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Remembered Today:

Noor Mohammed


Mark Hone
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Twenty years ago, on one of my first visits to the battlefields, I saw a grave to a Muslim soldier that was facing Mecca, differently aligned to all the others in the cemetery. I had remembered this as being the grave of Noor Mohammed, somewhere on the Somme. It came to mind the other day, but I can't find him on CWGC and I can't unearth the photograph I took at the time. I'm positive I haven't imagined this. A bit of a long shot-can anyone help?

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There is one in Norfolk Cemetery at Becourt, and from memory I am pretty sure that is facing east. Otherwise it is likely to be a cemetery in the back area; there are few IA graves on the actual battlefield area itself.

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Twenty years ago, on one of my first visits to the battlefields, I saw a grave to a Muslim soldier that was facing Mecca, differently aligned to all the others in the cemetery. I had remembered this as being the grave of Noor Mohammed, somewhere on the Somme. It came to mind the other day, but I can't find him on CWGC and I can't unearth the photograph I took at the time. I'm positive I haven't imagined this. A bit of a long shot-can anyone help?

Mark;

I know only a little Arabic (although some fool in the Pentagon approached me a year ago to send me there as a translator; I probably know 30 words, mostly food, religion, and curses, with one verb. Great! And I have been receiving Social Security for four years.), but I only know the first name Noor as that of the widow of King Hussain of Jordan, who was an Arab-American.

Before I started this post I called a tenant of mine, a young Morrocan woman, about the name. I did not get her, but when in the middle of the above paragraph she called back from New York City (we are in Philadelphia). She told me that "Noor" can be given to men or women, but that it is a very rare name. I asked about Morroco and Algeria (thinking that we are talking about a French soldier), but she said that the name is used in Egypt, not in the region about Morroco or Algeria. So I assume that you are talking about a soldier in UK service.

I am sorry that I forgot to ask her what the name means. I can ask if you wish. I hope that this helps you figure out what sort of unit he was in and then where to look for his info.

In'shallah, you will be able to find out about Noor.

Bob Lembke

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Noor is a name of Arabic origin used by Moslems for both boys and girls.

It means "Light". See here: http://www.thinkbabynames.com/name/1/Noor

The person with this name who springs to my mind is Noor Inayat Khan, GC. She died in Dachau, and was awarded her George Cross for her work with SOE.

http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites...eal_prince.html

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I think Paul has hit it on the head: I half-remembered that the cemetery had an English name. It must be Norfolk Cemetery. I am planning my battlefields tours for next year. As I have mentioned before boys from the different ethnic groups of the school come on the tour and I am always keen to stress the multi-national composition of the British Empire forces. This year we re-traced the attack by 2/2nd Gurkhas at Aubers Ridge with a tour regular who is of Nepalese origin, and one of our Muslim boys laid a wreath at the Indian Memorial at Port Arthur. Wonder why I couldn't find him on the CWGC database? Thanks to all those who replied to the query.

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Mark

Here he is...

Name: NUR MUHAMMAD

Nationality: Indian

Rank: Sowar

Regiment: 9th Hodson's Horse

Unit Text: L/D Sqdn.

Date of Death: 11/08/1916

Service No: 3453

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Isolated Grave near A. 92.

Cemetery: NORFOLK CEMETERY, BECORDEL-BECOURT

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Thanks, Terry: slightly different spellings of 'Nur' and 'Muhammed' than my rather hazy memory threw me off the trail. Another result for the unbeatable Great War Forum!

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