Grave Location Query

#1
The following query has been on a few sites in the last few days, but not as far as I am aware, on ARRSE.

It's unusual in that it's a question that it would be expected to have been answered easily in a few hours but not so.

It's not my query but it might help to throw it open to a larger audience.

Can anyone help please with the grave location/memorial in Silent Valley Aden for:
Private Robert Kiltie Gray
1st Parachute Regiment
Killed in action when dissident Arab Tribesmen fired on him in the Radfan area 60 miles north of Aden
Date of Event: 22nd August 1965 Silent Valley Aden
Private Gray is not listed among the graves in Silent Valley Military Cemetery.

That means one of two things:
(i) He wasn't buried there in the first place, or
(ii) He was buried there but subsequently exhumed and his remains repatriated.

Also, although he is listed on the National Armed Forces Memorial, according to the database there is no record of his cemetery and plot; which the great majority of records contain.
That would be normally one of two reasons, MOD wishes it omitted, or doesn't know.

If MOD doesn't know, that's not as surprising as it might sound- in the event of subsequent repatriation, there is no requirement to inform MOD of the place of burial (although I imagine there would be an exception if a military headstone was required.)

Repatriation at the time of death was quite rare but not unknown-the cost had to be met by the family.
Subsequently repatriations have occurred because, I understand, of attitudes to the fallen (post Falklands) changing.
However the author of the query is a relation and therefore may well have known if Private Gray had been buried locally (Ayr).

There are a number of other possibilites some of which it is probably better not to speculate upon, but a couple of them can be discounted;
Ma'alla Military/War Cemetery was, by Aug 65, closed for new interments.
There were no facilities for cremation in Aden.

So for the relative of Pte Gray and also for his memory, it would be nice to solve this one.
 
#3
There may be a trail starting here: "Does anyone know where I may get a 'nominal roll' of all those in Silent Valley?"
Aden Forum • View topic - Silent Valley, Little Aden
Thanks for that.

I do have such a list, however, it is a list of graves that MOD are responsible for, that precludes anyone subsequently dis-interred.
Unfortunately it's in hard copy form.However, there is a list on the web but I haven't cross-checked it with my info but I have no reason to think that this one (link below) is not reflective of the current situation.

Silent Valley
 
T

Tremaine

Guest
#4
It looks a difficult task but it may be worth trawling through that site, as someone just might be able to help? Good luck with this.

You're right, the name doesn't seem to appear here : Silent Valley Blank drawn, grave has probably been relocated as you suggested .The family posted on http://www.specialforcesroh.com back in 2006, their search for Pte Gray's grave was in vain. Any further?
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#5
Do we know if the family have appiled for his service record.
I see they have been posing the question on as many boards as they can think of but I can see no mention of his service record.
I'm assuming if he was repatriated there would be a note in his file.
 
T

Tremaine

Guest
#6
According to one para website , it seems someone has spoken to the MOD dep’t that keeps records of ‘post 1948’ graves. Silent Valley cemetery grave names aren't listed by CWG and they don't maintain records post 1948 but "pay for the upkeep" . It seems the MoD have been trying to help with Pte Gray and are looking at further archives.
 
#8
Hi, would they not be CWGC responsibilities rather than MOD per se?
No, CWGC mandate only extends to 1947 *

Hence the difference between a War Grave/Cemetery and a Military Grave/Cemetery.

There are places where a War Cemetery and a Military Cemetery might be co-located. But the graves are usually kept in separate areas. Kranji in Singapore is one such example.

In such places, rather than duplicate the effort of maintaining the graves by two organisations CWGC will take on upkeep.

CWGC terms of reference are quite strictly defined and their hands are tied - something that is not always appreciated by more recently bereaved who wish their casualty to be buried among the mandated plot of War Graves in the local cemetery.

I'd guess that both the National Armed Forces Memorial and the Elizabeth Cross start-points were chosen to coincide with the ending of the CWGC mandate.

*That might be 1948 on reflection- I would have to check
[Edited to Add]: Did check and the periods that CWGC mandate limits them to is;
4 August 1914 - 31 August 1921
3 September 1939 - 31 December 1947.
 
#9
I'm assuming the family have gone down the regimental museum route and drawn a blank? If so

My first reaction is the same as Old Baldy's - apply for his service record.

My second would be to FOI MOD for details of his death and burial - and I would be as broad at that in framing the request. Forget the guy who keeps the list of graves, you want MOD Corporate Memory or whatever they are these days digging out bn/bde/higher records for late Aug '65.

That might at least establish 'ground truth' (no pun).
 
#10
Do we know if the family have appiled for his service record.
I see they have been posing the question on as many boards as they can think of but I can see no mention of his service record.
I'm assuming if he was repatriated there would be a note in his file.
Would be a natural course of action.
I expect that the enquiring family aren't that closely related to Private Gray and therefore may have some difficulty obtaining them.

A press report at the time by-lined Aden 25th Aug 1965, indicates local burial.

On Sunday, Private R.K. Grey (sic) of the 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, was killed and another British soldier slightly wounded by a dissident sniper in the Radfan area.
Private Grey was buried here this afternoon.
Given that repatriation would likely have happened a long-while after interment, it seem to me a bit odd that that no surviving family member has no direct or indirect knowledge of it.

It's now down to the original inquirer to follow the leads (I've had no response from my email to her)

But one detail did emerge that that sounds almost incredible today; according to a report in Hansard on a similar repatriation, it seems that costs charged to the family were higher because the RAF were not allowed to undercut BOAC (or any other airline) on the freight charges for transporting coffins.

Both hon. Members raised a major point regarding the very high cost of transporting the bodies home. I must say that, on looking at the figures, I am surprised at the cost. But, as things are at present, it is not possible to do it more cheaply. The airlines state what the charge is, and if we bring a body home in Service transport we have to stick to their charges because it is not an entitlement at the present time and we must not undercut them, if that is the right phrase. This is something I knew nothing whatever about, and that is why I said that I was extremely grateful to the hon. Gentlemen for raising the subject.
Hansard- Repatriation
 
#11
The following was posted on the Paradata site a couple of days ago and solves the query on where Pte Gray was
finally buried

Pte Robert Kiltie Gray of The 1st Battalion the Parachute Regiment (1 PARA) was killed on the 22 August 1965 while on foot patrol in Aden, aged 21 years.

He was buried with full military honours in Aden.

Later he was repatriated to the United Kingdom where he was given a second military funeral.

He is buried at Holmston Road Cemetery in Ayr Scotland.
Robert Kiltie Gray
 
#12
Going back to your original post, it seems odd that MoD didn't know the whereabouts of his grave, given that he had a military funeral.
 
#13
Going back to your original post, it seems odd that MoD didn't know the whereabouts of his grave, given that he had a military funeral.
Not so odd really,if the powers that be wish to keep it a secret they will!! november 65 Iwas with a young sapper who got killed, in later years I went through all the normal channels to trace his grave in singapore, including numerous visits to the embassy in singapore and all military cemetaries in singapore, in 2000 on avisit to singapore ,I tried my luck at the consulate again, gave them the same information I had been giving them over the last 25 years, number,rank,name date of death, low and behold 5 minutes later I was presented with a postit and a burial plot number as easy as that,why all the secrecy I asked rules and regulations was the reply!!!!!
 
#14
Going back to your original post, it seems odd that MoD didn't know the whereabouts of his grave, given that he had a military funeral.
It does seem odd. But as Tremaine indicated in an earlier post, it seems that although the info wasn't immediately to hand, by digging in the files (maybe for correspondence) they came up with the details.

I would hazard a guess that it was not immediately thrown up by the MODs computers because the grave is not a MOD responsibility and therefore is not requiring maintenance by MOD contractors.

Despite it being stated that the second interment was a military funeral, it could be that it is a private grave and headstone not paid out of public funds and thus not qualifying for MOD maintenance.

Not so odd really,if the powers that be wish to keep it a secret they will!! november 65 Iwas with a young sapper who got killed, in later years I went through all the normal channels to trace his grave in singapore, including numerous visits to the embassy in singapore and all military cemetaries in singapore, in 2000 on avisit to singapore ,I tried my luck at the consulate again, gave them the same information I had been giving them over the last 25 years, number,rank,name date of death, low and behold 5 minutes later I was presented with a postit and a burial plot number as easy as that,why all the secrecy I asked rules and regulations was the reply!!!!!
Oddly enough, almost certainly another instance of where a soldier's remains have been exhumed and relocated.
The military cemetery in Dover Road was redeveloped by the S'pore authorities and the remains of those interred there moved to Kranji.

Exhumations and re-interments of soldiers' remains are not that rare- Lt Branco-Cook who was killed in Iraq was moved within Hove cemetery when his NOK were successful in their campaign to have him buried adjacent to the War Graves plot there.
 
#15
It does seem odd. But as Tremaine indicated in an earlier post, it seems that although the info wasn't immediately to hand, by digging in the files (maybe for correspondence) they came up with the details.

I would hazard a guess that it was not immediately thrown up by the MODs computers because the grave is not a MOD responsibility and therefore is not requiring maintenance by MOD contractors.

Despite it being stated that the second interment was a military funeral, it could be that it is a private grave and headstone not paid out of public funds and thus not qualifying for MOD maintenance.



Oddly enough, almost certainly another instance of where a soldier's remains have been exhumed and relocated.
The military cemetery in Dover Road was redeveloped by the S'pore authorities and the remains of those interred there moved to Kranji.

Exhumations and re-interments of soldiers' remains are not that rare- Lt Branco-Cook who was killed in Iraq was moved within Hove cemetery when his NOK were successful in their campaign to have him buried adjacent to the War Graves plot there.
All the military and colonial graves in singapore were exhumed and relocated to kranji, allthrough the 90,s we spent 7 days every year just physically checking individual graves in kranji , anyone who has been to kranji will know what a mammoth task that is!! every year we checked with consulate, maybe you have a reasonable explanation why tthe exact location of the grave was with held from us??
 
#16
The following was posted on the Paradata site a couple of days ago and solves the query on where Pte Gray was finally buried.

Robert Kiltie Gray
Further to that, burial records for Holmston Road cemetery can be searched through the South Ayrshire records office via their contact details on this page.

Location of Cemeteries and Burial Records in South Ayrshire

There's a fee of £21.00 for this search, which seems a bit steep to me as our local office does it for nothing over the phone.

Edited to add: I'd bet that there is a newspaper report in the local library archive, about his military funeral in Holmston Road cemetery.
 

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