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David Earley

Private J Pidgeon Died: 25 Jan 1920

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David Earley

A few years ago, I researched the men on the war memorial at Trotton, near Midhurst in West Sussex. Amongst these was "J. Pidgen".

My researches led me to Private James Pidgeon about whom I wrote a biography (at http://ww1memorials.midhurstu3a.org.uk/private-james-pidgeon/). At that time, I was puzzled that he did not seem to have a war grave and was not on the CWGC database.

I have now been advised that in Chichester cemetery there is an apparent CWGC grave to a Private J Pidgeon who died on 25 January 1920 (see https://billiongraves.com/grave/J-Pidgeon/109157840. What puzzles me about this is :

1  Why does the headstone give his age as 17, when the man I have researched was aged 42?

2   Why does he not appear on the CWGC database? Is the grave a genuine CWGC grave?

 

I have a copy of his death certificate which shows that he died in the Royal West Sussex Hospital in Chichester on 25 January 1920 from cancer of the rectum. The certificate gives his age as 42. 

Any ideas?

Edited by David Earley

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Terry Denham

David

 

The In From the Cold Project investigated this man back in 2010 and we also obtained his death certificate. He is buried in Chichester Cemetery with a group of war graves and has what appears to be a normal CWGC headstone as you say.

 

CWGC do have this man in their database but he is classified as a 'Non-World War Grave in CWGC Care'. As such, his record is not viewable by the general public.

 

It seems that this man was discharged from the services due to an illness and died later of the causes you have said. We were unable to find any evidence that his final illness was either 'due to' or 'aggravated by' his service. These are the criteria required to pursue a commemoration case with CWGC. We do not know the cause of his discharge nor whether his death was due to this same cause. The CWGC Grave Registration Report is marked 'Not a War Grave' so this was the adjudication at the time but this decision can be reversed if it is proven otherwise.

 

It was practice for 'old soldiers' or other non-qualifying men to receive a CWGC style headstone in the inter-war period where the grave is in a war plot but this does not make them 'war graves'. After WW2, a separate style of stone was developed to distinguish these graves and they are usually provided by MoD.

 

If any documentary evidence surfaces that gives his cause of discharge with confirmation that it was caused by/aggravated by service and evidence that it caused his death after discharge, we could take up the case. However, as I said, we failed to find anything first time round.

 

Terry

Edited by Terry Denham

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David Earley

Thanks for the very helpful reply, Terry. 

I have found a report of his funeral (see attached) which says that he was discharged from the army with cancer,although I doubt if that is sufficient to have his CWGC status amended.

 

1285824285_Pidgeonfuneralreport.png.2da429d2c53bc95ba00927ec8be3aa12.png

 

Do you have any thoughts why the headstone gives his age as 17?

 

Thanks again

David

Edited by David Earley

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Terry Denham

David

 

We would need a specific statement on his pension records that his cancer was 'due to' (probably unlikely) or 'aggravated by' (quite possible).

 

I have no idea about the age error. CWGC does not have an age in its database but I try to see if I can find anything.

 

Terry

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Terry Denham

David

 

CWGC does not have an age in their records but they believe that '17' was a stonemason's error. There is another grave in the plot for a 17 year-old and was probably the source of the confusion.

 

It will be corrected at some point as the grave is in CWGC care.

 

Terry

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David Earley

Thanks Terry for all the hard work that you do in helping the CWGC keep things accurate.  Best wishes

 

David

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