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Thread: Burial Locations

  1. #1
    Administrator/Token Scottish person Jock2413's Avatar
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    Burial Locations

    Hello all. You may have seen mentioned in recent posts that some of the last resting places of our fallen have been visited and it has been seen that the grave sites and the stones have been in, shall we say, an unsatisfactory condition.
    There could be many reasons for this such as family members having passed away or moved on or that the grave has just been abandoned. I thought that all C.W.G.C. graves were looked after by the commission but this does not seem to be the case.
    I contacted them on this and they told me that they take responsibility for all graves up till 1948. After that date, it appears that it is the responsibility of what was called local branches. They of course do not do this work themselves but sub contract out and they said that they try to ensure that it is done every 5 years or so.
    In the last 12 months or so, I have visited 8 graves on our ROH, located as far afield as North and South London down to South Wales and in each case, although the condition of the site varied, all the stones were in a sad condition. A couple were so black with mould that it was nearly impossible to read the names. I have also seen pictures on military graves websites and I've yet to find one that is shiny and white like those the CWGC like to show off in the military cemeteries.
    It is obvious to me that the cleaning work is not being carried out and has not been for decades. Almost like another example of burying Op Banner.....literally. Now some might say, "Phone them and complain" but I say, "If you want something doing properly, do it yourself."
    Some members who read the post on the condition of the grave site of L/Bdr Wynne came forward with the suggestion that they wouldn't mind checking out any in their area hence the idea of sponsorship was born. For several weeks now, work has been going on compiling a dossier on the burial locations of our fallen. I must emphasise that this is not a replacement for our excellent ROH but rather a reference document and unlike the ROH, will not be published on site. There are still people out there who do not like us and with all the recent acts of vandalism against things military, we are not going to make it easy for them if they have in mind any acts of desecration.
    At the present time, I have a list of approxamately 700 locations, most of which are on the mainland. This is a work in progress so will increase with time but I think we have enough to make a start. What I am looking for is a report on the condition of both the site and the stone. If possible, a simple photograph would be very useful for a "before and after" comparison. Also, if any other CWGC sites are seen on the area with dates that encompass the Op Banner era, ie 1969 - 2008, to make a note of the name, grave section and number and pass them on to us. It could assist in filling in some of the missing data. I know there were other conflicts during that time span, but a quick check on our ROH will eliminate those. That is not to say that they will be ignored. Any that are found to be a bit tatty, that information will be passed on to the appropriate Regimental Association.
    Obviously, we can plan an "action day" or "the big clean up" for those willing and able to partake but that's for the future. For the moment, what I'm looking for is volunteers who are willing to "sponsor" the areas where they live.
    Until we arrange something better, if those members who wish to get involved in this could PM me or Deadhorse with the area they wish to sponsor and an email address so we can copy on an attachment the locations in that area.
    Just to let you know that your "hard working" Administrators have already volunteered their services but its a large country and we are going to need lots of help.
    You cannot fight a war with one hand tied behind your back.

  2. #2
    Old Warhorse turned Admin. Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky 1st Class DeadHorse's Avatar
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    At the present time, I have a list of approximately 700 locations
    Anyone wondering why this number does not tally with our ROH is reminded that many of our fallen were cremated.
    But there is an alarming number of 'Grave not known' on our list as well as the lists from other sources which Jock has cross checked in the course of this work.
    Both Jock and myself have mailed various Corps & Regimental association sites about this as well as care of burial sites, but for the most part we have been ignored - so if we want anything done we must do it ourselves.
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  3. #3
    Association Member & WUSA Missionary to Northumbria P-C's Avatar
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    Also not all have The Standard stone many have a family stone!
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  4. #4
    Association Member bob_s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P-C View Post
    Also not all have The Standard stone many have a family stone!
    A couple of years back one of the members on here ( Plant Pilot I think ) asked for volunteers to visit Cemeterys and take photos for a site dedicated to the RE who died in WW1& 2 . I went to Blackford just up the A9 ( Weemac will know where I'm on about ) and the Headstone was indeed a family one . It was well kept so either the locals keep the grave or there are still family in the area.
    Jock will PM you.
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  5. #5
    Administrator/Token Scottish person Jock2413's Avatar
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    This is what I mean. It is obvious that the grave is well tended but look at the state of the stone. Would anybody like to warrant a guess when this was last cleaned.

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    You cannot fight a war with one hand tied behind your back.

  6. #6
    Administrator slapper's Avatar
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    Well done Jock, and bloody well written. Preston and Blackburn are mine. I also intend to take a photo of every stone I find, in the hope that one day they may be added to our ROH.


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  7. #7
    Association Member & UK's Cricket Advisor to Oz kenskydiver's Avatar
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    Obviously over here, there is little that I can do, but when I am home in May/June, I will photograph Tommy Stoker's grave in East Ardsley. His late father also had Tommy's name engraved on the village war memorial. Tommy was light Infantry and on his second day in Belfast (he was 18 years and 3 days old) he was sent to an OP in Berwick Road, Ardoyne from Flax Street Mill. A comrade in an adjoining room was fitting an IWS and there was one up the spout and he fired a round into Tommy's back. That was at the end of July; 7 weeks later, he died in the RVH of his wounds of September 19, 1972. I don't have an ROH in front of me, so I may be a day or two out.
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  8. #8
    NIVA AMBASSADOR TO BELGIUM Honorary Member Switches's Avatar
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    This is a truly fantastic and much needed task! The Canadians already have a project in place to list and photo with details each and every fallen Canadian soldiers grave from the 20th century.
    That site is owned by a good friend of mine who resides over here alongside me in Wipers.
    Have a look here; http://www.mapleleaflegacy.ca/

    By the way, it's immediately obvious to identify a CWGC stone compared to a MOD stone. CWGC stones have a curved but complete smooth top where a MOD stone has both upper corners removed. As already pointed out, private stones were and today are also an option and can look like either so please be aware of these also.

    I would be delighted to see a similar project take place on behalf of the NI fallen.

    Switches.
    Last edited by Switches; 26-04-2011 at 11:54 AM.
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  9. #9
    NIVA AMBASSADOR TO BELGIUM Honorary Member Switches's Avatar
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    Look guys, I have just pm'd Jock on this issue. Living over here amongst the thousands of gleaming Great War fallen headstones, since viewing Jocks sad pic of one of our own headstones, this has rocked me back a tad. Forget the CWGC as our graves are not under their remit. Ours fall under the remit and responsibility of the MOD but lets not go there as Jock, myself and others have already found out so I now have a proposition;
    Lets create an official NIVA COVENANT. We yes we visit as many as we are aware of or can visit and photograph. We then put into a plan where we identify, check out who, what, where, relatives, etc etc etc. If then agreed, we/me/you/US visit these graves and adopt them as ours litterally, as far as care is concerned into the NIVA fold. A once a year at a minimum grave visit to spray the stone with an acceptable fungicide as recommended from a local funeral/stonemason parlour. Tidy up the grave etc and I have another proposition.
    At the same time place a NIVA identified Poppy Cross. This will show all that NIVA has not forgotten and we will remember and care for our fallen. FFS! Thats why we are members of this site. Some are even full members so surely we can all collectively grab this one!!!
    Two years ago I noticed that the Westminster Abbey Garden of Remembrance included a large Campaign Cross listing ALL Conflict zones where British soldiers had fallen since WW2 apart from, yep you guessed it, NO NI Cross. I asked for NIVA help and to be honest with you I felt badly let down and I left NIVA but that is now in the past. It was a long bitter fight with the RBL but along with outside help and assistance I managed to rectify this great injustice. Last years Armistice saw a NI inclusion for the first time so it can be done but you have to work at it and fight for it. The RBL eventually offered me a full appology but WTF was that all about? They only offered this for damage limitation. If they had wished for NI to be included then it would have always been there and all of this would never have got to the stage that it did. Today I am a happy bunny but here is another warning. Dont expect a shed load of NIVA helpers to become involved. In an ideal world maybe but if just some of us can privately and voluntarily visit these graves and carry out the above, then you can stand tall and if I was a religeous bloke, then Im sure the guys who you visit will be chuffed to bits but I aint so I cant promise you that but if you believe in this stuff, then all the better for many reasons. Me? Living over here I am out of the loop but I can tell you this. From now on, when ever I travel to the UK? I will carry a spray bottle of fungicide as recommended, a trowel, soft brush and a NIVA Poppy Cross and camera.
    Why not produce an official grave NIVA COVENANT policy? The problem has been identified, so we sort it out together!! Lest We Forget!

    Fear Naught

    Switches
    Spreading the gospel of NIVA at the Last Post Ceremony in Ypres, Belgium.
    www.nivets.org.uk

  10. #10
    Old Warhorse turned Admin. Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky 1st Class DeadHorse's Avatar
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    I have made a start in Kent.
    Quite a long story but I shall try to shorten it.
    First name on my list was easy (I thought) just a few miles away and postcode given.
    Looked it up on Goggle and away I went, searched through the church in Eynsford for Cpl Paul Harman, Int Corps,
    Laid to rest at St Botolphs Churchyard. DA4 0HE.
    Spent some time mooching around the headstones at DA4 0HE. Zilch.
    Then I had a look at the sign on front of church for telephone Nos etc. Wrong church.
    St Botolphs not in Eynsford - its in Lullington, actually in Lullingston Castle DA4 0HX.
    Place was a stately home, open to the public at certain hours, but NOT when I visited.
    Slipped under chainlink fence and sought for human permission to enter churchyard.
    Lord & Lady (Guy & Sarah Hart Dyke) of manor were taking tea on the lawn and waved me in the right direction saying "Go ahead, dear boy"
    Found grave immediately as it was a small churchyard with very well kept graves.
    Cpl Harmans was immediately obvious as it was the only white stone and had poppies and a wreath from the Intelligence Corps laid in tribute. I had no camera with me, but will return when I get one as it was immaculately tended. A real credit to the keepers.
    On to the next on my list. Cpl Alec Bannister. Queens Regt.
    Also easy (I thought) as name of church given (Parish Church of St Peter & Paul, Maidstone. Plot 9 No 7)
    Looked it up on Goggle...........there are several !!!!!!
    Teston seemed most likely - Zilch.
    Tried Aylesford next - more Zilch.
    Today I tried Ditton after recieving reply from Maidstone Diocese to try there.
    Yet more Zilch. This guy does not want to be found.
    I will mail Queens Association to see if they can provide me with a clue.
    There are several musicians from the Royal Marines killed in the bombing atrocity at Deal on September 22nd 1989.
    These lads will be much easier to find and I have every hope that the graves will be well looked after.
    Only a few others spread about the county, so watch this space.
    Once these Last Resting Places are found, photographed and checked for upkeep, then I feel I will have gone some way towards doing my duty by my comrades, both the living as well as the dead.
    But I am not doing 'that Yorkshire' {{{shudder}}}
    Last edited by DeadHorse; 26-04-2011 at 09:37 PM.
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