of 38 Henry Street, Bargoed, Glamorgan.

 

CWGC HERE

 

Regards Ray

 

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I think if we do anymore the OP will have nothing do!

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4 hours ago, ss002d6252 said:

A quick luck on freebmd (on my phone, in Italy)  shows only one candidate in Liverpool - Thomas H Davies died aged 39. I have my doubts though as a child of the same name also died during the same period.

 

I suppose the hospital may have been based in area of Liverpool that didn't come under Liverpool registration district.

 

Craig

 

4 hours ago, johnboy said:

I think it was under Fazarkely .  Everton  

Liverpool [Everton] Cemetary.. 

 

There's a much better match, how about (from freeBMD):

GRO Deaths: quarter to Sep 1916: Davies Thomas; age 29; W.Derby; Vol 8b; pg 318

'The district W.Derby is an alternative name for West Derby and it is in the county of Lancashire'   The site also has details for the WEST DERBY REGISTRATION DISTRICT which gives that both Everton & Fazarkely were part of that district until 1922

 

Currently Thomas Davies is commemorated on both the new & the old 1914-18 memorials at Brookwood (at least until the latter, now being redundant, gets dismantled)

 

New Panel 3 (top right)

Brookwood Thomas Davies.jpg

 

Old Memorial (panel 10)

Brookwood Old Thomas Davies.jpg

 

NigelS

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Many thanks for all these replies. A number of avenues for me to explore. Thanks again for taking the time to assist me!

 

Jonathan

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15 hours ago, NigelS said:

There's a much better match, how about (from freeBMD):

GRO Deaths: quarter to Sep 1916: Davies Thomas; age 29; W.Derby; Vol 8b; pg 318

'The district W.Derby is an alternative name for West Derby and it is in the county of Lancashire'   The site also has details for the WEST DERBY REGISTRATION DISTRICT which gives that both Everton & Fazarkely were part of that district until 1922

 

If it can be established that the above is the Thomas Davies in question, it is a good match 

and it can be established where he is interred

He would be entitled to have a CWGC headstone to mark his grave 

 

Have we any volunteers ?

 

Regards Ray 

 

 

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Does Liverpool [Everton ] Cemetry still exist? Or records of it? 

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