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Remembered Today:

Who's the responsible body?


Auimfo
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I've taken this photo of the grave of 4783 Pte John Ricketts, AIF who died 11/07/1919 and is buried at Mornington Public Cemetery, Victoria, Australia. He was a member of the 21st Battalion and was repatriated to Australia in July 1917, totally incapacitated due to illness. As can be seen the grave is in a pretty awful state. His grave is listed in the CWGC registers as an official war grave even though it doesn't have an 'official' headstone.

Who is responsible for the upkeep of these graves? Is it because it has a private headstone that it doesn't receive maintainence and if it had an official headstone would it then qualify for better care.

I'm not having a go at anyone - I'm just interested to know what the process is. Should I be contacting the CWGC (via Office of Australian War Graves) or do they have no say over graves such as these? I would like to think something can be done to repair this damage.

Tim L.

post-2918-1143951456.jpg

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Tim - I'll be really interested to learn the official answer to this too. Though somehow I suspect (in this case) it might be up to the family.

Cheers, Frev

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Tim,

I think in this case it would either be the family or the local authority.

There was a case here in the UK where a WW2 Battle of Britain pilot had his private headstone (which was in bad condition) replaced by a CWGC headstone. However, I know it took the guy who organised it a long time to get it changed. It might be worth writing to the CWGC and see what they say.

Regards

PAUL J

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This private grave is the reponsibility of the family and is actually in very good condition compared to some.

CWGC acts in cases where the name becomes unreadable and can sometimes get permission to erect an additional official stone (the masonry condition is not relevant - only the readability of the name). Note - 'sometimes'. They have no rights over private graves and there can be many legal obstacles.

The Australian Agency of CWGC will know of the state of all private war graves and so first contact should be with them.

As a matter of interest, the Australian authorities have already planned for private war graves to fall into disrepair by providing a 'Garden of Remembrance Wall' in each state (two in Tasmania). On these walls, the names of all men in private war graves are listed already but CWGC still records most of them at the grave location.

When a grave falls into disrepair or is otherwise unmaintainable, CWGC simply transfers the name in their database from the grave to the Garden of Remembrance Wall and no official action is needed at the grave. Several have already been 'moved' in this way. I believe this policy is followed in Australia as the government pays for the upkeep of all official war graves rather than CWGC.

Such an enquiry may simply speed up the process of the commemoration being moved to the appropriate Garden of Remembrance Wall - though, as this grave is in such good condition comparitively, I doubt it.

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Thanks for the reply Terry - I suspected as much. Perhaps, instead of waiting for the 'private' graves to fall into disrepair, the CWGC and it's various branches, should consider just listing all these men on the Remembrance Walls to begin with. Surely that would save a lot of stuffing around each time.

And if this one is in 'comparatively' good condition, I'd hate to see some of the worst ones.

Tim L.

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Tim

You will see from my post that, in Australia, they are all already on the Garden of Remembrance Walls. CWGC maintains the burial location in its database for each man until the grave is either unmaintainable or not fitting as a commemoration. Then it simply changes the location in the computer!

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