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Remembered Today:

Getting something fixed in a UK cemetery.


ulsterlad2
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As I understand it, local authorities (in this case The Council) look after CWGC graves on behalf of the CWGC in local cemeteries. Or at least help to look after them. On a recent visit to a cemetery near me I noticed that a particular headstone had been crowded out by excess foliage from the next grave. What's the best way to get that sorted? Should I just tell the cemetery or should I pass my concerns to the CWGC so they can contact the cemetery.

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Check out this earlier thread: complaint about the state of ww1 graves in my local cemetry - Great War Forum. I hope it helps.

Also are you sure it is a CWGC grave and not a private one? I'm not quite sure about the shape - but others I'm sure will know (for sure).

HTH

David

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Looks a private headstone to me - the top doesnt look CWGC.

That said, if it's a war grave CWGC will be responsible. Easy for ulsterlad2 to ckeck - is the man listed on the Commission's website.

John

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Which cemetery is it? Do you have the name?

John is right in that it is not apparently a CWGC stone. It has the clipped corners of a Non-World War stone although the top appears flat which would be wrong for such a marker. It is possibly a private stone which has copied the CWGC style.

The pic is a bit small to be certain though.

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Another gripe of mine!

One of our local churchyards (Burbage, Buxton) is in a poor state as well. As the attached photo shows the headstone is in good condition and seems to have been recently renewed - it's the area around the graves that are in disrepair, making access very difficult.

Last November I couldn't get (safely) close enough to lay a small wooden cross of remembrance on some of them.

Is this the CWGC job or the local authority or the parish council? It would be good to know so I can get on to someone about it!

Graham

post-37838-1237375214.jpg

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Only care of the grave is CWGC's responsibility.

Other areas and access is the responsibility of the cemetery owner. CWGC has agreements with many owners to keep paths to war graves clear.

Take it up with whoever owns the cemetery.

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Well, it obviously is a "normal" stone (there must have been a "trick of the light" in the earlier photo. So, yes, report it to CWGC and they'll contact whoever they are contracted with to maintain it (probably the cemetery owners).

John

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Well. It is certainly a war grave. Strange how the first photo seemed to add clipped corners!

If you contact the CWGC UK Area Office, they will take up the matter for you. You can contact them by email via the CWGC website.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After Terry's reply to my earlier query about a local churchyard, I emailed CWGC and got a very fast reply, part of which reads:

"The responsibility of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is the maintenance of the war graves and the headstones themselves and does not extend to the condition of the graveyard or cemetery as a whole. We do, however, work closely with many church and cemetery authorities in order to encourage them to maintain the whole site.I will pass your comments and kind offer of assistance on to the Regional Supervisor for his information and action where necessary.

We are sorry that on your visit to Burbage (Christ Church) Churchyard you found the war graves in less than satisfactory condition, but please be assured that we will not let the names of those war casualties buried there to be forgotten."

... which is great, I'm now going to nag the Parish Council about it.

Not a great deal new here but thought you would like to know outcome so far.

Graham

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  • 1 month later...

Answers all straight forward so far. These three in a local cemetery have me wondering though.

All are CWD, and are listed on CWGC site. But the first two are definately private headstones, the third I suspect was a private stone. So what is CWGCs position relating to these three graves, the topple test and missing headstones.One officer has a brand new CWGC headstone in this cemy, but some of the other headstones are not in the best of condition. Should the condition of the three stones (including the missing one) be reported to CWGC, or local council, or is only family responsible for private stones. I have the gut feeling that the families of these servicemen did not know that they would be elegible for a CWGC stone.

  1. J.B.Archer, & Brother E.Archer: Failed the Topple Test.
  2. H.F.Cooke: Survived The Topple Test, for a while.
  3. W.G.Farley:
    Bare Plot, no stone
    . EDIT: Farley's Headstone is the one in the picture with the Cross. Not quite like the plan.

th_29-04-09_1538Small.jpg th_29-04-09_1518Small.jpg th_29-04-09_1525Small.jpg

Clicking on any of the thumbnails will link to a larger image.

Alan

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Always express any concerns to CWGC's UK Area office in Leamington Spa.

CWGC are not responsible for private stones and they will only try to get permission to erect a CWGC stone if the name is unreadable or otherwise unfitting (our idea of 'unfitting' and theirs will almost certainly be different). They cannot prevent private graves being toppled etc as they have no rights over such private property. However, as they hint in the quote above, they will do their best to bring pressure to bear.

With the unmarked grave, you have to be aware of the full circumstances. There are a number of unmarked war graves in the UK where the NoK or cemetery authorities have refused permission for CWGC to erect a headstone. It is their wish that the grave remains unmarked. In these circumstances CWGC cannot force the grave owners to have a stone. Over the years many such grave owners have given permission in the end but there remain a number who will not. CWGC is planning a new memorial to record the names of these 'Relatives Refused' graves and this will be built at Brookwood in a few years time.

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Thanks for that Terry. What would the CWGCs view be on a stone that was damaged and disposed of?

It is probable that today that many families do not know of the graves of relatives who are buried in the U.K., and as such would not have any idea's about repair or replacement.

Alan

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If there was no longer a private stone providing commemoration, they would almost certianly seek permission to erect an official stone.

Bear in mind, that they have to get permission from the grave owner if possible and certainly from the cemetery authority. Some local authorities or church authorities do refuse such permission for various reasons.

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The Archer cross is obviously in very good condition, but not securely mounted. I have seen numbers of such monuments where the top element has become detached and was apparently only fixed in place with a very short stud and a small amount of adhesive compound. I presume monumental masons are loath to apply a large amount of cement in case they are later asked to add another layer of stone to a family monument, but it would surely be easy enough to use four longer studs, which would hold the cross in place even if the cement failed altogether.

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  • 2 months later...
Another gripe of mine!

One of our local churchyards (Burbage, Buxton) is in a poor state as well. As the attached photo shows the headstone is in good condition and seems to have been recently renewed - it's the area around the graves that are in disrepair, making access very difficult.

Last November I couldn't get (safely) close enough to lay a small wooden cross of remembrance on some of them.

Is this the CWGC job or the local authority or the parish council? It would be good to know so I can get on to someone about it!

Graham

post-37838-1237375214.jpg

I have this afternnon been back to this Churchyard Cemetery - despite the rain - and although the main area is as bad as ever, the areas around the CWG sites have been roughly strimmed, so at least you can get at them. Compare my new photo below with the one in my post in March.

Perhaps Terry can pass on my thanks to whoever at CWGC was responsible - clearly someone has had a word in the right ear.

However, I have a lot of sympathy as all these churchyard are looked after by volunteers.

post-37838-1248277777.jpg

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To my knowledge the CWGC pays a nominal fee to cemeteries/churchyards for the maintenance of the areas around war graves.

My local cemetery action group receives these fees and we just keep the weeds down and report any damage or deterioration.

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Re The first post.

Hi. Back in March I emailed CWGC. I know that it can be months & months before replies are made though tbh, I'm not really looking for a reply to me personnally but I would like to see this sorted properly.

Gunner Robert McAughey RFA. Dundonald Cemetery, Belfast. F4. 419.

March 09 Photo

post-33142-1248899080.jpg

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How about going armed with a set of clippers and doing it yourself. If anyone argues, give them the bits and a tube of glue.

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