William Raymond Carnegie was born on 25 December 1925, in Ontario, Canada.
He enlisted on D.Day, 6 June 1944.
Case forwarded in November 2019.
Municipal Archives Nijmegen.
Personal Record File
Private William Raymond Carnegie No.A.110611, 17 platoon, D Company, Royal Canadian Regiment
Private William R Carnegie went missing on Tuesday 17 July 1945 after a swim in the river Waal at Nijmegen, at approximately 1 mile east of the road bridge.
In January 1948 his sister who then lived in the US contacted the burgomaster asking for information about her brother, who according to her was born on 27 December 1925, Red hair, blue eyes, 6 feet, about 170ponds. However the Burgomaster could not give any information about him or where he might would have washed up.
However as we know a great number of bodies washed up down stream on the rivers Rhine and Waal. Such was also the case at Slijk-Ewijk which is some 4.4 miles downstream from Nijmegen, a body washed up naked only wearing a pair of army boots. From enquiries made the following day by his unit it is known that he and another soldier G.E. De Baker were looking for a place to swim that day, They asked some Dutch civilians for a suitable place, who directed them towards the Waal river which the reached at 19.00hrs.
(In 1945 he drawed a map of the situation which I have attached)
They also observed civilians also swimming in the river, they moved to a spot where they undressed undetected, and entered the water it was then about 20.00hrs After Private Baker left the water he spoke to a Sergeant but didn’t had a sight on Private Carnegie, after awhile they both start looking and yelling for Private Carnegie but without any result. At 21.45hrs they returned to camp.
They took his personnel belongings but left his clothes behind and a note in his pocket. When they returned on 23.00hrs at the local where they went into the water, there were also two officers with them and a Dutch policeman. A search was made by them but without a result, the gathered his clothes and returned to camp at around 01.30hrs.
De following day they unit returned with boats and dragging hooks but again without any results, so it was presumed that Private W.R. Carnegie drowned the day before, Police was asked to inform the unit if a body was found. However this was most likely only for the Nijmegen police force, whom for sure did not contacted other units along the river.
So when a body washed up the police in Nijmegen was not informed, first off all because it was not known to others, second a number of bodies washed up and if not identified were buried at local cemeteries or in field graves near the river, which most likely also happened in this case.
As Private Carnegie went into the water naked, most likely only wearing his boots, as can be read in the witness reports only his clothes were found/taken, but no mentioning of boots. So it seems most likely that the naked man wearing only boots whom washed up at Ewijk could be that of Private William Raymond Carnegie.
If I am correct he was later taken to Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery (was there a mark in his boots which would make them think he was a Canadian soldier?) and buried as unknown soldier in grave 12.C.5.
I have attached report and a drawing of the situation (8 pages) given by 3 witnesses in 1945 when a search was done to try to find his body, without any positive result.
Also have attached the letter from his sister from the Dodewaard archives, and a letter from the Burgomaster of Nijmegen to the Burgomaster of Kesteren from January 1948, asking if he could give him any information about the body of Private Carnegie. Which is strange as this lies along the river Rhine and not the Waal river.
I have checked the archives of Ewijk for information about an unknown, but was not able to trace any documents. In the documents of archives of Echteld further downstream on 3 July 1945 a body washed up. Decomposed, tall 1.65m, black hair, naked except for some remain of underpants. But this of course 2 weeks before Private Carnegie was drowned.
(have attached this, although it is in Dutch, as it is not clear what happened to the body after burial on the local cemetery.)
I hope that with this information and the attached documentation you want to have a look at the unknown soldier in grave 12.C.5 at Groesbeek War Cemetery to see if it would be a match with that of Private William Raymond Carnegie.
Case out come: March 2020.
contact details are removed for privacy reasons.
Dear Mr Reinders,
Thank you for submitting a proposal for the identification of the Unknown Commonwealth Soldier buried in XII. C. 5 in Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery.
Unfortunately, evidence in CWGC’s records is conclusive in showing that this grave cannot be proved to be that of Private William Raymond Carnegie. The Unknown casualty does not match him in height or weight. As he was found without any identifying uniform or other items, it was not possible to say conclusively which force he served with.
As you said yourself, we know a great number of casualties washed up downstream on the rivers Rhine, Waal and Maas and there is nothing to suggest where the casualty buried in grave XII. C. 5 entered the water or when. Therefore, I hope you’ll understand that there is no evidence to enable us to establish a list of potential candidates.
As such, we will continue to honour Private Carnegie on Groesbeek Memorial.
(Also was informed that there are no dental records for the unknown, DNA test would have done the case)
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Philip Reinders, 2016