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Commonwealth War Graves Juristiction


jemm
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Hi, Can anyone tell me please. In my local cemetery there are 60 soldiers buried, all named on the CWGC list and all with commonwealth war grave status. I assume that the graves were bought privately at the time of the deaths of these men by their families, and none have official CWG headstones. The headstone that are on the graves which are actually only about 25 out of the 60, were crafted by our local stone mason. So my question is does the CWGC have any jurisdiction over these graves ?

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No

If the the grave is unmarked, or the family gravestone deteriorates so that the commemoration of the casualty is no longer readable, the CWGC is responsible for providing a commemoration.

They will attempt to make contact with the grave owner for permission to carry out work on the grave (installing a headstone).

If it proves impossible to mark the grave (for whatever reason) the commemoration can be elsewhere in the cemetery, (such as on a screen wall).

CGM

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Are any of the unmarked graves common graves?

If so it is likely that it is not possible to add a headstone to the grave so a screen wall commemoration or a headstone elsewhere with Known to be Buried in the Cemetery, or similar wording, would be required.

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jemm: If you give the cemetery details, no doubt a more correct answer can be provided for that specific cemetery, rather than a generalisation which may not be correct for it!

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What if there are other family members in the same plot?

If the stone with all the names deteriorates such that other names as well as the casualty's name are no longer visible it is outside the remit of the CWGC to include those names on their stone.

If the grave is unmarked, with the family's permission, it is possible to add a CWGC stone if other members of the family are buried there.

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Assuming it is Bacup (Fairwell) Cemetery, this is the information from the CWGC webpage for that cemetery.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/40901/BACUP%20(FAIRWELL)%20CEMETERY

Country: United Kingdom Locality: Lancashire Identified Casualties: 83 Location Information

This is West of the town, near the Newchurch road.

Historical Information

All of the burials are now named on a Screen Wall memorial, behind the Cross of Sacrifice, near the chapel.

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Yes there is a screen wall and all the men buried in the cemetery are memorialised on the screen wall. I did actually ring CWG after I posted and spoke to a lovely lady who told me more or less what you have said CGM, thank you for taking time to reply. :)

My reason for asking was, following publication of my book Where Heroes Rest earlier this year, which tells the stories behind the 60 men buried in the cemetery plus a further 60 + commemorated on family headstones but buried elsewhere ie Belgium, France and other theatres. There was some interest locally in the fact that only 25 of the 60 graves are visible, the headstones of the other 35 have either been vandalised and removed or sunken below ground out of view. A group has now shown an interest in tidying up the graves and marking the unmarked graves with wooden crosses etc, along with cleaning the headstones of those graves where men buried elsewhere are commemorated.

I was told that someone from the CWGC told the group they were not to touch the graves of the men buried there ie ( war graves ) as they, the CWGC look after those.

My query was due to this. Im not sure exactly what was said as it was hearsay, but my view was. When the majority of the 60 soldiers were buried in the cemetery their graves were private graves, their headstones private ones made by the then local stone mason, and whilst the lads are on the CWG lists, and their graves are deemed war graves, surely the commission couldn't claim complete jurisdiction over these graves. After speaking to the lady today I am sure there has been crossed messages. But we will see :) Thanks to all for replying.

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Jemm,

As I understand it, the grave will enjoy the legal rights afforded to it as a registered war grave. If however, it is a private grave, any ornamentation or memorial put in place and paid for by the owners of the grave will need the permission of the current legal owners before any third party can carry out any work on it. Also any restrictions or policies of the cemetery owners will have to be complied with.

Phil

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