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Casualty forms workflow. How was it organized?


Daniel DUFOUR

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Hey guys, I'd like to understand how the casualty forms workflow was organized in 1917-18. I assume measures were taken to ensure the safety of men's service records, keeping them secure and out of reach of potential damages caused by the enemy. It seems to me that battalions HQs might not have been secure enough, or were there backup copies stored elsewhere? How and by whom was the daily information, such as wounds, illness, deaths or punishments, sent from a battalion companies to its HQ? Was this information sent elsewhere as well? Who was responsible for recording daily information within each company? And who at HQ was in charge of maintaining this information?

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Daniel

Every Unit was required to send a weekly Field Return to the Adjutant General's Office at the Base. Attached to the Field Return was a list of all comings and goings, for whatever reason, which was used to note the man's service record. 

This example is from the July 1916 War Diary of 94 Field Company, Royal Engineers (19 Div). The same forms were used throughout I believe. Very few survive in War Diaries.

TNA/Ancestry WO 95/2070

Brian

FR.jpg

94 FC 2070.jpg

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Thanks Brian, first time I see that. 

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The actual service records were kept by regional record offices in the UK.

I can't see very much being retained by the battalion in the line.

The Army Form B213 above is sometimes quoted as the source of information which was added to the man's B103 in the regional office (or unit office for the RE example).

They may well have made copies for the regional office as well as one for the AG.

If a man was wounded or sick and evacuated from his battalion he would show up on a number of other forms which would find their way to the Deputy A G of that base area.

I think that many 100s of telegrams were sent on a daily basis to various regional offices. Postal service or despatches would be another method.

TEW

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For the CEF, their equivalent to the numerous regional Infantry Record Offices would have been their administrative headquarters in London. I am aware of an organisation named the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre which is probably what you are interested in. I did some preliminary research into an old soldier who worked there from 25 September 1916 onwards, and was subsequently employed by the Canadian Army Pay Corps.

It would appear that the organisation around the administration of the CEF was boosted by  the The Ministry of Overseas Military Forces of Canada, established in October 1916, so I suppose that in answer to your question, the response would depend upon the time frame in which a given CEF soldier became a casualty.

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Thanks so much guys! I'm recording all your valuable knowledge! 

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A quick google search of Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre throws up a few interesting results

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1500006605

It is looking as though that entity is not administering casualties, so much as a holding unit for casualties that are recovering from their wounds prior to returning to active service.

 

 

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Daniel,

I wasn't sure if you meant how was the Casualty Form-Active Service; B103 maintained and updated or if you meant how were sick & wounded (casualties) reported.

103.jpg.cb77ad89c03d11a350b98755cde68f21.jpg

 

By coincidence another topic included a B103 that demonstrates the connection between Brian's example of the B213 Field Return and how that information is transferred to the B103.

B103.jpg.6bdd730ee1e99067551c47521faf54f3.jpg

 

If you went through Brian's second attachment you may find a B103 for some of those men and cross-reference how that information was then quoted on the B103.

So, for example any of the men wounded in action 6/7/16 may have that B103 entry taken from the B213 or perhaps from a medical admission form or a Sick & Wounded list (H, HA type lists. I think that perhaps regional records offices received the same information form a variety of sources and could choose one to quote.

 

Another example shows a variety of origins for the information.

103_2.jpg.50c11fc9436bcebda440b1bc7e5931f0.jpg

Wounded in Action noted from the B213 Field Return
Admitted to FA noted from an A.36 Medical Admission form
Admitted to CCS  as above
Admitted Base hospital noted from a HA Sick & Wounded list (these lists were contructed from a w.3034 Hospital Admissions and sometimes it is that that is quoted.
To UK per HS St. David noted from the W.3083

The more of these you look at the more variations you see and in fact the above example could have easily have quoted other forms for the same entry. I'm not entirely convinced that for the A.36 entries above that the records office actually received a copy of the relevant A.36, I think the information was transmitted to them stating that that it came from an A.36

Reading more of your query it would fall to the battalion's adjutant to keep any records you suggest but I don't think much was retained by the battalion in the field. Officers & NCOs' may well have kept notes on who needed keeeping an eye on or who shows potential but these would be unofficial as far as I know.

TEW

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Thank you, TEW! Brian and you essentially addressed many questions I had. Another aspect that interests me is the responsibilities of officers and their daily tasks at each level concerning the recording of casualties, from the fields up to HQ and higher levels. I am particularly curious about how administrative tasks were carried out in the challenging context that we can imagine in field camps, where I assume there were limited administrative materials and facilities available. Daniel

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For the AIF they had the same personal doing the admin, as we do now days.

Each unit would have Orderly room Clerk/s and would depend on the size of the unit.

In the ICC the Company Clerk did the admin each week by Field Return show adds and det and any other details

Retuns would be prepared by the Company 2ic (from the imput by the Company Clerk and Company roll book) and signed by the Company Commander

Sent to Bn, they were then sent highter to Bde, what happened then I am unsure, but I have many of these documents copied from the AWM. on my (Australian) Camel Corps Companies

I would see the same thing happening for all units, weather Aussie or British, forms must be filled out and the admin rolls on.

On operations things are harder, but even in the trenches the Admin still goings on, and the Company HQ would set up and the Admin done 

Of cause after a big Battle things would get harder as accounting takes longer because of deaths, but as soon as possible the Admin gets done, because HQ like the forms done.

 

Edited by stevenbecker
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Thanks so much Steven

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