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Favourite Gravestone Inscription


ianw
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I have never forgotten the following inscription seen on an Australian headstone at Villiers Bretonneux. This was on my first visit to the Western Front courtesy of the original Major & Mrs Holts Tours.

“Tread softly, my son lies here”

Apologies if this is not exact, it was many years ago.

Norman

I think this is the one Norman refers to, he is actually Canadian.

post-7183-1227691520.jpg

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I have two,

After travelling through the battlefields of the Western Front and Gallipoli, Which Aussie backpacker hasn't been there, I've see quite a few epitaphs. I also have the book, We Will Remember Them, by John Laffin.

ON FAME'S ETERNAL CAMPING GROUND

THEIR SILENT TENTS ARE SPREAD

On the grave of Captain Clarence Smith Jeffries VC, 34th Battalion, AIF, Tyne Cot Cemetery.

ONE CROWDED HOUR OF GLORIOUS LIFE

IS WORTH AN AGE WITHOUT A NAME

Corporal A.C. Howat, 14th Battalion, AIF, Beach Cemetery, Gallipoli.

Cheers Andy.

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Pte S. Owens Training Reserve aged 18

Forget Him. No

Not While Life

& Memory Lasts

Mother & Family

Flt Cdt George L Robinson PPCLI att RAF

too far away thy grave to see

but not to far too think of thee

Neil

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  • 1 month later...

Dear All,

Have gone through this and a few other threads carefully to collect as much info as possible on the "how and what" of the cost/charge of personal inscriptions.

Below is what you might call my "write-up" ... would appreciate any comments if incorrect or incomplete. Also remember reading about the Canadian policy but cannot find it anymore. Thanks in advance for your comments.

eric

Relatives of a fallen soldier were allowed to choose a personal inscription not to exceed sixty-six letters, the space between two words counting as one letter. It was initially decided to charge for inscriptions, as it was felt that by paying, relatives would have more of a personal stake in the grave. Threepence half penny in old money was charged per letter, with a maximum charge of £1.

Although a number of families paid the charge there was much grumbling at the time that the soldiers had already paid it many times over with their blood. In some cases WW1 widows received help from their local authorities and for those who had not paid up front the “debts” were not vigorously chased and if after sending a gentle reminder the debt was not paid, the IWGC would drop the charge.

However the fact that a charge, which was significant, was due must have been a barrier to the poorest of families who were struggling just to get a meal on the table, hence so many headstones without an epitaph. Later in the 1920’ies, the charge was made voluntary and as from 1925 the “income from personal inscriptions” item disappears from the IWGC accounting.

New Zealand soldiers normally did not have epitaphs engraved on their headstones, as the New Zealand government of the time did not offer this option to the families of its soldiers, but in the case of 'Special memorials', a standard epitaph was inscribed. This was 'Their Glory Shall Not Be Blotted Out'.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi, this is my first post. Very much enjoyed this thread and am grateful for the tremendous knowledge that is shared by the members. I teach history in Peking and spent the summer cycling throughout Belgium and the Somme. A few inscriptions that come to mind (I didn't manage to see them thus far in the thread)

One is from Bapaume Post CWGC for 2nd Lieutenant C. Edwards, East Yorkshire Regiment, died aged 23 on 29i17:

"He responded to Lord Kitchener's appeal August 1914 and died for his country." (http://tinyurl.com/b47jcv)

From Driver Fernald from the Canadian Field Artillery in Lijssenthoek (I saw whilst having the honour of being given a tour by George Sutherland):

'A volunteer from the USA to avenge the Lusitania Murder'

http://tinyurl.com/c7y2ge

Cunningham-Reid's inscription in Cement House is the longest I saw and amazed Colin, my personal tour guide I was fortunate to run into whilst staying at Talbot House in Poeringhe:

SENT 60 MILES

TO PROTECT ANOTHER

HE FOUGHT IN THE AIR

FOR HALF AN HOUR

SURROUNDED BY THE ENEMY

ENABLING RECONNAISSANCE

MACHINE TO RETURN SAFELY

LOVED BY ALL

http://tinyurl.com/bht8c7

Striking, but moving?

My favourite? Reading it on a computer screen is one thing and I agree with those here who say it can never match reading it in person. Someone here has already mentioned Streets's in Euston St. CWGC. To read the lines after cyckling for 14 hours and watching the sun descend in the fields across the little road does something to one.http://tinyurl.com/b45dul

But the one that strikes me that no-one has mentioned has to be the unique inscription of Langton at Poelkapelle CWGC, inscribed not with words but with the notation for one of his own musical compositions. http://tinyurl.com/csqfle

I've been reading Overy's Blood on the Snows and appreciate his contention than when discussing the horror of war, historians may need to take a backseat to the poets in making sense out of the senselessness. So too with music.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This was the first grave I went to find and being a parent it touched me.

REST DEAR SON

THY VICTORY WON

WE SHALL MEET AGAIN

BELOVED ONE

GNR C C H Spencer

Bedford House

Mark

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My Great Uncle's headstone reads

MAN'S INHUMANITY TO MAN CAUSED COUNTLESS THOUSANDS TO MOURN

It makes me want to know which if my ancestors came up with those words ...

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Suzie

It's from Robbie Burns - "Man Was Made To Mourn: A Dirge"

Bob

Thankyou Bob. Something else for me to read :D^_^

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Here are a few taken from the headstones of fallen Hampshire Regiment soldiers that have left a lasting impression:

A GOOD SOLDIER OF JESUS CHRIST

IN MEMORY OF MY DEAR HUSBAND

WHO DIED FOR HIS COUNTRY

NOT GONE FROM MEMORY

NOT GONE FROM LOVE

BUT GONE TO OUR FATHER'S

HOME ABOVE

OF SUCH WAS ENGLAND

AND OF SUCH IS

THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

OMNIA VINCIT AMOR (Love Conquers All)

BENEATH

IN AN UNTIMELY GRAVE

A LOVING SON

A WARRIOR BRAVE

THEY NEVER FALL

WHO DIED IN A GREAT CAUSE

(BYRON)

HIS LIFE WAS GOOD

HIS END WAS BRAVE

GOD WATCH AND GUARD

OUR HERO'S GRAVE

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Harry_Vincent

Hi Everyone,

I'm in my Second Year of University studying History and it's come to the point of the year in which we having to start choosing our dissertations. I was immediatly decided on the First World War because of Family connections to it. Having done some reading on it I came across a young man called 2nd Lietenant Arthur Conway Young 4th Bn., attd. 7th/8th Bn., Royal Irish Fusiliers who on his commonwealth grave has "Sacrificed to the fallacy that war can end war" (He's buried at Tyne Cot)

I was wondering if anyone else has come across any controversial grave messages that essentially stick the fingers up at the government such as his and if so could they send me pictures or details, I would be very grateful for this, my email address is starvinmarvin108@hotmail.com

Thanks very much in advance

regards

Harry Vincent

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  • 4 weeks later...

Another Personal Inscription in Danish for our Danish friends above.

On the grave of 90523 Pte Viggo Michael RASMUSSEN, 2nd Bn King's (Liverpool Regiment), "son of Jens Rasmussen and Maren Rasmussen of Sct. Pederstraede 273, Copenhagen", in Mikra Cemetery, Greece:

HVIL I FRED

I FREMMED JORD

LANGT BORTE FRA

DIN FAR & MOR

Rest In Peace / In Foreign Soil / Far Away From / Your Father & Mother

Photo available if required.

Hej!

Adrian

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  • 1 year later...

A few which struck me on my last visit... :(

Be not far from me

For trouble is near

there is no one to help me

All the souls of those that die

Are but sunbeams lifted higher

Be it Known to all

That I died happy

I gave my life for thee

What Hast Thou done for me?

Sacrificed

All's well

Nothing in my hand I bring

Simply to the cross i cling

His last words were

" I am not afraid

I have done my duty"

Bravely he fought and nobly he fell

Dying a hero Amid shot and shell

I gave my all

I can no more

Killed while attending

wounded under fire

He like a soldier fell

For king and country

On 18th Birthday

Asleep with the unreturnable brave

They asked for volunteers for France

Of course i was one 8/9/14

Let there be no more war

Better to go out with honour

Than to survive with shame

.... Heart wrenching..... P.S if anyone wants info on where each epitaph is found and on whose grave it reads or wants pictures, i have photos of all and info of all, so pm me...

Dave.

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  • 9 months later...

"In giving his life for England's sake

Lost all but England's praise".

SPN

Maldon

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  • 1 month later...

Brings a lump to my throat reading alot of these posts and seeing the pictures. An article I read in one of the papers a few years ago close to Rememberance Sunday I think it was the Daily Mail on how all that grief, anger and sorrow by fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters 90 odd years ago has all gone as they themselves have passed on and all we are left is words on gravestones in letters and in archives. I wish I had cut the article out and kept it as it was very poignant at the time and still is.

All the best

Dazz

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  • 1 year later...

I saw this one somewhere on the internet a few days ago:

"For our tomorrows

They gave their today"

So beautiful & touching I wrote it down

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  • Admin

This one on the grave of Private L Shilton, Lancashire Fusiliers KIA 4-11-18 really got to me a few weeks ago. he is buried in Ors comminal cemetery

"One day our Lord was gathering flowers. At eventide he gathered ours"

Michelle

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I saw this one somewhere on the internet a few days ago:

"For our tomorrows

They gave their today"

So beautiful & touching I wrote it down

Kylie

It is part of what is known as the Kohima Epitaph from WW2 but was actually written in 1916 by John Maxwell Edmonds.

http://www.burmastar.org.uk/epitaph.htm

Glen

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  • Admin

"Only goodnight son til we meet again"

Cpl E W Serls, 44th Btn AIF, Tyne Cot

"A Wiltshire Farmers Lad"

Pte T H Embury,Wiltshire Regiment, Warlencourt British Cemetery

Michelle

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