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Pension cards: death not due to service, but commemorated by CWGC


PaulC78
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Having literally trawled through tens of thousands of pension cards by now, I'm struck by the number of cards that have statements such as "death not due to service", "disease contracted after discharge" or such, and yet the man was commemorated by CWGC regardless. Whether that's because the rules of commemoration were less stringent back in the day, or just less rigourously applied, I can't say, but I find it interesting as I would expect any such statement to pretty much sink a non-commemoration case if it were submitted today.

I'll post a few random examples here.

@ss002d6252 @Matlock1418 @David Tattersfield

Luke Norwood, "death not due to service"
CWGC: https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/2750763/luke-norwood/

1781575441_NorwoodLuke(158598).jpg.3e9a79dd56d34001a4a9cab5ba027872.jpg

George Chapman, "disease contracted after discharge"
CWGC: https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/648700/george-chapman/

610493330_ChapmanGeorge(109052).jpg.35a9d0887986003ed91fcc5ba58d4cdb.jpg

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1 minute ago, PaulC78 said:

Having literally trawled through tens of thousands of pension cards by now, I'm struck by the number of cards that have statements such as "death not due to service", "disease contracted after discharge" or such, and yet the man was commemorated by CWGC regardless. Whether that's because the rules of commemoration were less stringent back in the day, or just less rigourously applied, I can't say, but I find it interesting as I would expect any such statement to pretty much sink a non-commemoration case if it were submitted today.

I'll post a few random examples here.

@ss002d6252 @Matlock1418 @David Tattersfield

Luke Norwood, "death not due to service"
CWGC: https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/2750763/luke-norwood/

1781575441_NorwoodLuke(158598).jpg.3e9a79dd56d34001a4a9cab5ba027872.jpg

Thanks Paul.

Craig 

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Frederick Jackson, "disease not attributable to active service"
CWGC: https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/376702/frederick-jackson/

1983984088_JacksonFrederick(92948).jpg.85ae42d68d8d2575c15ce79dc38a72bf.jpg

Frank Cummings, "death not due to service"
CWGC: https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/420096/frank-cummings/

466393382_CummingsFrank(152716).jpg.939e8ade114edfe0f9e33b3af8ec4853.jpg

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John Cowhen, "soldier died of a disability neither attr to nor aggr by mil service"
CWGC: https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/389893/john-cowhen/

1029723928_CowhenJohn(15426).jpg.940a373f86ff6cc0f5a86d5a422b5a23.jpg

Frank Tipler, "disease contracted after discharge"
CWGC: https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/2747035/f-tipler/

114481055_TiplerFrank(268101).jpg.8c03e4651ff34b046eb3232812aaf929.jpg

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Thanks Paul for posting these.

Interesting to note, from correspondence I have received from them, that the CWGC seem to currently have a general opinion that "the MoP made mistakes" [which apparently they did not make here in refusing these claims - as not service related] = and thus CWGC now seem to pretty routinely refuse other commemorations based on MoP evidence.

Or would they argue that the MoP repeatedly got it wrong again and that they should have erroneously issued pensions??  Or have CWGC got it wrong???

Based on the logic of not commemorating mistakenly I wonder if CWGC would perhaps care to remove such commemorations?

The money saved by not maintaining those graves and their web database could then go to help fund those new cases supported by MoP evidence??

Such removal is a rhetorical point rather than an actual active desire of mine - actually I would prefer more commemorations based on reasonable arguments.

M

Edited by Matlock1418
typo
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AFAIK, the CWGC have a policy of not revoking commemorations if they are later found to be in error.

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1 minute ago, PaulC78 said:

AFAIK, the CWGC have a policy of not revoking commemorations if they are later found to be in error.

As I wrote - a rhetorical question/suggestion.

I would however note that the MoP had at least equal moral and a greater legal and financial responsibility than I/CWGC and so had a greater necessity to get matters right for the living.

So why the MoP decisions can't be considered of higher value towards the dead I cannot fathom.

M

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Norwood (above)...
Cause of death given as "Carcoma (sic) of Duodenum" [Presumably Carcinoma of Duodenum]

Carcinoma of the Duodenum is very rare condition even nowadays, despite continuous improvement in diagnostic methods in the last 40 years particularly. So in 1921, a proven diagnosis would have been very very rare indeed.

Kreel and Mackintosh (1968), reported only 602 authentic cases in the literature ever, up to 1961.

 

Kreel, L., and Mackintosh, C., Gut, (1968),9, 222-228

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Paul, Interesting examples.

A point that has been raised with me, and I thought it might have arrived here too but not yet, is the question of when and how those non-pensioned but commemorated examples you have highlighted were arrived at at CWGC.  Do you know?

Actually, all seem old commemorations with GRRF but CUMMINGS notably has a burial in a military plot in Canada - seems to have a much more recent modern GR entry too [citing Phthisis = slightly different from MoP].

Interesting that most were private graves and seemingly most well maintained - so at the time probably no big deal for CWGC to record.

Unfortunately from experience it seems commonly the case that CWGC don't now seem to know and/or don't care to reveal such matters [certainly not spontaneously or even when asked about decision making] - so much for transparency.

One can perhaps partially understand commemorations lost in the depths of time but for newer commemorations I do feel CWGC et al could be more open [including also for non-commemorations].

Unfortunately it seems we must currently struggle along rather in the dark when trying to make our modern presentations of new cases.  Hey ho - onward we go!

M

Edited by Matlock1418
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13 hours ago, PaulC78 said:

Having literally trawled through tens of thousands of pension cards by now, I'm struck by the number of cards that have statements such as "death not due to service", "disease contracted after discharge"

Thanks for this. It may be an interesting exercise (not for now, but for later when other projects have been completed) to try to obtain (through a random sample exercise) the proportion of men detailed on the 'Other ranks died' cards (which is what you've shown in most of your examples) who were "killed in action" (or died of wounds) as opposed to those died of disease. A similar exercise has already taken place very thoroughly by Dr Peter Hodgkinson (and a team of volunteers), using the Pension Ledgers - this exercise looked at those men who returned from the war. See article here >> 

Health in returning veterans of the First World War: The impact of wounds, gassing, injury, and medical and psychological conditions from a study of the pension ledgers

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1 hour ago, David Tattersfield said:

Thanks for this. It may be an interesting exercise (not for now, but for later when other projects have been completed) to try to obtain (through a random sample exercise) the proportion of men detailed on the 'Other ranks died' cards (which is what you've shown in most of your examples) who were "killed in action" (or died of wounds) as opposed to those died of disease. A similar exercise has already taken place very thoroughly by Dr Peter Hodgkinson (and a team of volunteers), using the Pension Ledgers - this exercise looked at those men who returned from the war. See article here >> 

Health in returning veterans of the First World War: The impact of wounds, gassing, injury, and medical and psychological conditions from a study of the pension ledgers

Background ... This thread has arisen from others on the subject on non-comm cases and recent attempts to present them and/or to get them accepted [a number of cases with puzzling rejections].

Certainly is interesting to look at disease disability and the follow-up and involvement in death as a result of service c/w wounds/physical impairment disability and KiA.

However I think what is being considered here in this thread is the situation where CWGC commemorated/continue to commemorate men who died from disease, often post-service, but which the MoP had deemed not to have been due to service.  [The opposite to the situation/argument commonly made by those who now make cases of non-commemoration to be commemorated instead].  Certainly it would be very interesting to see more commemoration/non-pensionable examples similar to those already presented here.

There is this rather frustrating opposite corollary of CWGC et al not now accepting for commemoration some men when the MoP clearly awarded pensions often before and/or after death [since service causation/aggravation was accepted by the MoP].  A recent explanation/excuse offered by CWGC for non-commemoration has been put forward by them as because "the MoP made mistakes".

Clearly all organisations, military, civilian and those sort of in-between like CWGC, can make mistakes to a degree but to use as an explanation MoP blame and to accept CWGC correctness/innocence/maintenence of their status-quo seems perverse given the huge responsibilty and imperative that was placed on the MoP to get it right to the very best they could.  I don't doubt CWGC et al are similarly now trying to do their best also, but there seems to have been an unhelpful seemingly recent polarisation of opposite positions - to the likely detriment of further men's [potentially also women's I might suspect] commemoration

My money would be on the MoP to have been a pretty reliable judge of the situation and it is frustrating that CWGC et al frequently don't accept the MoP's decisions unless supported by military records and a Death Certificate [the latter to be paid for and presented by a non-comm case presenter when the use of such DC would have been a natural and necessary part of the MoP's original decision-making process = duplication and cost - so frustrating!]  On the balance of probabilities the MoP in my opinion would seem very likely to have got it right in the majority of cases.

I would aspire that CWGC et al reduce their apparent current burden of proof for new commemorations from apparently 'beyond doubt' [surely it was never this strict] to 'on the balence of probabilities' and allow the acceptance of MoP as very strong evidence, potentially capable of supporting a case on its own even when this requires interpretation of the documents' more circumstantial evidence - Based on other very recent correspondence I have received it rather seems CWGC et al don't fully understand the legislation, MoP and pensions.  And I would hope they could also be more fully transparent in their past and present/future decisions - in the past and even in very recent correspondence a most infrequent occurance to know exactly how they arrived at their decisions - significantly/totally non-transparent really.

I am not aspiring for the removal of existing seemingly not qualifying cases from CWGC - though of course if that were to be the case the funds spent on the maintenance of such graves could likely be released and spent elsewhere on new cases ... ??? ... This seems a completely different issue to this thread, or at least to my intent.

I look forward to seeing more commemoration/not-pensioned examples similar to those posted in the OP and after.

M

Edited by Matlock1418
typo!
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9 hours ago, Matlock1418 said:

I look forward to seeing more commemoration/not-pensioned examples similar to those posted in the OP and after.

I could post more examples, but it would just be more of the same, I'm not sure there is anything further to be gleaned from them? I might instead start a separate topic on the unreliability of pension cards when it comes to recording cause of death.

21 hours ago, Matlock1418 said:

A point that has been raised with me, and I thought it might have arrived here too but not yet, is the question of when and how those non-pensioned but commemorated examples you have highlighted were arrived at at CWGC.  Do you know?

No idea. I would expect they generally date back to the 1920s when the IWGC had considerably more cases to process than today.

11 hours ago, David Tattersfield said:

A similar exercise has already taken place very thoroughly by Dr Peter Hodgkinson (and a team of volunteers), using the Pension Ledgers - this exercise looked at those men who returned from the war. See article here >>

Not a light read, but that study looks interesting, I'll have a look sometime. Similar exercises might be equally worthwhile.

10 hours ago, Matlock1418 said:

However I think what is being considered here in this thread is the situation where CWGC commemorated/continue to commemorate men who died from disease, often post-service, but which the MoP had deemed not to have been due to service.

It's just an observation, this topic need not be one thing or another. :)

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Been checking my thoughts.

22 hours ago, PaulC78 said:

John Cowhen, "soldier died of a disability neither attr to nor aggr by mil service"
CWGC: https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/389893/john-cowhen/

1029723928_CowhenJohn(15426).jpg.940a373f86ff6cc0f5a86d5a422b5a23.jpg

COWHEN is an interesting case - Seems refused but Appeal allowed.

Besides the example of the pension ledger case offered above https://www.fold3.com/image/645148182?terms=cowhen,15426  there is an even more interesting later second pension ledger for him https://www.fold3.com/image/645300305?terms=cowhen,15426

image.png.2bce214565fe279f1e6414443cd0a5d5.png

Image thank to WFA/Fold3

It appears to show that an appeal was successful and a pension was paid to his NoK after all = so CWGC were correct in commemorating COWHEN after all.

The other five men offered above seem to suggest that the CWGC otherwise mostly got it wrong by commemorating and the MoP were right not to pay out.

M

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26 minutes ago, PaulC78 said:

I might instead start a separate topic on the unreliability of pension cards when it comes to recording cause of death.

Of course you can start a new thread if you wish [always a subject of interest to me] - but in fact I think pension cards are remarkably accurate/reliable overall given the huge numbers that had to be processed.

My one query above for CUMMINGS was why there was a divergence between a historic MoP description of Intestinal tuberculosis and a modern CWGC description as Phthisis [Pulmonary tuberculosis]? - Who recently came up with that and how?  CWGC are not readily transparent with such assertions and sources.

When compared to samples of DC I have seen the MoP appear pretty good in my opinion.

And that is my main feeling - MoP are [and had to be] a pretty good generably reliable process and accurate source of information - that CWGC seem to now unhelpfully downplay/downrate.

Should we alternatively take the similar approach that CWGC et al got it wrong quite a few times - and then almost suggest got things wrong all the time? = Of course not.

So why are the MoP being so similarly treated by CWGC?

M

Edited by Matlock1418
typo
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  • 2 weeks later...

Just found this one which I thought was interesting...

Thomas Bryce, "disease contracted after discharge" but was a suicide while apparently still in service
CWGC: https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/4023344/thomas-bryce/

1574016128_BryceThomas(7654820).jpg.bf9c4f7b216e7a832eb258a1194551e7.jpg

Edited by PaulC78
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Paul

Here is an unusual one to add to your collection

cause of death felo de se

1996992253_BarnesCharlesA(2721).jpg.a6504322579b2e7c0f0cd6fa3c592477.jpg

  commemorated by the CWGC with a headstone   (within the  criteria for commemoration at the time)

 

The circumstances of his death

227961812_14june16suicide.JPG.fc3b611ce332ac92deb6f19cc322cf1b.JPG

 

Ray

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25 minutes ago, RaySearching said:

Paul

Here is an unusual one to add to your collection

cause of death felo de se

1996992253_BarnesCharlesA(2721).jpg.a6504322579b2e7c0f0cd6fa3c592477.jpg

  commemorated by the CWGC with a headstone   (within the  criteria for commemoration at the time)

 

The circumstances of his death

227961812_14june16suicide.JPG.fc3b611ce332ac92deb6f19cc322cf1b.JPG

 

Ray

That one may well have been paid later - the original refusal was 1916 but there's also a post-war regional reference number on the card.

Craig

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just as  an added interest name to a face

1763874648_PCBarnes.jpg.1115ef19b1f86bca544058dca713693e.jpg

Barnes attested on the 6th June 1916

His service papers are on Ancestry and most likely FMP

insufficent service for a war gratuity

barnes.JPG.dab8422a63389c691eec2cb54bf16c0b.JPG

 

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6 hours ago, PaulC78 said:

Just found this one which I thought was interesting...

Thomas Bryce, "disease contracted after discharge" but was a suicide while apparently still in service
CWGC: https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/4023344/thomas-bryce/

1574016128_BryceThomas(7654820).jpg.bf9c4f7b216e7a832eb258a1194551e7.jpg

Obviously Bryce meets the commemoration criteria having died in service, it's just that the "disease contracted after discharge" statement appears to be nonsensical in this context. Were pensions typically refused in cases of suicide (same for Barnes)?

Edited by PaulC78
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11 minutes ago, PaulC78 said:

Obviously Bryce meets the commemoration criteria having died in service, it's just that the "disease contracted after discharge" statement appears to be nonsensical in this context. Were pensions typically refused in cases of suicide?

I suspect there's possibly a discharge and re-enlistment, with the wording clarifying that whatever led to his suicide was not down to that prior service. 

Suicide was sometimes granted and sometimes refused. Without all of the background details we can never say.

Craig 

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