Originally Posted by Heather Smith
Can you please help me to find the a/n nominal roll? The information prior to D-Day, when my uncle was killed is the specific one I am searching for.
How would these rolls be kept updated with so many deaths occurring?
What would happen to the bodies of the men who were killed in the landing, as well as at other times in the battles? I am not being ghoulish. I really do want to try to understand what happened to these men who sacrificed their lives for us.
Nominal rolls for the regiment may be available at LAC Heather. Having said that, I'll check to see if I have one for the RWR
Who kept the records "up to date", these were the clerical staff that each unit had. They would update records each day, send in casualty reports, requests for rienforcements etc etc. A Army RUNS on forms, paperwork......even in war.
The actually casualties were handled by different people, sometimes the unit Priest or Miinister, sometimes follow up troops etc. Sometimes the unit had time to care for the bodies themselves, if they had time. If they had to move forward before they could tend for the bodies, they marked them. At lot of times wounded and dead were sent back to the Battalion RAP, who then ensure the dead were buried.
So the bodies may have been buried near where they became casualties, possibly in local grave yards, sometimes in the fields that they were killed. Sometimes in groups near wear the RAP was. The info from the body (1/2 his ID disk) and any immediate effects (letters, or other items) were sent to the unit clerks, who then started the death registration process. The location of the body was marked and info sent back.
Of course if a man died of his wounds, the unit that was taking care of him then, (Field Ambulance, Casualty Clearing Station, General Hospital etc) took care of burial.
After the fighting moved forward, graves registration units moved in to recorded each grave, make sure it was marked clearly. This was because the Commonwealth Governments had previously agreed that all servicemen and women who died during WW2 would be buried "where they died" and that the bodies (after hostilities ended) would be gathered (dis-interred) and buried at designated Commonwealth War Cemeteries. They would NOT be sent home to Canada. This was different then the Americans. In the US, families could have the body sent home for burial, or they could decide they should remain and buried in an American Cemetery in the country they died.
This work was actually started before the war ended. The Royal Canadian Engineers formed 3 Cemetary Construction Units, which started the process of moving the graves to this larger centralized war grave sites and construction of new sites etc. They used contracted labour in the different countries to do the actual work of construction. And it did take some years to complete the headstones for all the casualties.
Families were sent a photo of the temporary cross over the grave, and told exactly where they were buried. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission took over the process, sent families a letter giving them choices of markings on the headstone (mostly the inscription below the standard information) and to ensure the correct religious markings (Christian, Jewish, etc etc)
British headstones have the Regiments Badge on them, Canada decided that ALL headstones would have the Maple Leaf over them, as you can see on any Canadian Headstones.
If you have any other questions, please let me know