Forgotten War Dead

Discussion in 'Non-Commemorated War Dead' started by Billy McGee, Dec 15, 2018.

  1. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    The picture below is one George William Barrett from Middlesbrough born December 23rd 1897, photo taken from his ID Card in 1920 when he joined the Merchant Navy as a ships Fireman. George continued to work at sea during WWII, doing one of the most dangerous jobs at sea working below shovelling coal across the worlds ocean, where the survival rate if torpedoed was minimal.

    In August 1942 George had been home on leave and was going to collect his kit bag from Middlesbrough railway station, bank holiday Monday 3rd August just as the Luftwaffe started a daylight-bombing raid on the town. George suffered serious multiple injuries in the raid when the station took a direct and died two days later in hospital, leaving a wife and two children.

    Due to the fact George was on leave and not serving on any particular ship at the time, he was not entitled to war grave status under the rules of the CWGC, despite his war service and is only recorded in the civilian register . He is buried in a paupers grave in Acklam Cemetery with no grave marker, though his name was added to the local Cenotaph in Middlesbrough.

    Lest We Forget!!
    SDP, ritsonvaljos, 4jonboy and 9 others like this.
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK, WWII Civilian Deaths, 1939-1945
    Name: George William Barrett
    Estimated Birth Year: abt 1897
    Death Date: 4 Aug 1942
    Death Place: Middlesbrough, Yorkshire North Riding, England
    Age at Death: 45
    Father: George Barrett
    Spouse: Elizabeth Barrett

    England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
    Name: George W Barrett
    Death Age: 45
    Birth Date: abt 1897
    Registration Date: Sep 1942
    Registration district: Middlesbrough
    Inferred County: Yorkshire North Riding
    Volume: 9d
    Page: 438

    Hugh MacLean likes this.
  3. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    ... but he does still appear in the CWGC Roll of Honour as a civilian, which I suppose he technically was at the time of his death.
    What extra would CWGC need to add?
    BARRETT, GEORGE WILLIAM. Died 04/08/1942. Aged 45. Civilian War Dead
    Son of the late George Barrett; husband of Elizabeth Barrett, of 71 Gresham Road.
    Injured 3 August 1942, at Middlesbrough Railway Station; died at North Riding Infirmary.
    and there is
    BARRETT, ROBERT A S. Rifleman. Service Number 3132822. Died 07/04/1944. Aged 25
    2nd Bn. The London Irish Rifles. Royal Ulster Rifles
    Son of George William and Margaret Jane Ann Barrett, of Middlesbrough, Yorkshire.
    Buried at CASSINO WAR CEMETERY. Plot XIV. Row H. Grave 15.
    Different mother, but could this be his son?

    1939 Register may have his MM Number to confirm/rule out this family
    Name: George W Barrett. Marital Status: Married. Birth Date: 23 Dec 1897
    Address: 44, Chapel Place, Billingham, Durham, England
    Occupation: Mercantile Marine 1024854 (unemployed).
    Spouse: Elizabeth (possibly nee Douglass, as 2 elderly husband and wife also residing with them) as well as 1 Record Closed and a George W F Barnett
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  4. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Yes, but he was a merchant seaman between ships - would a member of the armed forces be treated like this - I think not.
  5. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Just to add to the above and slightly correct my post. George W. Barrett was not in-between ships as I posted. He was in fact discharged from the Merchant Navy on 14.7.1942, a month before his death, as physically unfit for further service. He was discharged from OCEAN FAITH on 10.3.1942 with instructions to return to the Pool when fit. But after this time a decision must have been made with regard to his fitness to continue in service as he had been diagnosed with a duodenal ulcer as well as having trouble with an old ankle fracture.
    He joined the MN in 1920 and as Billy states served during WW2. He was serving on T124 articles in April 1941 but I don't know which ship and after that served aboard EMPIRE ATTENDANT and OCEAN FAITH before being discharged from he service.

    His case, like so many more merchant seamen, is disturbing in the way they were treated. As he served under T124X agreements previously he was effectively under the control of the Royal Navy but this agreement lapses when the seaman is discharged from that particular ship.

    I don't really care for the rule set that is in place that governs the way merchant seamen are commemorated. The CWGC and others refer back to the rules of the day and insist on researchers/historians and others - at their own expense I may add - to prove beyond any doubt that they deserve to be treated differently. I find it really sad that this seaman is lying in a paupers grave - really sad. After all he gave his country, the country couldn't even give him a headstone.

    ritsonvaljos, 4jonboy, ozzy16 and 6 others like this.
  6. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member Patron

    Yes and how his wife and children must have suffered, no war pension for them.
    Hugh MacLean and Tricky Dicky like this.
  7. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    Where did you find the extra information from Hugh.? I was in touch with a relative of George's many years ago who told me he had gone to pick his kit bag up from the station. I originally found his name in a Book of Remembrance in Middlesbrough library when I was compiling my own Book of Remembrance for Merchant Seamen lost from the Tees to Robin Hoods Bay area. A few I could not trace and the local Gazette ran a story for me and families contacted me with details on some them. Evening-Gazette.jpg
    dbf, bamboo43, Roy Martin and 2 others like this.
  8. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hi Billy,
    All the information I have posted has been extracted from his CR1 card from the Fourth Register of Seamen and his CRS 10 from the Fifth Register. I am pretty sure I sent the CRS 10 to you at the time you were researching him but I would need to check that.

    Roy Martin and Tricky Dicky like this.
  9. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    I think you'll find I'm not unsympathetic about getting due recognition for those who served their Country in its time of need.
    As regards a paupers grave, would a CWGC headstone rectify that or would there be a number of others in that grave?

    To correct the details I posted, it is now apparent that the Robert A S Barrett was not his son.
    However, the 1939 Register is of him, so the photo of him as a young man with 433328 seems to have been superceded by 1024854 and those were his parents in law, Anderson Douglass (that's how it was spelt in 1939) were his father in law.
    Roy Martin and Hugh MacLean like this.
  10. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    His Dis.A number (service no.) was always 1024854. The other number 433428 was his RS2 number (identity card no.)
  11. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Ah! One day I might understand all these variations!
    At least it's the same chap ad we have a photo, plus all on this thread so not entirely forgotten thanks to Billy, you and others.
    Would the Memorial Committee know if it was a family member who put his Name forward, or a researcher?

    Billy's been struggling to get recognition for "lost" casualties for many years - isn't it about time his local MP gave the Merchant Navy and other UK seamens organisations a hefty shove to add their weight to his campaign?

    Without the Merchant Navy we wouldn't have won through to the end, and that alone should ensure some Royal patronage to get these omissions rectified.

    I don't think it fair to criticise the CWGC they have strict parameters within which to work, but perhaps a headstone could be provided if the information here was submitted? I don't know the rules regarding "civilians" being entitled to a CWGC headstone, or if his prior MN service would be sufficient.

    Trouble is, where does it end? There must have been virtually every Nationality under the sun serving on merchant ships who could have been lost as well........
    Roy Martin likes this.
  12. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Barrett Household (6 People)
    44 Chapel Road, Billingham U.D., Durham
    George W Barrett - 23 Dec 1897 - Mercantile Marine 1024854 (Unemployed)
    Elizabeth Barrett - 17 Nov 1898 - Unpaid Domestic Duties
    Sorry, this record is officially closed.
    George W F - Barrett 20 Jun 1924 - Seeking Work
    Mary A Douglas - 23 Oct 1869 - Unpaid Domestic Duties
    Anderson Douglas - 28 Apr 1867 - Retired Incapacitated
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
    CL1 likes this.
  13. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Marriages Sep 1919:
    Barrett, George W - Douglas - Middlesbro' 9d 1445
    Douglas, Eliza - Barrett - Middlesbro' 9d 1445

    Barrett, Doreen M - Douglas - Middlesbro Sep 1920
    Barrett, George W F - Douglas - Middlesbro' Sep 1924
  14. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    As you say the Commission are governed by strict guidelines when it comes to commemorating MN dead, as I have found over the last eighteen years or so. They have amended certain parts of the red tape, especially the "home waters rule" which was ridiculous. Certain cases I submitted years ago especially the case of those lost from Hopper Barge D, which there is a thread somewhere on here, were rejected on more than one occasion and then all of a sudden a couple of years ago they reversed their own decision and accepted them.

    I don't expect George's case to be accepted, but I like to highlight such cases once in a while to educate those who do not know. Also as Hugh mentions it is left to the likes of us at our own time and expense when we find genuine cases to be looked into by the Commission and can take years for one case to be accepted even when the evidence is staring you in the face. Even when cases are accepted it has still taken years to have the names added to our main memorial at Tower Hill. I have cases dating back to 2014 still not added, though I have been informed the additional panels are being done now. When I asked if the Commission would have a formal unveiling ceremony to commemorate the latest 60 cases being added, they said no!! and it was up to me to find appropriate groups and associations to organise such an event. Not even a thanks for your time and effort.
  15. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
    Hugh MacLean and Roy Martin like this.
  16. temptage

    temptage I thought it would only take a few weeks......

    I have much the same with a casualty buried in an unmarked grave, although is on the CWGC Civilian list.
    Edward William Ives-Keeler, who was a seaman, was home on leave when he was killed during an air raid on Grimsby in 1943. He had been visiting a friend at the local market when he was caught in the bombings.
    I often wonder why, after the Civilian graves were handed over to the local authority in perpetuity, that some graves were given a headstone while many were left without.
  17. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    I believe that was left up to the family to arrange a headstone and if they could not afford one or the cost of the funeral they were placed in paupers graves in a council owned plot.
  18. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Yes Billy
    As you stated CWGC did not provide for civilians ( Exception last civilian killed in WW2) family paid for headstone or paupers grave plus if body not found the local cemetery would have memorial panels of the civilian casualty
    There are CWGC type headstones for firefighters in some cemeteries.
    Sad that the Merchant seamen could not be afforded the CWGC headstone even if between ships

    Roy Martin and Hugh MacLean like this.
  19. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    TriciaF, Tricky Dicky and CL1 like this.
  20. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    North Shields had a lot of bomb damage during the war, being at the mouth of the Tyne.

Share This Page