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Beaurevoir British Cemetery: Case #2 - Cracking the ICRC Grave Records (GB List)

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This is a follow-up to the main cemetery topic here:

More specifically it is an examination of the ICRC records for the men in this cemetery, to see if there is a way to find out what other men the German's buried elsewhere and then were concentrated into this cemetery. The initial goal was to see if the AVIATOR, apparently 2nd Lt. Shaw, was one of those men, perhaps on a "GB List" (German Burial List). The AVIATOR SHAW has his own topic here:




I took a long shot at looking at the ICRC records for some of the other KNOWN men on the COG-BR with the AVIATOR (Shaw?). I thought there might be a chance that a search would reveal a list of all the graves in the Beaurevoir Communal Cemetery German Extension.


The ICRC card for 2nd Lt. Shaw, noted in the first post in this topic, did not have a PA number: https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/File/Details/4382187/3/2/


Here are the files for each of:


If you have not used these before, what you do from the above pages is add the PA number (i.e. PA24587 for Grimson) in the box on the right side and click SEARCH. Note that some, such as Webster, have more than one PA number. For convenience, I have added the direct links to the PA files under each name.


It immediately becomes clear that Grimson, Webster and Hartley all appear on PA24587 suggesting this might be a list for the Beaurevoir CCGE. I will check into this and see if more of the names match the COG-BR and if there is a clue to who the others (unknown) might be!


I also note that Webster and Crawford are listed on following pages PA19295 and PA19294. This tells us that the only important number in the address is the PA number at the end. I tested that with Crawford and can see that the use of either front end of the URL gives the same PA file: (note the middle numbers differ in each link)

There is another common number to all the files, and that is the number 698, as it appears prior to all the PA numbers in the URLs.


Of general interest:


I noticed that in the PA SEARCH panel it tells us that files exist from 00001 to 43134 (there is actually a 43135 as well). You can find them all using the 698 URL and changing the number. The last man on page 43135 is Pte L G Morse and he died 30/12/1918 and is buried in Berlin. Not everyone on this list died, some were POWs that survived. On the very first page there is a Corporal W. A. Ammerlaan #13560 of the 4th Middlesex. One of his files tells us he was captured at Mons on 23 August 1914 (PA11065). Another one of his files tells us he was a POW at German Camp Minden (PA14472). That is on the GWF (link).


Edited by laughton

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We are going to leave Beaurevoir for a moment to follow the possibility that we can crack the ICRG GB List codes by looking at Crawford.


This is what it says at the top of the page (PA19294) where Crawford is listed, thanks to Google Translate:


Nachstehend aufgeführte soldbucher gingen V.S.1 Zentralstelle für Nachlasssachen ohne nahere angaben uber die Jnhaber, ob dieselben tot etc. in 23. 1.18. Die letzten 7 soldbucher rühren von Gefallenen her. Wo Erkennungemarkan vorhandnen, besonders vermerkt. Aktz. 17647/W.


Bezeichnung der Ueberweisungastelle

The following books were issued by the V.S.1 Central Office for estate matters without further details about the owners, whether the same dead etc. in 23. 1.18. The last 7  books are about fallen soldiers. Where detection (or recognition?) marks exist, especially noted. Act. 17647 / W.


Name of the transfer office


Similarly a rough translation by Google on what is says on the list that MIGHT BE for the cemetery (PA24587):


Nachstehend aufgeführte Erkennungsmarken wurden von. einem Grab Verw. Offiz. durch S.D.

Zentralstelle für Nachlassachen

Uberwiesen, 8.4.18. Dis Jnhaber sind gefallen, Naheres unkbekannt.

The following dog tags were from. a grave Verw. by S.D.

Central office for Nachlassachen

Transmitted, 8.4.18. The owners have fallen, more unknown.


There may be some evidence that these can be matched to cemeteries. On the sheet PA24589, the men that are known are buried in the Combles Communal Cemetery Extension and all were on the same COG-BR and noted as buried by the Germans. They came from 57c.T.29.d.05.20 or 57c.T.29.a.90.10.


Were the UNKNOWN MEN also exhumed from this cemetery and moved to COMBLES but were not identified? Is this a clue that we should be looking for them here - or am I way out in left field? If true, this could apply to a great number of lists and many identifications? Maybe? :whistle:




Four (4) of the men are identified and five (5) are unknowns:


I have not completed the ZIP Files for the Combles cemetery, so that would appear to be the next step. There is probably a number of unknowns that are in this 57c.T.29 sector that are on the GB List. If lucky, there may be a few regiments that match, perhaps even more details.


UPDATE: those files have been made and are now in a new cemetery topic here:


* the story of the South African continues in that topic, which is reference back to here .....






Edited by laughton
added CWGC link missed for Graham

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It would appear that the two lists such as what are shown on PA19294 and PA24587 are different, in that PA19294 tells us only that dog tags were recovered (from nearby fallen soldiers), the information recorded and the list published. I don't think it tells us that all the men on the list were found in the same cemetery, or buried by the Germans in any particular cemetery. PA24587 I believe tells us in what cemetery they were buried (COMBLES) by the Germans (as so noted on the COG-BR 2230403).


Grimson (grave 335), Webster (grave 336), Hartley (grave 337) and Crawford (grave 338) were however all recovered from the "Beaurevoir Communal Cemetery German Extension" and concentrated in the "Beaurevoir British Cemetery". They were reburied in the same order that the Germans initially buried them. Our UNKNOWN BRITISH AVIATOR was reburied with them but was not in the precise same area in the original German Extension.




The first three (3) men in the COG-BR were also the same three (3) men name on PA24587, but note that Crawford is not on that list. The question is whether all the men that are listed on PA24587 were buried in the same cemetery when found by the Germans? We know that in the case of PA24588 and PA24589 that was the case. The linkage of the two sets of pages comes from the fact that each of Crawford and Webster were also listed on the PA19294 (the last page of a 6 page document 29 January 1918) and PA19295 (the first page of the next document 6 February 1918). Note that the list that Webster is on is for Officers only, so it could be a continuing list, separated by enlisted men and officers.





So first we look at the list where Lieutenant Crawford is listed on PA19295, along with the other officers, clearly all buried by Germans but in different locations:




Next a look at PA19294 where Crawford is listed and the men that are in that same section of the list. Most of them have no known grave. Did the Germans initially know where they were located, or did they just have a record that they had been killed. What is the correct translation of what the book says?



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