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Uffz. Rohleder

Gravediggers in WW1 - Photos and Docs?

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Hello all,

long time ago i got this photo. Those men look like gravediggers. They build a wooden coffin - on top are human remains and two of the man hold grund dug riffles. I censored the remains - i will keep the respect of this fallen man.

 

Anyone else have dokuments or photos of this workers - even if millions died it seems like nobody talk about those men who dig the graves and give them a place to rest in piece.

 

 

 

Stefan

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DSCI7159.jpg

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Interesting photo.  I particularly like the mix of hat styles.  Is this, do you think, made during or after the war?  One of the great untold stories of WWI from the Allied perspective is the work done by the Chinese Labour Corps in locating and re-burying human remains, as well as salvaging equipment and scrap, in 1919-1920.  

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I would say its probably during the war. The nco (6 from left) is wearing his rank insignia, a Kaiserpreis Award and his Marksmanship lanyard. 

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Thanks!  I'm very involved with a group which portrays WWI Canadian medical Corps, so, sadly, grave diggers are a related theme.  As they say, doctors get to bury their mistakes.   

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Very nice. I love when they try to keep the history alive. Espacialy when they portrait non combatants. 

Yes some had to do the job. I have most respect for this guys. 

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Me too.  The casualty rates among Stretcher Bearers and Medical Officers were the same as for rilfmen and two of the three 'double VCs' ever awarded were to MOs.  I'm a humble SB and in our activities we portray the men who didn't survive the wounds and burials too.  A number of the Chinese Labour Corps died while doing their work too - disease, unexploded ordnance and so on - and they were just cheap labour for the British, so got zero recognition at the time.

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Yes its always sad. Those man - on all sides - have such a hard job. They were directly confronted with the cruels of war. As you said the recognition is nearly zero. 

I feel its importend to recognise those man - renacting is a good step to show it to the modern world. 

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the rifle the guy on the left is holding looks like a mod.91 MOISNE  NAGANT. with a socket bayonet?.

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www.awm.gov.au/collection/P04541.001/?image=1

Members of the Graves Registration Detachment, Australian section, of the Imperial War Graves unit loading bodies from a mass grave to be put in single graves. The bodies are wrapped in groundsheets with ID tags after exhumation and prior to reburial in permanent war cemeteries. Identified is 3162 Private Herbert James (Bert) Kingston (standing on the waggon). Formerly a member of the 47th Battalion, he enlisted from Bundaberg, Qld and sailed with the 8th Reinforcements.

000.jpg.72d9769e67f8f0d26762a3c6b5c0d9eb.jpg

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After the war, the CEF organized War Graves units from men who had made it to England, but not to France. These would mostly be conscripts.  There were two companies.  I have a BWM named to the Canadian Engineers, but his service was with one of them.

I recall reading (in one of Norm Christie's books) that the labour was provided by German pows.

Michael

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During the war, burial detail would be one of the punishments awarded to ambulatory patients in hospitals as  a result of Gonorrhea or Syphilis.  Presumably that 'supply' dried up as the hospitals closed after the war and dedicated units were created to handle the exhumations and reburials.  I wonder if any were volunteers.  

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