True Identity of a fallen soldier in the Great War Part 5

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cnosni
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Postby cnosni » Mon 07 Jul, 2014 1:13 am

I believed that i had enough evidence and reasoned argument to try and see if i could persuade the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to alter their records for Private 3/10645 from
R Hoonan to Robert Hoolan/Hoolahan.

In January 2010 i sent a submission of evidence to the CWGC in Maidenhead.

It ran to many pages and had all the evidence that i had found but augmented with supporting evidence such as birth certificates, census combined with reasoned theory and explanation.

Firstly i provided the evidence for the casualties forename of Robert from existing military records, the CWGC only had an initial "R" on their database.

I then showed from the HMSO publication "Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919" which showed that the casualty was not only recruited in Leeds but was born in Leeds.

Next i argued that the Robert Hoonan in the military records had no previous record in the civilian records, despite his being shown as being born in Leeds.

I did this with a description of how i had checked all the GRO indices from 1837 to 1915 and also the various census,all of which were cross referenced with alternative databases of the same records for a Robert Hoonan, i also included the research into any other potential Hoonans to have been possible family members, of which there were none.

I also presented the evidence i had found to dismiss possible alternatives, such as Robert Honan of St Helens

In other words, i argued, there was no such person called Robert Hoonan to be Private 3/10645.

I then began to put forward my theory that if there was no Robert Hoonan to be Private 3/10645 then there must be an alternative person to have been the soldier in the 2nd Dukes to be killed in action on the 1st July 1916.

I began my reasoning with James Hoolans Army Service record and particularly the next of kin details showing his brother Robert as being in the West Riding Regiment, and specifically in the 2nd Battalion, the same as Private 3/10645 and that these two supposedly different men were in that battalion at the same time ,pointing out that the evidence in Dukes Archives ( copies of letters supplied in the submission to teh CWGC) show him embarking for France in April 1915 and James Hoolan's army service record was in August 1915

I argued that despite this showing his being in this battalion there were no records of Robert Hoolan in the military except for James Hoolans Army Service Record.

I then proved that Robert Hoolan appears in all existing civilian records, but disappears from those records and thta this was in complete contrast to Robert Hoonan who only exists in the military records, i pointed out it was as if one man appears in the records and disappears at roughly the same time as a man who has no previous record suddenely appearing.

I then went into detail about the circumstances regarding the surname Hoolahan and how the family wrongly pronounced an Irish surname in a Leeds accent as "Hoolan" or "Oolan"

I then presented the image of the engraving of the name of Robert Hoolan on the war memorial at St Pats, asking the question that if he is recorded on this as dying in the war then why did he not appear in the CWGC records.

I summed up that the only possible explananation for this situation in the available evidence was that these two supposedly different men were one and the same person and that at his recruitment his surname was recorded as Hoonan instead of Hoolan from Hoolahan.

To explain how the surviving records showed this i produced a table of comparison of records and when they appear chronologically for both these men



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cnosni
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Postby cnosni » Mon 07 Jul, 2014 1:33 am

I recieved a reply from the Commission in June 2010.

They thanked me for my submission and told me they had examined my "very detailed case".

Thats where the good news ended.

The letter basically said all existing military records had Private 3/10645 as having the surname Hoona an furthermore that as they hold no next of kin details for Private 3/10645 they could not link the man commemorated on their records to the birth certificate of Robert Hoolan Hoolahan and so sould not link the casualty to that surname.

Neither could they connect the evidence of address of 54 Acorn Streey in the 1911 census with teh casualty as they had no eveidence of address for the casualty.

The same applied, the Commission continued, with the Army Service record of James Hoolan. They agreed that it showed his next of kin as being in the West Riding Regiment but the record gives no address for either man (which it does) and cannot be linked directly to the casualty.

Thye concluded by saying that i indicated that i could not be certain of the spelling of the surname Hoolahan and that in view of all these "inconsitencies" that they were unable to accede to my request.

Frankly i felt as if it had not been even read through let alone carefully considered.

The letter failed to mention if they had taken all the evidence into account, such as the comparison of records in the civil and military databases, the war memorial.

They had also completely misunderstood my explanation with regards the spelling and pronunciation of the surname Hoolahan and Hoolan which had caused some difficulties when i first started my family tree, but i never stated that i could not be certain of the spelling.

I was pretty peeved that all that work had been almost dismissed, but i wasnt going to let it lie.

See you all when i get back on Friday
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chelen7
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Postby chelen7 » Mon 07 Jul, 2014 2:31 pm

I have only just found this thread and have read parts 4 and 5. I did a search and found parts 1 and 2 but I can't find part 3 anywhere. Can anybody help?
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tyke bhoy
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Postby tyke bhoy » Mon 07 Jul, 2014 3:13 pm

chelen7 wrote:
I have only just found this thread and have read parts 4 and 5. I did a search and found parts 1 and 2 but I can't find part 3 anywhere. Can anybody help?

Iv'e just "bumped" it but its here http://www.secretleeds.co.uk/forum/Messages.aspx?ThreadID=5363
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chelen7
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Postby chelen7 » Mon 07 Jul, 2014 4:43 pm

Brill, Thanks tyke bhoy
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Leodian
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Postby Leodian » Mon 07 Jul, 2014 7:20 pm

It's a fascinating investigation you are undertaking cnosni.

Very many years back I was given some WW1 medals by a neighbouring family as they did not want them and they asked if I did before they would have been thrown away. Very sad really. I still have them, along with some non-related WW2 medals.
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kango
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Postby kango » Tue 08 Jul, 2014 12:37 pm

First world war records, 300,000 files released by the war graves commission.

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/general-news/over-300-000-records-of-fallen-heroes-set-to-be-released-online-1-6716481    


Maybe something to be gleaned here Chris?
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cnosni
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Postby cnosni » Tue 08 Jul, 2014 9:34 pm

kango wrote:
First world war records, 300,000 files released by the war graves commission.

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/general-news/over-300-000-records-of-fallen-heroes-set-to-be-released-online-1-6716481    


Maybe something to be gleaned here Chris?


Cheers Kango. Will take a look when i get back
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