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Gareth Davies

Cpl William Callaghan Welsh Regt - Haifa

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Gareth Davies

This is 200766 Cpl William Callaghan 1/4th Welsh regiment.  He was in action at Gallipoli, Suez, Darfur, and Palestine.  He landed with 1/4 Welsh on 7/8/15 at Suvla Bay. Wounded during battle of Sari Bair and was evacuated to Alexandria where he recovered. He was wounded during the 2nd battle of Gaza in April 17 and was (again) evacuated to Egypt where he DOW at a base Hospital on 18 July 1917.  He died overseas and so he is buried in a CWGC cemetery with a CWGC headstone.  All very straightforward so far.  But he is not buried in Egypt nor in Gaza or Deir el Belah, he is buried in Haifa. There is no record on the CWGC website of where he was previously buried. I have checked the POW records just in case the DOW in Egypt info was wrong but can't find him there. So I am confused. How did he end up in Haifa?

 

 

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Edited by Gareth Davies

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Heid the Ba

Coming at this from the other direction, I take it the rest of the 1917 and early 1918 burials in Haifa were PoWs? 

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FROGSMILE

The following information regarding the Haifa military hospital might give a clue:

 

“Haifa was captured by the Mysore and Jodhpur Lancers on 23 September 1918 and the 33rd Combined Clearing Hospital was moved to the town on the 15 October. Haifa War Cemetery, which was originally part of the German cemetery, was used mainly for hospital burials, but some graves were brought in from the battlefields.”

 

I strongly suspect that his body was one of those ‘brought in from the battlefield’ or ‘hospital burials’ under the administrative auspices of Egypt, but then transported for burial at Haifa?  It does ostensibly seem odd though.

 

There is a long thread on the Haifa CWGC cemetery by forum member michaeldr here: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/66037-haifa-war-cemetery/

 

His knowledge of it is great and you might perhaps profitably contact him regarding your query.

Edited by FROGSMILE

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Gareth Davies
1 hour ago, Heid the Ba said:

Coming at this from the other direction, I take it the rest of the 1917 and early 1918 burials in Haifa were PoWs? 

 

There aren't any 'early' 1918 burials. there. I haven't checked all the 1917 burials but the 2 I did check weren't on the ICRC site.

1 hour ago, FROGSMILE said:

The following information regarding the Haifa military hospital might give a clue:

 

“Haifa was captured by the Mysore and Jodhpur Lancers on 23 September 1918 and the 33rd Combined Clearing Hospital was moved to the town on the 15 October. Haifa War Cemetery, which was originally part of the German cemetery, was used mainly for hospital burials, but some graves were brought in from the battlefields.”

 

I strongly suspect that his body was one of those ‘brought in from the battlefield’ or ‘hospital burials’ under the administrative auspices of Egypt, but then transported for burial at Haifa?  It does ostensibly seem odd though.

 

There is a long thread on the Haifa CWGC cemetery by forum member michaeldr here: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/66037-haifa-war-cemetery/

 

His knowledge of it is great and you might perhaps profitably contact him regarding your query.

 

He died in the south west of Palestine or in Egypt in summer 1917. It makes no sense to me whatsoever. 

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FROGSMILE

Yes I agree, Gareth, it seems very odd indeed, but there must be an explanation and it seems that part of it must have involved moving the body.  As you will know, some bodies during the war were disinterred and reburied as many as 3-times.  It will be interesting to learn what michaeldr thinks, as he has clearly taken a great interest in, and made a study of, the Haifa cemetery (s).

Edited by FROGSMILE

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Gareth Davies

I have emailed the CWGC to see if there might have been a record of the original burial that hasn't made it onto their website.

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Heid the Ba
3 hours ago, Gareth Davies said:

There aren't any 'early' 1918 burials. there. I haven't checked all the 1917 burials but the 2 I did check weren't on the ICRC site.

I don’t know when the burials were but there are seven with 1st January 1918 as the date of death.

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Gareth Davies

Not quite, that’s the start date of a broad range.

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FROGSMILE
22 minutes ago, Gareth Davies said:

Not quite, that’s the start date of a broad range.


I have sent michaeldr a PM to see if he can throw any light on things.

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michaeldr

Gareth,

My guess is that he was a PoW in a hospital in Nazareth or Damascus (most probably the former). If so, then when he died he would have been buried in the Anglican cemetery there, and then the grave transferred to Haifa after the armistice.

It may be possible that the Anglican church in Nazareth [https://www.j-diocese.org/index.php?page=129666024424&sub=129698377544 ] still has a ledger with details of the 1917 burials.

Looking at the old thread of mine, there are about 15 burials in Haifa with dates of death before the capture of the town – see post No.30 here

 

If I'm not mistaken nearly all of the ones with a date of death in a broad range beginning 01/01/1918 are members of the Egyptian Labour Corps. These poor men suffered from their Corps having an appalling record keeping system, or even no system at all. (No doubt the record keeping was not all that was not up to scratch. There was a desperate shortage of officers and so other ranks were given a short course which concentrated on 'discipline' and then made Temp. Lieutenants.)

Edited by michaeldr

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michaeldr
22 hours ago, Gareth Davies said:

evacuated to Egypt where he DOW at a base Hospital on 18 July 1917

Gareth,

 

This needs careful checking, and unless a specific hospital is named in an entry together with the date of death, then I would treat it with caution.

 

Q. Where did he die? A. Egypt

 

This is actually correct for every death in this theatre; it was the Egyptian theatre and the force was known as the Egyptian Expeditionary Force.

For some of the army's record keepers, Egypt was enough of an answer to the question Where Did He Die? And I am sure that we have had another case like this on the GWF quite recently, where the place of death was given as Egypt when in fact that referred to the name of the Theatre or Command and not to the specific place where the man actually died.

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FROGSMILE
3 hours ago, michaeldr said:

Gareth,

 

This needs careful checking, and unless a specific hospital is named in an entry together with the date of death, then I would treat it with caution.

 

Q. Where did he die? A. Egypt

 

This is actually correct for every death in this theatre; it was the Egyptian theatre and the force was known as the Egyptian Expeditionary Force.

For some of the army's record keepers, Egypt was enough of an answer to the question Where Did He Die? And I am sure that we have had another case like this on the GWF quite recently, where the place of death was given as Egypt when in fact that referred to the name of the Theatre or Command and not to the specific place where the man actually died.


I thought that was likely, but wasn’t sure.  It makes sense and is typical Army.

Edited by FROGSMILE

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jay dubaya

Callaghan’s entry in the Soldiers Effects Register shows DoW, Palestine. I also note 4/5th Welsh and DoD just August 1917, although he looks to have died just prior to the amalgamation of the two battalions.

Edited by jay dubaya

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michaeldr
On 05/12/2019 at 15:07, michaeldr said:

Gareth,

 

This needs careful checking, and unless a specific hospital is named in an entry together with the date of death, then I would treat it with caution.

 

Q. Where did he die? A. Egypt

 

This is actually correct for every death in this theatre; it was the Egyptian theatre and the force was known as the Egyptian Expeditionary Force.

For some of the army's record keepers, Egypt was enough of an answer to the question Where Did He Die? And I am sure that we have had another case like this on the GWF quite recently, where the place of death was given as Egypt when in fact that referred to the name of the Theatre or Command and not to the specific place where the man actually died.

 

 

Gareth,

 

Please oblige and let us know how this one turns out

Good luck with your research

Michael

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michaeldr
On 05/12/2019 at 15:07, michaeldr said:

This needs careful checking, and unless a specific hospital is named in an entry together with the date of death, then I would treat it with caution.

Q. Where did he die? A. Egypt

This is actually correct for every death in this theatre; it was the Egyptian theatre and the force was known as the Egyptian Expeditionary Force.

For some of the army's record keepers, Egypt was enough of an answer to the question Where Did He Die? And I am sure that we have had another case like this on the GWF quite recently, where the place of death was given as Egypt when in fact that referred to the name of the Theatre or Command and not to the specific place where the man actually died.

 

Gareth,

 

Please see my post No.39 of 14 May 2012 here https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/62331-wanted-royal-artillery-enthusiast/page/2/

and note thet the nine Drivers and Gunners of the RGA who were drowned in the River Jordan and who are burried in Haifa (Jaffa Road) Cemetery also have their deaths recorded by the Army as

“died Cairo, Egypt”

It does indeed seem that this was the Army's standard form of words, no matter where in fact the men actually died.

 

regards

Michael

Edited by michaeldr

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Gareth Davies

Indeed. But that still doesn't answer the question of where he was when he died. 

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michaeldr

 

12 minutes ago, Gareth Davies said:

answer the question of where he was when he died. 

As per my post No.10 above, I still believe that an enquiry addressed to the church in Nazareth remains your best bet 

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