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Remembered Today:

Favourite Gravestone Inscription


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with regard to odd inscriptions one I saw - now where was it? - simply had the soldier's address where normally would be an inscription. It made me wonder whether his next of kin really wanted it there or it had been some sort of administrative error!

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I'm wracking my brains about the World War One American 'unknown' (or rather 'known' ) inscription. I'm ashamed to say that it's about 15 years since I've been to an American World War One cemetery (Bony). I'm pretty sure that the World War II headstones have 'Unknown' on them. When did they decide to change? And did they adopt the 'Known Unto God' formula before or after the IWGC?

It's ...

Here rests in honored Glory an American Soldier. Known but to God .

On WW2 graves ,this has been changed to...

Here rests in honored Glory a comrade in arms. Known but to God .

This (according to the ABMC) was to show the tri-service nature of the second war.

Dave.

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Mark.

The IWGC was the first to use the "known unto God" formula. The ABMC taking over the care of (8)US cemeteries in France and Belgium only in 1934 (even though it had been established by congress in March 1923). It was then that the landscaping into the cemeteries we know today began.

Dave.

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Hi David B:

There are many WW1 CWGC headstone in Canadian cemeteries. There is a project that's been underway for several years now (The Maple Leaf Legacy Project) to photograph all the CWGC headstones of Canadians who died in both World Wars. As you may know, the graves of these men (and women) are located all over the world. The photos will be available for people to view on the Internet, as well as pictures of the cemeteries where they rest. I don't know where you live in Canada, but you may want to become involved in the MLLP and and photograph headstones in your area. Check out:

http://www.mapleleaflegacy.ca

Two inscriptions on local CWGC headstones (WW1) that I photographed last week read:

My Dearest Eddie

Rest In Peace

and

He Answered The Call

Garth

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Terry Denham

To confirm what I said in an earlier posting.....

This morning I had a concersation with CWGC about Personal Inscriptions. Currently these are not held on any computer but are still on paper in each individual casualty file.

There are tentative discussions at the moment concerning a project to computerise these records but it will be a veeeeerrrry long term operation - if it happens! Only then could the subject of making them freely available to the public be addressed.

If anyone is interested, I have a record of every Personal Inscription on all 3,787 war graves in Sussex - both CWGC headstones and private memorials.

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Hi Terry:

To get a handle on the size of an inscription database project, do you have any idea what percentage of CWGC headstones have personal inscriptions engraved on them? Also, how many people are working on the project updating the CWGC web site? Are any volunteers? Thanks.

Garth

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Terry Denham

I have no definite info on how many headstones have PIs but (taking both wars together) as a guess......

You have to eliminate all the 'Unknown' headstones, those on memorials to the missing and those with private memorials. Of the remaining named CWGC headstones, I would guess that 50% have PIs.

Don't get excited... There is no real project as such - only general discussion at the moment. There is unlikely to be any movement in the near future (if ever) due to budget restrictions. Most of CWGC's cash goes on upkeep of cemeteries & memorials.

There are no volunteers working on the CWGC website - just staff and professional IT people plus the three 'outsiders' (including myself) asked to test drive the end results and give advice.

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A recall reading a touching epitaph in Laffin's book, which was from the mother of an Australian soldier upset due to the distance she was from her son's grave, knowing she would never be able to travel to see it.

The epitaph was asking if some Mother who was passing her son's grave could pray over it as she would never be able to.

Laffin's book makes many examples of 'the tyranny of distance' making it into the Australian epitaphs.

Regards

Andrew

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Guest lesley

Not a gravestone inscription, but worth mentioning is the following In Memoriam notice for William Bruce 2/1 Bucks Battalion.

" How went the day? We died and never knew, but - well or ill - England, we died for you."

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One that I read last week, which I found quite moving, at Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery:

HIS FACE WAS A RAY OF SUNSHINE AMONGST SO MANY DARK CLOUDS

AN EXTRACT FROM A CHUMS LETTER.

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Mutley,

I wonder if by any chance you saw the two wreaths which we laid at Rocquigny-Equancourt in October. Both of our Bury Grammar School boys who died at Cambrai are buried there. I suspect that they will probably have been removed by now,

Mark Hone

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Mark

Sorry I didn't see your two wreaths, as you say I expect they have been removed. The cemetery was (as usual) very neat and tidy and very peaceful at 2130 hrs with the light just starting to fade. A Credit to the CWGC gardeners. :)

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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

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An enquiry some little while ago discovered that the CWGC will advise the inscription on a stone (or the lack of it) for a small charge (£2 as I recall).

A "complete" list of Aus & NZ inscriptions on Gallipoli can be found at

http://www.anzacs.org/

though on checking I found one which was not listed (having visited, I know what it says).

The site also adds:

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'

Which perhaps answers another query!

Perhaps someone would like to start listing the Western Front Inscriptions!!!!

Martin

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Jonathan Saunders

Mark A ... just for yr info I have come across the one about France being well worth fighting/dying for a couple fo times. I wonder if it was on the list of suggested inscriptions.

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Andrew Hesketh

My 'favourite' is a fairly famous one (438680 Corporal Joseph Young 52nd Bn. Canadian Infantry, 5th March 1919 Age 36) in Bodelwyddan near the old Kinmel Camp in North Wales, inscribed in relation to a particular event. However I feel it just about sums it all up really:

SOME TIME

SOME TIME

WE'LL UNDERSTAND

:(

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The only Australian stone that I have come across in Isleworth Cemetery is that of Private B.G. Buckland MM who was with the 46th Bn. AIF, 25th October 1918 Age 27. His inscription reads: Never Forgotten Dear Ben

In the same cemetery I was surprised to see a military style stone for Pte. George Henry A. Price Middlesex Reg 19th March 1916 which also carries details for his mother who died Oct.28th 1923. I didn't realise that civilians could be commemorated on military stones.

Another inscription that I came across in a Cemetery in South Wales was that of Pte. T.R.(Bertie) Martin Kings Own Yorkshire LI 29th Sep 1918.

What Is Your Life

It Is Even A Vapour

When I saw Pte Martin's grave it was beautifully tended and covered with primroses.

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Signals-

That's really interesting. I wonder if it was on the list of suggestions. In fact I didn't realize there was a list of suggested inscriptions (maybe I haven't read this thread properly). Then again, thinking about it, you do come across a lot of the same ones "At the going down of the sun..." etc. time and again.

In the case of Railway Hollow I read or was told that it was from a letter he'd written home. Maybe not!

Mark

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Bert Heyvaert

I think one executed soldier's headstone reads:

' SHOT AT DAWN

ONE OF THE FIRST TO ENLIST

A WORTHY SON OF HIS FATHER'

It's mentioned in the guidbook 'unquiet graves' by J. Putkowski and Piet Chielens I believe.

Bert.

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Terry Denham

Myrtle

The inscription to which you refer in Isleworth will be on a privately owned official war grave. CWGC headstones were placed on private graves if the

n-o-k so wished.

Due to its status as a private grave, further family burials could take place in the same grave. This is not permitted in CWGC cemeteries/plots. The post-war inscription is permitted in these circumstances but is paid for by the n-o-k.

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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.

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Terry

Thank you for the explanation regarding Pte. Price's stone. Would there have been a choice of type of stone used in the installation of private military shaped stones ? I have noticed granite used for CWGC stones in a Sheffield Church Yard.

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Terry Denham

There was no choice of stone for the n-o-k when it came to official CWGC headstones. In the instance you mention, it is the grave that is private not the headstone.

However, CWGC do use a variety of different stones for their memorials apart from the very common Portland Stone. Granite and slate are common in some areas of the UK and overseas. You can occasionally see both Portland and other types of stone in the same cemetery in the UK.

You can also see red and green sandstone. The old Portland headstones are gradually being replaced with Botticino limestone which has a marble effect.

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A couple of examples which I have come across recently where simplicity hits the right note in particularly moving and poignant ways

Private J.C. Ridley, P.W.O. Civil Service Rifles, Age 19

"Daddy Goodnight"

and

Rifleman Mitchel J. Mulholland, London Irish Rifles, Age 21

"France-Macedonia-Palestine

My Boy

Mother, Jersey City, U.S.A."

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