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Buried Port Said Military Cemetery, Egypt


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#1 frev

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 06:10 AM

Have come across a bit of a problem in regard to the commemoration of:
Pte 6547 William Barwick (MM) of the 12th Bn, AIF
http://recordsearch....e.asp?B=3055190

Pte Barwick died on board the Australian Hospital Ship Kanowna just after she arrived at Port Said (18/1/19) – according to the ship’s War Diary he was taken ashore the next day (19/1/19) and buried in the Military Cemetery (Port Said War Memorial Cemetery)

Kanowna War Diary:
18/1/19: Arrived Port Said at 1pm. ….Death: No.6547 Pte Barwick, W., 12th Batt, died at 1.20pm. …….Arranged for funeral of Pte Barwick ashore tomorrow at 10am. ………
19/1/19: …… Funeral party ashore under Major Yule A.A.M.C. for burial of Pte Barwick, buried in Military Cemetery, Port Said.


The only reference found in his Service Record in regard to burial is a copy of the list of deaths on the hospital ship for that voyage (p.56), which also states he was buried in the cemetery. It seems that this record has been overlooked, and as the soldier was initially wounded in France & died on the ship en-route to Australia – it has been assumed that he was buried at sea, and thus is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.

[CWGC, AWM Roll of Honour & Australian War Graves Project all show commemoration on the VB Mem]

CWGC:
BARWICK, WILLIAM
Rank: Private
Service No: 6547
Date of Death: 18/01/1919
Age: 31
Regiment/Service: Australian Infantry, A.I.F. 12th Bn.
Awards: M M
Panel Reference: Addenda.
Memorial: VILLERS-BRETONNEUX MEMORIAL
Additional Information: Son of Thomas Groves Barwick and Frances Amelia Barwick of Merriton, Woodbury, Oatlands, Tasmania.

AWM Roll of Honour:
Service number: 6547
Rank: Private
Unit: 12th Battalion (Infantry)
Service: Australian Army
Conflict: 1914-1918
Date of death: 18 January 1919
Place of death: Port Said, Egypt
Cemetery or memorial details: Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France
Source: AWM145 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Army


Questions that need answers:
Is there a grave marked with a headstone in the cemetery? Or did the original error occur here?
Is his name actually on the VB Memorial? Or is this just a ‘paper’ error? [see CWGC Panel Reference: Addenda (?)]

Follow-on questions:
Would the CWGC have old records that may be able to clear this up?
Does anyone have photos of all graves in the cemetery? (bearing in mind that the AWG Project would have only photographed the Australian graves listed on the CWGC website)

Any ideas, or preferably answers in regard to any of these questions would be most welcome :thumbsup:

Cheers, Frev

#2 aglastonbury

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 11:46 AM

Frev,

There seems to have been a break down in communication somewhere. I don't want to say they lost the body but I think he has just been overlooked due to a break down in communications. I don't doubt that William is buried somewhere in the Port Said area, but where? There is more than one Cemetery in the area & he will be in one of them.

We Know he died after the Kanowna arrived in Port Said & that an A.A.M.C. dealt with the burial locally. I suspect that the report of his death landed on someone's desk & they assumed he died on the ship so must have been buried at sea & never followed up on it. I had a look at the records from the link you posted & see that 3 other died & were buried at sea. It is possible that this is the reason for this oversight.

When he was buried he would have got a temporary grave marker, weather or not he got a permanent one at a later date I don't know. If CWGC don't have a grave reference then I would say they don't know where he is & thus he doesn't have one of their headstones. Records wise I'd try the A.A.M.C. first. Since Major Yule was the OIC of the burial detail they may have something in their unit war diary. It may not give a grave reference but may give you the name of the cemetery. If you can get confirmation of which cemetery you can then try the cemeteries own records for a plot.

If you want to get in touch with CWGC I'd phone them & actually speak to someone don't use the online contact form it will take a few weeks for them to get back to you if you use that. They will be able to tell you what to do next. I don't doubt they are the best placed to get to the bottom of this.

Regards,

Alex

#3 Tom Tulloch-Marshall

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 03:06 PM

If he was buried in a military cemetery at Port Said in 1919 then it “has” to have been Port Said War Memorial Cemetery. This cemetery was slightly increased post Armistice with reburials from some smaller burial sites, but its probably very unlikely that a 1919 burial would have been made anywhere else.

You could have a fairly substantial clue here in that Wm Barwick appears on an addenda panel at V-B. That infers that his listing there was a late addition post-inauguration, and as V-B wasn’t inaugurated until 1938 it looks like the IWGC weren’t aware of him “qualifying” for V-B until well after his death and burial in Egypt.

This rather points towards somebody having brought Barwick to the attention of the IWGC at a very late stage, and the IWGC at that late stage being unable to produce any record of the 1919 burial. Maybe someone who had known that he had been buried in Egypt in 1919 and that there was (for whatever reason) now no headstone bearing his name in any cemetery in Egypt, - or - someone without knowledge of the burial in Egypt had checked IWGC records for a burial and found none, - and in either circumstance had brought Barwick to the attention of the IWGC, and by default they had added him at V-B ?

Its probably worth checking with the CWGC to see – a) if there are any “unknown” headstones at Port Said War Memorial Cemetery, and – b ) if they have any records of the circumstances of his name being added as an addendum at V-B.

Also, though a bit outlandish, I wonder if Barwick actually has a headstone in the Port Said cemetery but for some reason it was not entered onto the cemetery register ?

Tom

#4 frev

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 06:18 AM

Thanks to Alex & Tom for your replies.

Alex, I came to the same conclusion as Tom, that all things considered, the most likely cemetery that Barwick would be buried in is the War Memorial Cemetery.
Thanks to Matt at the AWG Photographic Project, I’ve since discovered that the volunteer that photographed the Australian graves in this cemetery actually walked the whole cemetery looking for Aus graves & didn’t actually follow a list. So it’s looking highly likely there is no ‘marked’ grave.

Tom’s suggestion of an ‘unknown’ is looking the more likely, especially as there are over 1,000 burials in the cemetery, and only 636 identified. However, the volunteer found no ‘Unknown Australian’ graves – and there is no record of any unidentified Australians being buried there.
But, hopefully he’s still under one of the many ‘unknowns’.

I now have a photo of his name on the Addenda panel on the VB Memorial (thanks to Tim & Matt) – and Tom’s theory about why this eventually occurred sounds pretty feasible.

Next step is obviously the CWGC – and with a bit of luck they’ll be able to find some helpful records.
Fingers crossed, Frev

PS. Alex – unfortunately there is no separate unit war diary for the AAMC that will cover details of the funeral, because Major Yule was a medical officer with the hospital ship Kanowna (he’d been with them since 1915) – so the unit diary I have a copy of, is it. :(

#5 Michelle Young

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 02:05 PM

I wonder if this could be due to political instabilities in areas? Some places the graves become innaccessible and graves therefore cannot be maintained or visited.

Michelle

#6 Tom Tulloch-Marshall

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:12 PM

Michelle – you have the formation of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 but I cant think of any great upheavals in the area (other than the obvious one down the coast in the early 40’s) until the attack on Israel in 1948, then the anti-British riots and the military coup of 1952.

I’m wondering if Pte Barwick’s burial was carried out by a party off the ship and they either didn’t have time or didn’t make the effort to record or properly mark the burial ?

CWGC will presumably be able to say when the original cemetery register was compiled (or updated post Jan 1919 when he was buried) and presumably confirm that he was not in that register.

His burial may subsequently have been recorded as totally unknown as there may have been no indication that it was an Australian burial.

Be interesting to see what CWGC come up with.

Tom

#7 frev

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 05:08 AM

The annoying problem here seems to be, that both the 'on shore paperwork' & the grave (identification wise) have disappeared into thin air. As pointed out (elsewhere) by Tim (Auimfo). If something had happened to the grave (ie. lost!) - shouldn't there still be a memorial headstone in the cemetery of the type 'believed to be buried here', owing to the burial paperwork.

On the 18th - it's noted that 'arrangements were made' for the funeral ashore for the following day at 10am. I would think this meant that it had been organised with the authorities in charge of the cemetery ashore.
The funeral party then went ashore from the ship on the 19th, under the command of one of the ship's M.O.'s Major Yule (10am).
The ship didn't leave Port Said until 6.30pm the following evening of the 20th.
So time wasn't a factor. Hmmm...

It will be interesting to see what the CWGC come up with.
Cheers, Frev

#8 chrisharley9

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 10:27 AM

Frev

I would suggest speaking to Terry Denham about this

Chris

#9 Tom Tulloch-Marshall

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 08:38 PM

... If something had happened to the grave (ie. lost!) - shouldn't there still be a memorial headstone in the cemetery of the type 'believed to be buried here', owing to the burial paperwork. ...


Frev - exactly, which is why I dont believe that the burial can have been properly registered at the time - or - if it was then there was subsequently a serious breakdown in communication / recording.

Please post CWGC's response.

Tom

#10 southafricawargraves

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 03:14 PM

I'm out of town right now working, but will check my pix when I get home. I'm the volunteer who took ALL the photos in Port Said War Memorial Cemetery. He may be in the lot, just have to check.

#11 frev

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 04:21 AM

Frev

I would suggest speaking to Terry Denham about this

Chris


Thanks Chris - Terry is now looking at this for me (us!).
Cheers, Frev

#12 frev

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 04:24 AM

Please post CWGC's response.
Tom


Tom - I'll definately post the outcome!

#13 frev

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 04:27 AM

I'm out of town right now working, but will check my pix when I get home. I'm the volunteer who took ALL the photos in Port Said War Memorial Cemetery. He may be in the lot, just have to check.


Thanks Ralph - but Matt (AWG Project) assures me that he doesn't have a photo of the grave. :(
Cheers, Frev