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Memorials on family headstones at home


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Padre Bill

Once lockdown confined me to barracks last March, I soon ran out of memorials I had photographed to fulfil my role as a volunteer researcher on the IWM's War Memorials Project, so I started to create records for a category I had passed by in the past - 'Additions to gravestones'. I had taken many images, spotted when I was visiting churches, but had never bothered to upload them systematically onto the IWM website.

I eked out my image files until we were given a bit more freedom to move around in late Spring - when I began to work my way through as many cemeteries and churchyards as possible in the districts around my home in Wigan... until we were locked down yet again.

I just thought I'd share my observations, in the hope that others might be moved to haunt their nearest graveyard once we're set free again, and make their contribution to this relatively under-recorded category of War Memorial.

First - I've found the quest far more interesting than I imagined I would. There are a number of reasons for this - the wealth of information given on headstones, both about the individual commemorated, and about their families; the links established between those commemorated - obviously brothers, but also father and son, nephew and uncle, cousins, and in-laws; the thrill of the chase - half-buried or broken stones, faded or moss-covered inscriptions, missing lead letters - all make it difficult for relevant commemorations to be spotted. Sometimes multiple visits to graveyards are necessary to try to record as many as possible.

Second - if the aim of memorialisation is summed up as 'Lest we forget', then I have found that rooting around long-forgotten graves is a very productive way of achieving the object intended by those words. Having recorded or revised many of the church and public memorials in the area, I've ended up putting thousands of names on the record, and I've often cross-referenced from those records when entering details from headstones - and it is surprising how many names are not recorded on any local memorial. Creating a record for their family grave commemoration thus ensures that they are not forgotten. I have read, in another thread, that perhaps what appears as a family preference not to have a name inscribed on a public memorial back in 1919 should be respected, and it should not be assumed that it is okay to put an unlisted name on a newly-created memorial. But a family's wish in 1919 might be regretted in 1921, when the local memorial is dedicated without their loved one's name - and some of the inscriptions I have seen in graveyards show why the family may have acted hesitantly immediately post-war. 

The weight of grief is shown in many inscriptions - sometimes compounded by other family tragedies. Time and again, I have seen other family members recorded as dying very soon after the casualty's death, or of the casualty being the last surviving son whose brothers died in infancy. 

So, if you have nothing more exciting to look forward to post-lockdown, why not take your camera to your local graveyard and record some 'Additions to gravestones'?

 

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It still amazes me how many people choose to research the names on a war memorial without taking a walk around the local churchyard \ civic cemetery first. All to often those names that draw a blank in the standard searches can be explained by an inscription on a family headstone. As the CWGC will never recognise them as an official war memorial and quite often they are not maintained, the lettering will become harder and harder to read as the years go by, or the headstone is damaged or the cemetery is cleared to make way for new burials and old headstones are pushed to the boundary wall.

 

Some are more in danger than others - in these parts sandstone headstones in acid sandy soils and lots of rainfall frequently part company with their facings, while kerbstone monuments frequently become overgrown and lose their lettering.

 

And of course what you may also find is the actual grave for someone commemorated by the CWGC at Brookwood or in the UK Memorial Book because the actaul grave is not known.

 

Private Frederick Howard ex Grenadier Guards 1917 - He did his duty

 

I also tend to take pictures of headstones for males aged 18 to 45 who died August 1914 to July 1921 - sooner or later one might just turn out be a candidate for a missed commemoration.

 

Cheers,

Peter

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 Very much agree with these observations and the utility of  going "on the trudge"  around the local cemeteries. Of my local casualties, 230 were commemorated on the main local war memorial  but 36 are further commemorated on parental graves in the local churchyard.  Given that  of the parents of casualties, some lasted until the 1960s, then the depth and longevity of family grief is something -I suspect-that is much underestimated.  

    Again, I suspect that a family inscription is more common for those with no known grave elsewhere- perhaps part of the Christian belief in being "reunited" with a loved and lost one.  And, yes, sometimes  the headstone can give a soupcon of view as to what happened. I have one local grave of a man who survived the war without a scratch in the Middle East (2/13 Londons-Kensingtons) who died of flu/pnuemonia almost as soon as the battalion got home in early 1919- and a sister who died a fortnight later. Suicide has to be a suspicion. The trauma was recorded by the parents on the joint headstone of both which calls them-unusually bitter for 1919- "Victims of the Great War"

    What is tantalising is those headstones which hint at a "backstory" which is now lost-  OK, the motto "Greater Love hath No Man..." is common enough in general terms for casualties of the Great War but it does make one think that the casualty may have died trying to help a comrade,etc and the story is now lost. 

    One other aspect of this memorialisation that does strike me-  whether the local vicar of the time was High Church/Low Church etc.  I am puzzled as to why one of my local churches has both a memorial scroll (Those who served as well as casualties), a war memorial plaque and 4 individual memorials. But the main local church has nothing at all-  no plaques, no individual memorials at all - During the war the vicar was an elderly cleric from the "Christian soldiers" end of the market- very supportive of the local families of those serving and those bereaved- he arranged for a list of those serving to be posted on the church door throughout the war. His successor was a man of complete silence.  Having trudged round the local churchyard for this parish, then it seems to me that the remembrance on family headstones may in part have occurred because of the lack of memorial in the local church. Again, the doctrinal bigotries of yesteryear may have played a part in this

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keithmroberts

Thehistory of these secondary memorials is fascinating. The local churchyard was closed for burials by 1860 when land for a cemetery was purchased, and it is now the largest open space in Portsmouth. Living nearby it is my fairly regular lockdown exercise area, and since last autumn I found myself photographing all these secondary memorials. They still need tome sorting, and I fear that I missed some because of weathering, but I reckon I must have between 70 and 80 to identify when other projects permit. I have signed on with the CWGC's Eyes On Hands On project, and find myself now with 574 accepted war graves to photograph.

My earlier wanderings have led so far to two and possibly one more to come, submissions to the IFCP project, and I am finally beginning to record the images against plots, as working plot by plot is going to be the best way to record the totality of war graves, as well as the secondary tributes. I think I will be kept busy for some time, but there is always something new. We have five graves of men from the HMS Bulwark explosion, and two, of men who died of wounds received at Jutland on HMS Malaya,  a few who died of wounds received on D Day or within the first days of the Normandy landings in 1944, and so many other tributes to examine.

Discussions with the IWM chap who manages their War Memorials Register has confirmed that they are happy to record the secondary tributes, and that as they describe them as "Additionals" they don't need the amount of detail that goes with adding a more traditional war memorial. They are I think happy just with a photograph, a name, and a location.

 

Edited by keithmroberts
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This kind of research is even more interesting in Germany as a lot of the sources are simply gone. Unfortunately, in recent years, old gravestones have been cleared extensively without being photographed first. I have been visiting some cemeteries in Germany and some of my colleagues have as well, photographing interesting gravestones with a connection to WWI (and WWII and other historical events as well).

 

Just a few examples from Hamburg (Ohlsdorf), just to show what there is (I wonder whether the wooden WW2 grave marker is still there). The two Keitel gravestones are very interested as the bronze plaque of the mother shows the connection to her fallen sons.

 

 

 

2011-02-27 Hamburg 260.JPG

2011-02-27 Hamburg 261.JPG

2011-02-27 Hamburg 174.JPG

2011-02-25 Hamburg 137.jpg

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Padre Bill

Thanks for the responses. PRC - I think the CWGC will agree to erect their own headstone in a gravespace where the family inscription has eroded. I have seen many examples of CWGC stones being placed in front of headstones on which the casualty has also been commemorated. Such graves are not recorded by the IWM - but the one pictured by PRC is an example of the ambiguity of the wording on some family inscriptions: it is only by checking against CWGC records that you can be sure where the casualty is actually buried. I have seen similar wording used for men buried overseas. Your habit of looking out for graves of men who have died young is one I've adopted, and I have found some graves where the military service of a man buried elsewhere is not mentioned.

If I'd known about the CWGC's 'Eyes On Hands On' project mentioned by keithmrroberts, I would have retained the images I rejected because they were on actual graves.... I do, however, send my images on to the Find A Grave site after I've put them on the IWM register - a repayment for the site's convenience as a place to check where men are buried, given its very wide cover of CWGC graves and memorials.

But I'll have a look at the Eyes On Hands On project - I have a few examples of brothers being recorded on the same stone - one of whom is buried there, and the other buried elsewhere.

As for how much detail the IWM require for such records, I try to describe the headstones and tombs in much the same way as I would any other memorial - stone, style, carvings, type of inscription, etc - but any transcriber can draw those details out of a decent photograph. As for them being 'Additionals' - I'm not sure what that means. They are described under 'Type' as 'Additions to gravestones', and are displayed in the same way as any other memorial on the IWM website. I'm not sure what the mechanism is for doing so through this site - but you can send images and location details to myself, and I'll process them - or you can send them to the IWM directly.

AOK4 - fascinating images from Germany - I've certainly not come across any like them. 

One group of casualties not always recorded on local memorials are civilians killed in incidents like the sinking of the Lusitania - I have found half-a-dozen in this area. One of two in Southport Cemetery obviously has a back-story of some bitterness - on a mother's memorial (she herself is buried in the USA) is recorded the death of a son of 10 'Assassinated by Huns' on the Lusitania, but makes no mention of the husband who had taken the son on the voyage and perished with him.

 

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16 minutes ago, Padre Bill said:

PRC - I think the CWGC will agree to erect their own headstone in a gravespace where the family inscription has eroded. I have seen many examples of CWGC stones being placed in front of headstones on which the casualty has also been commemorated.

 

They will - but the issue lies around who owns the rights to the grave plot and for how long. Even if the family decided to erect their own headstone the CWGC, (or it's predecessor the IWGC), would have tried to come to some arrangement with the family so that they could maintain the grave and eventually replace the headstone when it fell into disrepair. But not all families would have signed up to that or baulked at the fact that the family headstone would be replaced with one solely naming the service person.

 

So now you have a situation a hundred years on where there may be another 50 to 100 years before the plot reverts to the parish \ council and the appropriate descendant with the legal authority to grant access currently is unknown. Certainly seems to be an area where the cogs at the CWGC grind incredibly slowly from my limited experience.

 

In the case of my North Burlingham man his death was even recorded in the Civil Registration District that covered his home address, so the chances of him being buried elsewhere or that this is a memorial stone rather than a grave marker is fairly remote. However I've tried writing to the parish vicar to see if they had a copy of the parish register to confirm it, (got an e-mail back full of platitudes about how his name was read out every Remembrance Sunday and I was welcome to attend), the parish historian, (ignored) and the CWGC, ("you will hear from the relevant team as soon as possible"). It's on my do list once Covid restrictions end to visit the county archive and check their copy of the parish register.

 

35 minutes ago, Padre Bill said:

One group of casualties not always recorded on local memorials are civilians killed in incidents like the sinking of the Lusitania - I have found half-a-dozen in this area. One of two in Southport Cemetery obviously has a back-story of some bitterness - on a mother's memorial (she herself is buried in the USA) is recorded the death of a son of 10 'Assassinated by Huns' on the Lusitania, but makes no mention of the husband who had taken the son on the voyage and perished with him.

 

Forum member @Jim Strawbridge has a long running thread asking for pictures of headstones of female victims of the Great War - that includes munitions workers, VAD's, Land Army, air raid and coastal bombardments, etc - i.e. all the sorts of deaths where a male or for that matter female serviceperson would be entitled to a formal CWGC memorial or it's equivalent in whichever country they were from. Victims of the Lusitania sinking and others have cropped up several times there.

 

8 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

Again, I suspect that a family inscription is more common for those with no known grave elsewhere- perhaps part of the Christian belief in being "reunited" with a loved and lost one. 

 

Some and some. I suspect many a family knew they would never be able to visit the battlefields where there loved ones fell, even with the special trips that were laid on. Elderly parents were in too frail a health to manage the journey, and few could afford the lost earnings from taking the time off required. Paid holiday leave was in the future for most. A name on a headstone locally gave them somewhere to come and grieve, to mourn their loss and cherish the memory of the departed.

 

Peter

 

 

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keithmroberts

The CWGC will only get involved if a private headstone is recognised by them as a war grave. In my local cemetery, of 574 listed war graves, just over 40 are private memorials, and I agree that the CWGC clearly try initially to contact the owners of the grave, before taking over responsibility and where an inscription is no longer clear, adding a grave marker.

In my discussion with the IWM Register, it was made clear that for additions, no further information about condition was required or stored.

 

In my local cemetery in Portsmouth ,  many of the "additions" are inevitably for men lost at sea as well as a number for men commemorated or buried elsewhere from the army and air force.   There are quite a few interesting  non world war items of this sort, including tributes to  men lost at sea in accidents or disasters, among whom are  two for crew  members of the Titanic who went down with the ship.

 

The CWGC EOHO project is very tightly structured, and the timing has proved unfortunate to say the least. Hopefully it will make a serious recovery once covid is better controlled.

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Thanks Peter for the updates-  Yes, just a feeling that  no grave overseas may be a cause for more prevalent in family memorials. I wonder if there are any figures out there for the actual numbers who did visit graves in France and Flanders in the years after the Great War (Apart from the very clever opening scene of "This Happy Breed"-featuring a travel poster).  It's a very good point that poverty was still a great handicap to visiting- the more so when in these times there are those who sneer if one has ONLY had one foreign holiday in a year. Yes, working a Saturday half-day and the years before the introduction of the Holidays with Pay Act 1938 certainly limited things.

   Two small points to tuck away-one of which is unlikely to come up:

1)  Suicides- I have a local suicide (one of two)  who is buried with a CWGC marker out of area with no known family connection- an elderly depot officer of the Essex Regiment, killed himself in Norwich in late 1914 but buried in Highgate Cemetry-My best guess is that he was refused burial locally. Just in case you come across any other suicides.

2) Those who died in the UK of wounds or illness but are still buried far from the home area. This is always a puzzle- If the Army (usually) provided the funeral arrangements, then the only reasons I can think of are family poverty-  I am not at all informed as to whether the powers-that-be would pay for a cemetery plot but I suspect some of my colleagues will know. 

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6 minutes ago, keithmroberts said:

The CWGC EOHO project is very tightly structured, and the timing has proved unfortunate to say the least. Hopefully it will make a serious recovery once covid is better controlled.

 

      It confuses me every time I see the initials.  Yes, the past year has been unfortunate as "Eyes On,Hands On" has been superseded by "Eat Out to Help Out".  You couldn't invent it...

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Padre Bill

Keith - the IWM's recording fields are the same for every memorial -  for appearance, condition, size and others. Not all fields need to be completed and many 'Addition to gravestones' entries others have filled in simply say something like 'Inscription on family grave', whilst others have a full description of the grave. Some give the whole inscription, others just have the section pertaining to the casualty. Whatever the transcriber puts in the fields is part of the record and is stored - though not all information is displayed on the public site.

I've had a look at the EOHO project - as you say, it's highly structured, and there appears to be no room for individuals to submit odd photographs from time to time (unlike the IWM site, which positively encourages such participation. Beware, though - that's how I started... but I obviously sent so many they were having problems processing them all... so I was recruited as a Volunteer to complete the entries myself.

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This site records headstones. No doubt there are other sites:

http://s3.spanglefish.com/s/33647/documents/issue-5-july-to-september-1915.pdf

e.g.

The family headstone reads:

 Pte. James S. Brearley 

The beloved husband of Emma Brearley 

Who was drowned through the sinking

 of the troopship Royal Edward 

Aug. 13th 1915, aged 22 years 

Called by his King, now by his God.

**************************

The family headstone reads:
Captain John Pennington

2nd R. Warwicks late of Grenadier Guards

Beloved husband of Lily Pennington

Who made the Great Sacrifice whilst

Nobly leading his company into action

At the battle of Loss Sept. 25th 1915

And was buried near Hullock Flanders

Aged 36 years

Greater love hath no man this, that He lays down his own life for his friends.

***********

plus others.

Kath.

Edited by Kath
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Polar Bear

Excellent topic,

 

I don't have much to add other than to generally agree with everything that has been said. I can also add that in the cemetery nearest me that has CWGC graves it also has a private inscription on a grave. That would be Christopher Thomas Jenkinson. Listed as died at Loos and a Corporal on that gravestone he is Lance Corporal 17664. 1st Battalion Yorks and Lancs. He died 30th September 1915, almost certainly in the fateful attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt. He is remembered by the CWGC on The Loos Memorial for he has no known grave. As an aside he was also Lance Corporal on the Medal Rolls. He was aged but 20 and I do wonder if (as suggested above) the lack of no known grave is the reason why he is so remembered by his family.

 

P

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Padre Bill

Kath - thanks for that site - it gives the lists of those commemorated on family graves in two cemeteries in Salford, which I don't think are covered yet on the IWM site. It's a bit outside my area... but if this lockdown carries on, and I run out of other stuff, I can at least create basic records on the IWM site from the information give.

Voltaire - it seems to be fairly common for men who dow to be buried at or near the hospital they died in. The cemetery for St Mary's Military Hospital at Whalley has 42 such graves. Also, the treatment of the dead seems to have varied greatly. I've read in the contemporary local press of military funerals, bands etc, being afforded to some - whilst in the same Wigan cemetery there is a row of ten CWGC headstones for men said to be 'Buried near here' - as if they'd been put in an unmarked communal grave.

One other reason for such family commemorations may be their comparative cheapness, and lack of formality in execution - compared with, say, a brass plaque in the local church. Mind you, I've come across a couple of men who are commemorated on various memorials - School, University, Church, Town... and then have a stained glass window in the church, an accompanying brass plaque... and a gravestone commemoration. Some are less forgotten than others....

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1 hour ago, Padre Bill said:

Voltaire - it seems to be fairly common for men who dow to be buried at or near the hospital they died in. The cemetery for St Mary's Military Hospital at Whalley has 42 such graves. Also, the treatment of the dead seems to have varied greatly.

 

     Very much agree with what you say but we are still back to the question of whether there was an element of family choice-with the proviso that poverty was still the most important factor underlying "choice".   By chance, I have a local casualty, Private Alfred Ford of the Honourable Artillery Company who died at St. Mary's Military Hospital  on 8th January 1918  (Of tuberculosis- I believe it was possible his family may have had a genetic tendency to compromised immune systems as they all seem to have died young)  So,somewhere there must have been a choice- he is buried in the City of London Cemetery in Manor Park.

    The numbers of "buried near this spot",etc and the continuing fantastic efforts of Terry Denham et al,IFTC etc suggests that an army funeral might only go for the traditional "pauper's grave"-the cheapest choice.

 

(It all seems to simple to us a century on and only occasionally does the veil lift on what must have been a huge series of individual tragedies.  I have another local casualty, Private Edward Elsom 21 KRRC-one of a large and poor family of manual workers- the first 3 sons had the same occupation in the 1911 Census as the father-bricklayer. It hit home when the parish magazine records that she received handouts from the local "coal fund" and an extra payment for buying milk. But what got me most was when the subscription lists for the local war memorial were published in a local newspaper - most contributions  measured in pounds or guineas-her contribution in 1921-  3 shillings.  A world of grief and suffering which,thankfully, we can study  at the end of keyboard- time has softened the harshness)

   

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1 hour ago, voltaire60 said:

1)  Suicides- I have a local suicide (one of two)  who is buried with a CWGC marker out of area with no known family connection- an elderly depot officer of the Essex Regiment, killed himself in Norwich in late 1914 but buried in Highgate Cemetry-My best guess is that he was refused burial locally. Just in case you come across any other suicides.

 

Sadly there are a number of CWGC markers in the main Norwich Civic Cemetery for Great War era men who committed suicide. so I don't think that was an issue. PM me a name and I see if I have anything in local newspapers that aren't yet on line.

 

1 hour ago, voltaire60 said:

2) Those who died in the UK of wounds or illness but are still buried far from the home area. This is always a puzzle- If the Army (usually) provided the funeral arrangements, then the only reasons I can think of are family poverty-  I am not at all informed as to whether the powers-that-be would pay for a cemetery plot but I suspect some of my colleagues will know. 

 

Some families may not want them returned or there may be no family to claim them. The same civic cemetery took graves from the three main hospitals in Norwich and the nearby suburb villages. Many of those who died in those hospitals in 1914 and who were buried locally were pre-war soldiers of which a significant minority seem to have been brought up in institutions or by extended family. There is then a significant minority who were brought up in a household headed by a step-father - and while I wouldn't want to read too much into it, these are the kind of stepfathers whose census returns always show the future soldier as step-son and with the birth surname. Of course I'm seeing the ones left behind so to speak - many, many more may have been reclaimed.

 

On a side note the CWGC webpage for said cemetery states 534 War Graves, plus I believe there is one marker planned for a known to be buried and IFTCP have at least three more where plot information is required. So far I'm up to +1200 graves with some form of reference to military service or loss of life in a conflict of which 403 are visible here:-

https://www.flickr.com/photos/43688219@N00/albums/72157606774326648

 

I understand large plots were usually purchased for the interment of armed forces deaths from the hospitals and nearby major armed forces bases when the family chose not to have the body returned. Individual plots will still be scattered around a major civic cemetery in plots the family have paid for, but for a major city like Norwich it's probably about 300 out of the 534 which are buried in two large dedicated areas.

 

Earlham Cemetery War Memorial

 

Earlham Cemetery Soldiers Graves

 

One other reason for non-return, (I'm sure amongst many), is contagious diseases. Local men serving with the Kitchener Battalions of the Norfolk Regiment spent much of the winter of 1914/15 under canvas in the Harwich \ Felixstowe area. There were outbreaks of smallpox and scarlet fever on top of pneumonia and those individuals so diagnosed were sent to isolation huts. Those individuals who died from those conditions seemed to have remained there - I assume a combination of the district health officer wanting them in the ground asap, the same man not wanting to sign a release allowing the body to leave the area and presumably a reluctance on the part of the railway companies to transport a potential health risk.

 

Regards,

Peter

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5 minutes ago, PRC said:

One other reason for non-return, (I'm sure amongst many), is contagious diseases. Local men serving with the Kitchener Battalions of the Norfolk Regiment spent much of the winter of 1914/15 under canvas in the Harwich \ Felixstowe area. There were outbreaks of smallpox and scarlet fever on top of pneumonia and those individuals so diagnosed were sent to isolation huts. Those individuals who died from those conditions seemed to have remained there - I assume a combination of the district health officer wanting them in the ground asap, the same man not wanting to sign a release allowing the body to leave the area and presumably a reluctance on the part of the railway companies to transport a potential health risk.

 

     Thanks Peter- Very much in agreement with what you say.  Most cemeteries have the odd CWGC marker- wholly at random-  yet others seem to have a specific plot. As a Plymouth lad at heart, then I always recall Ford Park Cemetery with it's navy plot.  It would be good to know for sure-I am sure it will be in the collective knowledge of GWF- that there were regulations over the movement of the dead who had died of infectious diseases-  It would seem obvious to me that such rules had existed long,long before the war-almost certainly back to the days of cholera coming along at the same time as the growth of the railways. Again, one of my local examples may "prove" (well,not absolutely) the point-a local man who died of "spotted fever" at Chatham Military Hospital while serving at home with 6 KRRC-  Although Chatham is not far away (compared to Private Ford in my previous post,who died in Whalley), this man, Private William Bolton, is buried in Fort Pitt Cemetery.  I have another as yet unfinished who died in an isolation hospital in Aldershot in December 1918- buried in Wanstead so it tilts the odd to flu/pneumonia- but it nags that he was in a specific isolation hospital, so a (reluctant) purchase of his death certificate may elucidate the point either way.

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Padre Bill

Re battlefield trips - on page 45 of the attached pdf you'll find details of a trip by 3000 employees of Leyland Motors on specially chartered trains and ferries to the battlefields.

WW1 Summary 2020.pdf

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BereniceUK

The rules about infectious diseases were so strict that the body of a serving RWF private, who was murdered by another soldier in 1903, near Altcar, wasn't allowed to be returned to his family in South Wales because of a smallpox outbreak in the Liverpool district, and so he's buried in an unmarked grave in a local churchyard.

 

The more you look for gravestones with memorials to war casualties on them, the more you start to automatically pick up on certain words without actually looking for them - killed, France, Belgium. On this stone 'France' caught my eye - I wonder if the ivy has covered the inscription by now.

 

"Pte. Alfred J. Devey, 7th Rifle Brigade, beloved son of Edward and Gertrude Devey, who passed away in France, Aug. 13th 1916, aged 27 years."

 

IMG_0722-1.jpg

 

IMG_0725.jpg

Edited by BereniceUK
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Padre Bill

That 'passed away' has tripped me up a couple of times, Berenice - it gives you the signal as you scan the grave to disregard it as a normal natural death, until, as you say, your eye catches 'France'. And sometime you can be led astray by epitaphs to men killed in the pits in the Wigan area and, for some reason in Southport, to those killed in railway accidents.

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keithmroberts
3 hours ago, Padre Bill said:

Keith - the IWM's recording fields are the same for every memorial

My exchange with the co-ordinator  came from a request on my part for a version of the report form that I could use as a template. he suggested that if I had many "Additions" at the same location I could just arrange to send them as one batch.

having said which, I have been frustrated by the database - I have a few items to add, and trying to check them out to avoid duplication, using the available search tool, and the inconsistent descriptions can be very frustrating. A search on Portsmouth, produced at least one memorial on the Isle of Wight, and some in Gosport. Another I suspect to be in Havant borough, although I need to check that one out.

I have a few other projects in hand, so will let my frustration cool a little. it was clear from trying to check out memorials in my vicinity, that an enthusiastic contributor some years ago had provided some very  misleading and sometimes just plain wrong, descriptions of locations. His enthusiasm I appreciate, but to produce a list of amendments would take more time than I have at the moment.

Keith

 

Edited by keithmroberts
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Padre Bill

Keith - I appreciate your frustration - I have the same problem when trying to find out if a memorial I've spotted has been covered before. I find the Search facility very clunky and it throws up every entry with any connection to the search word you've entered, which you've then got to try to whittle down to find what you're looking for by using the Filters.

As for your last point - a major problem seems to stem from the digitisation of the pre-existing paper records. Some data, particularly images, seems to have gone astray. Location data appears to have been another issue - I found many of the grid references for Wigan were the same for multiple memorials all over the town. 

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keithmroberts

Yes, I tried following a couple of the grid references, but they bore no relation to the text. Maybe one day I'll try to find the commitment to go through all the Portsmouth entries, and check them out for accuracy as well as the names they have been given.

 

Keith

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Interesting topic... Padre Bill, did you also post on the St Helens forum a month or so ago?

 

On 31/01/2021 at 23:18, PRC said:

It still amazes me how many people choose to research the names on a war memorial without taking a walk around the local churchyard \ civic cemetery first. All to often those names that draw a blank in the standard searches can be explained by an inscription on a family headstone.

 

When I started researching my local war memorial back in 2013 this is one of the first things I did. A search of the parish churchyard turned up two men who were absent from the CWGC records and both ended up being my first non-com cases with IFCP. One of these men was recorded on the church memorial but had been misidentified by another researcher. Not only that but he also turned out to be a distant relative of mine!

 

It's worth mentioning that these "additions to gravestones" (or whatever you want to call them) don't necessarily refer to the place where they are found. For example, some would have been added years or even decades later when the family were living (and buried) elsewhere.

 

On 01/02/2021 at 10:20, Padre Bill said:

One of two in Southport Cemetery obviously has a back-story of some bitterness - on a mother's memorial (she herself is buried in the USA) is recorded the death of a son of 10 'Assassinated by Huns' on the Lusitania, but makes no mention of the husband who had taken the son on the voyage and perished with him.

 

Do you have the names from this headstone, or a grave reference? This is in my neck of the woods so I'd like to look for it sometime. I've seen another Lusitania headstone at Southport but I don't think this is it.

 

On 01/02/2021 at 12:46, voltaire60 said:

2) Those who died in the UK of wounds or illness but are still buried far from the home area. This is always a puzzle- If the Army (usually) provided the funeral arrangements, then the only reasons I can think of are family poverty-  I am not at all informed as to whether the powers-that-be would pay for a cemetery plot but I suspect some of my colleagues will know.

 

My understanding is that while the army provided a funeral they would typically bury a man in the place where he died, and if the family wanted the body returning home they would have to pay for it themselves. I may have that completely wrong though!

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John(txic)

You're not wrong on that last point, Paul.  However, the local Patriotic Committee would often stump-up the funds and lay on a military funeral at the local cemetery.

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