Unique IDCWGC/8/1/4/1/2/61
File NumberCCM19578

CWGC_8_1_4_1_2_61 (CCM19578).pdf

DescriptionFile of correspondence and reports regarding Captain William Arthur Peel Durie. The documents detail Captain Durie's initial burial in Corkscrew (Bully-Grenay) British Cemetery, France, later concentrated to Loos British Cemetery, France, and the unofficial exhumation and reburial in Toronto (St James') Cemetery in Canada, carried out by his mother and sister in 1925.
Content NoteIncludes: Enquiry through the Canadian Red Cross for a photograph of Captain Durie’s grave, 6 March 1918; letter from Mrs Anna Durie, Captain Durie’s mother, to the Directorate of Graves Registration and Enquiries, asking whether the town of Lievin and Corkscrew Cemetery escaped bombardment in 1918, 14 February 1919; letter from Mrs Durie, asking for details of identification (namely, any wounds, hair colour, peculiarities in the teeth and toes) to satisfy her that the body was her son, 3 October 1919; letter from Mrs Durie asking for the return of the wooden battlefield cross that marked her son’s grave, 23 July 1920; letter from Mrs Durie to Colonel Goodland, asking for permission to put her son’s body in a zinc coffin and re-inter him in Corkscrew Cemetery, in case the burials were later concentrated, and reminding him he was dealing with a very determined woman, 14 July 1921; copy of letter from Miss Helen Durie, Captain Durie’s sister, to the Right Honourable Arthur Meighen, Canadian Prime Minister, describing the desolate appearance of Corkscrew Cemetery and asking for Canadians to be given the same right as the French, Belgians, and Americans, and allowed to repatriate bodies, 15 July 1921; scrap of paper pinned to the cross marking Captain Durie’s grave by Mrs Durie, stating that his body had not been removed, undated [but presumably from 1 August 1921]; letter from Colonel Goodland to Fabian Ware, reporting that Mrs Durie had attempted to remove her son’s body from his grave on 1 August 1921, 3 August 1921; report from W S Browne, Area Superintendent, No. 3 Area (Bethune, France), detailing Mrs Durie’s first attempt at exhumation, 18 August 1921; letter from Colonel Goodland to Fabian Ware, informing him that Mrs Durie had returned to France and he suspected she might attempt another exhumation, 26 July 1924; letter from Harry Bray, President of the Great War Veterans’ Association, Toronto District, to Rudyard Kipling, mentioning Mrs Durie wished to bring her son’s remains back to Canada, 27 January 1925; letter from Mrs Durie to Colonel Osborne, Secretary-General of the Canadian Agency, giving an account of her first exhumation attempt in 1921, submitting further grievances regarding the conduct of IWGC officers, and claiming that the IWGC had planned to abandon the graves in Corkscrew Cemetery without telling her because of French plans to construct a railway line through it, 28 January 1925; various press cuttings publishing a letter from Mrs Durie regarding her son’s grave and the Canadian war dead in general, February-March 1925; letter from Fabian Ware to Colonel Osborne, explaining the necessity to move graves out of Corkscrew Cemetery because of the remaining mines and a possibility of desecration, 4 February 1925; letter from Mrs Durie, calling the IWGC the “most tyrannical and autocratic body of men that has existed since England lost the North American Colonies”, in response to the news of graves concentration from Corkscrew Cemetery to Loos British Cemetery, 2 March 1925; transcript of interviews with Mr Joseph Roscoe, Field Assistant, with Mr Pitman, Registration Officer in charge of exhumation at Corkscrew Cemetery, and with Mr Perry, Assistant Registration Officer in charge of re-interment at Loos British Cemetery, detailing the process of concentration, 3 March 1925; letter from Mrs Durie, complaining about the dishonourable conduct of IWGC officers and stating she had been misled regarding the concentration of graves from Corkscrew Cemetery to Loos British Cemetery, 23 March 1925; letter from G S Elliot, Assistant Legal Advisor, stating that he had visited Loos British Cemetery and seen that Captain Durie’s grave was disturbed, but did not open the grave, 12 August 1925; press cuttings detailing the funeral of Captain Durie at St James’ Cemetery, Toronto, after Mrs Durie and Miss Durie had brought his remains back from France, 22 August 1925; letter from Mr Pitman, Registration Officer, describing that they had opened the grave and found Captain Durie’s coffin forced open and emptied except for a few scraps of bone and clothing, 4 September 1925; copy of report by the French Gendarmerie (the procès-verbal), 16 September 1925; letter from Fabian Ware to Colonel Osborne regarding the police investigation into the Durie case, stating he believed Mrs Durie should now just be left alone, 21 April 1926, and a reply from Colonel Osborne, agreeing that the matter should be dropped so Mrs Durie had no further publicity, 1 September 1926; letter from the Secretary-General of the Anglo-French Mixed Committee [Lieutenant-Colonel Branch?], to Lord Arthur Browne, Principal Assistant Secretary, informing him that the Ministre de la Justice in France had dropped the Durie case, 25 April 1928; letter from the Director of Records to the Chief Administrative Officer, Central European District, deciding that Captain Durie’s details should be removed from the cemetery register, 6 May 1930.
Date6/3/1918 - 31/12/2011
Extent1 file
ArchNoteContents of file are not arranged in chronological order, most likely due to actions taken at the time to bring relevant correspondence to the front of the file or link two pieces of evidence together as the case progressed. File has not been re-arranged,
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