Unique IDCWGC/8/1/4/1/2/73
File NumberCCM23605

CWGC_8_1_4_1_2_73 (CCM23605).pdf

DescriptionFile of correspondence regarding the grave of Private Allan Gordon Barton, an American citizen who fought with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Private Barton died as a prisoner of war, and was buried in Wervicq Communal Cemetery (German Extension). Much of the correspondence is from Private Barton's father, who at first asked permission to repatriate his son's remains to the United States of America, but accepted that this was against Commission policy and agreed that his son would remain in Belgium, buried in a British war cemetery. Mr Barton later changed his mind, and refused to allow the Commission to remove his son's remains from Wervicq Cemetery to a British cemetery during the process of concentration. In 1955, presuming that Mr and Mrs Barton were deceased, and following further concentrations made by the German War Graves Commission, Private Barton's remains were moved to Cement House Cemetery, near Langemarck in Belgium.
Content NoteIncludes: Letter from Mr William A Barton, the casualty's father, asking whether it was the intention of the Commission to remove his son's remains out of the German cemetery extension, 24 March 1919; handwritten letter from Mr Barton, stating his intention to repatriate his son's body to the United States, 27 February 1922; replies from Colonel Osborne, Secretary General of the Canadian Agency, and Fabian Ware, IWGC Vice-Chairman, explaining Commission policy surrounding repatriation, 8 March and 22 March 1922 (respectively); letter from Mr Barton stating that, as repatriation was not allowed, he agreed to allow his son's grave to be moved to a cemetery maintained by the IWGC, 18 March 1922; letter from Major Stopford, Assistant Secretary, to Lord Arthur Browne, Principal Assistant Secretary, describing his meeting with Mr Barton, who pressed for permission to repatriate and indicated he would contact the American embassy, 6 June 1922; letter from 'A B' [Arthur Browne?] stating that the British graves would be moved from the cemetery if German graves were also concentrated on the request of the Belgian government, 8 June 1922; internal memos clarifying that Private Barton's remains were not to be moved, June 1922; handwritten letter from Mr Barton to Fabian Ware, stating again that he and his wife objected to the exhumation and reburial of his son, 18 June 1922; letter from Lord Arthur Browne, Principal Assistant Secretary, informing him that as the majority of relatives disliked British soldiers being buried amongst Germans, the Commission had decided to concentrate the British graves into nearby cemeteries, and asking him to reconsider his position, 21 September 1923; handwritten letter from Mr Barton to the IWGC Secretary, pointing out that the IWGC had refused him the consolation of bringing home his son's remains, and he preferred his son to be in an isolated grave in a communal cemetery than in a British one, reaffirming his position on any movement of the grave, and stating that if his orders are disobeyed he would spare neither time nor money making the Commission suffer, 17 October 1923; internal message from H F Chettle, Director of Records, to Enquiries, pointing out that the grave was not in a communal cemetery and there was no guarantee of perpetuity, and mentioning he had no desire to override relatives' wishes but he viewed their first duty was to the dead, 9 November 1923; letter from the Registrar to Chettle, confirming that all graves, except Private Barton's, had been concentrated from Wervicq to Larch Wood (Railway Cutting) Cemetery, 19 May 1926; note signed by F Tyrell, IWGC Secretary, giving a summary of the Barton case and pointing out that it was doubtful his next of kin could be contacted, 19 July 1955; note signed by F Tyrell, stating that Private Barton was to be moved to Cement House Cemetery, 19 July 1955.
Date24/3/1919 - 19/7/1955
Extent1 file
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