View Full Version : Death Cert. Wording

12-02-08, 22:29
I would appreciate some help to understand a death cert. I thought I may find something useful re the informant & confirm I have the right man but now I'm confused:confused:

He died on 23/02/1944 at Sound City, Shepperton. His occupation is given as Supervising Messenger (Air Ministry), the cause of death simply says "due to war operations" but under Informant it says "A. Dowding Causing the body to be buried The Air Ministry Shepperton".

My chap is listed on the Commonwealth War Graves site as a civilian casualty & under Additional Information it says he was a Firewatcher.

I'm assuming he probably died in a bombing raid as I believe Shepperton was one of the fake air fields during WWII. So what does due to war operations mean & why the difference in his occupation? Also, why did someone from the Air Ministry cause the body to be buried & not his wife? Mind you, she was in Leighton Buzzard. many thanks - Geraldine

12-02-08, 22:34
I think Firewatcher was probably something he volunteered for in his spare time, rather than his occupation.

Little Nell
12-02-08, 22:35

I presume that the Air Ministry chap was involved as perhaps a speedy burial was required. "Due to war operations" sounds like a stock official phrase. If he died in a bombing raid then perhaps his body was in such a mess (sorry) that it would have been difficult to be sure how he died. Again, another reason to organise a speedy burial. What was the time difference between his death and the registration?

Olde Crone Holden
12-02-08, 22:41
My daughter was in the Armed Forces for many years. She lost a very good mate while in there. The girl only had a mother, no other relatives, and the RAF took over all the funeral arrangements as the mother was completely distraught with grief.

In that case there would have been "Captain Somebody, RAF, causing the body to be buried" i.e. the RAF Welfare Officer.

What I'm trying to say - the widow in this case might not have been able to arrange the burial herself, or felt completely unable to do it and therefore the Air Ministry welfare people would have done it for her.


Little Nell
12-02-08, 22:44
of course it was wartime, travel would have been more difficult and she may not have been practically able to sort it out.

12-02-08, 23:04
These are all such obvious & reasonable conclusions now I see them written down (slaps self on forehead). I did wonder if distance may have been a factor for his poor widow. Time difference between death & registration was 2 days - died on 23rd & registered on 25th. Thank you ladies - Geraldine.

Little Nell
13-02-08, 07:56
I couldn't find anything about a raid online and of course during the war bad news wasn't always reported very thoroughly. I wonder if there were other casualties too and the same chap organised all the registrations. Don't want to be gruesome but if there were other deaths, maybe the bodies got mixed up anyway, so the officials would want to protect the families from this.

Uncle John
13-02-08, 09:37
If you found out what was going on at Shepperton at that time it might give a clue as to the cause of death. It could have been an experimental bit of war kit that went wrong. His job description could have been mde up.

Canadian Cousin
13-02-08, 17:07
I just Googled and found a history of the Shepperton Studios (http://www.spelthorne.gov.uk/historic_report_part_1.pdf), which mentions that:
"... due to its proximity to Vickers, many stray bombs fell into the studios, destroying buildings and sometimes killing people. A German air raid on the studio killed two boys in 1940, while they were sheltering next to C Stage, and a further nine studio staff were killed in 1944."


13-02-08, 17:13
Thanks everyone for the snippets of info - Geraldine