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Remembered Today:

Shot at Dawn


SMG65
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My Gt Uncle was executed in 1916 at Busseboom and was buried in a field where there were no other burials, he is still there in an unmarked grave.

 

I am trying to work out where he would have been executed because there  is an original cow shed in the field that is made of brick and I think he was possibly shot against it.

 

Were executed soldiers buried close to their execution?

 

Sean

 

 

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From his papers which survived.

I have the full story and Julian Putkowski has a chapter on him in his book 'Muderous Tommies'.

 

I visit the field every two years and the farmer lets me put a poppy in it.

 

Sean

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Sean

 

When you mention his papers, are you referring to the court martial file that, I think, should still be held by the National Archives? If you havent yet seen it, then it may well give some burial details. Burials were always carried out near to where a man had died and it'd be no different for someone executed. If there was a handy military cemetery, then I can imagine him being buried there. But, if not, as seems to be the case here, then a burial adjacent to the place of execution makes sense. Very moving to think of it, but the brick wall of the shed also makes sense.

 

John

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Before you posted an aerial view was a trench map ref. given?

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2 minutes ago, johnboy said:

Before you posted an aerial view was a trench map ref. given?

 

I got the wrong square anyway.

 

Sheet 28 G.22.b.8.8

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Does anyone know the full sheet number. I think there should be a letter after 28?

 

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I Think 28 is correct for Ypres area map see MacMaster.

 

Unusual to be buried at location of execution and opens up new ideas for those SAD with no know grave site (about 30). Generally it's believed these were buried according to normal practice in a cemetery but it's assumed their grave marker was somehow lost. Perhaps this is an alternative to the cemetery assumption.

 

From the attached it seems the IWGC had some info in his grave location but chose not to re-inter the body?

 

TEW

 

Clipboard01.jpg

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14 hours ago, johnboy said:

Where did you find the burial information?

It was Thomas Moore and I have all the court martial papers.

He had an interesting pre war life which Julian covers well in Murderous Tommies, I gave him some of the family papers.

Sgt Pick who he shot was his friend and they had been out drinking together that night.

Thomas intended to shoot the Sgt Major, 'Ginger Bagshaw'.

He committed the offence at Zealand Farm, I have been there and the area is now farm fields but the entrance to the camp had a house surrounded by a small moat, that is still there and the farmer let me have a look around it.

He was executed at Devonshire Farm, it is a lot bigger now but the three original buildings are there.

I speak reasonable Dutch so the farmer is fully aware of my reasons for being there.

The area hasn't changed much and a few years ago on the GWF someone transposed the burial location onto a modern day map.

 

The cow shed is about 10 feet by 5 feet.

I think on the balance of probabilities it was used as his cell and he was shot against the outside wall.

 

I don't have a photo of him but tantalisingly I have a photo of a family member who we can't identify, it shows his body from chest upwards.

He has the facial features of the other Moore brothers and he is in a pre war 'stepping out' uniform, Thomas was in the army in 1911 until he got jailed for theft.

The only thing that negates the photo is the L/Cpl stripe on the left arm, there is no record of Thomas ever getting a stripe, the longest document on his service records is his discipline sheet.

 

A mystery I may never solve?

 

Sean

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There are a number of SAD burials in Poperinghe New Military Cemetery which might suggest that bodies were moved later, which doesnt account for the none re interrment

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Perhaps even then a distinction was made between those shot for purely military offences, and those shot for what was a capital crime under ordinary civilian law.

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6 hours ago, SMG65 said:

I don't have a photo of him but tantalisingly I have a photo of a family member who we can't identify, it shows his body from chest upwards.

He has the facial features of the other Moore brothers and he is in a pre war 'stepping out' uniform, Thomas was in the army in 1911 until he got jailed for theft.

The only thing that negates the photo is the L/Cpl stripe on the left arm, there is no record of Thomas ever getting a stripe, the longest document on his service records is his discipline sheet.

 

The L/Cpl stripe "negates" nothing, as many others on here will tell you L/Cpl was often an unpaid and undocumented appointment rather than a substantive rank, it often doesn't appear on MIC's, so there is still the possibility the photo could be him.

 

Just as an aside, and in reference to Magnumbellum's post above, I don't know if you are aware but Thomas Moore and Dezari Barama of the Gold Coast Regt, who was executed in Ghana are the only British and Commonwealth servicemen executed for Murder in WW1 who have no known grave? This to me suggests that he and others executed for that offence were not simply buried near to where they were executed, but instead were interred in cemeteries near their place of execution.

 

Sam

Edited by roughdiamond
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I remembered a post from sometime ago which had a similar element IE the man being buried at the execution location in a corner of a field.

 

Took a while but I found the 2013 post on 5321 Briggs.

 

Private John McCauley apparently wrote a letter concerning the execution of Briggs where he claims he was 'paraded to witness the event'. However, as McCauley was of the same regiment (and battalion) I would guess he had a more active role in the event.


And a list of those 30 SAD with no known grave which includes Briggs & Moore.

 

I wonder how many of these were isolated, non-cemetery burials at the place of execution rather than the usual line that post-burial shelling of cemeteries destroyed the marker hence burial location not known.

 

TEW

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I can add another 12 to that list TEW

28/09/16 7560 Pte Aziberi Frafra, Gold Coast Regt, Casting Away Arms, Kumasi Mem (Ghana)

19/07/15 2479 Pte Fatoma, West African Regt, Cowardice, Freetown Mem (Sierra Leone)

28/07/17 5538 L/Cpl Mamprussi Allasan, Gold Coast Regt, Kumasi Mem (Ghana)

02/08/15 11653 Pte Evan Fraser, 2nd Royal Scots, Desertion x 3, Special Memorial Perth (China Wall) Cem

15/09/15 8225 Pte Peter Sands, 1st Royal Irish Rifles, Desertion, Special Mem in Caberet Rouge Cem for graves lost from Flairbaix Churchyard

15/06/17 26248 Pte J. Wishard, 7th R/Inniskilling Fus, Desertion x 2, Special Mem in Caberet Rouge Cem for graves lost from Merris Churchyard

01/08/18 20037 Pte Harry McClair, 2nd Border Regt, Desertion, Special Mem in City of Paris Bagneux Cem for his lost grave #13 from Vincennes New Communal Cem

01/08/18 20035 Pte Frederick Johnson, 2nd Border Regt, Desertion, Special Mem in City of Paris Bagneux Cem for his lost grave #14 from Vincennes New Communal Cem 

02/01/16 9610 Sgt John Robins, 5th Wiltshire Regt, Disobedience, Twelve Tree Copse Cem

10/11/18 A/2600 Pte Desari Barama, Gold Coast Regt, Murder, Kumasi Mem (Ghana) As in my post #14

10/10/17 385 Labourer Mahmoud Ahmed, Egyptian Labour Corps, Mutiny, Special Mem Mazerguez War Cem

27/07/17 3972 Pte Samuel Sabongidda, 3rd Nigerian Regt, Striking a Superior, Calabar Mem (Nigeria)

 

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I think that Thomas Moore's grave was lost.

 

It was February 1916 and the whole area was utilised as ASC Horse Lines.

It was frequently bombed by German planes.

If the grave marker disappeared and with the turn over of units it would easily be forgotten, particularly in 1917 with the concentration of troops for Third Ypres.

I'm sure every field would be put to some use and not left unused for the grave of a murderer.

 

Sean

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47 minutes ago, Old Scalyback said:

Might the issue of burial in consecrated ground come into play?

No - the only time that this was an issue (and even then in a churchyard) was in the case of proven suicide, but I suspect that even by the War this was a restriction rarely observed

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The only suicide I know of in the Stockport area is buried in the parish churchyard. A sad case - man had a leg amputated and was temporarily released from hospital for a couple of days home leave. Came home, had his tea, went out into the back yard and cut his own throat with a razor.

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I don't believe that burial in a churchyard necessarily indicates burial in consecrated ground. Since Medieval times parishes have been required to provide burial space for non communicants and this has traditionally been in an area of unconsecrated ground usually on the north side of the churchyard. The practice of Anglican parish's denying non conformists burial in the consecrated parts of their churchyard did not die out until late in the 19th century. I believe IWGC cemeteries are dedicated to all faiths, but what about those considered ex-communicated, What if Thomas Moore refused absolution?

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What if Thomas Moore refused absolution?

 

 

Would that apply to CoE?

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Thomas Moore was Roman Catholic.

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The general synod of the Anglican Church did not amend Cannon Law to extend the Anglican burial rite to Suicides until February 2015. The Catholic Church amended Cannon law in 1983.

I have yet to find a reference as to when Cannon law ceased to require murderers to be buried “out of sanctuary” Cannon B38 of the current 7th edition has nothing to say on the matter.

The Civilian practice of burying executed murderers within the confines of the place of execution did not end until the abolition of capital punishment. It is the current practice when prisons are re-developed to exhume the remains cremate them and re-inter the ashes in an unmarked common grave in a municipal cemetery.

Absolution is still permitted if requested in the Anglican rite under Cannon B29.

Catholic Cannon Law was also amended in 1917. This was the first amendment since 1150 and was not translated from Latin!

The Survival of the farm buildings at the execution site indicates that shellfire would not have significantly disturbed the grave, although the grave marker may have been lost. It would not have been difficult to locate and concentrate the Grave. The secondary sources seem to indicate that no attempt was made to locate the grave. The CWGC archive published online gives no indication either way.

Edited by Old Scalyback
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