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Favourite Gravestone Inscription


ianw
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So pleased you found it Peter. I took some photos at Bedford House cemetery a few weeks ago and checked, but didn't have the one you wanted. Each time I visit a cemetery, an inscription seems to catch my eye (or more often my throat). The inscriptions that left me having to walk away on my own in tears and leave my two companions for a while, were those at the new Pheasant Wood cemetery. These inscriptions were composed only very recently and therefore reflect the recent emotions of loved ones.

Judy

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I know exactly what you mean Judy. I also visited Pheasant Wood Cemetery recently, and felt the same. I also thought what a big responsibility it was to choose the words to put on a headstone of someone you are related too but have never met.

Mandy

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  • 2 weeks later...

I note that this thread is now just over 10 years old. Thanks to everyone one that has posted fascinating inscriptions on it.

Cheering to think that these "intimate whispers from the past" continue to emotionally undo us regularly when we visit the cemeteries. Long may this continue.

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A couple of years ago I was on the Western Front with the North Lancashire WFA group in the Somme area and came across this inscription " SO LONG". Its very casualness makes you think. Over all there are some lovely and sincere quotes that often bring a lump to the throat

Richard

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Hello all.

Of course Derry House.

In loving Memory of My Only Son

A Better Son Never Lived.

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I always find this one rather haunting: twin brothers in Teversham churchyard, near Cambridge. The wording is of course traditional but the sense of loss is tangible.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Like crowded forest trees they stood, and some were marked to fall

Rifleman Frederick William Garland 23-March 1916 age 18

Bellacourt Cemetery, Riviere

Michelle

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  • 2 weeks later...

My personal favourite (I think at Lonsdale Cemetery) is "He was a white man" a phrase we do not hear much of anymore but to older generations conveys a degree of pride, admiration and an example of the deceased sense fair play that is hard to put into words. Unfortunately such a thing would now be looked upon as politically incorrect, but I understood and so will many others who read it.

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Pozier British Cemetery

Pvt L R Harper 22 July 1916 Aged 18. 1st Bn Australion Inf AIF. Son of David James and Edith Jane Harper of Paddington, New South Wales.

"No shot can strike me in the heart

for that I left with you mother"

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"I knew his worth, I loved him"- a really touching tribute from a wife to a lost husband. To be found at Auchonvillers. There was also a genrerous one that I saw in Railway Hollow- something about "France being a grand country and worth fighting for". I'm misquoting here- perhaps somebody on the board knows the full and correct inscription?

Mark

Railway Hollow Cemetery on The Somme. Pvt A Goodlad York & Lancaster Regt 1 July 1916 Aged 23

The French are a grand nation

Worth fighting for

The epitaph was taken from a letter he had written home to his parents.

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I make a point of placing a flower on this grave every year.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The 'Shot At Dawn' inscription is on the grave of Private Albert Ingham, 18th Manchesters at Bailleulmont, north of the Somme. He is one of three men of the same battlaion executed at the end of 1916 and buried there. The inscription was requested by his father and there was allegedly some controversy before it was accepted. Perhaps a Pal knows more details about the dispute.

Albert Ingham, God Bless him

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In a cemetery in Arlecdon Cumbria there is a headstone of a James Pascoe, Scots Gaurds.

PRIVATE JAMES PASCOE.

16104,SCOTS GAURDS.

WHO DIED AGE 23.

ON 11th DECEMBER 1918.

SON OF WILLIAM AND ANNIE PASCOE,OF 19 LOW ARLECDON,FRIZINGTON.

REMEMBERED WITH HONOUR.

ARLECDON(ST.MICHAEL)CHURCHYARD

And inscribed on the headstone is one of the most touching words I have seen.

You watched for my coming home:

Now i will watch for you.

And when you reach those pearly gates.

I will come and lead you through.

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What you have put on there Deacs reminds me of John Oxenham - From the Vision Splendid..

In a letter to his family from a soldier at the Front in the First World War. I am sending you all my keys except the latch. That I will keep, so that some day, when I get leave I may walk in on you unexpectedly and give you a surprise.

His Latch-Key

And long, long we waited

For the sound that would tell he was here,

For the sound that would tell us our vigil was o’er,

And our hearts need to be anxious no more,

For that sweetest of sounds that could fall on the ear

Of those who had lived on the knife-edge of fear,

The sound of his key in the door.

The sound of all sounds that could bring back life’s cheer,

And comfort our hearts that were sore.

O, the ears of our soul strained as never before,

For that sound of all sounds that our joy would restore,

The sound of his key in the door.

And we said, “We shall know when our boy’s on the way,”

And we said, “We shall know when he’s near.

His step we shall catch while it’s still far away,

And with it an end to our fear.”

"But” we said, “we will wait for his key in the door,

For the sound that shall tell us our waiting is o’er.

For the joy of its rattle, so gallant and gay,

As we’ve heard it so often of yore.

O yes, we shall know ere he reaches the door,

For his guardian angel will fly on before

To tell us he’s on the way.”

And so we waited, by night and by day,

For the sound that would all our long waiting repay,

For the sound of his key in the door.

But now,

Well… All’s Well … but we’re waiting no more

For the sound of his key in the door.

It lies with him there in his lowly grave,

Out there at the Front, where his all he gave.

Our lives and the Soul of Life to save,

And our hopeful vigil is o’er.

For now it is he who is waiting for us,

On the other side of The Door,

And Another stands with him there, waiting for us,

And the sound of our key in That Door

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  • 3 weeks later...

I make a point of placing a flower on this grave every year.

Heartrending inscription. A poignant glimpse into the nightmare which was the lot of those "left behind". :poppy:

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I have only just found this thread as well. Been going for a long time and can understand why. On a recent Battlefield tour I photographed a couple of gravestones which I thought were quite moving.

N Richardson MM

Love Follows You

Where you Roam Laddie

Over the Hills of God

J A Penny

A Jewel in his Crown

Our Dear Boy

Until we meet Again

CS Jeffries VC

On Fames Eternal Camping

Ground Their Silent Tents

Are Spread

Harry Wells VC

No Man is Great

In Gods Eyes

Than he that Giveth

His Life for Others

All very moving I think

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Not exactly a favourite, but I saw one last week with the inscription "Same Message". It appeared at first glance as though this family lost two (or more) men and wanted the same inscription on each headstone. However, someone probably took it too literally.

I will be doing some research on it and contacting CWGC if I find what the inscription should have been.

Does anyone know if the original paperwork survives?

Ken

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My personal favourite (I think at Lonsdale Cemetery) is "He was a white man" a phrase we do not hear much of anymore but to older generations conveys a degree of pride, admiration and an example of the deceased sense fair play that is hard to put into words. Unfortunately such a thing would now be looked upon as politically incorrect, but I understood and so will many others who read it.

Similar in Corbie Cemetery 'ever the white man'. But it is at the base of a South African grave. I find it really difficult to explain to coloured visitors what the motive was, but it is an interesting challenge!

Chris

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"He looked on death as promotion."

Not on a gravestone but in The Times death notice for Captain Peter Broughton-Adderley, Scots Guards, published on October 23, 1918.

Died of wounds, October 16, aged 27.

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Not exactly a favourite, but I saw one last week with the inscription "Same Message". It appeared at first glance as though this family lost two (or more) men and wanted the same inscription on each headstone. However, someone probably took it too literally.

I will be doing some research on it and contacting CWGC if I find what the inscription should have been.

Does anyone know if the original paperwork survives?

Ken

Ken

I have a horrible feeling that the quote was taken from the Final Verification Form submitted by the family and added to the man's file. The verification forms were pulpd for the war effort circa 1943 and no longer exist. It will be interesting to hear what CWGC says regarding how it was interpreted.

Glen

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I visited Dozinghem just north of Poperinge last Friday morning and I've never seen so many affecting inscriptions in one cemetery. I had visited Guardsman Kelsall at Windy Corner last Wednesday and found his mother's request hugely affecting despite knowing the words in advance. However this one on the grave of Sgt. W T Willis RASC (died 4th August 1917) probably had an even greater impact. I felt a tiny bit of their pain across 96 years, then looked at the other 3,239 graves in the cemetery and thought of all the other cemeteries and memorials and tried to multiply it. The enormity of it was almost overwhelming.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Saw this in Plymouth Weston Mill last week not WW1 but still touched me when I saw it.

D/108307 Junior Seaman

Paul Frederick Biggs aged 16

HMS Raleigh

22nd October 1968

'Gone to meet his brother David but our memories of them Live forever'

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another war, but just as appropriate for this topic, imho. I noticed these at Oosterbeek during the Market Garden remembrance last september, and was quite struck by them.

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("all I love in safety keep,

while in thee I fall asleep")

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