Burial procedures & question of location of Army Forms W 3314 / 3314A

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by dbf, May 8, 2013.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From TNA Reference: WO 171/376

    Gallery Album: http://ww2talk.com/forums/gallery/album/271-guards-armoured-division-g-branch-jan-sep-1944/?st=300



    1. 34 GRAVES REGISTRATION UNIT (G.R.U.) will come under command 8 CORPS on arrival in Theatre of Operations.
    The unit works in three sections, each comprising 1 Officer, 1 general duty man, and one Driver with a 15 cwt truck. Where circumstances permit, one section is allotted to each forward Division, and one works in the Corps Area. Normally they report back to their Unit H.Q. in the Rear Corps Area each night. Enquiries for the Unit are addressed to Formation A Branches.

    2. DUTIES OF G.R.U.
    (a ) Registration of burials reported to the G.R.U. as stated in paragraph 3.
    (b ) When practicable, in consultation with Town Majors, advise Formation A Staffs as to cemetery sites.
    (c ) Provision of crosses; and more permanent marking of graves in lieu of Unit temporary markings.
    (d ) Photographing of graves. This is done as a routine duty with all graves.

    Whenever a burial takes place, the C.F. or Officer conducting the burial must render A.F. W 3314 or 3314A. (Multiple Burial Return) as directed on the forms. On receipt of these forms, Army issue the necessary instructions to the G.R.U.

    (a ) Rests with the unit occupying the ground.
    (b ) Prisoners of War may be used to dig graves - particularly for their own dead.
    (c ) During a rapid advance, when there are many dead, Corps will arrange, with Army if necessary, for special battle field clearance parties.

    In the forward areas, when the setting aside of burial ground is not practicable, graves will be sited as near roads or tracks as possible.

    When practicable, a special burial ground will be set aside and graves marked and charted.

    Med installations will select, mark and chart their own burial grounds.

    In the case of British and Canadian dead the green (octagonal) identity disc will be buried with the body and the red (circular) identity disc will be detached and forwarded in the package containing the personal effects. In the case of U.S. dead, one identification tag will be buried with the body and the other will be securely attached to the grave marker.

    If only one identity disc/tag is found it will be buried with the body. If no disc/tag is found, documentary evidence of identity, if it can be established, will be securely attached to the body.

    (a ) Crosses, metal, area now an Ordnance supply (vide 8 CORPS letter 8C/5421/A(P) of 19 April 1944). Units should, if possible, carry a number equal to 5% of unit strength. Wood for local manufacture of crosses will be very scarce.

    BDOS will always carry a small supply of metal crosses in the Corps Ordnance Dump.

    (b ) The particulars of identity obtained from the identity disc/tag or documents will be entered on the label (AFW 3371) which will be attached to the cross or other grave marker. The date and place of death should always be added where possible. If no label is available, the particulars will be marked on the peg with quick-drying paint or graphite pencil. The peg (10 ½ inches) used by British and Canadian units will also be used for U.S. dead.


    Parcels of personal effects will be packed in bags or sacks which must be securely sealed and labelled. They will be despatched (by registered post, when such facilities exist), to "G.H.Q. 2nd Echelon through Military Forwarding Organisation".

    Inventories and labels of effects of personnel, other than those of British and Canadian Army personnel, will be clearly marked 'U.S.', 'Navy' or 'RAF' as the case may be. Effects of Canadian personnel buried by British units will be marked 'Canadian' and vice versa.

    9. MONEY.
    (a ) All money found on deceased British or Canadian personnel and personnel of U.S. Forces, will be handed to the nearest Field or Area Cashier together with as complete identifying information as possible.
    (b ) A receipt for the money will be obtained and attached to the Inventory which accompanies the deceased's personal effects forwarded for disposal to G.H.Q. 2nd Echelon.
    (c ) The Field Cashier will notify all money received with full identifying particulars, in his return to the Commanding Paymaster, who will make the necessary adjustments to ensure that credit for the money is given to the deceased's non-effective account.
    (d ) Money received by the Commanding Paymaster in respect of British Naval, Royal Marine and R.A.F. personnel and also those for U.S. Forces will be repaid to the pay rep concerned.

    All articles of British and Canadian Government property will be disposed of through Ordnance Channels. U.S. Government property will be forwarded to the nearest Salvage dump or depot for return.

    Attached Files:

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  2. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Very interesting and oddly touching thank you.
  3. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Fascinating stuff,


  4. nige51

    nige51 Member

    This is a great help. Who keeps the w3314 forms? I am trying to trace my wife's uncle who was killed SW of Caen. He was buried where he fell by a padre attached to his unit. A day later the padre was killed. My wife's uncle, a lieutenant in the Glasgow Highlanders, is remembered on the Bayeux panels but doesn't have a named grave although he was identified at the burial by a friend because the Germans had taken his id discs, watch and compass. I would like to find his original burial place if possible.
  5. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member Patron

    Just out of interest has anyone seen one of these forms (AFW3314)?
  6. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    IIRC I think that burial form may be on some of the Canadian online service files - Army burials rather than Navy or Air Force. I'll try and post a copy when I next spot one.

    Steve Y
  7. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

  8. PaulE

    PaulE Senior Member

    Does anyone have any idea what would happen to A.F. W 3314 or 3314A. (Multiple Burial Return) or where they would be archived ?
  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    A question quite a few of us would like answered, it would seem.

    2. DUTIES OF G.R.U.
    (a ) Registration of burials reported to the G.R.U. as stated in paragraph 3.

    Whenever a burial takes place, the C.F. or Officer conducting the burial must render A.F. W 3314 or 3314A. (Multiple Burial Return) as directed on the forms.
    On receipt of these forms, Army issue the necessary instructions to the G.R.U.

    The chain appears to be this but it's not clear whether the forms were handed on, or the info collated and then sent, to GRU. -
    Echelon, HQ, etc

    There are GRU files at TNA. IIRC Verrieres had a good look at them when they first were released. No idea if the info there about individuals included said forms though.

    Going by that link of Kyle's at least one Chaplain kept his original A.Fs. W 3314 - doesn't bode well if that turns out to have been a standard practice. Were carbon copies involved I wonder (as was the case with War Diaries, etc)?

    The logical place for the forms to have been eventually archived would in my opinion have been CWGC.
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  10. PaulE

    PaulE Senior Member

    I know of at least a couple of DLI Padres that retained their original forms but wasn't sure if this was common practice , as you say it doesn't bode well if that was standard.

    The recent additions on the CWCG site regarding locations of original burials and original Battelfield cemeteries i can only assume must have come from these forms as they are as you have quite rightly pointed out the logical end of the paper trail for these documents.
    dbf likes this.
  11. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    I can’t copy a Field Service Report of the Death of a Soldier - Army Form B2090 - from an online Canadian file - but it is the form completed by 2nd Echelon HQ that I presume contains details from the Chaplain’s forms as the “source” of the burial report and location (map reference) is from C. F. (Chaplain to the Forces).

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  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I agree. Before posting my last reply I rechecked a (NWE) Concentration Report and it's clear that the information about field graves could only have come from this original source. (Indeed part of me was hoping to find the AF W 3314A designation on the Concentration report itself!)

    Interestingly there was also this instruction at the bottom of the Report, referencing A.F. W 3372
    Screen Shot 2018-08-25 at 11.08.04.png
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  13. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member Patron

    This is Burma related so I’m not sure if it differs to other theatres. I have the service records of two of the eleven men whose graves were lost after the fighting had moved on and the jungle obliterated all traces. On the AFB2090A it gives the map reference of the burial but sadly only four digits (which is wrong anyway!) instead of six digits, making it a 10,000 square yard area. It states that AFW 3011 No.30 was used to report the nature and date of death which was made by the OC Unit.
    I think any documentation about the burials could be with the CWGC but deemed too sensitive and upsetting for the families knowing the almost exact locations of the burials but their not being marked in anyway.
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  14. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member Patron

  15. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Found this in 5th Camerons war diary, might be of interest relating to this thread. Burial Instructions issued for Sicilian campaign 1943. Burial Instructions.jpg
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