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Thread: Death Certificate Wording

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    Default Death Certificate Wording

    Hi,
    Following on from a previous posting from one of Henk's unaccounted airmen postings, i was interested to see that two of his airmen, both from same unit, died within a day of each other. One being gassed at home, the other, after a fall from rocks into the sea the previous day. One thought that comes to mind is a possible suicide connection, and my query is, if so, would it have been stated as such, or would just the actual cause of death be noted.
    tia.....Alan.

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    Alan,
    Over the past few years we (on the Met Team) have examined a significant number of DCs. On the majority the Cause of Death is usually listed as just those technical medical matters that caused the death. On some, however, this might be amplified by ". . . as the result of a road traffic accident", or ". . . caused by colliding with a policeman in the blackout".
    The experts will correct me, but I think that Suicide was still an Offence during WW2 and, therefore, any Coroner or Registrar would be very wary of using that word on a DC? The usual phrase was - I believe - ". . . whilst the balance of his/her mind was disturbed".
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 9th July 2010 at 13:00. Reason: Syntax
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Yes, suicide was "illegal" until the 1961 Act. But it wasn't just the legality of the act, but also the social and religious stigma that many coroners tried to mitigate in many cases.

    But it did depend on method used. Finding a body with the head in the oven (when gas was still poisonous) or with a razor cut, was harder to explain away than stepping into traffic etc.

    But interestingly, the actual rate of suicide dipped significantly during the war, from the statistics that I have seen from the UK and Australia. There are many explanations given....one being that the psychological effect of everyone trying to "survive" mitigated the psychological alienation that is usually the precursor to suicide. Another is suicide is particularly high amongst young dissaffected men; and, considering a large number had been called up, their alienation was lessened amongst large groups of other men.

    Anyway, sociological hat now taken off.

    A
    RAF Armoured Car Companies 1920-45 http://www.rafacciraq.com/

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    Amrit - tks yrs. Concisely put. A verdict of Suicide - as I understand it - also affected Insurance policies.

    Alan - you were trying to develop a theory for a 'suicide pact'. But let us examine the situation - and Jonny may care to comment on the precise technicalities (he being our expert in these matters!). If these two young gentlemen had been found to have allegedly already committed some offence (from selling His Majesty's petrol to being "too friendly" with each other) then they would not have been allowed to go gassing themselves, or chucking themselves off rocks. They would have been banged up in the Guard Room (or, at least, Confined To Camp) until such time as their Charge, or Court Martial, was heard.
    However, in defence of Alan's theory, if these two had NOT been discovered doing whatever - but THOUGHT they were about to be discovered then this just may be a tenable thesis (but only just!!). Does my appreciation hold water???

    Interesting case!
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Peter/Amrit,
    Much appreciation for the feedback, not really sure if i was developing a theory for a suicide "pact" as such, it was just something in the back of my somewhat over-imaginative mind that found something odd about the situation. I suppose if one had been knocked down by a bus and the other died from choking on a chicken bone or something, i don't think i would have thought anymore about it, but!! me being me, i always seem to look at something deeper. No matter, the main thing is that Henk has the details for his files.
    Many thanks.....Alan.

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    Were the two men in the same or nearby locations? Can you PM me the dates?
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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