General WYATT, the Commanding Officer France and Flanders, based at St Pol issued instructions to his staff officers asking that a new inclusive plan for the Unknown Warrior selection be drawn up.
A number of plans were submitted and ‘stress tested’ to ensure that a completely annonymous body could be selected, one which nobody could identify, even by rough geographical location of selection.
The plan which was finally selected had been drawn up by Ulsterman and native of Cookstown County Tyrone, Major Samuel Ernest FITZSIMON.
Fitzsimon had previously served, along with his two brothers, in the 14th Royal Irish Rifles (Y.C.V.). All three had fought on the 1st July 1916 at Thiepval, one brother, John (Jack) was killed in action that day and another, James was awarded the Military Medal for bravery on the same date.
Samuel, or ‘Fitz’ as he was known was intelligence officer for the 14th R.I.R. before taking up Intelligence roles at brigade and divisional levels with the 36th (Ulster) Division. He then was appointed to various staff roles until finally serving with General Wyatt at HQ in St. Pol.
Fitz’s plan, which involved a number of anonymous body selections all along the old battle front, was implemented on the 8th November 1920 culminating in the selection of one single body, The Unknown Warrior, on the early hours of the 9th November.
Fitz supervised the embarkation of the body at Boulogne on the 10th November 1920 in the presence of Le Marshal Foch, General Wyatt and Field Marshal Wilson.
The body was finally laid to rest at Westminster Abbey on the 11th November 1920.
Credit to Mark Scott author of Among The Kings, The story of the Unknown Warrior, and Marty Lindsay for bringing it to my attention.