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Andrew P

South African Death

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Andrew P

Lt Joseph Irvine (Doak) of the 4th Battalion AIF was killed on the 4th October 1917 and is buried in Tyne Cot cemetery.

On the form that was filled out by his next of kin it states that his brother, Chris Charles Doak died in South Africa in 1916.

It seems he was with the South African Veterinary Corps when he died on the 16th of April 1916 in East Africa.

I can’t see him on CWGC but would the attached info where it states he took his own life preclude him from having an official war grave?

Regards

Andrew

post-43-1181890315.jpg

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Terry Denham

Andrew

The manner of death is not relevant to war grave status providing he was still in service at death. There are many suicides in the Debt of Honour list.

If you can get hold of a service record or death certificate, we can take this one forward as it looks like a straightforward case.

This mat be an example of someone in the SA military not understanding the rules when asked to compile the lists of war dead at the end of the war. Perhaps they thought that suicides in the home country did not count! It happened elsewhere.

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Terry Denham

Were they brothers?

CWGC says that Joseph IRVINE was married to Agnes Jane DOAK (formerly IRVINE). This suggests that she remarried and became a DOAK after IRIVINE's death.

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Andrew P

Hi Terry

Thanks for the response.

This one confused me at first also. I believe that Irvine was the alias he took when he enlisted even though his real name was Doak.

In the publication 'WA Fighting Sons of the Empire' he is referred to as Doak not Irvine.

Though the CWGC lists him as Irvine, on the AWM Roll of Honour he is reffered to as Doak. On the attached Next of Kin sheet filled out by his wife, she states that the two were brothers.

He initially enlisted in WA under the name Doak in 1915 and was assigned to the 11th Bn but for some resaon did not go away with the unit but reinlisted later in NSW under the name Irvine where he was assigned to the 21st Rfcts to the 4th Bn.

In regard to Chris Doak I'll see what other info I can get on him. Fingers crossed that he may have a death certificate in WA otherwise I'll see how to get his service record from South Africa. I'll let you know how I go.

Cheers

Andrew

025698.pdf

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Terry Denham

Andrew

I have taken the liberty of getting someone in South Africa to check this one and find what documents exist. All we need to do is prove that he was still in an SA unit when he died.

I'll keep you informed.

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mhifle

There is a 2nd Lt J Irvine on the Nov 1916 Army List, Australia Unallotted.

Regards Mark

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post-14045-1182026991.jpg

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Andrew P
Andrew

I have taken the liberty of getting someone in South Africa to check this one and find what documents exist. All we need to do is prove that he was still in an SA unit when he died.

I'll keep you informed.

Thanks for that Terry.

Regards

Andrew

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Andrew P
There is a 2nd Lt J Irvine on the Nov 1916 Army List, Australia Unallotted.

Regards Mark

Thanks Mark

Joseph Doak(Irvine) has two service records.

The first is when he enlisted under the name of Doak in WA in 1915. He was alloted to reinforcements to the 11th Battalion but was selected (or opted) for officers school. There was nothing in this first service record indicating overseas service or why he changed his name.

The 2nd service record is under the name Joseph Irvine and contains 80 pages. Whether he undertook officers training in NSW is unconfirmed but thanks to your officers list it seems he was on the unattached list before being assigned to the 21st Reinforcements to the 4th Battalion. For an unknown reason he changed his name from Doak to Irvine.

In this period his wife also took the name Irvine.

The attached sheet from his service record shows that there was some confusion later after his death.

His wife Agnes died in 1948 and was again known by the name Doak.

Regards

Andrew

post-43-1182129771.jpg

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Terry Denham

Andrew

I have a mass of information on Chris Charles DOAK being sent to me from South Africa.

I will wait until I receive the documentation before giving the full story but it seems that he had a criminal record and was due to be deported back to Australia when this was prevented by his death.

From what I have to hand at the moment, he was certainly a 'colourful' character. However, it also looks like he did die in service and should be commemorated. His name being missing from the lists erroneously may be due to his pending deportation and expulsion from the SA forces.

There seems to be a lot to tell but the documents have not yet arrived. More to come.

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Terry Denham

Andrew

I have received today all the papers relating to Chris Charles DOAK from South Africa. He is certainly a non-commemorated soldier and I shall put his case forward today. His story is very interesting and a summary of the documentation is below.

I must thank Ralph McLean of the South African War Graves Project for putting me in touch with the researcher who did all the legwork in SA. He also paid (unrequested) the not-inconsiderable costs involved in obtaining the documentation. Thanks, Ralph.

_______________________________

CHRIS CHARLES DOAK

Born - Perth, Western Australia - 1878

Age at Death - 42 years

Divorced

Next-of-Kin - Mrs Irvine (Mother), c/o YMCA, Perth

Former Occupation: Boot & Harness Repairer

Previous Military Service:

- 5th West Australia M.I.

- Served in Anglo-Boer War for 1 year 78 days

- 2nd I.L.H. Intelligence Department

Tattoo marks on both arms

Height - 5ft 10 1/4 inches

Chest - 34 inches with expansion of 37 inches

Complexion - Dark

Eyes - Blue

Hair - Dark Brown

Criminal Record:

- 16.03.12 - 6 months imprisonment

- 30.10.12 - 12 months imprisonment

- 05.03.14 - 2 years imprisonment with hard labour

All convictions for the illegal sale of alcohol.

Recommended for deportation on 25.09.14 by Johannesburg Criminal Investigation Department

The following is a verbatim statement taken from the deportation documents:-

"Came to South Africa during or shortly after the late Anglo-Boer War. Has for years been a confirmed liquor seller as his convictions will show. When not in gaol he lives with low class coloured persons. His associates in addition to coloured people are criminals and liquor sellers.

In my opinion Doak is a fit subject for deportation as men of his class are a menace to the community."

The deportation order was confirmed by the Minister for the Interior on 05.11.14 and a warrant issued for Doak's arrest as an "undesirable inhabitant of the Union".

However, it seems that Doak evaded capture and deportation and joined 3514 Bde of the South African Expeditionary Force on 06.03.16.

He became:

Dresser Chris Charles DOAK No.716 South African Veterinary Corps attesting at the Drill Hall, Johannesburg.

However, his service was short as he died on 16.04.16. His records do not give a cause of death but we know from the document in the original post that he committed suicide by a self-administered over-dose of morphia.

There are conflicting reports in the records of his location of death. The 'Notification of the Death of a Soldier' form (Army Form W.3037) gives 'British East Africa'. The documentation relating to his estate gives 'Johannesburg Hospital'. His Army record card states 'Died and struck off strength 16.04.16 Dar-es-Salaam'.

His deportation order was cancelled 26.04.16 due to his "having died in the Johannesburg Hospital on the 16th instant".

________________________________________

An unusual case! I'll report back on how the non-com application progresses but I suspect that it will take some time.

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Andrew P

Hi Terry

A huge thanks to yourself, Ralph and the SA researcher who found out all this information about Doak. He certainly seems to have lived a colourful existence.

If I can do anything else on this end please let me know. Hopefully his case for commemoration will be accepted.

As there are conflicting reports over his place of death I presume that his grave would not be able to be located and that any future commemoration would be on a memorial somewhere?

Kind Regards

Andrew

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Andrew P

Was able to visit the resting place of Joseph Doak (Irvine), brother of Chris Doak at Tyne Cot recently.

post-43-1188362525.jpg

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Terry Denham

Chris Doak's case now has been accepted by CWGC and the SA authorities as a War Grave and a new headstone is in preparation to be erected on his unmarked grave in Johannesburg.

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ShirlD

This reads like an adventure story, the good, not-so-good and a fitting ending.

Well done Andrew, Terry, Ralph and the researcher

Rest in peace Chris Doak

Cheers

Shirley

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Fedelmar

Well done you lot :)

Bright Blessings

Sandra

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reklaw

I have just joined up as a member of the forum and I was amazed to read the Doak story as I was the researcher that did the leg work in Braamfontein cemetery in Johannesburg. I will admit I did have help from the guy who worked in the office, and I do have a photograph of the spot where Doak may be laying (unfortunately the records at this cem are a tad scatty) and I am looking forward to the day when Doak does get his memorial, its been a long time coming and I know that we did the right thing. I will be sure to post a pic when it gets done as well.

I must also pay credit to Ralph for his perseverence in this issue. I joined the South African War Graves Project as a result of Ralph obtaining a photograph of my long lost uncles grave in Heliopolis Cem, and I know the effect the pic had on my mother. So far I have taken over 1200 war grave images and have photos of a number of memorials in Johanesburg too. Ralph presented me with a lot of convincing arguments that Doak was in Braamfontein, and he was proved right too.

The one question that I still havent had answered (although it may be amongst these forums) is: what did a Dresser do?

Derek in South AFrica.

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chrisharley9

Derek

he would be responsible for the changing of dressings of an animals wounds

Chris

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Andrew P

Hi Derek

Many thanks for the work you put into this.

Regards

Andrew

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