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British War Cemetery


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Hello all,

I am researching my past and have come across my great grandfather Henry Nichols apart from trying to find a date which he signed up for the army I am curious as to why he was moved from his original burial. After being killed Henry was buried in Kiboko wood cemetary before being moved to a assevillers british war cemetery. I was wondering why soldiers were moved from their original burials to a bigger cemetery where as some soiders were left where they were buried.

When would these reburials have taken place ?

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I was wondering why soldiers were moved from their original burials to a bigger cemetery where as some soiders were left where they were buried.

It's all about returning land to their civilian owners and ensuring that the "concentration" cemeteries could remain in existance "in perpetuity" (although I doubt whether the law in the UK, or elsewhere, actually means "forever")

Most concentrations were carried out in the early 1920s.

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From CWGC...

post-1356-0-62607100-1402317011_thumb.pn

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Hello John,

I did some extra reading and found that quite wealthy people bought the land which these smaller cemeteries were on or the land owner kept it as a memorial. Although I know the big cemeteries today are commonwealth soil wouldn’t these smaller cemeteries owned by French farmers these days be governed by French Law right from when the war ended ?

There must be a social aspect to this I mean if they started moving graves of WW1 soldiers from these cemeteries where there are marked graves there would be an outcry I am guessing.

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I think you are a trifle mistaken in assuming that farmers and land owners would "want" to keep these original burials and memorials in situ.

Often they were simply the most convenient locations at the time, but not always convenient once the War had ended and civilians returned to their properties.

It would be impractical as well, would you expect there to be no exhumations, just isolated plots scattered all over the landscapes and fields be unable to be ploughed..

The "concentration" of many small graveyards was also the time for battlefield burials to be brought into proper cemeteries, not simply left in trenches, shell holes or wherever.

That also provided a chance to actually identify many of the remains, so that they could be reburied with the dignity of their Name, unit or rank.

Don't forget your relative was buried as a known identity, but many thousands were not, only body density maps revealing how many burials there were all over the battlefields..

Whilst I can't tell you when he enlisted, he was the 4th fatality in the 2425xx series, the 1st being killed on Feb 22nd 1917.

He would also have known this chap fairly well...

O'DOWD, MARTIN. Rank: Private. Service No: 242558. Date of Death: 19/06/1917. Age: 38.
Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment. 1st/6th Bn.
Panel Reference: Bay 3. Memorial: ARRAS MEMORIAL
Additional Information: Son of Michael and Bridget O'Dowd, of Fano, Croghan, Boyle, Co. Roscommon.
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Hello all

I believe that under French law "in perpetuity" means for a hundred years. The current agreement between the CWGC and the French Government is dated about 1951, I understand, having been revised after WW2, so we are OK for a while yet.

Ron

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Hello Kevin,

I totally overlooked trying to find the next serial number I had some strange idea that they would be in totally different battalions. I will get researching on this. Were the serial numbers often groups together in the same platoons for example ?

I knew there was some law that meant that graves were protected. I didn't have the relevent infomation to back it up though.

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The treaty has been updated since 1951, I understand; in fact relatively recently, in the last twenty years or so. In any case, I think in perpetuity between states means something rather different than for standard French burials in communal cemeteries.

As regards Kiboko Wood cemetery, I see that there were only 30 or so burials; this would have been too small to qualify for a permanent site, when the 'minimum' was 40, give or take one or two. In addition, it might well have very difficult to get to. Finally, landowners might not agree to the ceding of the land (I assume that they got some compensation, asyou will notice that the inscription on the wall of a cemetery says that it has been donated by the relevant state, with a few exceptions, such as St Symphorien near Mons or Orchard (I think that's the right name) Cemetery near Arleux, which were outright donations by the landowner or donated by a family member.

I notic that all of the concentrations noted above were of significnatly fewer than the 'magic' 40; a guidlien budget for the creation of cemeteries or at last the stand alone ones) led to the '40' figure. If in Geman or French cemeteries these were probably themselves concentratedto bigger national cemeteries (for whatever reason) which meant that the British ones would likely have to go s well. Finally, it would appear that some communes wanted them shifted, again for whatever reason - the number of possible ones are considerable.

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Micah, men with similar Service/Regimental numbers would no doubt be in the same preliminary training unit, but thereafter every permutation could happen, so there's no absolute certainty without access to the actual Service Records, which no longer exist in the majority of cases.

They would often form drafts as reinforcements for battle losses once they had completed their basic training in the UK, but even if they stayed together in one block, on reaching their destined battalion, no sensible commander would group all the raw recruits in one company, but spread them out amongst the more seasoned veterans. Friends, however could often manage to be in the same platoon or company within that battalion.

So, the short answer is "possibly, but not necessarily!"

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Hello Kevin,

This was useful for me to know and I will take a look into the service history of Martin o Dowd. This could bring some interesting infomation up. It is interesting I always had this image that he went with his battalion to war. Will have to look into replacement lists if I can find any.

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