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Allan Warner-Clarkson

Gravestone inscription mystery

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Allan Warner-Clarkson

My Great Grandfather 71499 Private Leonard William Elliott is buried at Maubeuge (D64).

 

The Headstone is inscribed 'Husband of Mrs B Elliott' but his wife's name was Mary Ann E Elliott.  I can find no second marriage.  Also Mary had a child by Leonard in May 1918 (well I assume Leonard but can't prove he was in UK 9 months earlier).

 

I have no record in my family tree of Mary having a nickname at all let alone starting B.

 

I have today contacted CWGC to see if they can help with the query.  Does anyone else have any suggestions? 

 

Also I did find recently while googling, scans of the headstone request forms but I can't find them now.  (Hoping it is down to poor handwriting but can't see how an M becomes a B).  Does anyone know where these are?

 

Thanks in advance

 

Allan

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ss002d6252

The soldier's effects register shows that his monies were paid to Mary Elliott.

 

I'd imagine, as the copy of the register on CWGC shows B Elliott same, that there was an original clerical error and it's remained as such ever since. Probably easy to do when they were dealing with name after name and copying things back and forwards between various forms.


Craig

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Allan Warner-Clarkson

Thanks for replying Craig.  I agree with what you say.  I will check out the address of course for 1918 although it was a slum area long since gone so the residents were probably very transient.

 

Now the dilemma, do I ask for the headstone to be changed?

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jay dubaya

Looking at the CWGC headstone schedule for Leonard it would appear that there is no inscription on the headstone itself and the error is within the cemetery register and online database. 

 

J

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TEW

Have you seen the headstone?

I'm not sure that the headstone is marked as such, the headstone report has no NOK details and does state that NOK details were not to be inscribed on the headstone, at least those that appear in the report within brackets.

 

The 'Husband of Mrs. B. Elliott, of 9, Claremont Row, Brighton' has therefore come from another source.

 

Haven't spent ages looking but oddly I can only find 9 Claremont in Hastings not in Brighton in 1911 although there is an Elliott Family at 9 Claremont, Hastings in 1911. John, Annie, Violet & Harold.

TEW

 

Edit, Now have seen 9 Claremont Row, Brighton in 1911, occupied by Field family.

Edited by TEW
Addition

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clive_hughes

Allan,

Just to amplify the above helpful notes; his Soldiers Effects record states that both his back pay and war gratuity payments were divided between his wife/widow Mary A.E.Elliott and his mother Mary A., his supposed mother receiving a little less than half of the two sums. This could be a clerical error and the same woman was intended (did he have a mother Mary?).

 

The CWGC forms you mention were largely destroyed during the Second World War, so only a few sample or similar specimens are now available. 

 

As jaydubya and TEW say, the cemetery Headstone Form which is available online with the CWGC has no epitaph or next of kin details stated against his name.  So presumably she didn't ask for anything other than the basic inscription, and there will be nothing to alter on the stone. 

 

The name you see, "Mrs B.Elliott", appears only in the printed Cemetery Register - this was information supposedly provided by the family in the post-war period and not what is carved on the stone.  Like everything else, anything in it could be mis-read by the clerks compiling the Register details.  I do note that the Register entry was officially changed at some time from L.W.Elliott to his full name, but you'd need to see (or get a photo) of the stone to know whether it bears the longer or the shorter name. 

 

Clive

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BillyH

There is one other possibility, possibly a bit of a long shot.

It was pretty common at that time for a wife to be referred to as 'Mrs Bill Elliott' for instance.

I have seen this on service papers quite a few times, and also in newspaper reports.

His middle name was William, so if he was known to his family and friends as Bill then maybe that could be the answer.

 

Either way, I don't think CWGC will change anything. A good few months ago I reported a casualty with his surname spelt incorrectly. 

A sent them irrefutable proof, baptism records for him and all his siblings, censuses, parent's marriage certificate, MIC, medal rolls, Soldiers Effects record, entry on the local book of remembrance, and even a photo of the parent's family headstone with a commemoration to their son's death in France. All giving his name correctly. Their reply to me was that was the spelling supplied by the family at the time and cannot be changed. He is named incorrectly on the Arras Memorial. 

 

BillyH.

 

 

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Allan Warner-Clarkson

Thank you all for your replies.

No I only recently found the grave in my research so haven't seen it yet but plan to later this year.  I am aware that family comments are/were allowed at the base and wondered if this was were his wife's name appeared.  If as you say it is just 'wrong' in the records that is fine and a relief.

In answer to Clive's query yes his wife was Mary Ann E Elliott and his mother was Mary Ann Elliott.

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Allan Warner-Clarkson

Good call BillyH, I hadn't thought of that.  Thanks

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Allan Warner-Clarkson

Wow Jrmh thanks very much.

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Michelle Young
43 minutes ago, BillyH said:

There is one other possibility, possibly a bit of a long shot.

It was pretty common at that time for a wife to be referred to as 'Mrs Bill Elliott' for instance.

I have seen this on service papers quite a few times, and also in newspaper reports.

His middle name was William, so if he was known to his family and friends as Bill then maybe that could be the answer.

 

 

 

BillyH.

 

 

My late unlamented Grandmother would always address letters to me as Mrs W Young. She told me a wife would always be addressed as Mrs (insert husbands initial) until widowed, then would revert back to their own initial. Maybe  the E in the widows name was Elizabeth, often shortened to Betty? 

 

Michelle 

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BereniceUK
9 hours ago, Michelle Young said:

Maybe  the E in the widows name was Elizabeth, often shortened to Betty? 

 

Michelle 

 

I was thinking along the same line, but I thought she could have been known as Bessie.

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temptage
10 hours ago, BillyH said:

There is one other possibility, possibly a bit of a long shot.

It was pretty common at that time for a wife to be referred to as 'Mrs Bill Elliott' for instance.

I have seen this on service papers quite a few times, and also in newspaper reports.

His middle name was William, so if he was known to his family and friends as Bill then maybe that could be the answer.

 

Either way, I don't think CWGC will change anything. A good few months ago I reported a casualty with his surname spelt incorrectly. 

A sent them irrefutable proof, baptism records for him and all his siblings, censuses, parent's marriage certificate, MIC, medal rolls, Soldiers Effects record, entry on the local book of remembrance, and even a photo of the parent's family headstone with a commemoration to their son's death in France. All giving his name correctly. Their reply to me was that was the spelling supplied by the family at the time and cannot be changed. He is named incorrectly on the Arras Memorial. 

 

BillyH.

 

 

 

There seems to be no regularity to their acceptance of proof. 

 

Only 2 weeks ago I received a photo of several headstones from a small coastal Cemetery in the back of nowhere in Newfoundland. 

 

When I saw one of the headstones I was confused. 

 

The spelling of the name was different to the spelling on the database. But even worse was BOTH names were different from the original paperwork in the Archive for him. 

 

I pointed out that whichever variation is correct, two are wrong. 

 

Within 4 hours, I had a reply from their Casualty Enquiries team saying that they had looked at all the proof and decided the original paperwork has the correct spelling. Within 2 hours the database had been altered and a application for a new headstone had been submitted. 

 

And yet you do all the research with proof left right and centre and they don't accept it. Have they taken into consideration that the person who filled in the original form could have been dyslexic or they got someone else to fill it in and misspelt it? Obviously not! 

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Allan Warner-Clarkson

Thank you all for your replies

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