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Neil Clark

Arthur Sidney WEST - Aussie Ammo Worker 1917

96 posts in this topic

I found this grave yesterday in Dartford's Watling Street Cemetery -

Arthur Sidney WEST

ERECTED TO HIS MEMORY BY FELLOW AUSSIE MUNITION WORKERS AND FRIENDS

Died from injuries received at his work - 8th November 1917 aged 28 Years

I wonder if anyone might be able to find out more about this young man and the likely place/cause of injuries? It's a great shame that his sacrifice is not commemorated by the countries he gave his life for... I wonder if anyone in Australia is interested in this grave?

post-2961-1202159331.jpg

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Another Photo -

and finally -

post-2961-1202159454.jpg

post-2961-1202159464.jpg

post-2961-1202159513.jpg

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Hi Neil,

Is this any good to you.

Llew.

England & Wales, FreeBMD Death Index: 1837-1983

about Arthur S West

Name: Arthur S West

Estimated Birth Year: abt 1890

Year of Registration: 1917

Quarter of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec

Age at Death: 27

District: Dartford

County: Kent

Volume: 2a

Page: 758 (click to see others on page)

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Many Australian Munitions Workers were British residents. Is he in CWGC Records ?

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Neil

I believe that Aussie Ammo workers is one of the categories of civilians that are allowed to be commemorated by the CWGC

Chris

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Hello Chris,

Hope all is well your end? That's very interesting indeed. I wonder if someone can come up and confirm their (Australian Ammo Workers) status with regard to an OFFICIAL commemoration. If so then this one may warrant further investigation...

If he's entitled to an official comm is this with the Australian Govt or the CWGC? I wonder where Terry is?

I can't locate him on CWGC. I'm glad I located the grave. Incidently, I was actually looking for the grave of a VC (Smith) who is buried in the same cemetery in Dartford.

Always nice to hear from an old friend.

Llew,

Thanks for that information. I will order his DC if his entitlement to an OFFICAL comm can be confirmed.

Thanks

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This man's munitions worker dossier is held by the NAA (Melbourne).

Title: WEST Arthur Sidney - Munitions Worker Number 1014

Barcode: 5910309

Series number: MT1139/1

Contents date range: 1917 - 1920

regards,

Martin

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Martin,

Where did you find that?

Very helpful indeed. It would help to see the content of those records wherever they are held...

Can someone PLEASE place this thread in NON COMMS as now it seems this may be it's rightful place...

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Australian Munitions and War Workers Overseas are granted war grave status if they died on duty and of a war cause. That means that any dying of illness or non-war related accident do not qualify. You would need his cause of death to know the answer as to whether he qualifies.

I believe these workers were recruited and served overseas as a 'unit' and I have seen them ascribed numbers similar to service numbers.

64 of them have been granted war grave status and are commemorated by CWGC.

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My first post ever on GWF.... a quick googling yeilded this info

"Annie, Bill and Liam Stuart" <DisplayMail('ozemail.com.au','billannieliam');billannieliam@ozemail.com.au> wrote in

message news:005201c0b1c2$1a224840$DisplayMail('bill','71170c3f');71170c3f@bill...

>

> Jock Wests Story and

The

> Kindness of Strangers.

>

> My grandmother's brother Arthur Sydney West known as Jock was born on

the

> 26th of June, 1889 at Enfield in Sydney the eighth child of William Luke

and

> Mary West who immigrated to Australia in 1880 from Tavistock in

Devonshire,

> England.

> Jock was a toolmaker by trade. He was unfit for service in World War 1 so

> he paid his own way to England on the P and O ship "Arabia" to work in

a

> munitions factory.

> On the voyage The Arabia was torpedoed at about 11 am on 6 November 1916

> about 180 km south west of Cape Matapan, Greece. She took a little over an

> hour to sink but fortunately most of the crew and passengers including

Jock

> were saved.

> After his arrival in England Jock was sent to work at Crayford Works in

> Kent as a toolmaker in the Rifle Stock department and on the 8th of

> November 1917 he was killed in a terrible accident.

> He fell into a band cutting machine and died from internal haemorrhage

> following injuries to his ribs and lungs. The Crayford Works magazine

> published an epitaph to Jock.

> "As a mechanic he was keen, energetic and thorough. As a man and a comrade

> he was appraised by all who knew him. In the midst of any worry he was

> always well met and his smile so nearly approached permanency that he

> appealed to all as the personification of content.

> Only 28 years of age, in the bloom of manhood and under extremely

ghastly

> and unfortunate circumstances, he met his death as a true born soldier, in

> the course and execution of his duty. He was buried at East Hill Cemetery,

> Dartford on November 13th, 1917.

> His friends and fellow Australians accompanied his remains to their last

> resting place. Many beautiful floral tokens bore tribute to the esteem and

> affection in which he was held by all. He will ever be remembered and his

> name will be held sacred by his fellow Australians, who will sadly mourn

his

> decease."

> Photographs of Jock's grave were sent home to his family in Australia as

it

> was impossible to travel in war time.

> This all happened a long time before I was born but I knew the story of

Jock

> 's tragic death

> from my grandmother who often spoke about her brother with tears in her

> eyes.

> I have Jock's death certificate and an old photo of his grave.

> A few weeks ago I began to wonder if Jock's grave was still standing in

> Dartford Cemetery

> so I sent an e mail to the Kent mailing list on the internet telling of

> Jock's death and asking if anyone living nearby could check the grave for

> me.

> I only received one reply from a man in Kent named John.

> Yes he lived near the cemetery and yes he would gladly go and check the

> grave.

> But John did so much more than merely check the grave.

> Firstly he went to Dartford found the grave and sent me a photo via

email.

> Then he offered to put flowers on the grave with a note to say that Jock

had

> not been forgotten by his Australian family.

> "What a truly kind man this is," I thought.

> But there was more to come.

> Yesterday in the mail I received a beautifully bound album containing

photos

> of the grave before and after John and his wife Jackie had restored it.

> The album brought tears to my eyes.

> In a letter on the first page of the album John wrote :-

> "Annie I hope that you accept this photograph album from Jackie and myself

> as a token of thanks for all the help and support that the Australian

> country and it's people have given us in the past and for the future."

> All this from a couple on the other side of the world with no personal

> interest in Jock, completely unknown to me until now and at their own

> expense.

> By restoring the grave so beautifully John and Jackie have shown that

> someone apart from me still cares about a brave half forgotten man who

lost

> his life so far away from his home doing his "bit" for the war effort.

> I can do little from here in Australia but they have seen to it that Jock

> is remembered.

> On the last page of the album John wrote:-

> "A man is not dead until he is forgotten."

> Thank you John . I will never forget you.

>

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Terry,

Based upon that advice I shall get his D.C and see if it can be attributed to war etc...

I will keep you informed of any progress. Can you please put this in Non-Comms?

Many thanks.

Neil

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Theo,

Your very first post is an important one. Thats very helpful indeed...

I wonder if the accident can be considered ATTRIBUTABLE?

What do you think Terry? Personally I think it's still worth getting his D.C. Looks like he worked at the Vickers Factory (Machine Guns etc) next to the river in Crayford.

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Where did you find that?

Neil.

That was from the National Archives of Australia. Unfortunately that particular record has not yet been scanned and made available online, so you would need to order a copy to view it. He is not listed on the Australian War Memorial's Commemorative Roll.

By the way, thanks for posting the photos.

regards,

Martin

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Martin,

Are you able to confirm the criteria for OFFICAL commemoration by the Australian War Memorial? If this man is entitled it would be nice to get him registered. Not sure about CWGC because it might be hard to link his death as a DIRECT consequence of war. This does seem a bit harsh but the commission applies these rules very rigidly indeed. As far as I can tell he wouldn't have been in that factory working with dangerous machinery if it were not for the war.

Those photos are all compressed down to a small size. If anyone wants the larger photos, just P.M me.

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It will depend on the Australian authorities yardstick at the time. It is ominous that he is not on the AWM roll though as suggests that it is not a simple clerical error of ommission. It may need a full case to be made.

Personally, I would still get the DC but after the Australian record as that may be sufficient to prove the case one way or the other whereas the DC may not.

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The Australian Archive Index give sufficient evidence that he was actually a War Worker.

If his mode of death is accurately described, I would think he should qualify. Of the other Australian War Workers recognised, all but one died in the UK and it is hard to imagine how they would have died and qualified other than in industrial accidents.

The CWGC rule is to be on duty and die of a war cause or the increased threat brought on by war. The Australians obviously believed the others met these requirements.

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Terry,

Thanks for your valued advice.

I will order his D.C and obtain copies of his government records from Aussie. I will then submit the case to the Australians direct. I shall keep you all updated of any developments. Thank you all kindly for your help here. Anyone else able to help out, post your replies here...

Neil

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They are separate organisations.

A name on AWM does not necessarily mean it will be recognised by CWGC - but unlikely. However, a name accepted by CWGC is almost certainly going to be added to AWM.

How about a joint effort? I have dealt with the Aussies before over these records. I am happy to get the records from there if you get the DC if it is needed afterwards. The case will need to go to CWGC to get War Grave status.

If there is a chance he qualifies, we should try.

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Terry,

Okay I'm up for that. Besides I'm busy with other Kent non-comms taken off various war memorials. I'm prepared to discharge any costs, fees or disbursements. Just email me on my normal email address (I think you have it already). I will wait to hear from you before applying for his D.C.

Many thanks

Neil

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On to it now. Should be an interesting case.

I see his 'service number' was 1014.

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I'm emailing all those email addresses above asking them to read this thread. I shall gladly keep you informed of any developments my end. Good luck...

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Records ordered.

The wonders of the internet!

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What a totally amazing story - and a wonderful thing you guys are doing.

Good luck, and thank you, from a grateful Australian.

Cheers, Frev

Jock West - still remembered.

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Neil

as this is a private grave why not trying getting the Aussie High Commission to get involved with its upkeep

Chris

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I have received a reply from one of the email addresses mentioned above. It would seem that this young man was actually known to all his friends as JOCK West. No further information available just their thanks and offer of help etc... I will wait to hear from Terry before ordering his D.C.

Chris,

Are you suggesting that I write to the Australian Embassy and request a gardener? I will give it a go if our efforts here come to nothing. Hopefully it won't come to that. My gut feeling is that this chap should get war casualty status with the Australian Government. Time will tell...

Neil

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