1589242 Bombardier N Kershaw, Duke of Wellington's Regiment

Discussion in 'War Grave Photographs' started by Steve Foster, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Steve

    One way I guess to help resolve the conundrum would be to obtain the service record of the Kershaw buried in grave 1 and see where he was and when.
    Although that would obviously incurr costs

  2. Steve Foster

    Steve Foster Senior Member

    Hi TD,

    I did send away for his service records in 2012 and they arrived in June 2013. If you look at my post #28 on page 1 of this thread I attached the three documents there in June 2013.

    It appears that Bdr Norman Kershaw was presumed KIA on 14 Apr 45 somewhere in Western Europe - almost as if the army didn't know what happened to him and he disappeared off the face of the earth.

    The progression of his TA infantry unit was 5DWR - 45 Garrison Rgt RA - 600 Rgt RA. They were converted back to infantry again for the investment of Calais and took part in a bungled attack on a German farmhouse strongpoint when a lot of the unit were killed. The casualties are all buried in France except Kershaw who somehow turned up in Becklingen.

    It bafffles me. I don't believe the remains of the person in Grave 1 in Becklingen are of the man detailed on the service Records but of a POW who came from one of the Eastern camps and died on the River Elbe at the same time as LCpl Coulthard of malnutrition/cruelty during the Forced March. Where Bdr Kershaw is I don't know and who lies in the grave I also don't know.

    Sometime in the 75 years between 1947 when an unknown soldier of the DWR was exhumed and moved to Becklingen and when I first visited the grave in 2012, a positive ID has taken place which was convincing enough to persuade the CWGC that the grave was that of Norman Kershaw. The headstone is fully personalised with an inscription from his family. Its a mystery as 600 Rgt RA went into action in Calais after the date of Kershaw's death and how did the body travel nearly 1000 miles.



    PS. I have just re-read my post # 11 on page 1. I did research all of the POWs with the name of Kershaw from the national POW list and an N Kershaw (no rank or Service) was held in Stalagluft VI in Lithuania - the most northerly POW camp. From subsequent research, I have discovered that their Long March initially went to Stalag XXA in Torun, Poland where they joined up with the members of that camp to trudge onwards to the west. By the time they got to Quickborn/Kaltenhof they were in dreadful conditions with many dying. Antony Coulthard died in Kaltenhof in March 45 in a barn.

    The elderly witness I interviewed at Kaltenhof who actually discovered Antony's body in his father's barn (he was 13 at the time) said that a second group came through the next month with Luftwaffe guards and one also died in the same barn. He added that the POWs were also allied flyers and were very friendly with their guards. I am pretty sure that the body in Grave 1 is that N Kershaw (who may have been RAF) and somehow there was a mis identification after the body was moved to Becklingen. We used to call it situating the appraisal (rather than appraising the situation) in the RN! Making the facts fit the end result!
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    So the service records show a Norman Kershaw enlisted in July 1940 - so very very difficult for him to be anywhere near Dunkirk, and therefore a POW from that time.

    It also shows he was was from July 1940 until 20 Nov 1944 he was UK based, and that from 21 Nov 1944 he was in NWE, until his death on 14 Apr 1945.

    Is it known where 600 Regt RA where in April 1945??, and how close it was to the burial site??

    It seems that whoever he was with in Feb 1945 it seems they were redesignated as 600 Regt RA 12 Feb 1945

    Or am I reading that all wrong
  4. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    There is a thread on the Forum and a piece about 600 Regt RA and the action in which they took part on on 15 April 1945 around the Dunkirk perimeter with a Czech unit. Trying to find it at the moment. 17 Killed and around 60 wounded. The men are buried at Cassel Communal Cemetery Extension.
  5. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    I can't find the thread at the moment, so will post some pages from 600 Regt war diary again.



  6. Steve Foster

    Steve Foster Senior Member

    Here is the link chaps:


    It is very strange that his unit, 5DWR (ex 600Rgt RA) went into action near Dunkirk in the infantry role, the day after Bdr Kershaw died 100s of miles away behind enemy lines in Lower Saxony. As Ramacal has said above, all of his comrades who died in that abortive attack are buried in Cassal. Also their headstones are prescriptive as 5 DWR whereas Norman's is generic - just DWR. Still leaning towards a mistaken identity and the remains in the grave are of a DWR POW from 1940 who died on the Long March.

    Buteman likes this.
  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    His service records show his dob as Feb 1918 and the only one I can find that fits that bill is:

    England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916-2005
    Name: Norman Kershaw
    Mother's Maiden Surname: Machan
    Date of Registration: Jan-Feb-Mar 1918
    Registration district: Bradford
    Inferred County: Yorkshire West Riding
    Volume Number: 9b
    Page Number: 143

    I also note in the old thread that there is a document - as below - is it in anyway possible that Kershaw was wounded and perhaps needed specialist treatment/surgery and was take to the nearest medical location for this which might have been near Becklingen. I know his name is not on the list below, but that does not negate the possibility???
    As you see some where sent to Paris, some to 21 Cdn Hosp - which was where??

  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member


    Ancestry has 3 family trees for his parents

    Link here for ease of future reference - http://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?_phsrc=ANX6768&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&db=pubmembertrees&so=2&pcat=ROOT_CATEGORY&gss=angs-g&new=1&rank=1&msT=1&gsln=kershaw&gsln_x=1&MSAV=1&mssns=machan&mssns_x=1&cpxt=1&cp=11&catbucket=rstp&uidh=5nr

    I also need to throw another spanner in the works - if I search for his marriage then I turn up this:

    Norman Kershaw in the England & Wales, Marriage Index, 1916-2005

    Name: Norman Kershaw
    Date of Registration: Jan-Feb-Mar 1942
    Registration district: Bradford
    Inferred County: Yorkshire West Riding
    Spouse: Phyllis B Pitts
    Volume Number: 9b
    Page Number: 327

    This ties up with the CWGC details of his wifes name :
    "husband of Phyllis Bertha Kershaw, of Great Horton, Bradford, Yorkshire"

    however it also throws up another result that is interesting:

    Searching Phyllis info then a family tree shows:

    Phyllis Bertha Pitts
    BIRTH 6 JUL 1908 • Bradford Yorkshire
    DEATH 2001 OCT • Keighley Yorkshire

    Which would mean she was 10 years older that the man we are searching for PLUS the info on her husband is:
    Norman Kershaw
    BIRTH 1893 APR-JUN • Bradford Yorkshire
    DEATH 1958 OCT-DEC • Bradford Yorkshire

    Name Norman Kershaw
    Birth Date abt 1893
    Date of Registration Dec 1958
    Age at Death 65
    Registration district Bradford
    Inferred County Yorkshire West Riding
    Volume 2b
    Page 138

    So there is also some confusion about Norman Kershaws in Bradford as well as Northern Europe

  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Siblings of Norman:

    Clifford M Kershaw
    1912 Jan-Feb-Mar Bradford Yorkshire West Riding (Died 1996)

    Ronald Kershaw
    1913 Oct-Nov-Dec Bradford Yorkshire West Riding

    Winifred M Kershaw
    Jul-Aug-Sep 1921 Bradford Yorkshire West Riding (Died in 1922)

    Sidney Kershaw
    Oct-Nov-Dec 1916 Bradford Yorkshire West Riding

    Perhaps some of the family tree originators will know what happened? -

  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  11. Steve Foster

    Steve Foster Senior Member

    Thanks for this fantastic work TD. According to your #48, Norman Kershaw survived the war and was 47 when he enlisted in 1940; that can't be right for obvious reasons. Phyllis wouldn't have written an inscription for the grave if her husband was alive.

    Interesting to note how many Kershaws became POWs and that five were memebers of the RA. I will try and find the Ancestry record that showed a Kershaw N was imprisoned in Stalagluft VI.

    I only started this thread as an aside to my main research of finding Antony Coulthard's grave but look what it has turned up!. Once we have covered every aspect, it may be worth me contacting the CWGC to say we have found an anomoly and to ask what information was used to identify the grave at Plot 18, Row C, Grave 1 in Becklingen cemetery.

    I may log onto the family tree and send a PM to ask the question of where did Norman die. It would be horrific for his relatives to discover that he doesn't lie in the grave that they think he does so will think carefully.

  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member


    If you are intending to contact family trees then there are also others for his brothers - well Clifford at least that may have dome further information.

    But the Norman Kershaw in post 48 was born in 1893, the one being searched for was born in 1918, from a different tree but all based in Bradford

  13. Steve Foster

    Steve Foster Senior Member

    A quick update on this intriguing topic. In all of my research I had forgotten the obvious - the CWGC data base! Under Kershaw's entry are a couple of documents I had not seen before: doc2845300.JPG doc2845301.JPG doc2847715.JPG doc3480420.JPG

    The first document is a Graves Registration Report Form (GRRF) dated 25 Oct 56 which shows the grave as an "Unknown" from the DWR but it has been amended in red manuscript to Kershaw's details and interestingly, the date of death changed by one day.

    The second document is an undated GRRF with Kershaw's details typed in including the revised date of death. This must be the latest of the three GRRFs.

    The third is a the original GRRF dated 1 July 47 giving the date of death as approx 15 Apr 45

    The fourth is a document called "Schedule A" dated 8 Sep 82 giving details of the work required for a new headstone for Bdr Kershaw. It has some red manuscript at the top right under the acronym NOK which I can't read.

    I can only surmise that the new information received by the CWGC in causing the headstone to be changed from an unknown to Bdr Kershaw was received in 1982. That information must have also included an accurate date of death.

    I wonder what the information was and who provided it?


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