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George Millar

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George Millar

Hello all,

Recently with help from members of the forum I was able to establish the true dates of death for two soldiers I have been researching which are different to the dates listed on the CWGC website.  See my previous posts for details on the subject:

  • a)  Pte John McGargle, 8th Batt Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Service N° 24110

  • b)  Pte Edward Rooney, 2nd Batt Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Service N° 4941

I sent off all the relevant information to the CWGC along with an amendment form for each but have never heard anything from them.  I know they are probably busy people but I thought the minimum they could have done was to acknowledge the receipt of the information sent.

I was just wondering what experience other members of the forum have had with the CWGC, good or bad?  By the way, this isn’t a criticism of them as I think they do a marvellous job.

George

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mandy hall

I would send off another email, unusual not to get an acknowledgement.  If you are into twitter they, seem to be very responsive to people on twitter.

I got the date of death of my great uncle amended, quite a few years ago now.

 

Mandy

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George Millar

Hi Mandy,

I have sent them two e-mails as I thought the first hadn't been received but again no response.  I'll leave it for the time being and hope that something will be done in the future.

George

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mandy hall

There is a phone number on their website in the contact us section.  Would be a shame to do the research and not get an acknowledgement.

 

Mandy

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squirrel

A few years ago I notified CWC of an error on the date of death on their records of an officer who died in UK. If their date was correct he would have been buried three months before he died! I was asked to provide documentary proof.

i sent a photograph of the private memorial showing the date of death, a copy of his death certificate, a copy of the cemetery register confirming when he had died and been buried and a copy of the memorial masons quotation for the memorial, all confirming the correct date of death. They confirmed that their records had been amended shortly after.

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Cheshire22

Did you send it the enquires email address as you it will automatically send a response with a case reference number.  

 

Recently  I sent a couple of cases to them, 1 to the enquires email automatic email back with case reference.

 

The second one to the Commemorations team and acknowledgment within a couple of days, advising the case had been given a case number. 

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chaz

every time I send them a shell or grenade notification I get a reply within two days. normally to UK email address then a copy they send to France.

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jay dubaya

I've always had a generic acknowledgement shortly after sending an email, over the past 12 months I have been in contact with them several times a month and have never waited more than 4 days for a written response, I guess it's just one of those things

 

J

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keithfazzani

I have always had very prompt and helpful responses from CWGC. I would check your contact details and I presume you have checked your junk file? 

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George Millar

Hi all,

Thanks for your comments. Once I had all the information including the death certificate for John McGargle I downloaded their amendment form, filled it in, scanned it and sent all the details to the e-mail address listed on their website which was enquiries@cwgc.org but as I said I never received a response.  I have checked my junk file but again no response.  As I said previously, I sent them the e-mails twice as I thought they hadn't received the original mails that I sent.  Should I send them again in the hope of getting an acknowledgement?  I was considering going through the "In from the cold" website but then I thought it wasn't in their remit.

George

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PaulTudge1916
On ‎13‎/‎09‎/‎2019 at 11:28, George Millar said:

I sent off all the relevant information to the CWGC along with an amendment form for each but have never heard anything from them.  I know they are probably busy people but I thought the minimum they could have done was to acknowledge the receipt of the information sent.

 

I was just wondering what experience other members of the forum have had with the CWGC, good or bad? 

 

Hi George. There have been a lot of "rumblings" about the "commemorations" unit at CWGC over the past couple of years. In the last edition (114) of the Western Front Association "Bulletin" one correspondent referred to two cases which he had pursued and said the response from the CWGC had been "... obfuscation, delay, and positive discouragement ...". That letter was prompted by an article in the previous edition of the "Bulletin", "The Mystery Man of Douchy-les-Ayette", which described the case of Corporal 3023 Bertie Frederick George Jeffs of No 11 Squadron Royal Flying Corps who was killed alongside his pilot Flight Sergeant 649 Ernest Haxton on the 10th of October 1916. (A copy of that article is attached to this post as a pdf).
 
The Jeffs - Haxton case appears to be beyond parody. I have spoken with one of the authors of the "Bulletin" article (Tom Tulloch-Marshall) who has given me some other relevant information about Jeffs - Haxton and a couple of other cases he has been involved in, and told me of other similar cases where the decisions of the CWGC and their MoD partners seem to be utterly inexplicable. One of those cases (the existence of which can be easily verified online) involved a person who is a "household name" in British WW1 circles, but that person has not been contacted by me so no names no pack drill. Similarly with the other matters which TT-M told me of.
 
CWGC are undoubtedly very good and praiseworthy with regards to their gardening and structural work. With regards to commemorations I have been told that a very senior staff member in a very relevant British Government "institution" told one of the people mentioned above that the CWGC simply don't have the expertise to understand or process these cases - unless the subject is called Bowes-Lyon or similar in which case CWGC will beat a path to your door

Bertie Jeffs The Mystery Man of Douchy-les-Ayette.pdf

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George Millar

Hi Paul,

Thanks for your post.  John McGargle whose death is incorrect is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium even though he was killed in action in France and should be on perhaps the Loos Memorial.  I'm only asking for the dates for these two soldiers to be corrected and not asking for their names to be removed from the memorials on which they are named.  If the CWGC want to add a note on their certificate to say that they are listed incorrectly on these memorials then so be it.  As I say, I'm only asking for their dates of death to be corrected.

George

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chaz

I think there is a heavy backload on everybody everywhere at the moment, we at work are under pressure to deliver quantities to our customer (tho owner /assembly area of our business) now after getting our new product underway they have decided they dont want what we have produced and there will be a drawing alteration iminent.

 

what I am saying is, the CWGC will have recieved your submission along with many others, they need to be gone through with the proverbial toothcomb to avoid any possible errors and crossing with other possibilities. the days of an office being fully manned/womaned/personned have gone, we are producing £5million of work with 35 people, 10 years ago it was £1million with 125 people. you will have to wait your turn and dont expect a quick reply only a courtesy contact to say they will look into it, no time scale given.

Ancestry is another, I know of several cases , to the extent of 4 other people notifying on their web site in the past year, alterations need to be made. who made the error in the first place, why, so many questions but one day the entries should be corrected.

 

I have reported munitions to CWGC, the UK office has emailed France and copied me. all I know is when Ive revisited the item has gone.

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Gareth Davies

I submitted 3 corrections to the CWGC last week and they responded to all 3 within 24hrs of each submission.

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George Millar

Chaz,

I take your point about people being overloaded at the moment.  All I was after was an acknowledgement that they had received the information and that it would be considered in due course.

George

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PaulTudge1916
11 hours ago, George Millar said:

Hi Paul,

Thanks for your post.  John McGargle whose death is incorrect is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium even though he was killed in action in France and should be on perhaps the Loos Memorial.  I'm only asking for the dates for these two soldiers to be corrected and not asking for their names to be removed from the memorials on which they are named.  If the CWGC want to add a note on their certificate to say that they are listed incorrectly on these memorials then so be it.  As I say, I'm only asking for their dates of death to be corrected.

George

Your post # 13 Chaz is interesting in several respects but rather misses the critical issue with the commemorations department at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. George’s principle concern is with a lack of acknowledgement and delays in dealing with his cases, but the more serious issue which is causing widespread concern is CWGC’s commemorations department apparent inability to process anything but the simplest of cases in a logical, rational, and reasonable way, as illustrated by the Jeffs and Haxton case highlighted earlier. It also may be pertinent to mention here that with regards to your suggestion that CWGC may have a “backlog” which is delaying things, how much of any such delay is being caused by the mass of “Book of Remembrance” cases which often are posted on this forum ? With all due respect, the vast majority of those “Book of Remembrance” cases are technicalities and is it right and proper that they should impinge on the investigation of possible corrections to battle casualty records ? One also wonders why CWGC resources should be expended on dealing with wartime munitions ? Surely such matters should be reported to the relevant authorities under the control of the appropriate continental government ?

 

Earlier this year I was staying on the Somme at the same time as one of the authors of the Western Front Association “Bulletin” article and I was shown the correspondence file for the Jeffs and Haxton case. Much of it reads like scripts for a remake of the 1980’s TV show “Yes Minister”. At one point the Secretary of State For Defence writes to the other Member of Parliament involved in the case and says (I have checked today and my recollection was essentially correct but what follows is verbatim) “… a panel of three chaired by the Head of the Branch met to consider the case.” (and rejected the appeal). You couldn’t make that up, unless scripting “Yes Minister” ! The head of the Civil Service office which had turned down the 2017 appeal and two of his team had a bit of a chat and decided not to contradict their own office’s decision to reject the case as it was presented by another party back in 2009. There’s a surprise !

 

Not only did the CWGC simply hold up that Ministry of Defence announcement as being definative but they refused to engage in any meaningful way with the people putting the 2017 Jeffs and Haxton case. They refused to address the issue of who the supposed “officer” could possibly be, and their “senior historian” would not even acknowledge repeated correspondence. Whilst the CWGC are clearly commendable for their gardening and maintenance works there is (as demonstrated here) a tendency to view them overall through rose tinted glasses.

 

There are clearly major deficiencies and failures with their commemorations department. Another similar case has been drawn to my attention today. See here

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/an-unknown-soldier-known-once-more/

The author of that is of course Chris Baker the founder of this forum and former Chairman of the Western Front Association.

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Gareth Davies

I have made some 15 -20 submissions to the CWGC this year. Some were simple such as missing MMs on headstones, others involved dates of death, Regiment & unit, names, and one was a duplicate commemoration. In every case I got an instant automatic email response with an enquiry serial number. I got an actual response to every single enquiry within 2 days. All were solved in under a week.

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thetrenchrat22
17 hours ago, George Millar said:

Chaz,

I take your point about people being overloaded at the moment.  All I was after was an acknowledgement that they had received the information and that it would be considered in due course.

George

 

I submitted a case on the 8th September to the enquires team, automatic reply received back.  Email in the last hour, received advising the slight change in the details of the Soldier, they have on there website has been accepted and the change will take place over the next 24 hours. 

 

On sunday, I submitted a case to the Commemorations section and an email was received yesterday advised the case had been placed on there database.  

 

No problems with the cases I’ve submitted 

 

Alan 

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George Millar

Hi all,

Thanks for your comments.  Perhaps I should send them the details again, third time lucky.  What do you think?

George

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Bardess

I think the possible problem is that you used their email address and not the 'contact us' directly from the site. Whenever I contact them with an amendment I always use their site and suggest that I can attach whatever information/proof they need in a response to their confirmation email to make a decision. Does that make sense?

Edited by Bardess

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George Millar

Hi Diane,

Yes it makes sense what you put, that's another avenue to explore.  Maybe the problem is that I have used my French e-mail address?  I don't want to keep bombarding them with lots of e-mails so maybe what you suggest is the answer to the problem.

George 

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George Millar

Hello all,

Just an update on the latest situation.  I decided to use the "contact us" as Diane suggested and got an enquiry acknowledge number right away.  I have since been contacted by Martin Skelly, Records Administrator who confirmed that they had no record of receiving the initial e-mails that I sent. He asked me to send the details by return of his e-mail which I have done for both soldiers and I have asked him to confirm receipt of them.  Hopefully things are looking up and they will be looked into in due course.  Whether that means they accept my findings or not, we will see in the future.

Thanks to all members who took the time to send in their comments.

Regards

George

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Bardess

Excellent news ^_^

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George Millar

Hi all,

The correct dates of death for Pte John McGargle, 8th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Service N° 24110 and Rifleman Edward Rooney, 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, Service N° 4/7566 have now been agreed and approved by the CWGC.  Their details have now been amended on their site.

Many thanks to all the forum members who took the time to send in their comments

George

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mandy hall

Fantastic news.

 

Mandy

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