Author Topic: How accurate are "killed in action" death dates.  (Read 404 times)

Offline RayDen

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How accurate are "killed in action" death dates.
« on: Tuesday 07 December 21 21:05 GMT (UK) »
I am doing a family tree for a friend and following one great uncle who was killed in action and the death date was given as 31 Oct 1918. I have obtained the war diary for the regiment that he was with but have found no deaths for "other ranks" on that day. There was an officer died on the 1 Nov 1918 whilst "holding the line" and then a major offensive on the 4 Nov 1918 with heavy casualties.
The grave yard in which he is buried is within 8KM of the action around the 4 Nov 1918 so I just assume that he was still with his regiment when he died.

Just wondering if the date's of death were always accurate??

Ray
Denham [Hertford & London], Carter [Somerset], Francis, Badger [Pembroke, Glamorgan]

Offline Tickettyboo

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Re: How accurate are "killed in action" death dates.
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 07 December 21 22:08 GMT (UK) »
Not an area I am expert in, but from a few old records I have seen, given the confusion during a battle and the fact that all these years later there are still a lot of men with no known grave (therefore  there was no body actually identified)
I believe that it could take a good while and many enquiries amongst those who had survived to determine when the man in question was last seen to be alive. As far as I can tell the last sighting of him being alive could well have been the date of death that was recorded.

Boo

Offline RayDen

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Re: How accurate are "killed in action" death dates.
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 07 December 21 22:28 GMT (UK) »
Thanks Boo, I was thinking the same. In all the confusion obvious death must have been noted but if someone was "missing" the obvious date of death must have ended up being quite difficult. Thanks for the input.

Ray
Denham [Hertford & London], Carter [Somerset], Francis, Badger [Pembroke, Glamorgan]

Offline wivenhoe

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Re: How accurate are "killed in action" death dates.
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 07 December 21 23:39 GMT (UK) »


Using CWGC -

You have a date/s, a battalion, a cemetery.....and a diary.

Search with just those variables and see how the names in the diary correspond with the names in the cemetery.


Offline RayDen

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Re: How accurate are "killed in action" death dates.
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 08 December 21 10:00 GMT (UK) »
Thanks wivenhoe, great suggestion. Had a search and found 3 deaths for 31 Oct 1918 one of which was Arthur. There were two 1st Battalion SWB soldiers which were Arthur and one other.

On the 4th Nov 1918 there were 5 O/Ranks shown as killed in the war diary but I can only find one from 1st Battalion SWB, but it is possible that the other 4 were from other regiments?

The only other named casualty was a death on the 1st Nov 1918 Lt. F James, but I can't see him on the cemetery list but he is possibly/probably buried in another cemetery (did'nt expect to see how many CWGC war grave cemetery's are in that area!!).

Thanks again for the advice
Denham [Hertford & London], Carter [Somerset], Francis, Badger [Pembroke, Glamorgan]

Offline Nanna52

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Re: How accurate are "killed in action" death dates.
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 08 December 21 10:58 GMT (UK) »
From the experiences I have had I would say they did the best they could.  I had one killed at Paschendaele..  I would say accurate.  Another died of wounds, again accurate.  One which said after a certain date, he went out on patrol and was never seen again.  Then there was the confusion of my cousin.  I read the war diaries and couldn’t find a battle around his time of death, then I discovered the diaries were incorrectly marked.  To make matters more interesting he was discovered three months later alive and a POW.  Was there a battle a couple of days before when he may have died and they were catching up on their work?
James -Victoria, Australia originally from Keynsham, Somerset.
Janes - Keynsham and Bristol area.
Heale/Hale - Keynsham, Somerset
Vincent - Illogan/Redruth, Cornwall.  Moved to Sculcoates, Yorkshire; Grass Valley, California; Timaru, New Zealand and Victoria, Australia.
Williams somewhere in Wales - he kept moving
Ellis - Anglesey

Gedmatch A327531

Offline RayDen

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Re: How accurate are "killed in action" death dates.
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 08 December 21 11:30 GMT (UK) »
Thanks Nanna52, There were casualties shown on the 23rd Oct 1918, 1 officer and 5 O/Ranks killed and 19 wounded.  This was in a different area and whilst not a great distance it is highly likely that those killed would be in a different cemetery.

Just have to accept that as you say "they did the best they could" and when reading the diaries it is easily understandable how difficult it was to keep accurate records of all fatalities.
Denham [Hertford & London], Carter [Somerset], Francis, Badger [Pembroke, Glamorgan]