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Remembered Today:

The casualties we may forget.


David_Bluestein

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David_Bluestein

Something I knew you would be interested in hearing,

I stumbled upon a Memorial Plaque in my collection that was issued on January 24, 1927. Memorial Scroll issued August 20, 1926. (Very late issues, have you seen this before?)

Here is the background story:

1257 Pte. George Kimberley 8th (Winnipeg) Battalion CEF. George was born at Tipton Stafford England on January 25, 1887. (His Next Of Kin are shown as living at 26 Neptune St.) He moved to Canada sometime unknown before the Great War, and took up work as a 'chain maker'. George enlisted in the opening days of the war, and was present with the 1st Canadian Division at Ypres in April 1915. It was here he received a relatively minor head wound by shrapnel, and rejoined his unit.

Luck was not with George, at the fighting near Sanctuary wood on June 4, 1916 he received a very severe GSW to the head, with multiple fractures of his scull. He was of course evacuated and began a series of hospital stays and painful operations. George was left unable to speak or walk without assistance, the wounds affecting memory, and totally blinding his right side.

He was discharged on December 13, 1916, as 'Medically Unfit', and moved back to Tipton Stafford (presumably to be cared for by his family). He died of his wounds on January 16, 1926.

A terrible and sometimes forgotten aspect of the Great War, a casualty of TEN years after the battle. The suffering this man must have endured is probably well beyond comprehension.

He is not remembered by the CWGC (His family must have opted for a private memorial?)

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David,

You have in a way usurped the message I was going to post tomorrow but I'll post it now

Tomorrow is the 90th anniversary of the death of my Uncle ,582 Pte John Souness, 8th Royal Scots.

The verbal story of his death is as follows

He was in a front line trench and on wakening stretched,put his head over the parapet and was sniped in the head.

Death was not immediate and he was brought back for surgery.During the operation the bullet was dislodged and death followed.

Whilst this story(and yours) reveal the stupidity and futility of War I have often reflected on the quality of life my Uncle would have had,had he survived.

Possibly a terrible thing to say but I think my Uncle was luckier than Pte. Kimberley.

George

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David,

Tipton is just a couple of miles from my house, and Neptune street is still there. Don't know if No. 26 is still there, but will have a look. I'll see if I can locate a grave for you and send you a picture.

Tom

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Guest Pete Wood

David, while the issue of this plaque and scroll well exceeds the cut-off date, it is not so unusual.

For years, collectors have puzzled over the fact that they have a plaque for a man that did not die until years after the war. The latest I have seen, unique name and with a confirmed medical record, is 1928.

One collector is convinced that he has a plaque for a man who died in 1930 of a war-related injury. I know that plaques (with raised, cast letters) were still being made in 1930. Anything issued after this date - yes there were some plaques being sent out after this - appear to be engraved).

Now you have positive proof David, so this next thing I write will not apply to you. But this will probably rock the collectors' market somewhat. I now have solid proof that plaques were also given to the next of kin of civilians who we might class as doing 'war-work.'

So the next time you see a plaque and can't find evidence of an entry on the CWGC, be aware that while he/she may have served in HM Forces, there is a chance that the deceased was a train driver, hospital auxililary, munitions worker etc. Or, like Pte Kimberley, died in the 1920s and his family were able to prove to the authorities that his death was as a result of service in the Great War. And the plaque factories frequently made spelling mistakes, too!!

I don't know what percentage of plaques this equates to. Only three people were aware of the civilian connection, until this very minute - but, using the largest single collection known (over 800 plaques), there were 7 plaques (with unusual names) that could not be accounted for. Once we started looking for civilian casualties (and this was only last week, so we haven't spent much time on the research), we were quickly able to find 5 cases to match. In one case, it was a plaque for a woman - the rarest and most valuable plaque sought by collectors - and we soon found the lady had a very humble job in a civilian (no military connection) hospital; she died of influenza. Yet her family applied for, and received a plaque and scroll (this doesn't survive, sadly). Her family were traced and confirmed the issue by providing paperwork; no dispute!

Based on the above, it is possible that more than 1% of the plaques were awarded to civilians. It doesn't sound a lot as a percentage, but in numbers it means that around 10,000 plaques were produced for civilians. This does not take into account the plaques that we presume were made for Pte John Smith, when in fact they were made for Mister John Smith - if you see what I mean. The 10,000 total is probably a conservative figure....

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David_Bluestein

RT,

What an interesting post. From top to bottom! Thanks for your thoughts.

Were you able to see this marvelous collection of 800 Memorial Plaques? This must have been a site. I have only ever once seen a similar collection, in the 'warehouse' of the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa Canada.

I was like a kid in a candy store!

The new facts about civilian members is intriguing. Are you surmising that there were approx. 10 thousand casualties to civilians?

You must write a book on this subject.

PS: Thanks Tom! I will e-mail you off forum.

Best regards

David

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Guest Pete Wood
The new facts about civilian members is intriguing. Are you surmising that there were approx. 10 thousand casualties to civilians?

You must write a book on this subject.

I think there may have been MORE than 10,000 plaques made for civilians - based on the small sample that has been carried out so far.

It has always been assumed that around 600 plaques were made for women - they fetch around £1000+ when they come up for sale - but this figure is rising all the time. I think Jim Strawbridge said he thought the figure should be more like 750, due to his research.

But another plaque collector I am in contact with, who has plaques for 'civilian' female casualties, has put an estimate of 1400 families who were entitled to receive a plaque.

The interesting thing about the process appears to be how much did the family (next of kin) believe that they should have a plaque. If one wasn't automatically sent out, then it was up to the family to write in and apply for a plaque. I have yet to see (or hear about) any record which show that a family applied for a plaque and were refused.....

I have been planning a book on the subject for a while. But, thanks to information which is arriving all the time, I am happy to discuss anything with the forum - in the hope that it turns up new leads (which has happened).

I am hoping to launch a website on the memorial plaques and scrolls in the near future, also.

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David_Bluestein

A public thanks to Tom Morgan for taking the time and expense of photographing Neptune Street and other related scene's for me; AND going through the efforts of describing each one.

Your kind efforts are very much appreciated.

Best regards

David Bluestein

Thornhill, Ontario

Canada

I have taken the liberty of adding one below with Tom's very insightful caption:

'Walk to the Western end of Neptune Street and turn left and you come to "The

Victoria" which would have been your soldier's local pub (unless there was

another, smaller one in Neptune Street.)'

post-1-1075475139.jpg

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I know of two examples of men who are not commerated on the CWGC site. The one which I know the full story of was a RAMC officer who served Boer War right through to WW1 he died in 1916 in the Curragh Military Camp cause of death was given as Acute Nephritis which was caused by his military service I have to find out where he is buried perhaps in the Curragh military cemetery but why is this soldier not on CWGC ?

Conor

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Guest Pete Wood

Was your RAMC officer still in the army when his death occurred....?

As Terry D keeps telling me, if he was previously discharged, and therefore a civilian, then he is not entitled to be recorded by the CWGC.

However his next of kin would have received a plaque and scroll. This is also the case for Pte George Kimberley; no CWGC status - and his family received a plaque and scroll (even though he died after the War Office cut-off date), but only because his family applied for it - and could prove his death was due to injuries/illness sustained in the war.

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RTpots

Not quite right. (although it obviously does not apply in this case)

If he had been discharged and died on or before 31.08.21 of wounds/illness sustained during WW1 service, he would qualify. He would not qualify if he died of a cause unrelated to service though as you say.

Conor

Let me have the details of your man and I will investigate. If he qualifies, we'll get him sorted between us.

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cause of death was given as Acute Nephritis which was caused by his military service

An interesting conclusion. Acute nephritis was a not uncommon condition at that time but I would not have thought that it would be directly related to military service.

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Conor

Your man is listed by CWGC already. Details below.

He has a different first name to that which you gave me off-forum (not Richard) but all other details match. The name also agrees with that shown in SDGW.

Name: HOLLAND, RALPH

Initials: R

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Lieutenant (Quartermaster)

Regiment: Royal Army Medical Corps

Date of Death: 21/08/1916

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: 1236.

Cemetery: CURRAGH MILITARY CEMETERY

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That is great many thanks for finding him I never even thought of SDGW I have another one that isn't there at least I can't find him. Emile Colpin born in Belgium enlisted with the Canadians his attestation papers are avlible online.

Conor :D

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Conor

What evidence have you that Colpin died?

He does not appear in the official CWGC list, The Candian Book of Remembrance or the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

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Could it be that George Kimberley's next of kin were issued the Plaque because he served with the CEF? The "cut-off" dates for U.K troops were very harsh but I'm not certain the same dates applied to CEF troops. A well known (and greatly respected by myself) dealer has told me he has seen a Memorial Cross which was not issued until 1936 because the man died of war related injuries.

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Guest Pete Wood

Alan, I don't think that the British WERE that harsh. As I have said on other threads, I have seen a few plaques that were allegedly issued after 1930 (although the latest I have personally seen, with paperwork, is 1928 and that was to an 'English' soldier).

But you have to remember that the plaque was, at this stage, being made (and/or stored) in Woolwich, London. So if the former Pte Smith, for example, died of war related illness or wounds in the late 1920s or 1930s, anywhere in the world, a request would have to go to Woolwich for the plaque to have been made (remember everyone was, in theory, unique and hand-made).

It would have been easier for the Canadian next of kin to receive a silver cross, much later (though I confess 1936 is the latest I have ever heard of) because they were manufactured in Canada.

I am working on the theory that the plaques were no longer produced at Woolwich after 1930. The few that were issued after this date - strangely, a lot of these were to New Zealand casualties - were engraved. So I think that Woolwich made a final batch which had no names on them, and these were put in store for the few cases where relatives felt that their son/daughter was entitled to a plaque. I repeat, I have never seen (or heard of) a case where a plaque was refused - for ANY reason - at any time.

I would very much like to know if the 1936 case had a plaque and scroll as well as a memorial cross. As I'm sure you'll appreciate, it would help my research a great deal to know - one way or another.

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The discussion on dates in not relevant to Conor's query as he has said that he has two names which are not in the CWGC list (one of which certainly is in the list - see above). The cut-off date for official war grave status is the same for all Commonwealth countries as far as CWGC is concerned (see below). It seems from what RTpots says that different dates apply to plaques.

Conor

Are you saying that you have no evidence of death other than the plaque? If so, I may well be wasting my time trying to find him for you as he may be a post 31.08.21 casualty and as such he is not entitled to war grave status.

Please clarify what you mean about Coplin and what evidence you have.

New Zealand Dates

The NZ government recognises war related deaths after the 31.08.21 CWGC cut-off - no matter what their date. However, these are not 'war graves' in CWGC's terms and they do not list them as such. This probably explains why there are so many late NZ plaques.

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Guest Pete Wood

Ah-haaaa, that does explain a lot. Now I understand why 'late production', Kiwi plaques are so numerous.

Thanks for that, Terry.

Every day, something turns up on this forum which makes me look at a subject in a different way. Incredible.

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RTpots

Always glad to help. The invoice is in the post!

The NZ government ploughed its own furrow on many war grave matters.

It didn't allow Personal Inscriptions for the sake of total equality and it insisted upon its missing men being remembered on smaller memorials near to the appropriate battlefield - hence no Kiwis on the big ones and several small NZ memorials.

They regard all war-caused deaths as war deaths regardless of date (same for WW2). However, they accept CWGC's agreed rule and the Commission does not have to look after 'late' graves. Having said that, by special arrangement with NZ, they do look after the few in the UK (classing them as Non-World War Graves) and the one in France. The rest are all in New Zealand and are in the care of the Kiwis.

These late Kiwis appear as footnotes in the old UK registers as appropriate but it was agreed with NZ that a special register of all the late deaths would be produced at an appropriate time. It never was.

It would be quite logical for the NZ government to insist upon plaques being made for all their war dead - as they classified them.

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RTpots

Many of the 'late' Kiwi deaths are listed in the 'NZEF Roll of Honour' published in 1924 (those to the end of 1923 anyway). It was reprinted by N&M in 1999.

I have a copy if you need any checks done.

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David_Bluestein

I awoke this morning to find a marvelous 'gift' waiting for me in my e-mail in-box. Tom Morgan had continued his search for George Kimberley, with camera in hand. Sure enough he was successful, the results are posted here for all to see.

Tom also placed a small wooden cross of remembrance at the foot of the grave, as a reminder to George (an me) that despite the title of my thread...He is NOT forgotten.

Rest in peace George Kimberley.

With thanks to Tom again, for his efforts and help!!!!

David

post-1-1075908647.jpg

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