St Nazaire - The Greatest Raid of All

Discussion in 'History' started by pjlee, Feb 19, 2009.

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  1. After a recent trip to St Nazaire and Escoublac-la-Baule War Cemetery I decided to take a look at the Commonwealth War Grave Commission website to discover the burial/ commemoration locations of all of the fallen from the St Nazaire Raid.

    I discovered that two Sailors were not listed on the CWGC website although they are named on the St Nazaire Memorial and in several books that I have read:

    Ordinary Seaman A T Bett
    Able Seaman A Milner

    I contacted the CWGC who replied that their records are based on information supplied from the relevant Service authorities. I then contacted the MOD who supplied me with a copy of the actual casualty list from the raid and these two Sailors are not listed.

    Does anyone have any ideas on how to take this forward?[/size]
  2. pjlee,

    Since the MOD casualty list and the CWGC have no record of either sailor, you will be required to submit copies of their death certificates to the CWGC as proof that Ordinary Seaman A T Bett and Able Seaman A Milner were casualties of the St Nazaire Raid. Once you have submitted the death certificates to the CWGC they will check the information recorded on each certificate, and if it is proven that both men were casualties of the St Nazaire Raid, their details will be added to the CWGC records.

    Hope this helps.

  3. SP

    Many thanks, just ordered them. Estimated despatch 12th March.
  4. I've just realised that only 85 names are listed on the Admiralty list as supplied to the CWGC but wasn't there 103 Naval fatalities. Lieutenant Tibbits for one is not listed.
  5. Hi pjlee,

    Although Lt Tibbits is not on your list of casualties that was supplied by the Admiralty, he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, and he is listed as a WW2 casualty by the CWGC

    I would recommend that you re-check your source of information, and ask whether a revised casualty list was ever supplied to the CWGC at a later date?

    Also, try using this advance search for the CWGC database, taking care with your spelling of the surnames. Tibbits/Tibbets.

    Royal Navy Casualty list:

    Hope this helps.
  6. Hopefully I've attached my St Nazaire spreadsheet that is still in progress.
  7. pjlee,

    Have you just volunteered me to help you with your research? :lol: OK, so be it, I do like a challenge. :D

    I've sent you a PM with my contact details.

  8. Further to advice given I requested death certificates for these 2 Sailors, however, I have received the following reply.

    "We can see that you have made an application online for an event that is
    registered Overseas but unfortunately have selected the wrong web page.
    The web page you have selected only processes events which have occured in
    England and Wales and not for events which have been registered Overseas.
    We have authorised a full refund for this application which will be
    credited to your account via World Pay shortly.
    To order the certificate, please select one of the "Overseas " options on
    the Certificate Choice page. This will take you to the correct web page to
    place your order.
    If you have any questions concerning this order or would like further
    information, please contact us by e-mail at
    [email protected] or phone + 44 (0)845 603 7788. Lines
    are open Monday to Friday 8 am to 8 pm and Saturday 9 am to 4 pm."

    Does anyone know where the death certificates will be held?
  9. Hi Pjlee, The death certificates you require are held at the GRO, the same place you originally applied to, only they will be listed in the Overseas Deaths index and not in the Deaths in England & Wales Indexes.

    Link to page:

    You might find it easier to telephone your request in and you'll receive the certificates quicker than ordering online :wink:

    Unfortunately, the charge for an Overseas death certificate is slightly higher than that of a home death certificate - I've no idea why :twisted: The last overseas death certificate I purchased (in 2008) cost me £11.

  10. They have no record for either in the Overseas Index for 28th March 1942. Any ideas on how I should proceed.
  11. No Tibbets won't be as he went on to become a major in the US army and dropped a naughty device on Hiroshima...
  12. Dicky

    I was refering to Lieutenant NTB Tibbits DSC who was killed in action at St Nazaire and not General PW Tibbets.

    This thread is more concerned with the fact that Ordinary Seaman A T Bett and Able Seaman A Milner, both of whom were killed in action and are not recorded with the CWGC and it now appears do not have death certificates.
  13. Two things occur to me:

    1 The St Nazaire Memorial is to those who were killed and those who died later of their wounds - is it possible that Ordinary Seaman Bett and Able Seaman Milner were wounded and died of their wounds at a later date?

    2 I think that this possibility may be very likely. Were the two gentlemen Scots, whose deaths would be listed with the GRO in Scotland and not with the GRO you have already consulted i.e. the one which covers only England and Wales?
  14. I think it was the greatest raid of any war,all showed courage I never thought was possible and I have great admiration for them all.
    I sometimes wonder how we let ourselves get to the state of only having wooden boats to pick up the survivors but if that's all we had it's even more courageous.Guess we had no steel hulls with shallow draught.
    It is what it is and we lost many brave men there.How brave were they?
  15. Am I right in thinking that if they later died of wounds sustained during the raid they should still be recorded with the CWGC. Furthermore, if they did die from wounds on a later date I can't get the death certificates without the exact date of death.
  16. I've had unexpected partial success with this question (I think).

    I was researching the history of the "Chariot" monument to try to establish when it was put in place (and the names engraved), when I came across James Dorrian's website.

    At the bottom of this page:

    he maintains that Able Seaman Milner does not belong on the list of the fallen as he actually survived the Raid on St Nazaire.

    I do know that there were sixteen crew on board ML 298 and that 11 were KIA, leaving 5 who survived. I can only assume that Able Seaman Milner was one of these five.
  17. Pjlee, I totally agree with Soleil. It does seem that both men may have died of wounds at a later date, and since their deaths do not appear in the Overseas index, nor in the England and Wales Indexes, it does indicate that they may well have died in Scotland. (Suggest you post on Genes Reunited for a look-up in the Scot. deaths indexes :wink: )

    James G Dorrian, author of "Storming of St. Nazaire" and "Operation Chariot," both published by Pen & Sword Books, states on his website that Able Seaman A Milner survived the raid.

    Link: scroll to the bottom of the page.

    It might be worth your while emailing him to see what other information he may have on Able Seaman Milner.
    [email protected]

    I noted too that James Dorrian does not list Ordinary Seaman Bett as a casualty in his roll of honour.

    If both Milner and Bett were wounded and died at a later date at home, there is a strong possibilty that each were buried in a private or family grave. If this is the case, neither of them will be listed in the CWGC. The CWGC only record the details of the casualties who are buried in official war graves.

  18. Ooops! Sorry Soleil - posted my reply at the same time as you.

  19. Thanks soleil & sp

    Your help is very much appreciated.

    Two of the casualities listed on the Meriden War Memorial died of wounds and are buried in family graves, here in Meriden. Yet they are both recorded on the CWGC website.
  20. It does look as if AB Milner was listed as KIA by mistake.

    I have just contacted James Dorrian, who believes that AB Milner survived, and will let you know what he has to say. He seems to be very expert on the topic of the Raid on St Nazaire.

    Five of the crew on ML 298 lived to fight another day. I am wondering whether AB Milner was one of these. For all we know, he might have survived the war and lived on to a good age (which would explain his absence from all the records we have looked at so far).

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