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Battlefield Crosses


Myrtle
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Having come across a Battlefield Cross in a remote area of Wales, I contacted the IWM inventory to check if they had it listed. I was surprised to find that they have only 12 Battlefield Crosses listed for Wales and 10 for Scotland. They do however have 377 recorded for England. As it was easier for families to travel from certain parts of Britain to F&F it is not surprising that more English families managed to acquire these crosses but I would have thought that there would have been more than the present number recorded in Wales and Scotland.

If you have information on Battlefield Crosses in the further afield areas of the country I am sure that Lorraine Knight would appreciate the information at:

memorials@iwm.org.uk

Regards

Myrtle

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The crosses were not claimed by families visiting the battlefields (although I am sure that happened); you officially got them by applying to the IWGC - who then sent them to you in the post wrapped in brown paper... believe it or not.

This is something they obviously didn't widely publicise as I suspect they would have been inundated with requests.

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I'm not so sure that the relatives had to travel to F&F to collect the crosses. In a church near me in the West Midlands there is one complete with an OHMS label which appears to have been sent by post.

Terry Reeves

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Hello Paul and Terry

Thank you for clarifying how the Battlefield Crosses were acquired or not acquired by families in Britain. It would have been difficult for people in the further reaches of the country to find out about such a service, especially if they were only able to speak and understand Welsh or Gaelic.

Regards

Myrtle

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Myrtle,

Your battlefield cross in "remote' Wales, didn't happen to that of Dulas, Anglesey did it ? My father has been unsuccessfully trying to email me a photo of this for some time.

Apparently many locals believe that Major A. Neave was brought back from Belguim and re-interred in the family crypt-but it seems unlikely.

Regards

James

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James

The battlefield cross I came across was in Mid Wales. It commemorates John Williams-Vaughan 2/Lt Attd. 100th Coy Machine Gun Corps (Inf) He was KIA on 15th July 1916 at High Wood and is mentioned in the "History and Memoir of the 33rd Battalion Machine Gun Corps" as Lt. Vaughan-Williams.

Have you checked to see if the IWM have your Anglesey battlecross registered ?

Regards

Myrtle

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Just checked my notes on locations of Welsh battlefield crosses already registered with the IWM inventory. There are 5 in Clwyd; 1 in Dyfed; 2 in Gwent; 4 in Powys.

Myrtle

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I remember reading an explanation of what happened to the surplus wooden crosses after they had been replaced by their present headstones. It was an account of a visit to the cemetery at Delville Wood. The writer remembers seeing gardeners tending a fire by the side of the cemetery, on which they were burning a large pile of wooden crosses.

A few years ago I found what I think may have been the spot! Scattered here and there were bits of aluminium strip from the original wooden crosses.

metalstrip.jpg

Here's one of them, showing the letters "UNKNOWN B" of "Uknown British Soldier."

Tom

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Interesting information Tom. Do you know when the account was written?

Unfortunately John Williams-Vaughan's cross was not replaced by a headstone. The site of his grave must have been lost as his name appears on the Thiepval Memorial.

Regards

Myrtle

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Many original crosses were still in place post-WW2; an old friend in Pozieres (now dead) told me that when he first joined CWGC in 1947 his first job was to burn the remaining wooden crosses from London Cemetery, High Wood.

I must say over the years I have found a lot of these aluminium strips close to cemeteries; so it must have been common to burn them on site.

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Hi Conor

If you contact Lorraine Knight whose email address is mentioned in my first posting, she should be able to give you locations of any Irish battlefield crosses.

Regards

Myrtle

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