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Remembered Today:

The mystery of 2/Lts George Iliff & Leonard Charles Scroggie


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Hello,

           I have long been researching the final fate and grave for 2/Lt George Iliff, 213 Squadron. There hopefully are three CWGC attachments. I am convinced that either 2/Lt. Iliff or Lt Leonard Charles Scroggie (also 213 Sq.) are buried in grave 12A at CWGC Larch Wood Cemetery. Both Officers were shot down September 25, 1918 almost certainly by Marine Jasta 5.

          I wanted that grave to be Iliff. Combats reports and an ICRC card show Iliff down at Gits (Gitz) while Scroggie was last seen about 5 miles southeast of Ostend. However, the exhumation report indicated this Airman was 5’51/2 inches with a prior fracture that had a wire splint. Iliff’s. Officer records shows him at 69 inches with no previous injury history other than typhoid fever. I realize this is not conclusive proof of identity for either.

          All the sources I have on Scroggie show no injury history, but as yet I have been unable to access his Officer’s papers at Kew, which I much need, which might provide information as to the identity of this unknown Airman in his unknown grave.

Just thought I would share my RAF history mystery. Any thoughts, guesses or guidance?   Thanks, Ralph

Larch Wood - Exhumation Report.jpg

Larch Wood - Burial Return.jpg

CWGC @.pdf

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Chesterboy

1EAD7E28-55C3-45A7-83E0-CFDE0A4AE45E.jpeg

45876809-9B8F-4F51-826D-7595E670AC47.jpeg

45D5D8ED-1AC7-4307-BB68-DCF4B728412F.jpeg

The pin is where the German cemetery where the remains were originally buried 

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Chesterboy

Could the officer had survived a crash and was patched up with the splint,  only to die on the 25th September 1918

Edited by Chesterboy
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Thanks Guys. I agree Chesterboy. The ICRC card I have on 2/Lt. Iliff states "killed at Gitz". Almost certainly the unknown British officer in the exhumation report was medically treated at his crash site prior to his death and his injury could not have been pre-existing. The cross on his German grave stated that his date of death was September 25, 1918. So, more research needed. The height difference between grave report and his service record is a bit confusing as yet.  I am convinced that grave 12A at Larch Wood is either Iliff or Scroggie Thanks again 

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As a OP follow up. CWGC has advised me, while a decided long shot, to research what German Army units may have been posted around Gits (Gitz), Belgium  September 25, 1918. This was the day George ILiff was reported killed near Gits on his ICRC response card. The unknown Airman in the Larch Wood CWGC grave was almost certainly treated at a medical facility prior to his death and such a find could provide further details concerning this mystery

   In past searches, I have not received responses from the German War Graves Commission. So, does anyone know of a route to find an independent German researcher who might provide research assistance? Thanks Ralph

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Hello,

 

I have looked into this case a long time ago and discussed it with some experts, we had serious doubts that such a complex medical operation was possible the same day of the crash.

@AOK4 is the expert on the German army and medical units, he should be able (I hope) to tell if this was possible.

 

Luc.

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Was it usual for aircrew not to wear ID tag?

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Thanks very much Luc, I did contact Jan. 

   Lots of confusing mystery research dots to connect here. The date written on the German cemetery cross, grave # 1220 is 25/9/1918. The ICRC card for Iliff states "brought down and killed at Gits". The exhumation document states the unknown "Aviator" was 5. 5" inches with black or dark brown hair. Two documents in Iliff's service record show him as 69 inches with fair hair.  A photo of Scroggie seems to show black hair

     When the Pandemic barrage lifts I will request Scroggie's service record for comparison

Luc did you submit your "long ago" research to the CWGC Commemorations branch for consideration?   Thanks again Ralph

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We did not yet submit this as we feel that the evidence is not hard enough.

I have the service file for Scroggie, height 5.1 3/4 and he declares "no previous injury" on his application form for the RFC on 2 April 1917

The height can be a problem because both have a difference of more than 3 inches compared to the exhumation report.

You will also need to prove where the others are buried who died several days before and after the date on the headstone

 

Luc.

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Thanks Luc. I understand the point of your last sentence. Unless Jan comes up with some solid evidence on this case, my investigation will likely come to a similar end. Cheers, Ralph.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would tend to be a little wary of the height recorded by the exhumation team.

 

How was the height determined?

Was it by estimation from the length of the thigh-bone?

Was it by measurement of a complete skeleton?

Was it determined by a forensic pathologist in a hospital morgue?

 

Too many unknowables for my liking.

Unless of course, there was an established protocol in place for the exhumation teams to follow.

 

Regards,

JMB

 

 

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sadbrewer

Not unfortunately the answer, but this might be interesting if you havent seen it before.

From The Aberdeen Weekly Jornal, November 7th,1919.

Courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive. 

 

 

 

Screenshot_20210504-101206.jpg

Edited by sadbrewer
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Bennett

Thank you Sir. That is interesting. As so often in historical research, you answer one question that spawns others  Ralph

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