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CWGC News; The Identification of the Unknown Fallen


jaykayu
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Released on CWGC website 27 September 2022

THE IDENTIFICATION OF THE UNKNOWN FALLEN

recov-and-reded-4.jpg?rmode=max&width=10

 

At the end of the two World Wars, extensive efforts were made by both the military authorities and the CWGC to identify the last resting place of those who were listed as ‘Missing’. 

Despite these efforts, many graves in the care of CWGC could not be fully identified at the time. However, as further information has come to light over the years, and through the diligence of researchers, the public, families, the CWGC, national defence authorities, and relevant agencies, it has occasionally been possible to name some of those whose graves were previously marked as ‘Known Unto God’.

The decision to identify an individual is made by the national defence authority. The process of identification requires a high level of evidence and in the first instance, this evidence is submitted to the CWGC and is thoroughly reviewed following a robust and transparent research methodology. It is then forwarded to the national defence authority who carry out their investigation to locate evidence, interpret data and ensure all proposals are considered thoroughly. This collaborative investigation process ensures that the outcomes are reliable and consistent.

When identification can be confirmed, and where direct descendants can be traced, the national defence authority officially informs the family. It is important that it is the national defence authority who informs the family, as speculative identification can cause considerable distress to families if proved incorrect. The national defence authority will write to the original submitter(s) of the evidence informing them of the outcome of the investigation, and a public announcement is made.

The CWGC and the national defence authorities make every effort to acknowledge the efforts of everyone concerned with an identification. Where consent is forthcoming and data protection regulations and national privacy laws permit (and these will vary depending on the country), we will name the individual(s) who submitted the case on the CWGC website. Should a Rededication Ceremony take place, they may be invited by the national defence authority and be publicly recognised within the service.

There are many people who provide the catalyst for these investigations. Some may have submitted identical or opposing cases for the same grave and in other cases a more limited submission may include the crucial evidence. Collectively, CWGC and national defence authorities will endeavour to ensure that all who wish to be, or can be named, are recognised.

Regardless of the pathway and the researchers or agencies who may contribute to an identification, the most important acknowledgement must go to the service member, their sacrifice, their units, and their family. All those involved should be rightly proud of their contributions, even if not everyone can be acknowledged in all communications.

https://www.cwgc.org/our-work/news/the-identification-of-the-unknown-fallen/

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It's very interesting that CWGC are taking the time in the above piece to state that they and the national defence authority of an identified soldier e.g. MOD or a Commonwealth defence force, 'make every effort to acknowledge the efforts of everyone concerned with an identification' e.g. researchers, subject to consent and local data protection laws etc. And that these researchers may be invited to the rededication ceremony. 

I think they must have been under some pressure to do so because of 1) not acknowledging the work of individual unpaid researchers who first submitted cases in the past, and 2) often then claiming they did this research themselves (e.g. see this in topic).  They've clearly been feeling the heat from somewhere!  However, in the paragraph they put in bold, they then clumsily, patronisingly and politically (my opinion) try and move the attention on from criticism of them to prioritising the acknowledgement of the soldier and family. 

 

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Interesting and will nice to see the full acknowledgment of the people who actually bring the case in the first place to the attention of the cwgc 

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On 28/09/2022 at 19:21, jaykayu said:

Released on CWGC website 27 September 2022

THE IDENTIFICATION OF THE UNKNOWN FALLEN

recov-and-reded-4.jpg?rmode=max&width=10

 

At the end of the two World Wars, extensive efforts were made by both the military authorities and the CWGC to identify the last resting place of those who were listed as ‘Missing’. 

Despite these efforts, many graves in the care of CWGC could not be fully identified at the time. However, as further information has come to light over the years, and through the diligence of researchers, the public, families, the CWGC, national defence authorities, and relevant agencies, it has occasionally been possible to name some of those whose graves were previously marked as ‘Known Unto God’.

The decision to identify an individual is made by the national defence authority. The process of identification requires a high level of evidence and in the first instance, this evidence is submitted to the CWGC and is thoroughly reviewed following a robust and transparent research methodology. It is then forwarded to the national defence authority who carry out their investigation to locate evidence, interpret data and ensure all proposals are considered thoroughly. This collaborative investigation process ensures that the outcomes are reliable and consistent.

When identification can be confirmed, and where direct descendants can be traced, the national defence authority officially informs the family. It is important that it is the national defence authority who informs the family, as speculative identification can cause considerable distress to families if proved incorrect. The national defence authority will write to the original submitter(s) of the evidence informing them of the outcome of the investigation, and a public announcement is made.

The CWGC and the national defence authorities make every effort to acknowledge the efforts of everyone concerned with an identification. Where consent is forthcoming and data protection regulations and national privacy laws permit (and these will vary depending on the country), we will name the individual(s) who submitted the case on the CWGC website. Should a Rededication Ceremony take place, they may be invited by the national defence authority and be publicly recognised within the service.

There are many people who provide the catalyst for these investigations. Some may have submitted identical or opposing cases for the same grave and in other cases a more limited submission may include the crucial evidence. Collectively, CWGC and national defence authorities will endeavour to ensure that all who wish to be, or can be named, are recognised.

Regardless of the pathway and the researchers or agencies who may contribute to an identification, the most important acknowledgement must go to the service member, their sacrifice, their units, and their family. All those involved should be rightly proud of their contributions, even if not everyone can be acknowledged in all communications.

https://www.cwgc.org/our-work/news/the-identification-of-the-unknown-fallen/

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It's very interesting that CWGC are taking the time in the above piece to state that they and the national defence authority of an identified soldier e.g. MOD or a Commonwealth defence force, 'make every effort to acknowledge the efforts of everyone concerned with an identification' e.g. researchers, subject to consent and local data protection laws etc. And that these researchers may be invited to the rededication ceremony. 

I think they must have been under some pressure to do so because of 1) not acknowledging the work of individual unpaid researchers who first submitted cases in the past, and 2) often then claiming they did this research themselves (e.g. see this in topic).  They've clearly been feeling the heat from somewhere!  However, in the paragraph they put in bold, they then clumsily, patronisingly and politically (my opinion) try and move the attention on from criticism of them to prioritising the acknowledgement of the soldier and family. 

 

I see on the same day the following was announced 

 

A rededication ceremony for Lance Corporal Morgan Jones Jenkins, 475898, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, took place at CWGC Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery, Haucourt, France on the 28th September 2022.

but the researcher was not named which was Richard Laughton

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Hi Cheshire22

 I would like to know  what their 'robust and transparent research methodology' actually is?  and if its transparent we would like to see it. They say they have employed more staff to deal with the backlog of cases. Most are working remote from home and when you are transferred to these members of staff working from home you never seem to get an answer, this has happened a few times now. I personally think the organisation has now lost it's way. All the dedicated people like Nick Andrews, Roy Hemington and David Avery have left. We submitted a few cases to them some time ago, and not one of them has even been looked at yet.  

Regards

Andy

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Hi again Cheshire22

Regarding Richard Loughton, If he's looking down. Well done mate!

Regards

Andy

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8 hours ago, andrew pugh said:

I would like to know  what their 'robust and transparent research methodology' actually is?  and if its transparent we would like to see it. They say they have employed more staff to deal with the backlog of cases. Most are working remote from home and when you are transferred to these members of staff working from home you never seem to get an answer, this has happened a few times now. I personally think the organisation has now lost it's way.

Sadly I feel the same - most of my recent applications seem to have dropped into a very deep and obscure dark hole.  No decent information or updates or visible commemorations even when some have actually been reported as accepted. :(:angry2:

Re: Richard Laughton, Ditto - well done and RIP. :poppy:

M

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A few years ago I sent in a 20 page dossier concerning a chap in Essex Farm ' unknown private of Nott's and Derby Regiment'. The dossier vanished without trace at CWGC !

I sent it in again a while later and the reply was that he could have been a Sgt from same battalion commemorated on Menin Gate.  The Private died at Essex Farm around midnight and somehow his details got lost. He lies between 6 named men of the Battalion.  Despite the date discrepancy of one day, why would a Sgt be buried as a Private?  I know who the 'Unknown' chap is even if it is not accepted and so does his family after my research. 

Maybe if he had been an 'unknown officer' the headstone would have been altered. 

 

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3 minutes ago, stevem49 said:

why would a Sgt be buried as a Private?

Speculating - I suspect it rather depends upon whether his rank was substantive - a Private could be Acting Serjeant and wearing three chevrons.

But then how would they really know he was a Private without other identification = ???

M

Edited by Matlock1418
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12 minutes ago, stevem49 said:

A few years ago I sent in a 20 page dossier concerning a chap in Essex Farm ' unknown private of Nott's and Derby Regiment'. The dossier vanished without trace at CWGC !

I sent it in again a while later and the reply was that he could have been a Sgt from same battalion commemorated on Menin Gate.  The Private died at Essex Farm around midnight and somehow his details got lost. He lies between 6 named men of the Battalion.  Despite the date discrepancy of one day, why would a Sgt be buried as a Private?  I know who the 'Unknown' chap is even if it is not accepted and so does his family after my research. 

Maybe if he had been an 'unknown officer' the headstone would have been altered. 

 

I’ve seen that grave and every time I’m in Essex farm, it’s always the one I must stop and say hello too.  
 

It would interesting to read your submission, if you still have it

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On 01/10/2022 at 13:18, Cheshire22 said:

I’ve seen that grave and every time I’m in Essex farm, it’s always the one I must stop and say hello too.  
 

It would interesting to read your submission, if you still have it

Unfortunately I lost everything several years ago. I think I put the dossier in my Daughters loft when we moved but as yet cannot find it.

There was an explosion at Marengo Dump on 19th July 1917 and 57234 Pte Ernest Cox was wounded along with some others. He was taken to 88th Field Ambulance, some 250 yards from Essex Farm. He died there late on 19th but his death was listed by CWGC on Menin Gate as 20th.  19191 Lance Sgt Joseph Hebblethwaite is also listed on Menin Gate as 19th July 1917.   The unknown lies between IP3 L/Cpl Rodgers (17th July) and IP5, Private Hill.(20th July) 

At least 4 men were killed as a result of the explosion

No service records for either.

Majority of men killed during this period are buried in La Belle Alliance but I cannot proved 100% that Joseph H is there.

 

Hebblethwaite - Killed in action

Cox - Died of wounds

Edited by stevem49
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On 28/09/2022 at 18:21, jaykayu said:

The decision to identify an individual is made by the national defence authority.[my bold]

As is mentioned above by CWGC.

I've not heard about this national defence authority. [the lack of any capitalisations is puzzling - perhaps suggesting that it is devolved to the relevant national military such as the MoD in the UK??]

Anyone got any specific intel on them?

M

Edit: I also now note the CWGC also refers later tnational defence authorities [Rather iritating that CWGC don't explain further]

Edited by Matlock1418
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22 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

As is mentioned above by CWGC.

I've not heard about this national defence authority. [the lack of any capitalisations is puzzling - perhaps suggesting that it is devolved to the relevant national military such as the MoD in the UK??]

Anyone got any specific intel on them?

M

Edit: I also now note the CWGC also refers later tnational defence authorities [Rather iritating that CWGC don't explain further]

Hi M

Yes - it's my understanding/assumption from this news item that when using the term national defence force the CWGC does mean the MOD for the UK, and also the national defence forces of Commonwealth countries who approve identification cases of Commonwealth casualties e.g. the Australian National Defence Force (which the Australian Army is part) would approve a case for an Australian casualty, and the Canadian Armed Forces for a Canadian soldier etc.

J

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1 hour ago, jaykayu said:

Yes - it's my understanding/assumption from this news item that when using the term national defence force the CWGC does mean the MOD for the UK, and also the national defence forces of Commonwealth countries who approve identification cases of Commonwealth casualties e.g. the Australian National Defence Force (which the Australian Army is part) would approve a case for an Australian casualty, and the Canadian Armed Forces for a Canadian soldier etc.

:thumbsup:

One additional word would have significantly clarified the CWGC article ... the relevant national defence authority ...

Of course I think the MoD in the UK is then sub-divided into Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, each with its own section! [I think, but not wholly sure, as CWGC aren't really very transparent]

Despite what CWGC claim ...

Little of the adjudication process and the arrival at an individual decision [accepted or not] is transparently shared by CWGC.  Nor much communication with a party who has presented a case for consideration [accepted or not].  Revelation of both, upfront and after, could do a lot to aid further future case presentations.  Why don't CWGC provide a detailed guide on the process and how to make a good presentation?

Nor much public acknowledgement of the external researcher/presenter [at a level acceptable to an individual] - but why not for an more anonymous organisation/group such as IFCP and/or other nation's equivalent?  Of course it is primarily about the men and women who are commemorated - it's certainly not about claiming the 'glory' but about CWGC more publicly acknowleging the valuable help freely presented to them [by many individuals and groups].  Hey ho! 

More transparency might even get CWGC more assistance in doing what they do and should do in the future.

CWGC really are opaque in my opinion.  If one was very cynical one might perhaps even think that new/revised commemorations are a nuisance for CWGC and not to be more encouraged - I really don't think this is so, but CWGC could do much better.

To emphasise, this is not intended as a completely damning criticism of CWGC but more intended as feedback and a motivating encouragement and suggestion as to perhaps how CWGC could do even better.  Go CWGC, go!

M

Edited by Matlock1418
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I see from the MOD War Detectives website, 

Forthcoming funeral or rededication services with full military honours.

Tuesday 18 October

Vichte Military Cemetery, Belgium.

10.45am; Rededication service for Private (Pte) David Christie Graham of the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders).

11.30 am; Rededication service for Second Lieutenant (2Lt) Frank Wood of the Lancashire Fusiliers.

Harlebeke New British Cemetery, Belgium

2.15pm; Rededication service for Corporal (Cpl) Herbert Pearce of the Worcestershire Regiment.

Wednesday 19 October

Dadizeele New British Cemetery

10.15am; Rededication service for Second Lieutenant (2Lt) Herbert Ernest Martin of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).

Perth Cemetery (China Wall), Belgium

11.30am; Rededication service for Private (Pte) Thomas Parry of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers.

Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, Belgium

2.30pm; Rededication service for Corporal (Cpl) Gilbert Willcocks of the Army Service Corps.

so I wonder what will appear on the CWGC website and also if they have contacted any of the researchers 

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13 hours ago, Cheshire22 said:

if they have contacted any of the researchers 

They did, I received an email stating that my case for Frank Wood was accepted and an invitation for the ceremony at Vichte.

Luc.

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8 hours ago, LDT006 said:

They did, I received an email stating that my case for Frank Wood was accepted and an invitation for the ceremony at Vichte.

Luc.

HI Luc

Good to hear you were informed that the case had been accepted. Can I ask if you heard anything before before this please? e.g CWGC informing you they had passed the case onto the MOD?

Thanks

 

J

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Nothing from CWGC, they did this many years ago for my first cases when it was accepted by them and passed on to the MOD.

I hope that this will change with this "CWGC News; The Identification of the Unknown Fallen". I believe that this news release could be the result of a former member who was very upset when he didn't receive acknowledgement and took his issue with CWGC to MP's.

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36 minutes ago, LDT006 said:

Nothing from CWGC, they did this many years ago for my first cases when it was accepted by them and passed on to the MOD.

I hope that this will change with this "CWGC News; The Identification of the Unknown Fallen". I believe that this news release could be the result of a former member who was very upset when he didn't receive acknowledgement and took his issue with CWGC to MP's.

Thanks Luc.  Lets hope the communication and acknowledgement improves.

J

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On 04/10/2022 at 15:05, Matlock1418 said:

:thumbsup:

One additional word would have significantly clarified the CWGC article ... the relevant national defence authority ...

Of course I think the MoD in the UK is then sub-divided into Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, each with its own section! [I think, but not wholly sure, as CWGC aren't really very transparent]

Despite what CWGC claim ...

Little of the adjudication process and the arrival at an individual decision [accepted or not] is transparently shared by CWGC.  Nor much communication with a party who has presented a case for consideration [accepted or not].  Revelation of both, upfront and after, could do a lot to aid further future case presentations.  Why don't CWGC provide a detailed guide on the process and how to make a good presentation?

Nor much public acknowledgement of the external researcher/presenter [at a level acceptable to an individual] - but why not for an more anonymous organisation/group such as IFCP and/or other nation's equivalent?  Of course it is primarily about the men and women who are commemorated - it's certainly not about claiming the 'glory' but about CWGC more publicly acknowleging the valuable help freely presented to them [by many individuals and groups].  Hey ho! 

More transparency might even get CWGC more assistance in doing what they do and should do in the future.

CWGC really are opaque in my opinion.  If one was very cynical one might perhaps even think that new/revised commemorations are a nuisance for CWGC and not to be more encouraged - I really don't think this is so, but CWGC could do much better.

To emphasise, this is not intended as a completely damning criticism of CWGC but more intended as feedback and a motivating encouragement and suggestion as to perhaps how CWGC could do even better.  Go CWGC, go!

M

Well said!

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10 hours ago, LDT006 said:

They did, I received an email stating that my case for Frank Wood was accepted and an invitation for the ceremony at Vichte.

Luc.

So who in the CWGC contacted you about your case be accepted and when did you get the invite to the rededication ceremony.  
 

as I believe that it is the JCCC that send out the acceptance emails and the invitations. 
 

the main point of the posts, is that will the CWGC publish details of the researchers on there website 

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I see from the mod war detectives Facebook page,  people are prising them left right and centre 

but the war detectives are not correcting them 

the people need to be told, who actually submit these cases and why

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23 minutes ago, Cheshire22 said:

I see from the mod war detectives Facebook page,  people are prising them left right and centre 

but the war detectives are not correcting them

I don't lurk on FB but looking at their public page I'm not surprised people are happy.  Pleased they are doing the work they do, and don't begrudge them their media, but ...

23 minutes ago, Cheshire22 said:

the people need to be told, who actually submit these cases and why

Quite so!

MoD and CWGC seem so similarly cut from the same cloth.

M

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2 hours ago, Cheshire22 said:

So who in the CWGC contacted you about your case be accepted and when did you get the invite to the rededication ceremony.  

The reply you quoted wasn't clear enough. It was clarified a few posts later.

15 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

MoD and CWGC seem so similarly cut from the same cloth.

Sorry but this isn't correct. CWGC only maintains the cemeteries and the administration, they also insist to have a look at the cases to check if these have merit, that's all.

The final adjudication is with the "national defence authorities" and it is up to them to communicate the decision and organize the ceremony. The MoD invites researchers to say something at the ceremony and this is then quoted, using the researchers name, in their press release.

Luc.

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1 minute ago, LDT006 said:

Sorry but this isn't correct. CWGC only maintains the cemeteries and the administration, they also insist to have a look at the cases to check if these have merit, that's all.

Perhaps I was a little obscure. 

My point was really about lack of transparency, not that they really do the same job when decisions are to be made.  CWGC take the cases and later commemorate but nowhere is there transparency about how the decision was arrived at by the 'national defence authority' [actually CWGC have appears to claim to be the adjudication board to me when I challenged a decision - or it was a very robust and yet very unclear filter by them?  I don't know as they were non-transparent even when I pressed for more info] nor do they make much clear acknowledgement of the initial researchers/submitters of cases [or maybe we all wish to remain in the background??]

Similarly ...

10 minutes ago, LDT006 said:

The final adjudication is with the "national defence authorities" and it is up to them to communicate the decision and organize the ceremony. The MoD invites researchers to say something at the ceremony and this is then quoted, using the researchers name, in their press release.

I've yet to be contacted about cases I have submitted and had accepted - I actually don't want my name published, but I would like to hear more - maybe I should wait longer. ??

In my opinion, and probably to those who have experienced it over a number of cases, CWGC and the MoD seem to lose a lot of credibility and goodwill by their similar approaches - Potentially losing out too. Of course there are some happy relatives etc. and I'm very pleased about that, and of course I am very glad the men & women are correctly commemorated but both organisations need to be more open along the line of their published 'talk'.  Better to walk the walk rather than just talk.  And I'm sticking [currently] with those opinions. 

Again I emphasise I am not just grinding/railing against the CWGC & MoD [I am lining up future new submissions at the moment], but just hoping they may be encouraged to do better.

M

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