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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Ernest George Twiddy 5871 Royal Fusiliers


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I stumbled across this one whilst researching a relative who was a WW2 casualty.


Ernest died on 12 October 1919 from pulmonary tuberculosis which was deemed to be 100% attributable to service.


His case is an interesting one. He joined the 1/4th (City of London) Battalion Royal Fusiliers on 21 October 1913 and was sent to Malta at the outbreak of the war before arriving in France via Marseilles in January 1915. He spent the second half of 1915 in the UK recovering from an iguanal hernia and returned to France at the beginning of 1916. He suffered a GSW in September 1916 before returning to France again in April 1917.


Ernest was taken prisoner on 30 Novemebr 1917 during the German counter-attack at Cambrai. According to the ICRC records, he had suffered a GSW to the hand. He contracted pulmonary tuberculosis whilst a prisoner of war but, because of his chronic medical condition, he was repatriated in September 1918 (the ICRC repatriation lists make graphic reading about the range of afflictions including a substantial number of amputations). He then remained in hospital until he was discharged from the army with a 100% pension in April 1919. Ernest's respite was shortlived and he was readmitted to hospital in September and died a month or so later of the disease on 12 October.


I am collating the pension records to send to Terry along with the Death Certificate for processing via the IFTC project.


Curiosity prompted me to check the CWGC database for the number of deaths between April 1919 and 31 August 1921 for the number of deaths commemorated in the UK. There are just over 15,000 such deaths, a small number of which will be attribtable to death in service and a fairly substantil number to the work of the IFTC on post discharge cases.


As a (very rough) rule of thumb the figures suggest that 12-13,000 post discharge cases were commemorated by contemporary recording which must surely only represent a proportion of the tens of thousands ex servicement who died during the post war qualifying period of afflictions either attributable or aggravated by their service.


My query is why so few such commemorations?


I am aware that men would have slipped through the net if death occurred after their entitlement to a pension had expired because the authorities would have been completely unaware unless notified by a relative - but, in the instance of Ernest he was in receipt of a 100% pension and the authorities were fully aware of the circumstances of his death and even reduced his pension entitlement by 40% during his final hospital stay.


Was the focus only on those post discharge cases that were caused by wounds rather than disease? Was the rubric for commemoration of post discharge cases decided upon so late in the day that reviewing records would have been an additional monumental task to add to that of recording actual deaths during the war years?


Questions, questions but so few answers !




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