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Arnside98

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Hi. I now know that my great uncle died as a POW and not in action thanks to this forum. Where’s the best place to find out where he was taken/or any records on him? He was at messines ridge in 1914 with the London Scottish before being captured. Frank Lionel Mahon.  Wondered if it’s possible that he has a grave near a camp or was it too early on in the war for there to be camps as such. Thanks for your help. 

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You need to search the ICRC website using his name and number This should take you to his Red Cross card. On the card will be one or more PA ref numbers which will when entered will tell you the names of camps. If there is an R reference that should give some repatriation details.

Just spotted JWKs post, that's the card.

 

Simon

Edited by mancpal
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Unfortunately he has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial panel 54. This means he died without reaching a major camp. I suppose its possible he was wounded when captured and subsequently died of his wounds in German hands. If you search CWGC Find War Dead and enter his details you'll find him. He obviously died as a captive so would more than likely have been buried but his grave lost or destroyed in the 4 years of subsequent fighting. It could also be that his remains were found but not identifiable and be could be buried beneath one of the unknown soldier headstones in one of the very great number in that vicinity.

When you search the PA reference you may find a small amount more. The ICRC website is in my view a pain to search but even I got a result when looking for my grandad.

 

Simon

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Thanks. I tried to search for him on the ICRC website initially but couldn’t find him. Sorry for the questions but where would I search under his PA number ? Thanks Fiona 

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My grandad would have loved to have known what really happened to his brother. Thanks! I guess this is the end of the road for information about him.  Appreciate your help.

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As an aside : are you sure he died as a POW?

From the wording it looks like his body was found by the Germans, and subsequently buried?

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No I’m not really sure. I haven’t done research on the First World War before so I’m learning as I go. My great grandparents were told that he was killed fighting. However members of the London Scottish told my grandfather that he was possibly captured (assumed injured) by Germans. A newspaper article (on another thread ’Messine ridge 1914’ shows that he was a POW and died. I assume he died very soon after being captured if he was. What wording makes you think his body was found? Thanks for the query. I now live in NZ and we just commemorated Anzac Day so it reminded me to delve deeper into my great uncles death.

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Fiona,

the wording "died in the first days of November" (in den ersten November tagen verstorben) makes me feel the Germans found his body, and presumed the date of death.

"Usually" they were very precise as to date of death of POW's.

The German record PA1255 records a lot of London Scottish soldiers (nearly all of them)

Maybe the Germans recaptured some terrain, and found the bodies?

I'm not an expert on the Battle of Messines 1914 (far from it!), so hopefully someone who is more versed will chime in.

 

JW

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The word "beerdigt" translates as 'buried'. I then went down the list of men listed as such on the ICRC list (partially shown above) and checked there fate against the CWGC. They all have a place on the Menin Gate which means no known grave. This leads me back to my post (#5) that they seem to have been buried by the Germans (hence the ICRC refs)  and their graves subsequently lost.

I wonder what the war diary says about October? They should highlight what action occurred and give casualty figures but of course whether he died in German hands or before they found him.

I further wondered if the Germans had some form of medical station in the proximity where they may have tried to save casualties though buried them adjacent when they couldn't?

 Who was their opposition ?  Other members who specialise in German regiments may know but I can't think of who offhand.

 

Simon

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Hello,

 

The ICRC document (PA 1255) seems to indicate that these British soldiers were indeed buried by the Germans when clearing the battlefield at some point late 1914 to early 1916 (as the doc is dated January 1916).

 

It seems they were all buried in field graves and not in a proper cemetery (a common problem, also encountered for German graves from 1914/15 in this sector). I would say there's a big chance most of the men on that doc are buried in Bedford House Cemetery or Wytschaete Military Cemetery.

 

An example is Pte 2054 William Hugh Wylie, https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/4010904/wylie,-william-hugh/ Several bodies were recovered from close by the unit's memorial: doc1810339.JPG

 

Others are Pte Chapman and Wallace  https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/448697/wallace,-charles-adam/ They were found near Spanbroek doc1838265.JPG

 

Jan

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Fiona,

last night I had a look at Wytschaete on google earth and its possible to zoom in on some archaeological work to the north of the village (look for a field with tyre tracks all over it). You will be able to make out the zigzag of the original trenches at the bottom of the field. Panning out you will note four or five circular ponds to the west and south of the village, the remains of mine craters from 1917 which act as a reminder that this sector was seldom quiet from beginning to end. You could also google 'Hill 80' and read of the trench excavations at Wytschaete (Whitesheet to the tommies).

 

Simon

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