Dental records

Discussion in 'General' started by Adam Petipher, Jan 30, 2020.

  1. Adam Petipher

    Adam Petipher Member

    Hi all,

    I have been trying to find my great uncles grave and have potentially found it.
    It is an unknown soldiers grave.
    I have contacted CWGC and they have today confirmed they dont allow DNA testing but that they do have dental records- which is great!

    However I do not have my great uncles dental records to compare them with.

    Does anybody know if I could obtain them any way?
    Were soldiers dental records taken when they enlisted?

    He was killed in 1940 and was in the BEF.
    Before that he was in the territorial army.

    Thanks in advance for any advice!
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

  3. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    It's very possible that there are none. There was no National Health service and dental treatment was expensive and for many people was limited to getting someone to pull bad teeth - they might well not be a professional dentist and would not keep dental records.For many the first time they had a proper dental checkup was after they had been enlisted. The army dental service was established during WW1 to avoid having to discharge men because their teeth were so bad they couldn't eat the hard or emergency rations but whether they would have kept any records after a man was discharged or killed is another matter.

    Interestingly I have spoken with some of the people identifying men killed in WW1 whose mass graves have only recently been found and DNA was used.
  4. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    DNA is used for newly discovered remains but the CWGC wont exhume graves in their care to check DNA - that's my understanding.
    CL1 likes this.
  5. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    There are dental records available part of the medical side of the service records which we cannot see (or have been destroyed). This thread
    Unknown ..believed to be.

    It has lost some of its attachments but it focus`s upon unknowns and an individual suspected as lying in that grave and his dental records which were compared with the unknown man. There`s no way the CWGC will reopen a grave for any kind of testing they will do DNA on newly found battlefield graves but not those in their care.

  6. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    My father applied for his own service records which occurs under the Freedom of Information act and therefore includes medical records...They are limited as they simply include a mention of his period in a Field Hospital in France but no details. However, they do include a 'Dental Treatment Card' - Army Form 1 5033 which has a detailed and completed dental chart.

    I suspect that accessing any dental records would be the responsibility of the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre in conjunction with the CWGC.
  7. Adam Petipher

    Adam Petipher Member

    Thanks for all your responses so far.
    I have posted a request for his army records, maybe there will be something in that, not sure where else to go.
    He died in a pre NHS era, so that doesn't help either!
  8. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Adam, the people that you need to approach are the JCCC.

    MOD War Detectives – the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre Commemorations team - what we do

    My personal feeling is that it would be a good idea to obtain his service records before commencing this but as has been mentioned above, disclosure is not always complete;..I don't know if the dental records are ever sent out other than for freedom of information disclosures.

    He would have received a check from an army dentist on enlistment. My dad is fond of saying (to explain his false teeth) that all army dentists were officers so there were no recommendations of treatment. An extraction was an order ! They were of course professional dentists and they kept proper records.

    As you'll have gathered, attempts were made to identify remains by dental records at the time but the list of potential names was too large to have checked them all if there were no other clues. Quite often, a dental chart was made by the local French or Belgian authorities in the hope of assisting future identification.

    There is still plenty of work for you to do here, but it will have to be done step by step and it will take time. A hunch is not enough.
  9. Adam Petipher

    Adam Petipher Member

    Thanks, very interesting. I have a few different reasons as to why I think this could be his grave, but then again I could be wrong. Its not over til the fat lady sings as they say!

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