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Caterpillar Valley Cemetery Case #4: Another Possible Error - Argyll and Sutherland Highlander


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Looks like there might be another misidentification in this cemetery. Either that or it is one big coincidence.


The main topic for this cemetery is here, so this becomes Case #4:



I was in the process of matching the names on the Special Memorials (there were many - see post #13 in that topic) to men that were buried in the cemetery, that had yet to be identified. This one jumped out!


They have place Lance Corporal S Hastie #S/15208 in Plot 12 Row K Grave 34 on the basis of COG-BR, which says nothing more that it is an "UNKNOWN A & S Hrs.". There is no reference to a serial number, only E.F.89, which for the moment I will assume stands for an EFFECTS file number - will check on Justin's work.




4th line from the top.




That sounds "all and good" and one would assume that they had the adequate means to make the identification.


Then we come to this COG-BR, albeit earlier in the series. Now we have a second "A & S Hrs.", whose grave was marked with a cross. Either the cross, or something in the exhumed grave, contained the number 15208. If you remember from the start of this post, that is the number for a man of the same regiment who was named in another grave.


This is not positive proof that they made a mistake, at least not at this stage. We have to remember the case of Private Nairn (see this topic - not yet reported), in a different cemetery but a similar story. Private Nairn was placed in one spot on the basis of the cross, yet his remains were clearly elsewhere, as identified with by a body having a disc with his serial number. It does not say here, but perhaps E.F.89 refers to a disc for Lance Corporal Hastie?


They did not carry the number from the COG-BR over to the GRRF, rather they changed it to an "Unknown British Soldier". They did not even keep the reference to the Argyll & Sutherland Highlander affiliation. Perhaps they knew they had a problem?



2nd line from the top




Edited by laughton
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They named the A&S Hrs. 15208 in grave 15.B.7 as a UBS, with no reference to the number or the regiment?




The same is reported on the COG-BR:




This makes no sense to have a COG-BR with no information other than the regiment and they name the soldier i grave 12.K.24 and then ignore the man in grave 15.B.7 who is identified by regiment and service number.


Someone dropped the ball on this one!

Edited by laughton
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  • 1 year later...

I opted just to send this by e-mail to CWGC Enquiries to see how they want to handle the case.



19 October 2019


This is an odd one, as it is not the case of an UNKNOWN to be sent to CWGC Commemorations, however it is worthy of a check of the facts.


Lance Corporal Hastie #S/15208 (CWGC Link) is listed as buried in Plot 12 Row K Grave 34 at the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval. The corresponding COG-BR (https://archive.cloud.cwgc.org/archive/doc/doc2460316.JPG) refers only to that grave as one of an “Unknown A.&S. Hrs” (Princess Louise’s Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders). That grave had a GRU “E.F. 89” (White Serial Cross marking on the Captain Thomas list). The remains were recovered on the eastern fringe of High Wood (57c.S.4.c.9.9). There are no other details to tie that grave to Hastie.


A problem arises when the COG-BR for Plot 15 Row B Grave 7 is checked (https://archive.cloud.cwgc.org/archive/doc/doc1980648.JPG), as that grave also has a soldier of the “A&S Hrs.” with the same number 15208. That grave is marked as an “Unknown British Soldier”. Those remains were recovered to the southwest of High Wood (57c.S.9.b.8.9).


It would appear that they knew that Lance Corporal Hastie killed at or near High Wood and was buried in that cemetery but at some point in the process his name was listed for the wrong grave.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Reply from CWGC 12 November 2019.


I would have thought that the number on the COG-BR would be all that was needed but that appears not to be the case.


Anyone that has an interest in this man or regiment is welcome to pick this up and take it further.





From: CWGC Enquiry Support Team
Sent: Tuesday, November 12, 2019 7:07 AM
To: rlaughton
Subject: RE: Lance Corporal Stephen Hastie #S/15208


Dear Mr Laughton,

Thank you for your email below.

Although on the face of it it would appear that there is an issue here, I do not think at present that any further investigation is warranted without any further evidence being presented.

As you mention, both graves in question have GRU references against them (EF89 & EG35). This leads me to believe that the necessary investigations were conducted at the time leading to Lance Corporal Hastie being identified as buried in 12 K 34.

Unfortunately, as the GRU books no longer exist, we cannot say what led them to believe that Lance Corporal Hastie was buried in 12 K 34 rather than 15 B 7.

Kind Regards

Martin Skelly
Records Administrator Headstones


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