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Ww1 Notification Of Deaths


peterwarr
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Can someone help me with information about the way during WW1 that families learned about deaths in action, please?

I know that an official form was sent in all cases, sometimes at a rather later date. And I see that many comrades, officers or chaplains wrote less formally. Would those informal letters be a family’s first indication of a death?

And what about a telegram? I’ve read contrasting messages. It does seem that all officers’ deaths were quite quickly notified to families in a telegram, but what about other men? Different accounts suggest that other deaths either were or were not notified by telegram.

I’d be very grateful for a pointer in the right direction. Are the above thoughts correct? Do examples of telegrams about non-officers exist? Perhaps there is a full account available somewhere?

Thanks a lot.

Peter

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Guest Trefcon

Hi Peter, you have it just about right.

'Normally' a telegram for officers.

The 'telegram' NCO's and OR families got was actually army form B 104 - 82, a fill in the blanks type form.

I think you will have found that there were many exceptions, sometimes the news was by a letter from one of his comrades/friends if he saw him killed, by The War Office, by word of mouth from a comrade on leave etc. Delay in notification was more than likely if no body had been found, was he a POW, was he 'missing' etc.

Casualty lists were put together in France/Belgium etc, sent to the War Office who then sent them to the London Gazette, thence to the 'county' newspapers.

A bit of research suggest's that the post in those days was very good, re time to be delivered etc.

hope this helps,

Dean.

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I don't know whether this is of any help, but in a recent book"Headlong into Pennilessness", Michael Glover talks about his grandfather, Harold, a member of the Sheffield Battalion who survived the War. He relates that Harold was the only survivor of a group from Firvale. Harold wrote to his wife about their deaths, and became "a kind of messenger for all the others. The wives used to come to Harold's wife to get the news. She used to dread his letters coming because it was always bad news".

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Many thanks to both. I now see that procedures differed from person to person, with officers’ families always receiving a telegram but not all others.

I’ve recently come across this website, saying more or less what we’ve noted here: www.1914-1918.net/died.htm.

Peter

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