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Remembered Today:

worst kept grave I've seen


auchonvillerssomme

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I feel it would be better if this man's headstone was removed to another cemetery. Either that or the local authority might be able to complete some works?

Very sad...

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I feel it would be better if this man's headstone was removed to another cemetery.

Very sad...

Remove the headstone, then you have to remove the man!

Logistic and costly nightmare.

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[quote name='kaisersoffensive' date='Oct 14 2007, 06:41 PM' post='779773'

Bravo Lynz

But then not many people would argue with you. :ph34r:

God you make me sound like an evil scotswumman. I may look scary but my bark is worse than my bite! Seriously get something done about those graves. It may not be your place but what if everyone that walks past says that? Action speaks louder than words!

Lynz

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auchonvillerssomme

Dont worry Lynz its being looked at. I'm taking a trip over again this week.

Mick

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I suspect that in at least some cases the local authority is the one responsible for the headstones being laid flat in the first place.

A number of years ago, I was photographing the headstone of william Ormsby VC MM who is buried in Dewsbury, and the family memorial of Horace Waller VC in the same cemetery. The local (Calderdale?) council had been round the cemetery placing notices on stones which had failed a stability test which informed next of kin or plot lease holders that unless steps were taken by individuals to render the memorials safe within a certain time frame (90 days from date of notice iirc), the council would take the appropriate action, which might include dismantling and removal of the headstone. In practice this only meant the laying flat of the stone. Dewsbury is the only cemetery in which I have seen notices of this nature but I am sure, judging by the number of neatly laid out memorials, that this has happened the length and breadth of the country.

As for those stones which have been vandalised, I can never understand why anyone would put such considerable effort into destroying something. I leave out the argument about the beauty of some memorials, because clearly this is lost on those who wreck and smash, but the effort involved in toppling a ton of granite has to be a huge one. I would love to see that effort channeled into something much more useful, and for those who do it, much more rewarding.

Last time I was at Reddish Cemetery the gravestone of Joseph Lister VC was propped and lashed to stop it falling, as were many others in the cemetery, so it would seem that different authorities take a differing view on what constitutes "rendering a memorial safe".

Thanks,

Nigel

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The local (Calderdale?) council had been round the cemetery placing notices on stones which had failed a stability test which informed next of kin or plot lease holders that unless steps were taken by individuals to render the memorials safe within a certain time frame (90 days from date of notice iirc)

Dewsbury comes under the jurisdiction of Kirklees Council.

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have a look at this, the jewish cemetery at phillips park manchester.

the cwgc stone for lionel fleet is flat to the ground, I emailed the cwgc expecting to have it re-erected, but a chap telephoned me and told me they have had to cement it flat to the ground because it has been broken four times,

the rest of the jewish part of the cemetery looks like a bomb site, I cant get to the bottom to what has happened, I don't think they will admit it has been vandalised

how very sad

maggy

http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l137/mar...lionelfleet.jpg

http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l137/mar...hillipspark.jpg

There is no excuse for desecration of any grave, but could there be another explanation why this gravestone is laid flat. I remember reading that gravestones are laid flat in some jewish cemeteries. Saying that looking at the 2nd picture this claerly isn't the case, I would have to say that the offenders need something doen to them, as it takes some force to tople stones of such size such as can be seen in the picture. I wonder if contacting he local Jewsh Community (such as the Beth Din) would make a difference.

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CWGC's ploy re laying the Jewish headstone flat is perfectly understandable.

From what they say, damage has happened several times and is therefore probably likely to happen again.

The headstone in question is a new one costing £400 a time. Their idea will be to lay it flat for the foreseeable future until the situation in the cemetery is brought under control. It will then probably be erected into the normal position. Their action ensures that the man has a fitting commemoration rather than constantly having a broken headstone whilst avoiding endless repair bills.

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Remove the headstone, then you have to remove the man!

Logistic and costly nightmare.

No you are WRONG, there are plenty of examples where this has been done WITHOUT moving the man's remains...

There is a cemetery in Gillingham Kent where 9 men or so are buried. Their headstones were removed by the CWGC years ago because the cemetery fell into disrepair and there was talk of building houses! Their headstones can now be found in Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham and all have an inscription detailing the circumstances.

I believe there are hundreds of cases like this throughout the world.

My point was that it is sometimes better to move a headstone to a more appropriate location... The most important thing is the actual commemoration so that their sacrifice is not forgotten.

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I think there are three cases in the grounds of the Sheffield Crematorium. There are memorials listing the names and details of casualties from 3 Sheffield cemeteries which can no longer be maintained. Warsedn being one of them. There's another in Nelson and I'm sure there will be others.

Nigel

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the headstone for lionel fleet was laid flat because it was vandalised several times and the last attempt was to cement it flat to try to at least keep the stone in place,I have this direct from the CWGC.

I wasnt having a gripe with the CWGC, but with the brain dead idiots that have repeatedly damaged it.

I have been in touch with someone from the jewish community, but couldnt find out what had happened to the private jewish graves.

all I can say is that my father in law is buried in another part of the cemetery and this has only happened in the last few years, when we saw it it brought tears to my eyes,

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"suspect that in at least some cases the local authority is the one responsible for the headstones being laid flat in the first place"...Dogflud

This is the case in the old cemetery in Dalry aswell. The council have put up a notice saying that they have had to lie gravestones flat because they have become increasingly unstable over the years and somewhat dangerous. That is fair enough, apparently there is ongoing work to make the ground more stable but I havent seen council workers in ages, as my estate is on the boundary wall of the cemetery.

Lynz :lol:

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auchonvillerssomme

I have seen a reference to a screen wall memorial (hartlepool I think) that commemorates those whose graves are in a cemetery which cannot be maintained.

Mick

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I have seen a reference to a screen wall memorial (hartlepool I think) that commemorates those whose graves are in a cemetery which cannot be maintained.

Mick

Mick, see post 13

John

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Is this the worst anyones seen. CWGC have been made aware.

Mick

Report it to cwgc 3 years ago in my local cemetary yobs had broken a war grave in 2 i reported it and within a year it was replaced,so sad to see a picture like that

Andy

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Hi,

Unfortunately reporting matters to the CWGC is not everything we might hope it to be.

Some years ago I discovered that a grave I wanted to see was located in a certain cemetery just to the north of Leeds city centre. I wrote to the vicar of the church asking for rough directions to the plot once inside the churchyard. He very promptly replied that i was more than welome to visit the churchyard in my quest and that he wished me luck.

I was puzzled at what he had written and remained so until I visited the place. It was a mass of brambles and sturdy young trees which had long since taken over the churchyard with only a gap cut through the jungle to reach the main door and a few pathways trampled through it leading to dens where the assorted detritus of drug use and prostitution was strewn.

I retreated and once again wrote to the vicar expressing my dismay at my findings. The vicar wrote back promptly telling me that the churchyard was closed to new burials and that he no longer had the right to maintain the cemetery surrounding his church because urban foxes used it as a route to and from feeding grounds and nesting areas. It had been declared a site of special scientific interest and any attempt by him or anyone else to alter the churchyard in any way would lead to prosecution. He enclosed a precis of his dealings with the council and various other agencies trying to come to an arrangement whereby the needs of all those who used the church and its grounds could be met. The foxes won the day and the cemetery was left to the foxes, and, of course the drug addicts and prostitutes to use unimpeded by those who simply wished to make the place safe and tidy.

So, it would seem that sometimes even though the CWGC might be willing to keep up with the maintenance of a cemetery and the graves for which it is responsible in it, they don't always have the final word and therefore their hands are tied and the only way to commemorate casualties adequately is to place a memorial to them in a more centralised location.

Strikes me that the balance is all wrong on this one.

Nigel

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  • 2 weeks later...
auchonvillerssomme

Update from the Mayors Office in Doncaster:

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is responsible for the maintenance of the memorials. Therefore, we have contacted the commission, who have confirmed the following program of work:-

· 107108 - J S Ogden - Current condition:- The memorial has snapped at the base. However, this is the second occasion this has happened. A further report was completed on 15th October 2007, and a replacement has now been ordered. Unfortunately, new memorials do take up to 18 months to be replaced.

· 1268 - P C Mitchell - Current condition:- A sandstone memorial covered in algae and a chip in the right-hand corner of the memorial. The replacement has been ordered, and this is due to be fitted on 20th November 2007.

· 4540612 - T Brown - The grave requires levelling and seeding, and will be completed before week ending 2nd November 2007 by Doncaster Council staff.

Regarding the general condition of Hyde Park Cemetery, the Authority is currently seeking funding for major renovation works, to hopefully restore the Cemetery to its former glory

Thank you, once again, for taking the time to contact the Mayor’s Office. Should you require any further assistance with regards to this matter, please do not hesitate to contact the Bereavement Services Office on 01302 535191.

Mick

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auchonvillerssomme

This is the response from CWGC which is actually quite disturbing.

Dear Mr Brand

Doncaster Hyde Park Cemetery

I refer to your e-mail dated 18th October 2007 regarding a broken stone of Pioneer J S Ogden and the condition of the grave of Corporal T Brown.

I can confirm that a replacement stone has been ordered for Pioneer Ogden.

Regarding the condition of the grave of Corporal Brown, if I may explain there are more than 170,000 Commonwealth war graves in 12,000 different cemeteries and churchyards in the United Kingdom. The reason for the large number of burial grounds is that the military authorities did not seek to control where servicemen and women were buried when they died in their home country and, most were, therefore, buried, not in military cemeteries, but in their own local churchyard or cemetery. Often, they were buried in graves with other members of their family, marked by private memorials.

In these circumstances, we seek to ensure the continued maintenance of Commonwealth war graves in the United Kingdom, by entering into maintenance agreements for their upkeep. These are normally made with the controlling authority or the cemetery or churchyard and sometimes with individuals. The standard of maintenance achieved under these arrangements varies considerably but the minimum acceptable standard is that the grave should be kept tidy and, if laid to grass, should be cut reasonably short through the growing season.

I will pass your comments on to the Regional Supervisor for the area. However I can confirm that we have tried twice to enter this cemetery to do maintenance works but gangs have chased our staff out of the site. This has been reported to both the local authority and the police and we understand that this is an on-going problem with this particular site. Our Supervisor is scheduled to meet with a Community Safety Warden at Doncaster and the Local Authority in November to discuss this issue.

Thank you for taking the time to bring these matters to our attention and I can confirm that we will not let the names of these war casualties, nor any of those also buried at Doncaster Hyde Park Cemetery, be forgotten.

Yours sincerely

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This is the response from CWGC which is actually quite disturbing.

.....However I can confirm that we have tried twice to enter this cemetery to do maintenance works but gangs have chased our staff out of the site. This has been reported to both the local authority and the police and we understand that this is an on-going problem with this particular site. Our Supervisor is scheduled to meet with a Community Safety Warden.....

Police protection for CWGC workers, This country has reached a new low!

Time I moved to Belgium/France

Andy

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auchonvillerssomme

I might add that i had prevously sent letters about this subject with no response but when i sent emails following posting on here I received almost immediate replies.

Mick

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May I chip in on this thread as someone who has "responsibility" for two small churchyards (neither of which contain CWCG graves incidentally). The whole question of maintenance of churchyards and graves is a difficult one and in the end it comes down to local people. One of my churchyards is closed which means that no new burials can take place there and the local authority assumes responsibility. In this case the local authority does an excellent job and the churchyard is always neat and tidy.

The other is "open" in that we still bury there. Here the responsibility lies with the Parochial Church Council and the churchyard is maintained very well by local "volunteers" who again keep it neat and well looked after. If we did not have volunteers I have no idea how we would maintain the "open" churchyard as we certainly do not have the funds from our small church community to pay a contractor. We receive no central funds from the church or the state to maintain either our church buildings or churchyards and the only alternative that is open to us is to apply to close churchyards when they are full which then puts the onus legally via the council on the local community. As someone has already mentioned this can be a mixed blessing and is dependent on the local councils views.

With regard to gravestones and memorials we believe that the onus is on the families or those who placed them there to maintain these. We like councils are obliged under Health and Safety to lay dangerous stones flat to prevent injury to visitors. We would if possible contact the family first to see if they would wish to pay to replace or have the stone made safe.

So really it is up to those concerned to either make their views known to the local authority or in the case of an open churchyard offer to help - which I am pleased to say many people do. Cemeteries not associated with churches have differing arrangements some are the responsibility of councils and some are privately owned by companies.

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All of the responses to this thread only lead me to the conclusion I have had for some time.PHOTOGRAPH NOW for before long they may be gone - especially the war graves with private headstones. Some cemeteries are scary places due to the indigenous living population. :unsure:

However I would encourage you to carry a small camera and not something bulky in the UK. After all you dont want to be another statistic in crime.

Oddly enough in all my wanderings of cemeteries abroad I have never felt threatened, only the UK.

Fred

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  • 13 years later...

Just to bring this back to life with a happy end to what was actually a sorry tale. 
The gravestone has been restored and it's now in far better condition than it was back in 2007.

I've attached two photo's one of the original on the bottom and a more recent one on the top, found at the Find a Grave web site, (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/59789560/patrick-charles-mitchell#view-photo=69847444)

Mitchell_Patrick_Charles_Doncaster_mod.jpg

Mitchell_Patric_Charles_mod.jpg

Edited by vaugh
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  • 2 months later...
Matlock1418

CWGC have started their "Eyes On, Hands On" project to help avoid this sort of problem of neglect

[though I believe they only have full responsibility for full I/CWGC graves and headstones/markers/walls - private memorials remain a private responsibility I believe].

https://www.cwgc.org/our-work/projects/eyes-on-hands-on

:-) M

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