Author Topic: "Known Unto God" and DNA identification  (Read 800 times)

Offline Ray T

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Re: "Known Unto God" and DNA identification
« Reply #9 on: Friday 02 April 21 10:05 BST (UK) »
The “unknown soldier” was deliberately unknown (I think they had three to choose from) and trying to identify him 100 years later would seem to defeat the object although I understand that, at the time,  at least 400 mothers claimed to be certain that it was their son.

Testing remains from soldiers that have to be exhumed for other reasons may be worthwhile but I think exhumation for that particular purpose would be a non starter.

Offline Gillg

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Re: "Known Unto God" and DNA identification
« Reply #10 on: Friday 02 April 21 11:02 BST (UK) »
A relative of mine is remembered only by his name on a wall tablet at a CWGC cemetery and the accompanying notes in the remembrance book at the cemetery.  His body was never found, so it is not clear exactly where he died, but it seems likely from his unit's WW2 records that it was somewhere near Arnhem.  Would it help to find his remains through DNA testing now?  He still has living children who might derive some comfort from that, since they were too young to have any memories of him in life.  Personally I would let him lie with his comrades, if that is where he is now.
Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

FAIREY/FAIRY/FAREY/FEARY, LAWSON, CHURCH, BENSON, HALSTEAD from Easton, Ellington, Eynesbury, Gt Catworth, Huntingdon, Spaldwick, Hunts;  Burnley, Lancs;  New Zealand, Australia & US.

HURST, BOLTON,  BUTTERWORTH, ADAMSON, WILD, MCIVOR from Milnrow, Newhey, Oldham & Rochdale, Lancs.

Offline Pheno

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Re: "Known Unto God" and DNA identification
« Reply #11 on: Friday 02 April 21 13:12 BST (UK) »
There are 8,373 burials unidentified in Tyne Cot Cemetery.
There are also 4 German burials, 3 being unidentified.

Assuming a cost of £1000 to extract DNA from each grave.
Results in a cost of over 8 million pounds just for one cemetery.


Tony

Not just the cost of extracting DNA either.  Suppose they didn't find any living matches what would they do then?  Suppose they did find matches but those people weren't interested in taking this forward? Would these cases be seen as unnecessary cost?

Pheno
Austin/Austen - Sussex & London
Bond - Berkshire & London
Bishop - Sussex & Kent
Holland - Essex
Nevitt - Cheshire & Staffordshire
Wray - Yorkshire


Online coombs

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Re: "Known Unto God" and DNA identification
« Reply #12 on: Friday 02 April 21 13:22 BST (UK) »
I am sure a huge percentage of the "unknown soldier" graves are cenotaphs either dedicated to a number of them or a cenotaph for each soldier, and as Guy said, their bodies were never found, so their remains are somewhere else.

The ones whose remains were found but they were never identified should just remain buried in the ground and be able to rest in peace forever.
Researching:

LONDON, Coombs, Roberts, Auber, Helsdon, Fradine, Morin, Goodacre
DORSET Coombs, Munday
NORFOLK Helsdon, Riches, Harbord, Budery
KENT Roberts, Goodacre
SUSSEX Walder, Boniface, Dinnage, Standen, Lee, Botten, Wickham, Jupp
SUFFOLK Titshall, Frost, Fairweather, Mayhew, Archer, Eade, Scarfe
DURHAM Stewart, Musgrave, Wilson, Forster
SCOTLAND Stewart in Selkirk
USA Musgrave, Saix
ESSEX Cornwell, Stock, Quilter, Lawrence, Whale, Clift
OXON Edgington, Smith, Inkpen, Snell, Batten, Brain

Offline artifis

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Re: "Known Unto God" and DNA identification
« Reply #13 on: Friday 02 April 21 16:28 BST (UK) »
An interesting idea but one fraught with issues as other have commented on.

My uncle was killed on 27 May 1918 aged 19 near Soissons, he has no know grave but is recorded on the CWGC cenotaph there.  My grand parents only knew he been killed, not when or where, my grandfather wrote to everyone he could think of to no result.  It was a 'comfort' to him and my grandmother when the grave of the unknown soldier was set up, they had the thought like very many other grieving parents/siblings/wives/children that it might be their son etc.

I found out soon after the CWGC site was set up on-line where and when he died and where he was commemorated, that was a great comfort to my father and the other remaining siblings.  I was able to download photos of the cenotaph to show them together with a map of the area. What I did not tell them was that my uncle was killed in a feint designed to disguise the true location of an upcoming attempt to gain some ground. The Feint had no real target or aim apart from confusing the Germans and I know that that would have shattered my father and his siblings if they'd known that.  I think they were regarded as 'acceptable casualties' by the generals miles back from the front as in Blackadder.  The main push also disastrously failed so basically his death/life was rendered worthless and valueless.

Personally I'd leave the poor guys in peace among their comrades.  OK if 'new' remains are found then trying to trace their relatives I can see the point of especially for the re-burial in a CWGC cemetery but I'd prefer those already buried in a CWGC cemetery or other known cemetery site to remain undisturbed.

Offline jim1

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Re: "Known Unto God" and DNA identification
« Reply #14 on: Friday 02 April 21 17:42 BST (UK) »
Around 60% of the 1,000,000 + British & Commonwealth war dead
are unknown meaning every cemetery would become an archaeological
dig site for decades to come.
It's not going to happen even if enough money was raised which would run into
100's of 1,000,000's.
Warks:Ashford;Cadby;Clarke;Clifford;Cooke Copage;Easthope;
Edmonds;Felton;Colledge;Lutwyche;Mander(s);May;Poole;Withers.
Staffs.Edmonds;Addison;Duffield;Webb;Fisher;Archer
Salop:Easthope,Eddowes,Hoorde,Oteley,Vernon,Talbot,De Neville.
Notts.Clarke;Redfearne;Treece.
Som.May;Perriman;Cox
India Kane;Felton;Cadby
London.Haysom.
Lancs.Gay.
Worcs.Coley;Mander;Sawyer.
Kings of Wessex & Scotland
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Offline Sloe Gin

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Re: "Known Unto God" and DNA identification
« Reply #15 on: Friday 02 April 21 19:08 BST (UK) »
An appalling idea and wrong on so many levels.
UK census content is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk  Transcriptions are my own.

Offline phenolphthalein

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Re: "Known Unto God" and DNA identification
« Reply #16 on: Saturday 03 April 21 09:05 BST (UK) »
I suspect much more would be accomplished if
we all became living memorials of those who died.

Fight against discrimination violence and cruelty.
Support those fleeing war.
Welcome refugees.
Look after the poor and weak
the widowed and the orphaned
support Legacy and the UNHCR
the wounded and the maimed
the powerless and the poor
those damaged by war.
Fight the spread of weapons and of hate.
Clear mines, revegetate , do not let the wealthy steal from the poor.

Be kind to others,
Do not base one's own worth on being better or of better status than others.

Then we might truly honour the dead and those who mourned them.
And those who lived or maybe still live with dreadful wounds.

If too controversial I'm truly sorry

pH

Offline sleepybarb

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Re: "Known Unto God" and DNA identification
« Reply #17 on: Saturday 03 April 21 09:19 BST (UK) »
My husbands great uncle is remembered on the Loos addendum,we we have no idea where he is buried,but he’s remembered in our family histories.
Barb
Briscoe-Midlands-Birmingham and Worcs.
Bragg-Birmingham.
Rayworth-Birmingham
Piper and Bevan Worcs and Herefordshire
Taylor -Birmingham