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Remembered Today:

Original Wooden Cross


munchkin
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Hi All,

I was wondering after seeing the old photos of the original wooden crosses that were erected on the graves of men who died in the great war, if these were saved.

Is it that they are still stored somewhere or were they all destroyed ??.

Thanks

Glynn.

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This i know for Flanders.

A lot were used as fire wood. Some were used to make things of it (certainly the German oak ones). Some were kept away, and are now expensive militaria collectibles.

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I have read somewhere that original crosses were often offered to the family of the original soldier when the stone replacement was about to be set up. I don't know if this was true, or it it was a universal thing. The numbers involved were enormous, of course.

There is an article HERE about original crosses preserved in the UK.

Of course, in the case of unknown burials there was no known family to offer the cross to. I once tested the theory (put forward here by Kristof) that these crosses were simply burned. I looked very carefully outside the walls of some large cemeteries, just after ploughing, looking for evidence of a fire and found two examples where there were lots of charred wood in the ground. One was at Delville Wood Cemetery, and the other was at Tyne Cot Cemetery. In both places I found the remains of the metal strips which were stamped with the soldier's details and then fixed to the grave. Both were from "unknown" graves.

The top one in the picture came from Delville Wood, the lower one from Tyne Cot.

post-19-1090233626.jpg

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Guest dinkidi

G'day

I am almost certain there is one in the Chapel at Talbot House, Poperinge.

There is a TocH website which may have details. i think the cross may have been from the grave of the brother of Tubby Clayton.

ooRoo

Pat

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Several years ago, Hilary Wheeler, the Memorials Officer of the Western Front Association, compiled a list of known surviving crosses. There was a considerable number. Several articles appeared, not, I think, in "Stand To!" but in the WFA Bulletin. It might be worth trying to contact her via the WFA website or, if you are a WFA member, by looking up her address in the Bulletin.

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G'day

I am almost certain there is one in the Chapel at Talbot House, Poperinge.

There is a TocH website which may have details. i think the cross may have been from the grave of the brother of Tubby Clayton.

ooRoo

Pat

Pat - This is the original grave marker of Gilbert Talbot, after whom the house was named. He was the brother of Neville Talbot, "Tubby" Clayton's fellow chaplain and co-founder of Talbot House.

Tom

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In October 2002 the IWM Inventory had 377 Battlefield Crosses listed in England, 12 in Wales and 10 in Scotland. I don't know how many were listed in Ireland but if you want to contact the departmernt to check email: memorials@iwm.org.uk

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The large memorial cross (about 8 ft high) erected by the DLI on top of the Butte de Warlencourt was returned to Durham Cathedral, if my memory serves me right.

Phil B

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Thanks Andy, Tom, Myrtle, Phil, Kristof and Chris.

Chris i have emailed Hilary Wheeler (I hope you dont mind me using your name). I will let you know the outcome.

Once again thanks to you all.

Glynn.

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Hi all,

There are two original wooden crosses in the Upper Room of Talbot Hse. One, as mentioned above is Gilbert Talbots original Grave Marker. The other one is from an unknown soldiers grave.

Regards

Iain

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There is an original cross in the church of St. Philip and St. James, Blackrock, Co. Dublin. The text reads:

SPECIAL CROSS

BELIEVED TO BE BURIED IN THIS CEMETERY

ACTUAL GRAVE UNKNOWN

LIEUT. J. F. HEALY

2/ ATT. 9/ R. I. RIFLES. 2/3/7/16

post-19-1090274287.jpg

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I have recently seen two to members of the 85th Battalion C.E.F. in private hands here in Nova Scotia. I can not remember the names off the top of my head however.

Best regards

N.S.Regt.

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Guest AmericanDoughboy

In Verdun, there is a small area that contains about five actual wooden crosses from 1916 that bury the brave French soldiers who fixed bayonets and were waiting to go over the top but were buried alive before the attack. All that could be seen were their bayonets sticking out of the ground. Eventually the bayonets were removed but the crosses still remain as a memorial in the same area of that disasterous wait.

-Doughboy

post-19-1090275697.gif

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Guest dinkidi
Thanks Andy, Tom, Myrtle, Phil, Kristof and Chris.

Once again thanks to you all.

Glynn.

That's allright mate, anytime!

G'day Tom

Thanks! [What's that about a little knowledge?, but it does help when others provide the extra bits ;) ]

G'day agen Iain!

And just in case Someone thinks I'd let a chance go by, I would like to remind people that Tubby Clayton was Australian born.

ooRoo

Pat

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In Verdun, there is a small area that contains about five actual wooden crosses from 1916 that bury the brave French soldiers who fixed bayonets and were waiting to go over the top but were buried alive before the attack. All that could be seen were their bayonets sticking out of the ground. Eventually the bayonets were removed but the crosses still remain as a memorial in the same area of that disasterous wait.

-Doughboy

that is called: "la tranchée des baionettes" = the trench of bayonets.

An strange story about it.

In the '30's a priest and some youngsters (scouts?) were cleaning up the site + restoring the trench memorial.

At the evening they made a nice camp fire to make it causy. But the fire was on top of ... a shell. The shell exploded and killed the priest (i was told a WW1 veteran) and several boys. There is a monument for them at the foot of the hill were this trench memorial is. I have been there. Sad story... :(

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