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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Accidentally Killed


Mr Grinch
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Hi all,

I recently bought a WW1 Trio to a G-10697 Lester Page, 11th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. Now he is shown as being accidentally killed on the 29th July 1916. I have a couple of the war diary. The writing poor but I cant see a mention of an accidental death for that day. How would I go about researching this a bit further ? How could I find out how he met is demise ??

Private Page is shown on the Thiepval memorial so no known grave. Does this mean he would have died and was buried in the trenches, rather than whilst on leave ??

Any help and pointers would be appreciated !

Regards

Mr G

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It could be that he was involved in sorting out munitions after a battle. Three of my men where killed in June 1917 sorting out 'dud' shells. As it was behind the lines they were listed as Died. Although they did get a mention in the war diary as being killed in an accident. I suppose it depended on how important the writer saw the accident as.

No known grave and accident could add up to - shell or mortar reclammation.

Stevem

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Mr G

I guess his service records would be the definitive answer, should they have survived!

How about checking his local newspaper archive at a local library? It might have caried a report of his demise.

That he has no known grave is probably due to his death being near or at the front. As Steve suggests, he may not have had a grave in the first place. Or the grave marker was lost during the conflict or the grave destroyed through subsequent shellfire.

If his death occured on leave then we could assume he would have been buried in a maintainable, known grave.

Ian

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Chris McCarthy's " Somme Day by Day" has, " The 11th Middlesex ( 36 Bgde) made an effort to capture Western Trench. The movement was checked. This was a part of the Battle for Pozieres Ridge. This ground was fought over several times. In this battle, the retreat in 1918 and then the 100 days later in '18. Very easy for a grave or even a small battlefield burial ground to be lost.

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I have a diary entry for the Household Battalion where a man was shot dead in a dugout by a "pal" who was cleaning his rifle. Death could arrive in so many ways!!

I agree with the disturbed cemetery theory. Many men were buried only to have the grave hit by artillery and obliterated. That happened to John McRae's friend.

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Hi,

Thanks for the replies. The war diary mentions Pozieres Ridge and the subsquent battle. It shows on the day of his death that the Battalion, were digging out destroyed trenches and also trying to bomb local German positions. No mention that i can see of a death by accident.

Will a trip to Kew to locate his papers be the only way to establish what happened ? I think its safe to presume that he wasnt on leave or away from the front when died, so he must have bought it in those trenches.

Regards

Mr G

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Mr G

As I mentioned before, you might like to try local newspaper resources in case his death was mentioned. The local papers often carried casualty lists, and if this chap died through accident it might have been mentioned.

Ian

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Thanks for the reply,

Ive been reading the Battlaions war diary for the days leading up to and the day of his death. Seems like it was pretty chaotic. On occasions the battalion was even lead in the wrong direction when attacking the German lines. At one point the writer also blamed 'the Australians' for spoiling the element of surprise by attacking first and noting in no uncertain terms that their attack had 'FAILED'. Now my man has been shown as killed accidently on the Battalions roll and on his MIC but surely it should be KIA. He was clearly at the front when he died. What constitutes a KIA or DOW or Acc death ? This man was in the thick of it, absolute hell if you ask me so why would he not be shown KIA ??

By the way once i pad this chap out, i will be posting on my showcase.

Kind regards

Mr G

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