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Remembered Today:

Laying of wreaths on Graves.


JohnW
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Sorry if this information is elsewhere on the forum, i couldn't find it. Silly question time. I plan on visiting my GG Uncles gave in Arras in May. Question- Am i allowed too lay a small Wreath at his grave, from the family? I genuinely don't know the policy. I know a small cross would be okay, but a wreath? If acceptable, too anyones knowledge, do wreaths remain in place for a while, or are they removed fairly quickly by staff. Many Thanks in advance.

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You have no problem with laying a wreath; even a large one can be laid. A few years ago I laid a wreath on the grave of my wife's uncle (admittedly a WW2 death).

Over the years I have seen plenty of others laid in France and Belgium. I don't know how long the gardeners leave them on the grave but to me the act of leaving a wreath is more important than how long it stays for.

Garth

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I once visited a cemetery in France in March, and a friend laid a wreath in memory of a school friend who was killed in Normandy. I happened to visit the same cemetery three months later and the wreath was still there.

Basically, I think the CWGC gardeners leave them until they fall to pieces, and then remove them. But poppy wreaths and other floral tributes are always allowed in CWGC cemeteries. Burials in French churchyard or communal cemeteries should be treated the same but may not always be.

Ron

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Only a subset of the wreaths available from Royal British Legion are supposed to be used in France (due to local legislation) - this is clearly explained on the RBL website. Poppy wreaths are I think the only artifical flowers permitted in French cemeteries.

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Only a subset of the wreaths available from Royal British Legion are supposed to be used in France (due to local legislation) - this is clearly explained on the RBL website. Poppy wreaths are I think the only artifical flowers permitted in French cemeteries.

The relevant French law says that no artifical flowers of any sort can be laid in a war cemetery or grave. An exception (which is clearly stated) is for British poppy wreaths.

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That was my understanding, too, but when I mentioned this at a French cemetery (where there were some CWGC headstones) my attention was drawn to some French civilian graves where artificial flowers, in the form of porcelain painted wreaths, appeared on several tombstones. Perhaps the law does not apply to ordinary burials, merely to floral tributes left later?

Ron

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That was my understanding, too, but when I mentioned this at a French cemetery (where there were some CWGC headstones) my attention was drawn to some French civilian graves where artificial flowers, in the form of porcelain painted wreaths, appeared on several tombstones. Perhaps the law does not apply to ordinary burials, merely to floral tributes left later?

Ron

In ordinary cemeteries, artificial flowers are OK, but on war graves and memorials they are a very definite NO (and the law says so quite explicitly).

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Thanks healdav. That makes sense.

Ron

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As regards German war cemeteries in France,I have seen wreaths laid bearing artificial flowers from time to time.

I remember such a large wreath to the memory of a group of WW2 German occupation dead in the cemetery at Malmaison at the western end of the Chemin des Dames, linked in an incident in Orleans where they appeared to have suffered a large loss of life.

I would agree that artificial flowers can be seen on graves in French civilian cemeteries......the French seem to have an expertise in manufacturing quality artificial flowers.

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