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TOPIC: Died at sea

Died at sea 6 months 1 day ago #59200

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"Imperial Light Horse. - 264 Tpr. B. Bains (dysentery), April 27." is interesting.

The official casualty roll shows his place of death as Albert Docks (London). He is not in Deaths at Sea as all the others are. Other sources I have consulted such as The Times and Army & Navy Gazette only show him dying aboard SS Lismore Castle which docked on May 20th.

May 20th is Bain's date of death not April 27 - from the casualty roll and medal roll. His first name is "Wallace".

If he died in the UK he must be buried here, I wonder where?

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Died at sea 6 months 8 hours ago #59207

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SWB wrote: "Imperial Light Horse. - 264 Tpr. B. Bains (dysentery), April 27." is interesting.

The official casualty roll shows his place of death as Albert Docks (London). He is not in Deaths at Sea as all the others are. Other sources I have consulted such as The Times and Army & Navy Gazette only show him dying aboard SS Lismore Castle which docked on May 20th.

May 20th is Bain's date of death not April 27 - from the casualty roll and medal roll. His first name is "Wallace".

If he died in the UK he must be buried here, I wonder where?


You're correct, he didn't die April 27, my error. Sergeant Perks, Welsh Regt., died off the Isle of Wight as the tramp he was on was heading for Southampton, yet was still buried at sea. Would a hospital ship have carried coffins for deaths close to shore, or was the policy to always bury at sea, especially with cases of enteric?

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Died at sea 6 months 6 hours ago #59208

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BereniceUK wrote: You're correct, he didn't die April 27, my error. Sergeant Perks, Welsh Regt., died off the Isle of Wight as the tramp he was on was heading for Southampton, yet was still buried at sea. Would a hospital ship have carried coffins for deaths close to shore, or was the policy to always bury at sea, especially with cases of enteric?


Interesting question on coffins, I suspect not. As Bain is not in the Deaths At Sea Register (BT344) he definitely did not die at sea - or far enough from the land to be buried at sea. The distance from land must be small as in your example of Sgt Perks, or the water was sufficiently deep. A quick google failed to bring up this information for the UK; Australia goes by sea depth, USA by distance from shore. 

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Died at sea 6 months 4 hours ago #59209

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Something that would have to be taken into account, especially for deaths close to shore, is "It must be somewhere there is a minimal risk of the body being returned to shore by strong currents or being disturbed by commercial fishing nets. In some rare cases, bodies do drift . Because of this, the person buried must have an identification tag attached to them." That's part of the current UK law, but currents and tides would still have had to be taken into consideration over 100 years ago, so I can't see someone who died at Albert Dock being buried at sea that close to land. Perhaps he went into a pauper's grave somewhere like Tower Hamlets Cemetery?

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Died at sea 6 months 4 hours ago #59210

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Yeah, that's all I found. Would be interesting to see Bain's attestation it may give a NoK address in the UK, otherwise I suspect a pauper's grave - but for a gallant soldier? An injustice the Victorians would revel in and rally round to give him a proper burial.

I've looked into Perks a little further,  the lat and long recorded in Deaths at Sea is 47.50N 5.51W, Google Earth places this off Brittany.



So they kept his body for maybe 24 hours, wonder why they waited, to bury him in UK waters?

One other soldier is mentioned in The Times along with Perks and that is Pte 1126 J Duffy Leinster Rgt who was also buried off The Needles. Duffy died 15th June at Las Palmas (Deaths at Sea, no lat & long just the location), so they kept him for a week, no doubt in a cold store. The Times (June 24) comments both men "died in sight of home".

Anyone want to plot deaths vs ship embark/disembark dates, are there many soldiers buried off the UK?

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Died at sea 6 months 3 hours ago #59211

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There's no set rule.

Doolan died at 9 a.m. and was 'buried' at 6 p.m. the same day. 

The North Hants. Rifles Corporal "could not be buried on shore." Why not? Enteric? Something contagious?

Private Reid, Somerset L.I., was 'buried' the day after he died.

"We have had five deaths - three were buried at sea, and two on shore at St. Vincent"

Lieutenant Sutton, Canadian Mounted Rifles, died at sea, but his body was taken on to Halifax N.S.

"was buried at sea just before we entered Las Palmas." So he couldn't be buried there, or no coffin available to take him onto land.

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