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lanchester

Casualty Reporting by Front Line

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lanchester

Hi

Flanders, 1917. I'm trying to discover the procedure by which front line other ranks casualties were reported rearwards. Was there a particular form used; were reports sent immediately or periodically, or after action; who was responsible for making the report, etc?

I have the official reports sent to my granddad's wife when he was reported missing, but I can't find out how his loss was reported initially. There is uncertainty about which of two days he was lost in, during a prolonged overnight action.

Thank you.

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kenf48

Presumably the notification you have is Army Form B104_83 which was sent from the Record Office.  Without a name or unit it can only be a generalisation.

 

The army was an efficient bureaucracy.  My understanding is that the Battalion Orderly Office submitted a Field Return e.g. see post 250 on this thread

https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/38858-army-form-scans-was-a-r-m-y-f-o-r-m-database/page/10/

This went to the Divisional Adjutant-General, the personnel or HR department for the Army,  at the Base.  Then eventually to the Record Office in the U.K. which were organised around the Army Commands.  The soldier’s record would be noted on his Casualy Form (Army Form B103) and the Record  Office sent out the B104-83.

 

The return in the field was not usually completed while the Battalion was in the trenches, but was done when they came out of the line.  The responsibility for this would probably lie with the Company Commander, if he was able, and the field return signed off by the CO or Adjutant. The problem with ‘missing’ is that it essentially means there were no surviving witnesses to his loss or capture.  Therefore two days days may not be unusual.  An extreme example of this is around the German Spring Offensive in 1918 when the admin broke down and deaths and other casualties recorded as ‘between’ certain dates.

 

Ken 

 

 

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lanchester

Hi Ken

Many thanks for this, and for the link to the Field Return. As an archivist, I hoped that there might be a form! I can follow up their usage, hopefully. 

I appreciate the practical difficulties of trying to find such information,  given the circumstances of the time. For the moment, I am just trying to understand the likely reporting process, rather than expecting to find any surviving records. That said, newish to this research topic, I have been surprised at what has survived - Signal messages re the action,  with the War Diary, for example.

Thanks again

Paul

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