Unidentified Grave

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by archivist, Jun 16, 2015.

  1. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    On 20th August 1942, Wellington 1c serial no Z1172 crashed into the sea off Treaddur Bay, Anglesey. The reason is still unknown. The entire crew were killed and five of them were buried at Newark Cemetery. The sixth member of the crew, Sgt. Grzegorz Piotr Gramiak, was buried at Carleton Cemetery, Blackpool.

    It seems likely that his body was not washed ashore for some time as the funeral was recorded in the December quarter of 1942.

    Recently, a Polish investigator was unable to find his grave (which is listed as being grave no 437 in section BB of that cemetery). Is anyone aware of the precise location of the grave - his family in Poland would really like a photograph of the grave and final confirmation of his last resting place.

    He is not recorded in the CWGC list of burials there, although various other sources cite that location and there is no other reason to doubt the official records. On the other hand, if his grave is not marked, I would like to ask the CWGC to mark the grave and to care for it if necessary. That is the least we can do for an American born Pole who fought and died for this country.

    If anyone can help - especially someone living in Blackpool - please do.

    Many thanks
    Neville Bougourd
     
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    The death details are:

    Name: Grzegorz P Gramiak
    Birth Date: abt 1920
    Date of Registration: Dec 1942
    Age at Death: 22
    Registration district: Blackpool
    Inferred County: Lancashire
    Volume: 8e
    Page: 651

    I would assume that Blackpool Registrars Office or cemetery or local council would have information about where he was buried.

    Contact info:

    Carleton cemetery and crematorium office
    Stocks Road
    Blackpool
    FY6 7QS
    Telephone: 01253 882541
    Email: crematorium@blackpool.gov.uk


    OR


    Carleton Crematorium and Cemetery
    Lancashire County, England

    Owned and maintained by Blackpool Borough Council, Poulton Le Fylde Lancashire England Telephone, 01253 882541

    TD
     
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    He may also have married shortly before he died as the name is very close to the man you are searching for, perhaps know if he married??

    Name: George P Gramiak
    Spouse Surname: Mcinerney
    Date of Registration: Jul-Aug-Sep 1942
    Registration district: Burnley
    Inferred County: Lancashire
    Volume Number: 8e
    Page Number: 370


    Name: Mary M McInerney
    Spouse Surname: Gramiak
    Date of Registration: Jul-Aug-Sep 1942
    Registration district: Burnley
    Inferred County: Lancashire
    Volume Number: 8e
    Page Number: 370

    TD

    edited to add:
    This could be wrong - it is odd, as I thought I would check to see if any children may have been born from this marriage and one pops up but shows him being born in 1944 ??


    Name: Raymond Gramiak
    Mother's Maiden Surname: McInerney
    Date of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec 1944
    Registration district: Burnley
    Inferred County: Lancashire
    Volume Number: 8e
    Page Number: 253
     
  4. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that information TD,

    Someone else mentioned that child, but not in such detail. The only other Gramiak I have found was a Canadian soldier but he was killed in Italy in July 1943 so it is unlikely to be his child either.

    One other possibility is that it was "my" Gramiak's widow who had a child from another relationship a couple of years after his death. Interesting!

    Neville
     
  5. Red Goblin

    Red Goblin Senior Member

    I believe you've got the right man in both cases there TD. It's certainly odd that Grzegorz (Polish for Gregory) should have been Anglicized as George (Jerzy in Polish) but such a non-sequitur may be all that's needed to foil grave location.

    A Gramiak search on FreeBMD turns up a very short list - but crucially longer than you've reported. Here in full for context:
    * 1942 Q3 - George P Gramiak m. Mary M McInerney in Burnley RD, Lancs
    * 1942 Q4 - Grzegorz P Gramiak d. in Blackpool RD, Lancs (age 22)
    * 1944 Q4 - Raymond Gramiak / Raymond Travers b. in Burnley RD, Lancs
    * 1945 Q2 - Mary M Gramiak m. Percy Travers in Burnley RD, Lancs
    So it seems Raymond's bio-dad was Percy - iffily initially surnamed for Mary's late husband before they could get round to marrying - and the absence of an intervening death for George (CWGC list no WW2 G Gramiaks BTW) strongly suggests Grzegorz was one and the same.

    Steve

    Edit: Corrected typo
     
  6. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

  7. simon102

    simon102 Member

    Hi All,

    I live a few miles from both Carleton and Layton Cemeteries and I plan to visit later today or tomorrow.

    Has anybody else visited already as I don't want to duplicate effort?

    Layton appears to be run from Carleton so I plan to visit the latter first.

    Simon Kularatne
    Secretary
    102 (Ceylon) Squadron association
     
  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Simon

    Good of you to offer, I have the feeling this will take boots on the ground to ask the questions, someone there or in the offices etc should know what the situation is.

    TD
     
  9. Red Goblin

    Red Goblin Senior Member

    Hang on a mo'. I've just rung the cemetery to check and I'm to ring back after 2pm after my contact there has had a chance to go and kindly look during her lunch break. As it is, her records don't make it clear whether grave 437 (BB) is currently marked or not.

    Watch this space ...
    Steve
     
  10. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    Wow! What a reaction to my original question. I have found out that there is a plot437/BB in Layton Cemetery and I have also found another Polish website which gives the address of the cemetery as Talbot Td (which can only mean Talbot Road?) I now believe that this must mean an error in my original information and that he is probably buried in Layton Cemetery.

    Thanks to everyone for the interest you have shown.

    Neville
     
  11. simon102

    simon102 Member

    Thanks Steve, I am happy to hang on.

    I am willing to take photos of whatever is found.

    Simon
     
  12. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    Hello Simon,

    If you do take a photograph, would you please post a copy so I can pass it on to his family and to a tribute site in Poland.
    Many thanks
    Neville
     
  13. Red Goblin

    Red Goblin Senior Member

    "Curiouser and Curiouser !" I just rang my contact back with the new info and she confirmed the Layton burial ... but with the rider that the body was exhumed on 21 Nov '49 for repatriation to the States. As they don't re-use plots, Layton's BB-437 thus remains empty to this day. She reckons no marker will have been left to indicate this so the need for any photographic visit will hinge on whether the family are actually interested in what was only his resting place for 7 years.

    If a visit is deemed to be in order, she tells me their grounds maintenance team are due to be there all day today through Friday - to point Simon in the right direction. Other than that, she recommends the Friends of Layton Cemetery (tel. 01253 399982) in attendance there Mon/Tue (11:30-13:30) & Fri (11:30-13:00).

    So that's about it - her records didn't specify who had the body exhumed nor its exact destination but I reckon that's where any CWGC headstone ought to end up ...

    Steve

    Edit: Added links
     
  14. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    Thanks Steve,

    The curiouser bit is less curious when you find out that he was from a Polish family but he was actually BORN in America. It seems that some of his family either stayed there or went back there.

    The first paragraph of your post is stunning to say the least!
     
  15. simon102

    simon102 Member

    I will visit the Friends of Layton Cemetery on Friday.

    There must be a record of the exhumation in official records.

    One way would be for a family member to obtain the service record from Cranwell. It may show his place of origin in the US and further research can be done there.

    Are we sure he was born in the US?

    Simon
     
  16. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    Hello Simon,

    Yes, I am sure he was born in the USA. My biggest problem is that the family member is not close enough to get the records
    but I am also going through an intermediary because of the language barrier.

    I will try for more information today.

    Regards
    Neville
     
  17. Red Goblin

    Red Goblin Senior Member

    @ Neville: Would you mind please sharing what you know about his US origins ? Simon may be right to question this as I've been scratching around - trying to identify them so as to localise the repatriation area - but drawing a complete blank on the forenames so far circulated. Seeing Layton's section BB, unlike Carleton's interdenominational section BB, is Roman Catholic I'm flooded with vague memories of Irish Catholics having everyday names quite separate from their high/church names and wonder whether I'm just not recognising the version I've not yet been told. FWIW, I've been mainly looking at FamilySearch's 1920/1930/1940 US census records filtered by the surname & 1920 ±2yrs birth ... it's also slightly off-putting that their version of his UK death death registration has his first name as Grezegorz, despite FreeBMD's index page image clearly showing it as Grzegorz, but let's not get too picky !

    @ Simon: Yes, it occurred to me that there must have been quite a lot of paperwork involved just getting permission - possibly why it took so long to arrange. Even if he wasn't actually US-born, I suspect what we have here is a typical emigration story with one or more disenchanted children fleeing back to the 'old country' as soon as free to do so. Perhaps resentment led to a family rift leaving those back in Poland unaware of their US relatives having claimed the body. A photo of his unmarked 1st grave might satisfy them but I doubt the proverbial cat can be expected to keep quiet in the 'bag' once the question arises of either them or the CWGC supplying it with a (bogus) headstone ...

    Steve
     
  18. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I do not have worldwide access subscription to Ancestry, but I can still search for info, although I cannot see the actual details. So searching for Gramiaks, (and assuming that this was the spelling used as it could have been 'altered') born anytime, anywhere within the databases I have access to, show that:

    There are Gramiaks in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. It also shows that 9 Gramiaks enlisted in the US military during WW2.

    The other flip side is that there are also Gramiaks noted as living in Canada, mainly Alberta and Saskatchewan.

    One assumption maybe that as he was in the RAF and killed in 1942, i.e. early on in the war, then perhaps Canada was his home - just a thought.

    The other 'red herring' I need to throw in here is that some of the results show some Gramiaks as being Ukranian, but I would guess if they originated close to borders then the normal family spread, and history could make this happen.

    TD

    edited to add:
    I have also searched for Gramiaks coming to the UK around 1949 just to see if they came by ship to 'exhume and transport the body back home' - but no results - perhaps they flew?
     
  19. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    There is an interesting discussion on GWF which indicates that the US repatriations from the UK were carried out in an almost clandestine manner. If he was a US citizen then the family would presumably only have had to request that the authorities took the necessary steps and are unlikely to have visited....but wouldn't his widow (if he did indeed marry in the UK) have been next of kin ? Would she have said to the grieving parents "OK, you can have him back then" - or did the US authorities and family not know of the wedding ?

    http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=48987

    There must surely be a US record of these repatriations ?
     
  20. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    All I can tell you about his US origins is that he cropped up in another group as having been one of the US born contingent in the Polish Air Force. This was some years ago and I will try to recover the detail as soon as I can
     

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