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a soldier who used to have a grave


sabine72
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Aurel,

You're right, the CWGC information on this cemetery definitely states that Plot 2 was added after the Armistice - so it would seem very odd for a grave to be moved here from elsewhere, then lost after that! From CWGC "Plot II was formed after the Armistice when graves were brought in from isolated sites and small burial grounds to the north-east." This might fit with the HLI info - obviously, the War Diary may have more detail.

However, the grave of Jones does appear to be in the second row previously, and is now in the front row!

Alan

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Aurel,

You're right, the CWGC information on this cemetery definitely states that Plot 2 was added after the Armistice - so it would seem very odd for a grave to be moved here from elsewhere, then lost after that!

Alan

Exactly, Alan, a grave added post Armistice, and then lost (at a time that there was no shelling of course) hardly makes sense. And that's why I tend to believe that Gardiner's grave was not and never was there, also for other reasons (such as the text on the wooden marker).

Somehow it looks as if someone wanted to do something for him (and the other men), and not knowing where they were buried (or lying in the fields), just planted a commemorative cross, at Potyze Chateau Grounds Cemetery, because that was the most likely place. But I can be wrong of course.

I can hardly wait to see what headstone is there on that spot, and nearby. As I will be near Potijze tomorrow afternoon...

Aurel

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I've tried to follow what's going on here and find it as intruiging as everyone else.

One little thing I have for consideration.

Is the identification of the G H Jones grave open for debate?Looking at the Cemetery reports I see that at at II B 27 is another Jones ie Pte A E Jones and I note in Post eight that II B 28 is also refered to as next to G H Jones.

This may clear up the 'missing row

Hywyn

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Alan

I see that you are still logged on.

Further to my post No 78 and re last Para in your Post 76 what I'm saying is there's a Jones one behind the other at 27A and 27B. Therefore the initial identification of the G H Jones grave ( for the purpose of this debate) possible needs rexamining.

hywyn

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I think I found other names in the back on the rightside but not sure my eyes are verry tiered

russel W

sapper nr 112869

royal engineers

16/03/1918 unknown age

Looking at the details, Sapper W Russell is in Plot 1, A38, which is the far end at the back of Plot 1 - a long way away from some of the other graves which seem to "fit" the likely positions from the original postcard. Is it possible this name might not be correct? Plot 1 were the original wartime graves. If this name is correct, then he would have been moved - Plot 1 A 38 is right at the end of a row - and we still have Torrome, moved, apparently to Poelcapelle, and Cobbold, like Gardiner on the Menin Gate. Even if Gardiner's marker was not over a grave, the other two certainly look as though they were. But why would they be concentrated from elsewhere, then lost (or moved).

I'm beginning to wonder if the CWGC info about plot 2 may be questioned?

Having followed this so far, I'm now away for a few days, without internet access, which will be frustrating! :angry:

However, by the time I can check it again, maybe it will have been solved! :D

Alan

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Alan

I see that you are still logged on.

Further to my post No 78 and re last Para in your Post 76 what I'm saying is there's a Jones one behind the other at 27A and 27B. Therefore the initial identification of the G H Jones grave ( for the purpose of this debate) possible needs rexamining.

hywyn

Hywyn,

Last post for me tonight :D - I can see what you are saying - the ID given originally for GH Jones included the regiment (DCLI). AE Jones is South Lancs. If Sabine can comment on whether she read the name AND the regiment, then you could well be right - in which case it would suggest row A today was row A then - so what on earth happened to these 2 (or 3) graves??

Alan

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Ok,

I'm awake again and you're probably all still asleep. Some interesting developments.

Aurel, I don't think the cross to gardiner is just a memorial placed there by his comrades. The 1920's photo supplied by Alan clearly shows a row of graves along the same axis, including Gardiner's.

Alan's 1920's photo also clearly shows the external boundary fence and the bend in it. This same 'bend' is still obvious in the modern photo.

Looking further at Alan's photo, I can identify 8 rows of graves in Plot II whereas today there is only 7. And as Alan noted in the cemetery today Row A, Plot II lines up with Row E, Plot I, however in the 1920's photo there is no doubt that a row existed in front.

I've tried to demonstrate what I'm saying in the pictures below. Each of the eight rows are marked by red dots, the fenceline bend indicated by the red lines and where the graves are shown by the blue shaded area.

(sorry it's a bit small but I had to do this to enable it to post - but I think you know what I'm saying)

post-2918-1153969710.jpg

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And here's another comparison.

If you take Alan's 'modern' photo you can place the photographer just inside the fenceline. Transposing this position to his 1920's photo (marked by the yellow lines) we can see that the modern photo should have a row of graves running along and disappearing into it's right hand edge. Instead, all we have is an unexplainable expanse of lawn.

I'm convinced that there is/was a row of graves originally in this position in the early 1920's. Just what happened to them is the question that now needs to be answered.

Tim L.

post-2918-1153972940.jpg

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Is there any chance of getting any details from some other crosses in the 'missing' front row of Sabine's photo? For instance the white cross that's almost buried up to the cross-member. Is it possible for someone to scan the small area of one single cross with the highest resolution and hopefully bring out the detail.

It would be interesting to see what has become of these men - are they supposedly buried elsewhere or on the Menin Gate.

And when you think about it, we're no longer talking about 2-3 men. This could potentially be up to 30 men whose graves have not been identified for 85'ish years.

Tim L.

post-2918-1153981271.jpg

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Hello there - back for the day shift. Croeso Hywyn.

Alan - got you! Tim's red lines helped.

Hywyn -good question re. Jones. Sabine says it is G.H. Jones. I can make out the 'H' and 'Jones' if I really try, but the first letter looks more like a 'C' to me.

However Alan and Tim's efforts seem, to me, to suggest very strongly that a row has been removed.

Aurel, I am increasingly unsure that Gardiner was there, but that would not explain the clear presence of Torrome and several other graves. They can't all have been memorials only can they?

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I'm going to be away from mid-day to day until next Monday or Tuesday (visiting parents and 'doing' the East Midlands Pals Meet!).

Undoubtedly this thread will roll for a while and I look forward to seeing how it progresses.

I thought it might be useful if people could see the original scan of the postcard as somebody may have better abilities at enhancing it etc. than I have. I hope Sabine will not mind. Therefore, as a temporary measure, it can be downloaded from my website here: http://www.derbyshirelads.uwclub.net/

You'll find it at the bottom as 'GWF Potijze Cemetery Team'. Right click andselect 'Save Target As'. The file is about 580KB.

Good luck folks. I expect to see this solved when I get back! :D

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Andrew,

Looking at the enlarged photo from your website it would appear the grave in the second row is indeed GH Jones.

I also think it will be possible to bring out some of the the detail of the incriptions on the front 'missing' row of graves if you could scan them individually at the highest possible resolution. I've done this before on different photos and it has worked quite well.

However, it must be done from the original image. Trying to scan from a scanned copy doesn't improve the clarity at all.

If you're not sure how to do this and don't know anyone who does, I'm willing to give it a go but that will mean posting the photo to Australia which probably isn't the most practical of solutions.

Tim L.

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Were the dead disinterred and the graves rearranged by CWGC?

Or did they just place headstones in place of the wooden crosses and other markers?

CWGC certainly moved some dead from their original places to re-group them in other cemeteries.

Overlaying photo's of 'then and now' and trying to work out points of view of the photographer etc. seems a bit pointless until anyone can be certain that the cemetery wasn't completely relaid into the form it is now.

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However, it must be done from the original image. Trying to scan from a scanned copy doesn't improve the clarity at all.

....bit of a rush - packing bags etc....but can't keep away....

You'll have to talk to Sabine. The scan is all I have.

2422 etc., welcome to the team. Good question - though it seems that G. H. Jones is 'now' where he was 'then'. Gardiner, Torrome and Cobbold are a different question....

Bye. :unsure:

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Gentlemen (and Ladies),

Excellent phorensic investigation. But whilst it is clear there was 'something' in front of today's first row, which should be thoroughly investigated, I think we still need to hear a bit more background info, viz:

Bn war diary for 12 HLI on that day.

Terry D to see if there is any record of Torrome's burial prior to his interment at Poelcapelle.

In the meantime I pick up from the Gardiner correspondence:

"He was killed near Ypres on the 31st July, by heavy shell fire whilst in a trench with his company"

We should consider that there is thus a distinct possibility the Gardiner cross may indeed have been a memorial to him and his men lost in that shellfire, and whose remains were unrecoverable.

Another observation - the widening of the Potijze Chateau Grounds cemetery at the Plot II area - leading to the thought that there were originally graves in front of today's row 'A' . This space has been examined as evidence of something missing, but what about the opposite side? Looking at the plan view, this widening is symetrical and occurs on the opposite side of the graveyard as well.

If these spaces were not containing now lost graves, then why the widening at all? My first conclusion in answer to that was it could have been so arranged to secure more space for any future burials.

I look forward to the developments of this thread.

Ian

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Were the dead disinterred and the graves rearranged by CWGC?

Or did they just place headstones in place of the wooden crosses and other markers?

CWGC certainly moved some dead from their original places to re-group them in other cemeteries.

No they did not. This is a common misconception.

CWGC moved no graves during the concentration process. This concentration was carried out by the army - although consulations between the two organisations obviously took place about number and location of sites etc.

When the army had 'completed' a cemetery, it was formally handed over to CWGC's care. CWGC then set about the horticultural and building work planned to complete the location. CWGC placed headstones on the existing graves. Until the 'hand-over' the cemetery was army responsibility.

In some locations later work did take place where a cemetery had to be closed, large numbers of 'new' bodies were found or some other local adjustment was necessary but not in the sense meant above.

This is the reason that CWGC only has army burial returns as original documentation.

If you read CWGC's Annual Reports from 1917 onwards (which are very detailed), there is virtually no mention of exhumations, burials etc but only of the hand-overs and completion of planned works to get the locations fit for the expected NoK visits. Each volume contains detailed lists of cemeteries completed around the world - itself a tremendous feat of civil engineering in so few years.

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To all,

As I am in the Zonnebeke road this afternoon, I probably won't be able to resist the temptation to pop in at Potijze Chateau Grounds Cemetery ...

Now, this thread is getting very complicated, and there are some things that I do not really understand or can hardly remember. (e.g. the Jones problem.) Hence my question : While being there, what am I expected to pay special attention to, and take photos of ? (Sorry, Sabine, I know you will be there too next Sunday, but since I am a retired man and have nothing else to do with my time ... <_<

If later today, let's say by 10 pm, I am not back on this Forum, could someone please contact my wife ? Last time I was at Potijze Chateau Grounds Cemetery I was attacked by a magpie. The monster viciously and repeatedly pecked in my feet (and I was wearing slippers !), naughtily perched on the headstone I wanted to photograph, and when I took a close up of the scoundrel him (her?)self and my flash went off, he (she?) really became furious and attacked me in the neck. He (she?) was a real pain in the neck.

Moriturus te salutat. :blink:

Aurel

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Aurel,

Perhaps I should not say this in connection with a CWGC cemetery - but please be careful. Maybe you should wear a cross or crucifix to ward off the evil magpie! :o

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Come back safe now!!

The Jones grave has been used as a marker. Once we had figured out where GH Jones was buried, we could work out the position of the missing row and therefore where the photographer stood.

If you could use the Jones grave as a way of working out the photographers position it would be great if you could take one from the same spot.

Take care out there! :P

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If you could use the Jones grave as a way of working out the photographers position it would be great if you could take one from the same spot.

Andrew,

You mean : take a photo like the original postcard, and mark Jones's grave on it (II.A.27) ? Correct ?

Other photos too ?

(If only that devillish magpie will let me ...)

Aurel

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hello,

this is going so fast, just checking during lunch break at my brothers comuter.

I'll try to make a nes scan en enlarge the parts whe cann't read, give me some time to do that, since it is my first. the card is very fragile to me because my great uncle gave it before he died ( it is in a boocklet)

let you know as soon as possible if the scan worked

sabine

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Aurel,

I'd suggest photos from about the same position as Sabine's original photo and then another from where Alan's 1920's photo was taken outside the perimeter fence. It might also be good to note who is represented on the 'special memorials' i.e. Known to be buried in this cemetery.

And just for everyone's info, I've had a really close look at the enlarged photo of the 'Jones' grave in the second row of Sabine's photo. I am certain it says 'Pte G.H. Jones' and underneath I can make out 'Duke of..."

Now, there are Jones' buried in II.B.17 (S. Jones), II.B.25 (T.J. Jones) and II.B.27 (A.E. Jones) but they are all listed with CWGC as Riflemen not Privates. Secondly, none of them were was with the DCLI.

The only Jones that fits the bill is in II.A.27 - which is now the front row.

Ian,

I can see your point about the equal widening on both sides however at the far side there are special memorials (I think in the shape of headstones) pretty much hard up against the rear wall. I would assume these were placed there during the original design of the cemetery.

Tim L.

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Aurel - yes please!

Got to go or I'm going to get hit by the wife and kids..........

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Aurel,

(...) It might also be good to note who is represented on the 'special memorials' i.e. Known to be buried in this cemetery.

Tim,

Yes, I had thought of that too. I won't forget.

Aurel

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Looking at the cemetery report, one of the three Jones has a special memorial. Quite a few of the special memorials are for REs.

It will be interesting to hear what the inscriptions say - known to be buried here, believed to be, or somewhere near this cemetery, etc.

We can find the names thus commemorated from the cemetery report on CWGC, but can they be identified with the missing front row? I guess the names of the other front row crosses cannot be read even from a good resolution scan?

Ian

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