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Remembered Today:

Court of Inquiry


lionboxer
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Pte E.A. Leeder C Coy 11th Bn AIF reported missing in action on 16/4/17 then changed to KIA on same day. There was a court of enquiry on 5/12/17 confirming this. Is this usual for an inquiry to be held and what form would it have taken?

Lionboxer

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Lionboxer

This is very interesting, to hear about an actual date of such proceedings. We have discussed before on this forum how long it took before a man Missing in Action was decared K I A.

How did you know about the Court of Enquiry?

Kate

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Mate,

As soon as posible after a battle/action a court of Inquiry was held to determan what had happen to all ranks within the battalion.

All soldiers were then listed and what happen was asatained to the best of the knowage of the men involed.

This was not always possible to confirm those missing unless they were seen by a survivor to be killed or wounded.

In many cases those listed as missing and were not on the hospital or PoW reports from the Redcross or from the Enemy either German or Turkish were declared dead.

This date of death is always a bit iffy because if a battle went over a number of days and the unit was in action then the dates could be between say the 1st July to the 3rd July 1916 or they settled on a differental date say 1 July 1916.

This was for the AIF and I would surpose it was the same for the mother counrty?

S.B

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A court of enquiry would be assembled (as mentioned previously) to ascertain what had happened. It would usualy be run by a junior officer (2Lt to Capt) who would interview and take statements from any witnesses or people in the area, At the conclusion of the court a summary would be presented to the officer who convined the court (usualy the CO or OC) that would attempt to explain what had happened.he format presented in would be a summary sheet with statements attatched as back up evidence.

As a footnote, if during a verbal statement, it became apparant that a soldier was obviously lying, or had been guilty of misconduct, they should be warned that their statement in itself may merit further investigation (and start another CoE or charge procedures)

After battles CoE were standard procedure for the after action reports and were convined on the order of the CO. Also when an officer was taken POW, a CoE would be run to ascertain if his conduct was poor or trecherous etc.

CoE were also used to determine such run of the mill events such as stolen rum rations etc.

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I wonder of any records of these Courts of Enquiry exist.

To reiterate the clear descriptions by Steve and Captain B, it seems that information, witness accounts etc. were gathered as soon as possible after the event, and the information gathered is recorded in the War Diary, sent to HQ, relatives notified etc.

Was there usually a court of enquiry about each fatality at a later date, despite what was recorded by the CoE immediately?

Men who couldn't be accounted for at this time were recorded as Missing. Further information was then gathered from hospitals, CCSs, witnesses, POW records etc. A report was compiled with statements if possible, which was then submitted to a further Court of Enquiry.

Presumably, in the meantime, information was also gathered from further Red Cross searches, as we have seen in the book reprints of some of these from Naval & Military Press.

My copy of the British Red Cross Enquiry List for July 1917 includes soldiers who were missing in July 1916, although most were from the first part of 1917. This would imply a usual 6 mth interval.

Lionboxer's example seemed to show a 6 month period before this Court of Enquiry, although Pte. Leeder was recorded as Missing and then KIA on the same day. Presumably a witness was found fairly soon.

Kate

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Guest Jimmy Knacky
My copy of the British Red Cross Enquiry List for July 1917 includes soldiers who were missing in July 1916, although most were from the first part of 1917. This would imply a usual 6 mth interval.

Lionboxer's example seemed to show a 6 month period before this Court of Enquiry, although Pte. Leeder was recorded as Missing and then KIA on the same day. Presumably a witness was found fairly soon.

Kate

You certainly know your stuff me canny lass.

You certainly can hold your own with these bonny lads.

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Mate,

In all my reseach I have only seen a few Documents of the inquries. And only one which lists all soldiers reported MIA during at battle of Hill 60 by the 9th LHR at Gallipoli in August 1915.

It showed that all were declared dead but one who was wounded on the day of the battle. My reseach found that the one man they listed as wounded did in fact died at the battle, but it wasn't found out till later. So these inquiries were not perfect.

I have seen many final reports which show that a single soldier was killed on a given day with info on how they came to that resault.

These are of cause on the AIF and the soldiers personal files are free on the Australian Natioal Archives to look up.

Cheers

S.B

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Thank you very much, Jimmy Knacky, and you know that I have got much of my information from all you bonny lads and lasses on this forum.

Steve. I have only seen one reference to a Court of Enquiry in a War Diary. That reference very tantalisingly said that there was to be a Court of Enquiry into the actions of 2 men. Unfortunately it did not say what the men had done, nor was it ever mentioned again in the Diary.

I thought that the proceedings might at one time have been attached to the War Diary and I wondered if Lionboxer had seen one of these documents.

Those final reports you mention sound very interesting and I will have a look at them.

Kate

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