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Jervis

Belgian solider buried in Cobh, Ireland?

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Jervis

The old cemetery in Cobh contains a

lot of CWGC graves - many recovered from the Sea -  and many victims of the Lusitania sinking. 
 

There is also, strangely a Belgian Soldier  buried there. I assume he was washed up by the sea too. Does anyone know how or why he came to be buried in Cobh, Co. Cork? 
 

Jervis

D18C93BC-25CC-44EB-9E13-B67F35E1E6AB.jpeg

68894F1B-6157-4637-8CC8-6EE62B580926.jpeg

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corisande
11 hours ago, Jervis said:

I assume he was washed up by the sea too. Does anyone know how or why he came to be buried in Cobh, Co. Cork? 

 

 

Having thought about the problem, I suddenly thought I had the solution - a death cert ....but I cannot find one

 

Clearly he has been identified down to exact date of birth and death, but that could well have been later. The cemetery records may give details as to whether the name came later. Even "unknowns" had death certs during the War of Independence, so I assume this was the case in 1918

 

1. There is no death cert for a Veken or Van der Veken

2. There is no death cert for 1918 with  Christian name Pierre

3. There is no "unknown" under Cork that looks as if it might be him

4. I cannot see an "unknown" anywhere in Ireland for 1918 that looks as if it could be him

 

Anyone with any other ideas on getting a death cert can try https://www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/ as it is all free online :)

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corisande

Neither FmP nor Ancestry seem to have anything much on him

 

1.. IWM have something brief with slightly different Christian names https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/lifestory/7687873

 

2. While Find a Grave https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/136532576/pierre-edouard_gommaire-van_der_veken/photo

have his death "at sea"

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corisande

 

The only other burial of a man who died the same day in that graveyard is of an RN man who died in hospital of natural causes. So no sign of a shipwreck

 

It is starting to look as if he died of natural causes o board a ship, and the body was landed at Cork for burial - but why no Death Cert ?

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
5 minutes ago, corisande said:

 

The only other burial of a man who died the same day in that graveyard is of an RN man who died in hospital of natural causes. So no sign of a shipwreck

 

It is starting to look as if he died of natural causes o board a ship, and the body was landed at Cork for burial - but why no Death Cert ?

Perhaps if he died aboard a (e.g) Belgian ship, the death was covered by Belgian law and certification procedures?

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corisande

 

Keith, no - gives a 500 error

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corisande

There is a short Ancestry tree

 

https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/person/tree/16616889/person/28111144874/facts?_phsrc=SWA15071&_phstart=successSource

 

Where the owner seems to know the family, but nothing about the death - gives him as torpedoed off Somerset, but without substantiation

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RaySearching

Details of Soldaat

 

Pierre Edouard Germaine   VANDER VEKEN

 

Date of birth:  01/06/1891

Place of birth: Antwerp

Address: Mortsel

Name father: CHARLES

Name mother: THE ROECK Maria Emma

Profession: trader

 

Date of death: 1918-10-04

Place of death: at sea aboard Heranoz Marie

Service number: 6678/933

 

 

Ray

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RaySearching

Sorry translators required 

Soldaat.JPG.60d078beaaef1a2123517c2033552599.JPG

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JWK

Né à Anvers 1-6-1894  :  Born in Antwerp 1 June 1894

+ 4-10-18  Torpillage de navire [en mer?] (liste regimentaire): died 4 october 1918 ship torpedoed [at sea?] (Regimental list)

and buried the same day [?] Row C section 5 Nr 45, Queenstown

 

And then the file is sent back and forth through various military institutions, until it comes back (on 29 december 1923!) from the Treasurer of 1st Artillery, with a copy of the deathcertificate.

 

"Wikipedia says"  that Belgian sailors were stationed on French minesweepers and Belgian merchant ships, as they had no navy.

Can't find (yet) a "Heranoz Marie" though.

 

 

*edit* what I cán find though is that the Japanese (!) mailsteamer "Hirano Maru" was torpedoed 60 miles off the southcoast of Ireland on 4th october 1918, with the loss of more than 200 souls (including 8 Dutch citizens). It sailed from Birkenhead on 1st October destined to Japan via Durban/South Africa.

Is that the " Heranoz Marie" ?

japan.jpg.3017549d78161282b649b9875f192e29.jpg

 

 

 

https://rcahmw.gov.uk/japan-pembrokeshire-the-hirano-maru/

 

Edited by JWK

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Jervis

Wow.  Very interesting. It does seem plausible; the dates match obviously and the ship name is similar. 

 

Thanks all for the responses. Much appreciated. 

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Keith_history_buff

Belgian reinforcements for the Force Publique to be disembarked at Durban, for transmission to the Belgian Congo?

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JWK
20 minutes ago, Keith_history_buff said:

Belgian reinforcements for the Force Publique to be disembarked at Durban, for transmission to the Belgian Congo?

 

Could well be: Belgian first class passenger Dupont, who survived, was manager of the Ratanga [Katanga?] mines in the Congo.

Edited by JWK

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
1 hour ago, JWK said:

*edit* what I cán find though is that the Japanese (!) mailsteamer "Hirano Maru" was torpedoed 60 miles off the southcoast of Ireland on 4th october 1918, with the loss of more than 200 souls (including 8 Dutch citizens). It sailed from Birkenhead on 1st October destined to Japan via Durban/South Africa.

Is that the " Heranoz Marie" ?

 

 

https://rcahmw.gov.uk/japan-pembrokeshire-the-hirano-maru/

 

That's very interesting.

I think you are correct that this is the ship.

Just to say that the Deaths Records for Pembrokeshire as per FreeBMD, do list 4 or 5 names of non European origin.

Some to my eyes seem Japanese (Aoki, Okaski  ), others Chinese (Ching Chai, Lou Kou)

And about 30 "Unknown", I presume all related to this sinking.

There are a couple of names who might be Belgian -Joseph Wadoux, age 22,  and a mother and child - Goetghebeur .

 

Anyway, all these had their deaths registered in Pembrokeshire.

I wonder why Van der Veken was not registered in Ireland?

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Keith_history_buff

It would appear that many of the fatalities ended up on beaches on the Irish coast.

 

Quote

JAPANESE STEAMER "HIRANO MARU."

HC Deb 15 October 1918 vol 110 cc21-221
§Mr. HOUSTON (by Private Notice) 

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether the Japanese steamer 22"Hirano Mara" was torpedoed and sunk, with great loss of life, in the Irish Sea prior to 5th October, and can he state why the public was not informed of this outrage until Friday, 11th instant?

22
§Dr. MACNAMARA 

The "Hirano Maru" was torpedoed and sunk on 4th October, well outside the Irish Sea. As the vessel was conveying a number of South African passengers, and in order to prevent unnecessary anxiety in South African circles, details of the outrage were not released for publication until the escort vessels had returned to port and accurate details of the losses were available.

 

 

Source: 
https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1918/oct/15/japanese-steamer-hirano-maru

 

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JWK

Dutch newspapers report that an American destroyer came to the rescue at full speed, answering the frantic calls of the Hirano Maru's radio operator who stayed at his post throughout and unfortunately drowned.

But the destroyer (which too was targeted by the U Boat but the torpedo missed) could only rescue a few survivors, some of whom were so badly injured they died on board the destroyer.

29 survivors landed at Queenstown (including one Belgian, Mr Dupont)

Apparently the Hirano Maru sunk in just 7 minutes.

 

Maybe Pierre died on board the American destroyer?

 

 

 

Edited by JWK

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corisande

I go off for the night to the Opera in Valencia and this mystery is solved in very little time !

 

All I can add now is this from findaGrave about the grave of the Captain

 

Commander of the S.S. "Hirano Maru", who was killed when the ship was torpedoed by the German Submarine UB 91. Records show that there was a full gale blowing at this time, with rough seas and heavy swell. The UB 91 fired two torpedoes at the largest ship – the S.S. "Hirano Maru" - from the surface and dived immediately, and although being hunted by the destroyers, managed to escape. At 05.40 the USS "Sterett" gave up the attack and headed for the last position of the stricken liner. On arrival USS "Sterett" lowered her whaler to pick up survivors. The records show that there were many people in the water with life jackets and clinging to wreckage. USS "Sterett" had to leave the scene as torpedo tracks were noticed heading for her. She altered course to the estimated position of the submarine and a further pattern of eight depth charges were dropped. With UB 91 creeping away, USS "Sterett" continued the gruesome task of picking up survivors, many died from exhaustion in the cold water. Five of the people picked up were pronounced dead and the ship stopped and buried them at sea. Twenty four hours later, USS "Sterett" entered Queenstown and 28 survivors and one body were landed – 17 crewmen and 11 civilians. One of UB 91 engines started to run hot and she lay off Cornwall whilst temporary repairs were made to the cooling system. She started her journey back to Heligoland and just off Ireland she espied a collier, but having fired all her torpedoes she didn't bother to attack. The S.S. "Hirani Maru" was the last victim of UB 91. Armistice was declared in November, 1918 and UB 91 surrendered at Harwich. USS "Sterett" survived WW1 and returned to the United States, eventually being broken up in 1935.

 

It looks as if the Belgian in the Irish Churchyard is the body they landed. And that there was only the one body in Ireland. The rest of he bodies were washed up on the Welsh coast as detailed above

 

 

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corisande
11 hours ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

I wonder why Van der Veken was not registered in Ireland?

 

I think that he probably was registered in Ireland, but under a name that I cannot find.

 

The Irish GRO interpretations of names that are not Irish is often "imaginative"

 

There is a lot of scope of variations with "van der Veken" and I have never found a way to use wildcards on the excellent Irish GRO site

 

I have tried all the permutations that I can think of, but the answer is probably that it was registered under a variant that I have not tried!

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JWK

Here's his birth certificate (as "Petrus Gummarus Eduardus Vander Veken" )

 

petrus.jpg.6e767e797a28f373a427a32166952478.jpg

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr

 

OK.

So if his was the body that was landed by USS Sterrett, which had already buried 5 bodies at sea, then either

 

1) He died before those maritime funerals, but the USN decided not to bury him at sea for some reason, perhaps  because he was a soldier or

2) He died after those maritime funerals.

In that case, if he died on board USS Sterrett, might there be USN records, or even a US Death certificate?

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RaySearching

Would the burial register in Ireland  (if there was one and it still exists) furnish any additional information ?

 

 

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Jervis

The cemetery records are online but only up to 1907 unfortunately. Cobh cemetery records


Apparently they have a “local” database you can ask to search at the library. I was there last weekend, but no plans to be there anytime soon. 

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