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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Cemeteries in War torn Iraq


Beau Geste
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I noticed that Cpl John Rawlinson DCM, 6th Bn Royal Lancaster Regiment, was the soldier mentioned in today's "Remembering Today" section of The Forum. He died on 2nd November 1916, aged 33, and is buried in Amara War Cemetery in Iraq.

Does anyone know if the warring parties in Iraq honour the dead of previous wars and leave those in the war cemeteries to rest in peace?

Harry

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Good Subject.......There is a reference to the British War Cemetary in Basra in the book by Col. Tim Collins...but the name of the book escapes me at this moment. In this book he stated that that the cemetary had been very well looked after by a local Arab family and all graves were kept in good condition and the grave records were all recorded in a book that sadam hussiens men had tried to find but were kept hidden by the guardians. this family had undertook it upon themselves to do the caring of the dead.

chris.

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post-20901-1194019796.jpg
The King's Own wall panel in Amara CWGC Cemetery


Harry
I'm posting a couple of images from Amara Cemetery. I took them four years ago.
(We had a lively thread about Iraq CWGC cemeteries about 15 months ago.)

Corporal Rawlinson's name can be seen.

Then the Cemetery survived, with its beautiful Westmorland Green Slate Wall Panels, but the caretaker advised me that he wasn't getting paid.

Regards
Harry
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post-20901-1194020167.jpg
Badge detail from the King's Own wall panel, Amara

This is good craftsmanship, as Westmorland Green Slate is a metamorphic rock with a cleavage, & is much harder to carve in than sandstone or limestone.

The utility of the slate can be seen. It is self-cleansing & resists erosion.

I hope that CWGC has in its archives colour plates of all these panels.

Regards
Harry
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Good Subject.......There is a reference to the British War Cemetary in Basra in the book by Col. Tim Collins...but the name of the book escapes me at this moment. In this book he stated that that the cemetary had been very well looked after by a local Arab family and all graves were kept in good condition and the grave records were all recorded in a book that sadam hussiens men had tried to find but were kept hidden by the guardians. this family had undertook it upon themselves to do the caring of the dead.

chris.

Thanks Chris.

God bless that family. I take it Amara cemetery is the one in Basra you refer to.

Harry

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I believe recently Amara has suffered and I know a couple of squaddies returning told me that whilst they could visit it in 2003/4 in more recent times it was a no go zone. I think most/ all of the headstones have been destroyed but the tablets remained pretty well intact.

Basra memorial was moved from Basra by Saddams regime following the first Gulf War, the British logistics base was quite close to it in 2003 and quite a few soldiers took the opportunity to visit and clear it up, although it was in pretty good condition.

Baghdad cemetery and memorial were/are again in an area its not recommended to stop and take pictures. I have however seen some and there were some broken headstones but not as many as at Amara, but I guess things won't have improved since 2006 when I saw those pictures. Although as stated by others a couple of local families do their best to keep the cemeteries well looked after it must be a near impossible task.

Steve

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post-20901-1194019796.jpg

The King's Own wall panel in Amara CWGC Cemetery

Harry

I'm posting a couple of images from Amara Cemetery. I took them four years ago.

(We had a lively thread about Iraq CWGC cemeteries about 15 months ago.)

Corporal Rawlinson's name can be seen.

Then the Cemetery survived, with its beautiful Westmorland Green Slate Wall Panels, but the caretaker advised me that he wasn't getting paid.

Regards

Harry

Thanks Harry,

What a wonderful lot you are !

Great posting.

Harry

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I believe recently Amara has suffered and I know a couple of squaddies returning told me that whilst they could visit it in 2003/4 in more recent times it was a no go zone. I think most/ all of the headstones have been destroyed but the tablets remained pretty well intact.

Basra memorial was moved from Basra by Saddams regime following the first Gulf War, the British logistics base was quite close to it in 2003 and quite a few soldiers took the opportunity to visit and clear it up, although it was in pretty good condition.

Baghdad cemetery and memorial were/are again in an area its not recommended to stop and take pictures. I have however seen some and there were some broken headstones but not as many as at Amara, but I guess things won't have improved since 2006 when I saw those pictures. Although as stated by others a couple of local families do their best to keep the cemeteries well looked after it must be a near impossible task.

Steve

Thanks Steve,

Perhaps when this mess is over things will improve. It's wonderful though to read that prople do care and that things are in place to put things right when the situation improves.

Harry

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Harry, Have sent you a PM, what a coincidence ! "my" man is on this panel Pte Charles Hopley. Wonderful to see never thought I ever would. Thanks for posting it. Ralph.

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Saw a discussion the Professional Pilots Rumour Network about graves in Iraq including a picture of a cemetery. The question asked was

should we, given that we seem to be withdrawing from Iraq, be leaving the remains of these servicemen behind?

Would put a link to the picture that is on the page but not sure how....

Editted for speeeling!

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