WWI Unknown Soldiers Grave Records Found

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by spike7451, Mar 14, 2009.

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  1. spike7451

    spike7451 RIP

    Looks like finally our comrades in arms from WWI resting in unknown graves may be identified.Question is should we identify them or leave them as they are?
    I'm sure the will be some relatives who may want the fallen repatreated.
    Opinions chaps?


  2. Saw this on the news the other day, fascinating stuff. Top marks to the Brit historian who realised the archives worth.
  3. YesItsMe

    YesItsMe LE Good Egg (charities)

  4. Dead of the World Wars were not/are not repatriated. Provision is only to reinter within the country where they died. If records of where first buried can be married to those of removal and reinterment in cemeteries, then there's a prospect some of the 'Unknowns' can be named and some named removed from such as the Menin Gate. Perhaps some new mass grave memorials may result.

  5. Whenever possible ALL war dead should have a marked grave. This has the potential to identify the resting places of a lot of WWI casualties who are still officially missing. The down side is that it would involve opening a lot of graves marked "known unto God" to obtain DNA for comparisom.
  6. Invicta - "The down side is that it would involve opening a lot of graves marked "known unto God" to obtain DNA for comparison."

    Between extremely unlikely to no way whatsoever. DNA is very conditional over periods like this and unlikely there'd be a suitable descendant. It's also incredibly expensive for the MoD who use an outside agency. It's going to have to be on precise match of record details stating exactly where the body was recovered from and which grave he now occupies.

  7. Many forget that after the initial battles of WW1, record keeping of all sorts was of a very high standard. Many, many temporary graves were constructed and the precise location recorded. Sadly attempts to find many of these following the end of hostilities failed.

    Many, many others were buried in shell holes at the front line and disitegrated by artillery while others rotted on the surface. If recovered these will never be identified.

    The CWGC is very precise as to what constitues identification and that has to be complte identification. Remember Rudyard Kipling's son. His body was recovered at a location where only one Irish Guards officer was killed but remained 'unknown' for most of the twentieth century.

    I have been in a small cemetry in Normandy where four members of the same tank crew are buried three are named one is not as he was not ID'd. No-one else from that regiment died there and his headstone is amongst the others but is recorded as 'unknown'

    What is good about these records is the chances of discovering details of deaths and actual localities recorded soon after events.
  8. Giving the fallen theirs names back is the very least we can do. I hope the governments involved have the decency to fund this effort and not simply leave it to charity.
  9. YesItsMe

    YesItsMe LE Good Egg (charities)

    My bold.

    I'm afraid, they won't have the decency and will simply put the blame on the financial crisis.
  10. I'm sorry to say that i think you are correct.
  11. The cost would be way to high, also the fact is, that whilst records exist of where they fell, there is still no actual proof that who lies where is correct. to many graves were blown apart in a lot of cases.

    The plus side is that at least some will know where there relatives MAY lie.

    Hopefully our Gov and Commonwealth ones may finacially assist the Red Cross
  12. I know you are correct. Having spoken to someone at the Service Personnel & Veterans Agency, who oversee this work with CWGC, in connection with the progress of an ID claim, I learnt / was told they have insufficient staff to progress this work and all requests to fund additional resources have been refused by senior managers.