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  1. #1
    Brick wall demolition expert!
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    Sep 2005
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    Default Civilian casualties

    I've just finished watching a TV programme about the Blitz in Liverpool and it struck me with the chaos and the number of casualties that ensued, some of whom must not have been identified / identifiable.

    Are there any records other than the normal death index that would give people something to search?

  2. #2
    A fountain of knowledge
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    Sep 2008
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    Penge, London, England
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    The Commonwealth War Graves site lists many from WW2. Put "Civilian War Dead" (without the quotes) as "Regiment" (there's also a Civilian War Dead Link option, but I'm not clear what the difference is). To select an area where the person died, put the local authority name as "Cemetery or memorial", e.g. "Liverpool, County Borough"). Note that this is the LA that recorded the death, not necessarily the place of burial as people were often taken elsewhere, like their home towns.

    A web search will find numerous sites, local and national, listing names on war memorials. Some of these, especially those in cemeteries, also say "and xx unidentified".

    Places of burial can be looked up on the usual sites, like Deceasedonline. If you use Find a Grave, be warned that the entries from the CWGC database were regrettably created by someone who made the above mistake of taking the reporting authority as the cemetery name. Consequently FaG's cemetery should be taken with a pinch of salt unless there's a gravestone photo. There's an ongoing project to clean this up, but it will take a long time.

    An important source of burial details is local newspapers, but if ours are anything to go by, expect obfuscation as they didn't want to tell the enemy where their bombs or rockets were landing. Thus a report may read something like: "A large church in a high street in south London was destroyed on Thursday night" plus a few extra clues enabling locals to put two and two together. Obituaries may not say "killed in an air raid" and may name only one person when the whole family died. People have reported death certificates worded "Died in war operations".

    For London, the Metropolitan Police war diaries and casualty lists are held by The National Archives (TNA) and downloadable as PDFs. Document references for the ones I got were: MEPO4/125 to 131 (war diaries) and MEPO4/307 to 311, and 351 (casualties, 311 & 351 being alphabetical indexes. There may be more I missed.).

    Finally, I sometimes wonder how many murders were covered up by knocking someone on the head with a brick and leaving them in an alleyway next to a bombed house? Maybe I'm remembering an episode from Foyle's War.

  3. #3
    A fountain of knowledge
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    Default

    I know that the 1939 register was "officially" produced for the issue of ration books, but I also think it was a register of who was alive at the time. Although I have not heard that another register was taken when hostilities ended.

  4. #4
    A fountain of knowledge
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    As the 1939 data was also used by the NHS for many years (my NHS card number was the same as that on my identity card), it was continuously updated.

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