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Unmarked MM grave


Guest Desmond6
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is this the story your after

Memorial Appeal To Honour War Hero

Thursday 20th May 2004

A BUSHMILLSman is trying to raise £850 to erect a headstone in remembrance of a First World War hero who lies in an unmarked grave at Derrykeighan, Co Antrim.

Robert Thompson has recently been given permission to erect a headstone by Ballymoney Borough Council in memory of Private John Meeke.

He believes that something must be done to mark the grave of "such a brave young man".

Mr Thompson hopes the legendary generosity of people in Northern Ireland will come through for Private Meeke, more than 80 years after his death.

The absence of a headstone from his grave is made all the more poignant by the fact that his brother's grave in the same graveyard is marked by a Commonwealth War Graves headstone - John Meeke died two years after the cut off point for such a memorial.

"A Military Medal winner lying in an unmarked grave. It's just not fair," said Mr Thompson.

"I hope individuals and organisations will support this project so we can finally acknowledge the bravery of Private John Meeke".

Mr Thompson revealed an interesting example of the bravery of the war hero.

Pte Meeke, a stretcher bearer and a member of the original Ulster Volunteer Force, helped to take nationalist MP Major Willie Redmond from the slaughter of the Battle of Messines.

Using shell craters as shelter, the Ulsterman made his way across the battlefield towards Redmond.

After treating his shrapnel wounds, he made sure the major was taken back to the dressing station when the fighting subsided.

Despite the gallant efforts of Pte Meeke, for which he was awarded the Military Medal, Major Redmond died of his wounds.

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Guest Desmond6

Thanks to Perce for putting the actual story up.

If the British and Irish Governmental bodies ever wanted something to acknowledge the role played by soldiers from unionist and nationalist backgrounds in WW1 ... this is surely it. The man who won a MM for trying to save Willie Redmond under fire is in an unmarked grave. It's sad.

Des

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Guest gen_wizard

What a sad story. I know there are cut off dates but surely the CWGC should be able to do something. Being part of the British war graves project i have come across some CWGC grave stones dated 1957, but i suppose they got these for being in the services at the time of their death. I guess there are many sad cases like this all around the world and something should be done, not just for medal winners but for all like this. After all they all fought just as hard and died just as horribly as anyone else did.

Regards

Mike

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Mike

Sorry but you are wrong.

There are no CWGC headstones dated 1957 or any other date outside the qualifying dates for both world wars.

You are obviously seeing stones which look like CWGC headstones but are in fact Non-World War headstones to servicemen who died outside the qualifying dates or 'old soldiers'. These headstones have nothing to do with CWGC.

I posted pictures of these recently so that people could avoid confusing them with CWGC stones. See this thread http://1914-1918.org/forum/index.php?showt...ar+grave+versus

CWGC are not permitted under their Charter to become involved in any activity concerning graves outside their period.

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Terry's right - the man did not die in active service.

He cannot be entitled to a CWGC grave. However, I do believe that his action was incredibly significant. As a Northern Ireland forum member I firmly believe that this man should be remembered.

I am grateful to Mr. Thompson, who does excellent research work in the North Antrim area, for bringing this man's role to prominence. I knew the tiny villageof Bushmills was famous for the Giants Causeway, superb Whiskey and Rfn. Robert Quigg VC but I did not know of this man.

I hope the Governments do not have to pay a penny and that the people of Northern Ireland and the Republic chip in to help this cause. The politicos are missing a fantastic chance to adopt a cause which has the potential to bring many,many people together.

Des

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Des

Sadly, this man is not recognised by CWGC simply because he died after 31.08.21 - being on active service or not does not come into it.

I feel sure that, with the publicity, such a relatively small sum will be raised to be give this man his just recognition. I sincerely hope so.

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Guest gen_wizard

Terry,

I'm not sure of my history especially in the middle 50's. I have been coordinating for a few counties for the British war graves project as you have. I have found in one church yard 3 graves to some R.A.F. men that died on the same day in 1957. How are they entitled to a CWGC grave stone? As i said i'm not sure if there were any conflicts going on at the time as i'm not sure about this era.

Regards

Mike

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Mike

They are not entitled to a CWGC headstone - and they don't have one. If you read my post above, you will see that they have what is called a Non-World War Pattern headstone - similar to a CWGC stone but different.

These are not provided by CWGC but by either the MoD or by the next-of-kin. See the thread I listed above for photos. The top of the stone is the giveaway - apart from the date.

CWGC official war grave headstones can only appear on official war graves. An official war grave can only be dated 04.08.14 to 31.08.21 or 03.09.39 to 31.12.47. No other casualty outside these dates can have an official CWGC war grave - even if they died in conflict.

You will not find your three men (probably accident victims if they died on the same day) on the CWGC list. If you tell me their names and date of death, I may be able to track their details for you.

These Non-World War headstones often lead people to the erroneous conclusion that CWGC provides stones for periods other than the world wars. They do not.

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Guest gen_wizard

Terry,

Thankyou for enlightening me on this and i had thought that they must of died in an accident or something like that. Its incredable that men that died in Korea, the Falklands and the Gulf as well as other conflicts won't have a Commonwealth War Grave. I'll have to sort the names out when i get back off leave as i have lost the transcription i wrote down for them. I would appreciate it if you did try to find out how they died as i wouldn't know where to start with this date. :( Thanks again for putting me straight on this, i appreciate it.

Regards

Mike

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Mike

I too think it wrong that CWGC's Royal Charter was not extended to cover other conflicts. However, such is the case.

In reality CWGC do actually look after many (possibly the majority) of post-WW2 British military graves overseas as well as many from between the wars and a few pre-1914. These are the responsibility of the MoD but they 'contract out' the care and maintenance in most locations to CWGC. This is one of the few ways permitted under their Charter that CWGC can earn money - by using their skills in caring for cemeteries on an agency basis for another authority.

They care for such Non-World War graves all over the world - wherever we have had troops stationed - Kenya, Iraq, Germany, Cyprus, Hong Kong etc. However, they do not care for those in South Korea (looked after by the UN as it was one of their operations) and the Falklands 1982 conflict (MoD care for those as they are on the spot - although the WW1 and WW2 War Graves on the islands are CWGC's responsibility!).

CWGC also care for some Non-World War graves in the UK including the Chelsea Pensioners at Brookwood and many odd burials of 'old soldiers' in war plots around the country.

This caring however does not make these graves official War Graves.

If you can tell me which cemetery your three RAF men are in, I may be able to track them from there.

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