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Remembered Today:

Amending the Soldier's Status on CWGC


Guest mruk

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Does anyone know what criteria the CWGC accept before changing the info on a particular soldier? Would the info found in a local or national paper, for example, be proof? I'm thinking here of age, mention of address, and next-of-kin, where given.

EG: Hebden, Tom Pte. No. 23906 [K.I.A.] 1-7-1916 [10th West Yorks] Age: Unknown Born: Leeds. Enlisted: Leeds. Cemetery-Memorial: Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz IV. K. I

"Private Tom Hebden, West Yorkshire Regiment, the eldest son of Mrs. Hebden, 94 Beeston Road, Leeds, fell in action on July 1st. He was 20 years of age"

[Yorkshire Evening Post, Saturday, July 29, 1916. p. 5]

I realise some of the info found on some may be irrelevant, such as occupation, and where employed, etc., and is only of interest in a personal and biographical way, but what of that which states the age and address, such as that found above. Would this have any bearing on the soldier's status, and that recorded shortly after death? I'd be most interested in any comments.

Kind Regards,

Dave

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Would the info found in a local or national paper, for example, be proof?

Definately not!

And even if you are able to support the claim with "official" documentation, I'm not sure what the Commission's posiiton is on adding the "extra" information. They would, I believe, accept a change of spelling to a surname and would probably accept proof that, say, "Fred" should be "Frederick". But I don't think they will update the next of kin or age boxes (may be wrong on this)

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Would the info found in a local or national paper, for example, be proof?

A newspaper can never be a source by itself. It's a misunderstandig to assume something is true, simply because it has been published in a newspaper. So you'll have to check first what source the journaslist has used, and how reliable this source is.

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A question for Terry Denham, Dave!

cheers, Ivan

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They will certainly not update any info from newspaper reports. They have this strange notion that not everything written in newspapers is the truth! :D

Any changes need official documentation (excluding errors which can be traced to CWGC clerical error). SDGW is not even taken as authoritative on its own.

Whether any additional info would be included is less simple.

CWGC is not a research organisation and has no remit to spend time or money on building up a store of information. Its task is simply to maintain graves/memorials and preserve the data with which it has been entrusted by the authorities and by the next-of-kin (much like the NA in this respect).

The lack of any NoK info is due either to the relatives not returning their Final Verification Form or a deliberate act by the NoK to leave out such info. CWGC are mindful not to do anything which would go against the original wishes of the NoK. They are not in the game of turning every entry into a biography of the person concerned (a pity, really) as they are only obliged to maintain a list of the names of the fallen.

However, if they are contacted by a family member of a casualty, they will often add further snippets of info if they are provided with official proof.

In addition to this, they will add sometimes an item of info which will help the public and possibly reduce enquiries to their offices on a subject - youngest casualty, famous father, first casualty etc etc.

Frustrating as it may be for us who know more details about a casualty and want to share it, it is not possible for CWGC to add to their records in most cases. A good example of this is the lack of forenames for many entries. SDGW or the GRO Death Index give these and the full name could easily be added to most UK cases at least. The same could be done from Oz and Canadian records.

However, there is no time or money (or Charter requirement) for this. They were supplied with initials-only names by the military and, unless the family expanded on them, that is how they stay. Obviously, this does not usually apply to new names added as that process generates official documentation which will supply forenames etc.

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Many Thanks Gentlemen,

and many thanks Terry for such a detailed explanation. This is fascinating stuff for a lad like myself with developing interests. It's greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards,

Dave

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If you point out (via Terry) an error such as a spelling they certainly will fix it. By the way thanks Terry for the one you did for me. they will also amend cemetary details. A few years ago I contacted CWGC about the burial of some souls from the Drifter Catspaw at Kviberg in Sweden. A little later they changed their cemetary description to include this. This and the relatively recent inclusion of photos shows that its not a static resource. Gareth

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Thanks Gareth,

You're right, the CWGC perform a very valuable function, and have been most helpful in amending any slight change, as well as the help they have offered me in the past. I like the idea of a photographic memorial too, but would this depend on the photographs being submitted by family members, and is there some form of 'written guidelines' on what can and can not be accepted or included?

Regards to All,

Dave

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The photos I refered to are of the cemetary only, I was lucky with one as I could with adobe help read one of the graves i was interested in . I think photo memorials will be down to those in cyberspace! gareth

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I hadn't actually considered this before, but in the case of my gg uncle Horace Parnell (see my signature below) the NoK details on his CWGC entry for his parents names and their place of residence are completely wrong (I believe this is possibly because his widow was uncertain of her facts at the time - assuming it was her that provided the information - and as far as I'm aware the rest of Horace's family didn't even know he was married!).

So, would I be right in thinking that although I have copies of Horace's birth certificate and relavent census return details to prove his parents' identity and residence, the CWGC will not amend the details they already have?

cheers

Steve

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They may consider it if you are a blood relative.

Unfortunately, they cannot check the original documentation as the WW1 FVFs were destroyed in c.1970.

You may be able to prove that the names are wrong and they may change these.

When it comes to the address - what makes you think it is wrong? (nice to see my namesake village mentioned!). Remember that this will be the address in the early 1920s and not necessarily the same as that at his birth - or his death.

Also, it only says 'of Denham', rather than giving a full address. This could mean they lived there or were born there.

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Steve

I had details changed for my g/uncle and as I was a family member, CWGC told me they would amend details if supplied with a copy of Birth Certificate and I should think that they would be grateful for census details as well.

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I was able, a few years ago, to identify the graves of two officers of the Suffolk Regiment, buried in Perth Cemetery (China Wall); they had been killed in September/October 1915 and buried as 'unknown officer', but with regiment identified.

I passed all my findings on to the CWGC, and after about 6 months checking, the graves were replaced with ''Believed to be' headstones.

They were most diligent in their reseraches (as they should be), and most polite at all times - I have nothing but praise for the way the affair was handled.

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I have gotten a date of death amended by using Candian Army records and cause of death added on Private George Sinnock Godsall 87 Bn CEF, not sure why they took this, also using army records.

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They may consider it if you are a blood relative.

Unfortunately, they cannot check the original documentation as the WW1 FVFs were destroyed in c.1970.

You may be able to prove that the names are wrong and they may change these.

When it comes to the address - what makes you think it is wrong? (nice to see my namesake village mentioned!). Remember that this will be the address in the early 1920s and not necessarily the same as that at his birth - or his death.

Also, it only says 'of Denham', rather than giving a full address. This could mean they lived there or were born there.

Thanks Terry,

The family never lived at Denham in Suffolk - this is where I think some confusion came in, because Horace's parents lived at Dedham in Essex (his father, Henry William Parnell, died here in March 1890; and it was here where Horace last lived with his mother and siblings). When she left Dedham in the early 1900's, Horace's mother (Elizabeth) lived with her eldest son Arthur (my g grandfather) and his family in Wetheringsett, Suffolk. They stayed in Wetheringsett unitl the mid 1930's. Elizabeth died in Eye Infirmary in 1922.

The names given on the CWGC entry are actually those of Horace's sister Isobelle and her husband William (though the surname was Thurkettle and not Parnell), again a case of name confusion I believe.

cheers

Steve

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The CWGC will change factual faults. For instance - One of my 9th Bn Sherwood Foresters men was down as killed 22/1/1916 and buried on the Somme. The 9th where at this time in Egypt. After checking the war diaries and getting his death cert, I proved that he died 22/11/1916 and was buried next to the front line trench. His body was found in 1919 with 9th Bn. He actually joined the 9th from the 17th a few days before.

His CWGC info now reflects this. Another - James Walters has aged 17 on his headstone in Delville Wood, it should be 16 years and his family have been promised a change.

Also as you walk around the cemeteries, there are occasionally small errors - wrong row given on end headstone etc. Take photos and contact the CWGC and it will be altered.

At present i am in the process of 'trying' to prove that an Unknown private of the Notts and Derby regiment is in fact one of my men who is on the Menin Gate. Although this has to go via the MoD and takes years, the CWGC will liase and help with putting the case.

Steve

Researching 9th (service) Battalion Sherwood Foresters

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