Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

War Grave, Can anyone identify name on the cross?


Peter1

Recommended Posts

post-8382-1129654294.jpg post-8382-1129654399.jpg

Here are two photographs of war graves which I believe had been taken shortly after WW1.

The photo depicting one cross in the foreground is that of Thomas Boggon, No. 14138, DLI. He is the subject of my earlier post under the Soldiers section and I was able to identify his army No. by enlarging the photo. (Note his surname does not have the correct spelling)

The second Photo however is difficult, (impossible may be a better word!) to read even after enlarging. I was informed that this photo contains the grave of another of my ancestors who died during WW1. I am not sure which one of the two crosses in the foreground relates to my ancestor. After enlarging the photo the nameplates on the right hand cross look to have been removed. There is wording on the left hand cross but I can not make it out.

Does any member know of a way to improve the quality of the wording or can advise me of another way of finding out the information.

Regards.

Peter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Peter.............. do you know the current resting place of your relative & if so does the grave reference in anyway correspond with one of the visible references on the photo (315 or 316)................I am unsure whether what you can see if a grave reference but its worth a try

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you don't know it already, I am 99% sure the second photo is taken at Etaples cemetery.

Have you tried a hi-res scan (500-600 dpi plus) of just the name plates?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Peter,

Considering these are probably photos of relatives you've probably narrowed it down to two possibles - Henry or George Boggon. Since George is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial and therefore doesn't have a known grave, chances are this is Henry Boggon who is buried at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery. As Paul said, if you can scan just the plaques on the cross at a very high resolution it may make the inscription readable. Other than this perhaps you can find some current day photos of the cemetery and try to match up features in the background.

Tim L.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for the swift, helpful replies.

Will,

I was originally informed that there were five members of my family from two surnames who died during WW1. I think I now know where four of them are buried/remembered on the CWGC. Are the marker numbers on the graves the same as those held by CWGC? I cannot find a match for the marker numbers 315 or 316 on their site.

Paul,

I thought I was looking for a fifth person, but your reference to Etaples is interesting as I know that John Stewart is buried there. I was led to believe the photo was not of Johns grave. Then again, after 80+ years peoples memory does get confused or information is handed down incorrectly.

Best I can manage with the gear I have is 600dpi which does not show the wording clearly. I have had a suggestion today to alter the brightness/contrast to see if that shows anything up, so I will give that a try. There is no information recorded on the reverse of the photos.

Tim,

I am not sure at this stage whether I am looking for someone under the surname of Boggon, although I had considered that it may be Henrys. I was looking at the possibility that it was a family member who I had not researched as yet. Matching the photos is a good Idea, Do you know of any sites other than CWGC who hold photos of the cemeteries?

Finally, does the photos show the final resting place of the fallen or do further actions/battles in later years result in the graves being relocated.

The photo with the two crosses looks to be a well established graveyard whilst the other photo shows more empty space. I suppose if the photo was taken at the start of the war the graveyard would have less occupants, any ideas on this?

Thanks again to all,

Regards,

Peter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I meant to also say that the top photo is Boulogne Eastern Cemetery; it had a high, brick and very distinct wall. I have a general view of the cemetery taken in c.1915 which I will post for comparison; when I can find it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Paul,

Thanks for that, I did not think that the cemetery would be identifiable from a single photo showing so little background.

Your reply raises the issue of the final resting place. The top photo, as you know is of Thomas Boggon, who according to the CWGC is buried at St. Sever Cemetery in Rouen.

Unless I have gone off on the wrong path, (as usual!) does this imply that Thomas was relocated to Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, or are the Burials sometimes incorrectly recorded on the CWGC?

Regards.

Peter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Must be my mistake then - there is a wall in one part of the cemetery at St Sever, but it is a while since I was last there. There is a similar wall at Boulogne. I will post the photo when I find it (!).

It is not likely he was moved; soldier's buried in base hospital cemeteries were only very rarely moved after WW1.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul,

Thank you for getting back to me on that one, I look forward to viewing your photo of the cemetery at Boulogne.

I am glad you sorted out my question on relocation, it was something that has been puzzling me since I was handed the photos.

I had read about the cemetery at Rouen being close to the hospitals, do you know if occupying forces respected the cemetery site during WW2 and if the site was left intact during that period?

Regards,

Peter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Peter,

Here are some other links for war graves. The first is for both France and Belgium and the last relates only to Belgium.

http://www.silentcities.co.uk/index.htm

http://www.unfortunate-region.org/

http://www.wo1.be/eng/mainnav.html

And here are a couple of photos of Boulogne Eastern Cemetery. Having never looked into this cemetery before, I find it fascinating that all the headstones are lying down - I'm sure someone else will know the reason why.

Tim L.

post-2918-1129790734.jpg

post-2918-1129790763.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tim

I believe the reason for the flat headstones is that the soil in this (and some other) cemeteries is not suitable for the support of standing stones without subsidence.

Ian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tim,

Thanks for the photos and the great links.

There is a staggering amount of information on these sites.

Regards,

Peter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Found the photo I wanted - sorry, I was thinking of the wrong place and the wrong wall! See below - this is Wimereux Communal Cemetery, near Boulogne. Similar wall, but not quite.

post-6-1129882323.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For comparison with the other one, this is a photo of Etaples cemetery - you can clearly see similar sand dunes as in the background of your photo. This is the only CWGC set in terrain like this in France.

post-6-1129882382.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul,

Thank you, these photos are great and give me a better idea of how the cemeteries looked years ago.

I am still amazed how you are able to look at an old photo and have an idea of its location from so little detail.

Regards.

Peter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul,

Would have to agree. The background of your photo of Etaples Cemetery looks identical to that of Peter's photo. I think you've hit the nail on the head. All we have to do now is identify which graves are photographed.

Tim L.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And here's a current photo of Etaples from a similar position to Paul's photo. It's interesting to note that (if you look closely) a large proportion of the graves are grouped in pairs similar to Peter's original photo.

Tim L.

post-2918-1129903875.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tim,

Thanks for the Photo and I think your observation in very valid.

I think that these "then" and "now" photos are excellent and highlight similar features.

I am still trying to enhance the wording on the left hand cross but have been unable to make out most of the wording with the gear that I have. Unfortunately I handed this photograph back but I think I will ask for it again and show it to someone who has better imaging equipment.

The bottom label seems to indicate the date of death and does appear to start with the number 22 but I cannot make out the rest of the date.

The top label seems to start with a group of numbers which appear to contain the number 2125 and end with the letters ER.

I think that there is very strong reason to believe that one of the two crosses belongs to John.

I did wonder if the flowers on the right cross were placed for the benefit of the camera.

Regards,

Peter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Peter,

I think you may have solved the mystery. Listed on CWGC as being buried at Etaples Military Cemetery is the following:

STEWART, JOHN

Initials: J

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Serjeant

Regiment: Royal Field Artillery

Unit Text: "A" Bty. 93rd Bde.

Age: 32

Date of Death: 22/04/1918

Service No: 36421

Awards: MM

Additional information: Husband of Margaret A. Stewart, of 55, Castle St., Castle Town, Sunderland.

Grave/Memorial Reference: XXIX. M. 4.

Cemetery: ETAPLES MILITARY CEMETERY

Tim L.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tim,

Thankyou!

I cannot take any credit for any of this, the amount of available help and knowledge of the members of this forum is amazing.

I think Paul should be commended for pointing the way to the eventual conclusion that this could be John who is buried here.

Many, many thanks to all, this has generated far more interest than I had ever hoped for or anticipated.

I would still like to improve the wording to be 100% sure, then give my aunt a name to the photo.

It just goes to show how the memory becomes clouded over the years.

Regards,

Peter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...