|The 1901 Census
shows the 10 members of the Haines family and their 2 servants living at 77
London Road, Chippenham.
Draft for BEF 10/7/16
Joined 6th Entrenching Bn. 8/11/16
Joined Hawke Bn. 25/11/16-3/2/17 Wounded & Missing, POW
Collapsed in the Street
As a young man named Walter Haines was walking down the Causeway early on
Thursday evening he was suddenly seized with illness and collapsed on the
pavement. He was, when reached by the passer by, obviously in a dying
condition and on the arrival of Dr Laurence, who was hastily summoned, he
The deceased was about 25 years of age and lived with his parents in Nelson
Place, London Road. He served in the Army during the war and was for a
considerable period a prisoner of war in the hands of the Germans. There is
no doubt that the hardships and privatations which he suffered at the hands
of his enemy captors seriously undermined his health. Since his return home,
he been under treatment for tuberculosis and his general health was far from
good. Dr Laurence having certified as to the cause of death no inquest was
Wilts Times 4 June 1921
During my research for this site, I found that the Commonwealth War
Graves Commission (CWGC) had no record of Haines' death and that he was
buried in an unmarked grave. After reading the details of Haines' death in
the Wiltshire Times (above), I notified the CWGC that I believed that
Haines should be entitled to commemoration and his grave should be treated
and marked as a war grave. They agreed that they had nor record of his death or even
any details on his service and that they did not think he would be
entitled to war graves treatment.
I received a letter from the CWGC saying that they had
finally received a copy of Haines' record of service and his death
certificate. AB Haines RNVR was posted missing and wounded on the 3
February 1917 and taken prisoner at Beaucourt. He was repatriated on the
24th December 1918 and demobilised on the 26 February 1919. Unfortunately
there was no mention of his state of health. His death certificates states
that he died of TB on the 2 June 1921. Sadly it does not say for how long
he had been suffering from the illness.
The service record shows that HAINES was wounded
and missing and then a prisoner for nearly 2 years. It is not known what
his state of health was upon discharge, which is what I really needed. He
died 15 months later of TB. One can make the assumption that his wounds
and imprisonment led to TB but unfortunately his DC makes no mention of
how long he had been suffering from it, and for the purposes of
commemoration, there must be a link. However, his mother did receive a
dependants pension and the fact that his name is on the local war memorial
alongside the names of others of the parish who fell and whom we
commemorate, clinches it as far as I am concerned. So I will put his name
forward, but it is not my decision to make, and since this case was
started, our procedures for non commemorations have changed :
"We are currently reviewing our procedures, as there
has been a growing interest in the Commissionís work in recent years,
particularly as a result of the placing of our records on the internet.
Whilst we welcome the interest this has generated,
it has also led to an increasing number of enquiries relating to the
accuracy of the information we hold in our records, and to requests to amend
them. We are frequently asked to add casualties thought to have been omitted
from our records, to amend service or personal details, or to reconsider the
identification of burials previously regarded as unknown.
Until recently we have sought to resolve such
questions on an ad hoc basis with the assistance of our member governments
who are the source of much of the information that we hold. However, with
this large increase in enquiries and requests, it has become apparent that
there is a need to agree the basis on which our records should be amended,
and where the responsibility for making the decisions on amendments should
We are therefore at present discussing with the
United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, in whose forces the majority of the
casualties we commemorate served, on the best way to proceed.
The Ministry of Defence are conscious of the
importance of this issue and have agreed to give the matter consideration at
the highest level. In the meantime, we have agreed to put on hold the
processing of any further cases that involve changes to our records other
than straightforward errors. The Commission is anxious to resolve this
matter and come to a decision on both the policy to be followed and on the
individual cases which have been raised."
So, the case of HAINES, and many others, is on hold
and I will not be able to give you a decision for the forseeable future.
Thank you for all your help and interest and I hope, in due course, to be
able to give you good news. If you change your address again, please let us
The MoD have decided that Haines does not qualify
for war graves status. The reason given was that although AB Hainesí death
certificate shows him to have died of pulmonary TB on 2nd June 1921 his
service record only shows him to have been demobilised on 26 Feb 1919 with
no indication of a pre-existing condition.
So Haines is recorded on the St Andrew's memorial
only - at least his service and death is commemorated.