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Remembered Today:

Fromelles16: July 19th events


velo350
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A headstone or memorial stone like the above are excellent tributes to a group of 'unknown' soldiers however in the case of Fromelles we 'know' who the 175 Australians are even if we're not sure yet whether we can individually identify them.

If it were to come to pass that a memorial stone was to be placed at Pheasant Wood, I would be expecting at least all their names to be inscribed. It would also be wonderful if someone did some research into the British soldiers buried there and discovered a similar list of names so they too could be properly recognised.

I just don't want to see more men being buried as as 'unknowns' when a unique opportunity exists to give them due recognition and honour them appropriately.

Cheers,

Tim L.

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Have some of the Brits gotten together yet to form a research team on their Fromelles boys?

Only saying this because I know how many hundreds of hours I have put in on our lads and it most certainly has got to be harder for the Brits with the lack of service records.

Having said that ... several of the AIF Fromelles lads were in fact here working and I need a hand tracing information on them if any one is willing please step up to the plate and say 'pick me' :)

Bright Blessings

Sandra

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in the case of Fromelles we 'know' who the 175 Australians are even if we're not sure yet whether we can individually identify them.

If it were to come to pass that a memorial stone was to be placed at Pheasant Wood, I would be expecting at least all their names to be inscribed. I

Tim,

Good point. Remember their names are already inscribed at VC Corner cemetery down the road and I am not sure of the CWGC policy on this, perhaps they can make an exception in this case.

Cheers

Chris

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Hi Tim (31st Btn)

I wanted to thank you for your elaboration regarding the positions of the deceased. Having such a visual first hand account is probably the catalyst to make a few of us re-think our desires to "not disturb" any of the remains. In the interests of my own sanity, I do try to keep a level head and in these matters be open to all points of view but reading about that fellow with the telephone wire still wrapped around him made me sick. Not angry, not at all vengeful just the overwhelming feeling of nausea then - despair.

All,

I know its 90 years ago, but if it were 9 years ago and their families and mates were all still alive, there would be no way, knowing what Tim has described, that they would rest until their loved one or mates remains were laid out with the dignity that they deserve.

I am wondering what happened when the first of the cemeteries and memorials sprang up after the capitulation ? Who decided and how did they decide what was appropriate back then? How much say did the actual family members have at that time? When other mass graves were found and opened, did the CWG or the like, attempt to identify as many as possible? What would have happened if they found these fellows just after the war and not now? Would the bodies be left as they were originally buried? Can any of you fellows explain what went on exactly. I would appreciate it greatly.

Thanks :unsure:

K.

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I again viewed the "Body Hunt" DVD which details the work carried out by the MOD and CWGC in their attempts to Identify the remains of the 20 British Soldiers found at Arras.Each set of remains was individually examined by a Forensic scientist,but without any Identity Discs,personal effects,etc,trying to Name each Soldier was totally impossible,all that could be assertained was the individuals approximate Age,Height,and in some cases the cause of Death.In the grave itself were found a few Buttons and some insignia which indicated that the Men were members of the Lincolnshire Regt,but the MOD and CWGC rightly commented that men from other Regts could also have been buried in the grave,but their regimental Insignia did not survive.One of the relatives demanded DNA tests on the Bodies to see if one of them was Her G.Father,but as the Forensic Scientists pointed out,the DNA Tests would not be Accurate.The 20 men were buried as Unknown Soldiers.A Royal Scots Soldiers remains that were found nearby were positivley Identified,due to the fact that His ID Disc had survived along with His Cap Badge.The Mans Name was removed from the Arras Memorial to the Missing,where incidentally it had been incorrectly spelt.The Cap Badge and ID Disc was personally returned to the Soldiers Surviving Son,and the Soldier was buried with full Military Honours.Regarding the men at Fromelles,i feel that the MOD and CWGC are going to need a Lot of Proof before they even contemplate any possible individual Commemorations,of coursei would like to see these men identified and given a decent Burial,but there is a very very long way to go,and wether any of the remains at Fromelles will meet the MODs and CWGCs strict crtieria for identification remains to be seen.Regards.

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All

In case anyone is interested there are frequent mentions of Australians captured at Fromelles and interogated- and their opinions on all kinds of things- in Christopher Duffy's "Through German Eyes, the British and the Somme"

Peter

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Remember their names are already inscribed at VC Corner cemetery down the road and I am not sure of the CWGC policy on this, perhaps they can make an exception in this case.

Hi all,

The wall at VC Corner is a bit problematic for me. It is missing (I think) about 30 names (mainly 31st Bn men- some weird clerical anomoly?) , including Our boy Harry. To find the names of those lads you'll need to travel all the way up to Villers Bret which really places them far out of context with their Fromelles mates and I think is sad.

In fact VC Corner generally needs a big overhaul. It's very exposed to the weather and as a result the names on the wall are fast becoming illegible.

There's a precedent which is in place at the Menin Gate which places an asterix beside the name of any soldier who has been subsequently found, identified and reburied. The asterix denoting that he is no longer "Missing" or "Killed-No known Grave". This seems to be a good way to get around the duplication issue and to ensure that the memorials reflect the everchanging reality of the status of the missing/dead as information comes to hand.

Also at Tyne Cot there are several addendum panels which might be an idea to update VC Corner.

I think duplication is by far the lesser of two evils.

A quick question- does anyone know what the burden of proof might be to acheive a "Believed to be buried within this cemetery" or a "Known to be buried within this cemetery"

In the case of our boy we have

1. His name of the German list reporting him "Killed"

2. We have his battalion in action only 480m from Pheasant Wood

3. We have German orders detailling burial procedures of Allied dead who fell on their side of the line (see point 1.)

4. We have his ID disc received from Germany proving that he was in German hands as a dead man

5. We have his personal good luck medallion unearthed above pit number 4 by the GUARD team last year

Do we have a case?

Cheerio,

Tim Whitford

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I would say not Tim,as i feel that the CWGC would only go buy their own records,and not those of another Nation.Maybe Terry Denham could enlighten us on the Criteria neccessary for A Believed to be Buried or known to be Buried Headstone.

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"All I am saying is that now that we know where they are, these men should not be left like that when we have the power to lay them out, place them in a coffin with some kind words and a funeral service."

I am with you Tim W, after reading your post on what you have seen at the pit, they must be layed to rest in the correct manner fitting our lads who gave their all, lets hope the powers who be agree.

"Have some of the Brits gotten together yet to form a research team on their Fromelles boys"

Hi Sandra, not sure if Mel as looked but I did have a look (in between downing loading K.S.L.I. chaps papers) for the men suggested by him, without any luck (only A to H surnames are on-line at moment).

Annette

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I will be visiting the battlefeild on the anniversary of the battle and attending the evening ceremony. Will anyone else be there?

We could all be forgiven for forgetting why this thread was started! There had been some discussion of the service at Fromelles taking place a week earlier than usual, on the 12th, as both Martial Delebarre and Hubert Huchette (the Mayor of Fromelles) will be in Australia for the 19th. However, as the invitations had already been printed it has been decided to stick to the original date. I understand that the plan this year is to hold an additional service at Pheasant Wood. I had hoped to be there, but, unfortunately, it looks as if a prior family engagement will make that impossible - that and the fact that I have been over to Fromelles three times in four months. A fourth visit could be considered grounds for divorce!

If anyone who is not in receipt of an official invitation would like to attend, could they let me know in order for me to forward a rough estimate of numbers? I have a sneaking suspicion that the attendance could be higher than in previous years.

V.

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If it were to come to pass that a memorial stone was to be placed at Pheasant Wood, I would be expecting at least all their names to be inscribed.

Tim L (Auimfo)

Just speaking with someone in the know, this might be possible. If a new list went up on a stone at Pheasant Wood, the names would then be taken off the memorial their names are currently on. Worth looking at.

Cheers

Chris

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I like the idea of a simple asterisk being added to those who were previously unknown, It is uncomplicated.

As an aside I was here in Brisbane today to welcome home our boys from Iraq. At the social occasion after, with my nephew who is now a veteran, I could not help but think of parallels with the boys who came after WW1. He was not at all joyfull and was a little melancholy. So am I.

Len

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Hi Tim. Are you saying that your man is listed at the Australian National War Memorial?

Hi Tom,

Yes that's correct. He's on the wall at the Aust National Memorial down at Villers Bret. There are about 30 Fromelles men who missed out of going on the wall at VC Corner for reasons unknown but were put up on the wall at VB.

Cheerio,

Tim Whitford

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Tim L (Auimfo)

Just speaking with someone in the know, this might be possible. If a new list went up on a stone at Pheasant Wood, the names would then be taken off the memorial their names are currently on. Worth looking at.

Cheers

Chris

Thanks Chris

It's certainly an option that bears consideration although I still favour attempts to identify them.

Hi Tom,

Yes that's correct. He's on the wall at the Aust National Memorial down at Villers Bret. There are about 30 Fromelles men who missed out of going on the wall at VC Corner for reasons unknown but were put up on the wall at VB.

Cheerio,

Tim Whitford

Tom,

I think you'll find that most of the Fromelles missing who are listed on the Australian National Memorial at VB are from the 31st Battalion. They are listed there because 'officially' they went missing/kia on 21/7/1916 which was the day after the battle of Fromelles. What wasn't taken into consideration at the time was the fact that most probably the battalion hadn't managed to call the roll until 21/7 and hence they were marked missing as of that date instead of the date of the battle itself. Therefore they missed out on a spot on the Fromelles memorial and ended up at VB instead.

In fact, I have discovered one Australian soldier officially listed as having died as a POW in Germany during November 1916. This information was derived from third hand information and just taken as gospel. A search of German POW's by the Red Cross failed to find any record of him at the time in any POW camp and no grave was ever located for him in Germany. In reality, his service record clearly shows the German documentation stating he had fallen at Fromelles and was one of those buried by them at Pheasant Wood.

Cheers,

Tim L.

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HI yes will be in fromelles.

just confirmeb bookings, just outside leper , two friends

and myself are going to tour around the somme area then onto Flanders .

hope to be around Somme area for 10 days will be at the Fromelles service also at the menine gate service.

the flanders area doing ww1 and ww2 .

cant drive myself but hve white stick out of windows

helps going around corners . may see some of you there

cossack

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Cossack ... Please say hello to all the boys for us :)

Bright Blessings

Sandra

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I would say not Tim,as i feel that the CWGC would only go buy their own records,and not those of another Nation.Maybe Terry Denham could enlighten us on the Criteria neccessary for A Believed to be Buried or known to be Buried Headstone.

PBI,

I would have to disagree with you on this point. The CWGC is a Commonwealth organisation, not a solely British body, and abides by the wishes of the member states, whether that be the UK, Australia, NZ, RS, Jamaica, India and so forth. If anyone or a member nation can provide sufficient proofs identifying a body or the place of burial I am sure the CWGC would give due consideration to that information and amend "their own records" accordingly. As to the criteria of "believed or know to be" I am not sufficiently well read to comment, but I would suggest given the work of Lambis and Pals, the AHU, MOD, contracted historians and GUARD one would think that "Known to be" would be the desirable end state.

As to my earlier opinion about leaving them in peace, after reading your observations Tim W, I had a long think and thought about another man of a past generation, a WW1 veteran, whose life work became that of a CWGC/OAWG officer at Gallipoli, Tasman Millington OBE. I would imagine he would have ensured each soldier was exhumed and reburied with appropriate honour and blessing in consecrated ground. As to the issue of DNA, I don't know that it would give you the peace you seek given the number of years since their death and communal burial. But I am sure that the GUARD, AHU, OAWG/CWGC and the relevant British authorities will give their respective governments the best advice they can and that those governments will not penny pinch on the issue and that the CWGC, the respective governments, France and our armies will do everything that can be done to ensure that the Fromelles fallen are honoured, commemorated and respected.

As to Tasman Millington OBE, he spent 42 years locating and caring for Commonwealth and French fallen in Turkey, I wonder if his grave is well kept in West Byfleet, Surrey where he retired to two years before his death in 1963.

Kindest,

Chris H

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As to Tasman Millington OBE, ... I wonder if his grave is well kept in West Byfleet, Surrey where he retired two years before his death in 1963.

Chris - he is apparently buried in Sidcup in Kent rather than West Byfleet - I go there regularly and will try to look him up and report the need for shears if required! He certainly merits a well kept grave.

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Chris - he is apparently buried in Sidcup in Kent rather than West Byfleet - I go there regularly and will try to look him up and report the need for shears if required! He certainly merits a well kept grave.

Ian,

That is very good of you. I am sure there are many other past CWGC officers and staff, both Commonwealth and locally employed deserving of similar respect, for example I can't imagine being the Caretaker's in the states that were once Palestine, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Burma and so forth has always been an easy task, let alone the task of recovering the fallen.

Kindest,

Chris H

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Ian,

That is very good of you. I am sure there are many other past CWGC officers and staff, both Commonwealth and locally employed deserving of similar respect, for example I can't imagine being the Caretaker's in the states that were once Palestine, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Burma and so forth has always been an easy task, let alone the task of recovering the fallen.

Kindest,

Chris H

And, IIRC, those of the countries mentioned, the locally employed still try to do their work, no matter what is happening around them.

Such is rememberance and honour.

Kim

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Not quite a war zone but a friend of mine has just come back from Crete and visited the cemeteries there. Same people have been looking after them for over 30 years and they are immaculate.

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will be at the Fromelles service cossack

That's great. It looks as if I will be able to get there after all, so perhaps we'll all be able to meet up and put a few faces to names.

V.

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Victoria ... would you do me the honour of putting a poppy there from me ... tell the boys I am working hard and learning a great deal about their family and their lives ...

We Will Remember them!

Sandra

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