War Cemetaries

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Please post details of any interesting UK war cemetaries. Also interested in memorials or plaques of interest. This post inspired by the D-Day post.
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RE: War Cemetaries Munnst. Great subject for a topic and one which is close to my heart. As for Military cemeteries, Cannock Chase is the one I frequent most as I live in the West Midlands. The Commonwealth War Cemetery there holds predominantly Great War graves but there are some from the last war too. There are many New Zealanders buried there who died of the flu while stationed at Brocton on the Chase. Just down the road is the Deutsche Soldatenfriedhof which is the last resting place for German WWII dead. There are many aircrew interred here as after the war the German Government were offered the opportunity of a site int which the majority, if not all, their war dead could be buried together. This site was chosen as apparently it is very reminiscent of forests in Germany. Also on the Chase is the Katyn Memorial dedicated to those who were killed in Katyn Wood. All three sites are worth a visit. The Chase is a great place for walking anyway and is very peaceful, something which is reflected in the Cemeteries. The American Cemetery at Madingley can only be described as overwhelming. The rows of crosses on manicured lawns are particularly powerful. The Memorial wall is extensive and reminds one of Sasson's 'intolerably nameless names.' It is too much to take in. The Chapel is magnificent with huge tiled panels and ceiling depicting the war. The Runnymede Memorial to the missing of the RAF is another site well worth a visit. A beautiful building in a beautiful setting but again the sheer volume of names tends to overwhelm you. You want to individualise them but of necessity you invariably pick out a few. Don't forget your local churchyards, Cemeteries and Memorials. I live in Walsall and my local Church has a memorial to the Great War. The census of 1911 showed Walsall to have a population of 111,000 or so an over two and a half thousand were hilled in the Great War. The Church, in a relatively small parish has a memorial to over two hundred men and women who were killed in that conflict. I'm currently researching them now. Also, our local Cemetery contains over 160 burials of servicemen and women from both wars. Memorials are all around us, it's just sad that so many people don't see their significance anymore. Regards, kev35
Profile picture for user Snapper

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RE: War Cemetaries Funnily enough, I have never been to a war cemetery in the UK. I have been to ones in France, Tunisia, Egypt, Thailand, Crete, and Belgium. I've visited Neuengamme and Bergen - Belsen, Yad Vashem holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, the peace monument in Beirut, and we have some war graves in most of the local cemeteries here - but I really should go to some of these here! Runnymede is a priority at the moment, but Cannonck Chase sounds very interesting. Whenever I am abroad, I do try to visit local CWGC cemeteries if I know of them - 'a debt I owe' kind of feeling. Perhaps I shall scan a small selection of war graves tonight. The US Cemetery in Tunis was pretty impressive, but I had to take the taxi driver there, with the aid of my Lonely Planet book. He had never heard of it! Fascinating, moving, awe - inspiring places that always deserve a visit whenever possible.
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RE: War Cemetaries While we're on the subject of War Cemeteries and memorials it brings up another question.... Is Memorialisation enough? In some cases perhaps, yes. It's hard to miss somewhere like Madingley, the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-ferne or Runnymede. But what about the smaller ones? An example, the church memorial I mentioned previously. Thousands of people pass it every day but very few people take notice of it. When I was recording the details of the names on there I was asked at least a dozen times what I was doing and what the memorial meant. In Willenhall, their town War Memorial is sited in well-kept gardens and the names listed are easily and clearly readable. But on the back wall of the gardens, overgrown and almost forgotten, lies the memorial to the soldiers of the town who lost their lives in the Boer War. What am I getting at? For those who lost husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters their Memorialisation was a tangible link to those whose loved ones were lost. We are reaching a time when there will, within the next twenty years or so, be few or no people left who had direct links with World War Two. What happens then? Are their memorials to be neglected like the one in Willenhall? Or like some of the Great War graves and memorials now beginning to suffer from neglect? It is time for education to come to the fore and instil in people that the debt we owe those who gave their lives for freedom will never be repaiRant over. Regards, kev35
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RE: War Cemetaries I can remember the churchyard in the village where I went to primary school at Fovant in Wiltshire (midway between Salisbury and Shaftesbury on the A30). This has many graves from WWI, where again a lot of ANZAC soldiers died from influenza. It's a well known village because of the badges the regiments carved on the chalk downs nearby, which are visible from the main road. Every now and then they get cleaned up and re-chalked, but some like the map of Australia at Compton Chamberlaine and the Warwickshire Regiment badge at Sutton Mandeville are sadly overgrown and have disappeared. When I was a boy, we used to go up on the downs to recover spent bullets from the old rifle ranges. A friend's grandad had been in the Machine Gun Corps and was the only one of his squad to survive. The local war memorials were full of lists of brothers and cousins who were killed in the Wiltshire Regiment - terrible blows to such small farming communities. For many years, the Armistice Day service used to be attended by a contingent of ANZACs, though they must be all dead by now. What struck me about the large war cemetaries I have visited elsewhere is the young age of most of the dead - late teens or early twenties. Only the NCOs were a bit older. Such a waste of life. Let's hope the war that's being talked up by the politicians can be avoided this time round. If not, it'll be the young that pay the price again. YR
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RE: War Cemetaries Damien. Superb yet poignant photos which illustrate the point better than any number of words. Regards, kev35
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RE: War Cemetaries I'm with Kev on this - in fact, I may just go to Coltishall tomorrow, as I head off to view a memorial stone I am looking at purchasing for a local pilot.
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RE: War Cemeteries [updated:LAST EDITED ON 25-01-03 AT 11:18 AM (GMT)]I like the serendipity of visiting war cemeteries. A couple of years back Lofty and I were 'doing' some of the old airfields of Lincolnshire when we spotted a church. Whenever we pass a church in airfield country we always look out for the familiar CWG headstones, but on this one there was even a 'war graves' signpost. We executed a rapid halt and climbed out for an explore. Nothing special - rather nothing more special than usual when visiting the resting place of guys who gave up their life for you - guys who didn't even know of you. Perhaps 30 graves. We walked the rows mostly in silence. Occasionally pointing out oddities until I found myself stopped in front of the grave of a Pilot Officer. You know how they sometimes have a little quote, or short message at the bottom? This one used a quotation from 'High Flight' "Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds etc...." (From memory) Nothing unusal about that you might say. But this was actually the grave of the author of that piece of poetry we all know so well Gillespie Magee Jr. Moggy
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RE: War Cemeteries Nice story Moggy. I like walking around the Graves of the ones who gave their lives for freedom. It is better when you are there yourself or with someone who doesnt talk too much when you are visiting graves. Just out of coincidence I was out photographing a grave and crash site today (see pic Below). I was once critisised, and the guy was pretty angry, for not going to the Rememberance Sunday service at the local war memorial. He was pretty upset at me and went off on one. Now I must admit I would like to go to the service every year but I havent been the last few years. But when he was going on at me I dont think he fully knew my situation and who or what I was. We had been talking and he asked me if I had been to the srevice I said no I didnt go. He started to say things like call yourdself interested in the war and things like that. To which my reply was why would I need to go to a service when I Think of and Remember our war dead every single day. I explained that I was more than just interested and that I researched aviation and more or less everyday I read about or went over notes about our war dead. He stopped going on at me and started with the old war stories. This is a pic of the Solitary RAF War Grave in Macmerry Churchyard. The fact that it is the only RAF grave is fantastic as the Church is right next door to the airfield and infact the Mortuary is said to be on the church grounds but I have yet to find anyone who knows what building it is. The pilots name is Burman he flew his Mustang through a set of H/T wires and was said to be decapitated. His plane flew on and buried itself into the field on the airfield before the engine shot out of the earth and on for a further 600 yards. Here is the pic of his Grave PS what do you think of the picture quiality. Feed back please. Attachments: http://www.keypublishing.com/forum/importedfiles/3e32ba84009e5d8b.jpg
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RE: War Cemeteries [updated:LAST EDITED ON 25-01-03 AT 05:47 PM (GMT)]Picture quality? Looks like standard low res 'web' picture. Why do you ask? I find I have to walk past every headstone, read every single name, almost out loud. It's as if the least you can do is to vocalise each of their names once more as evidence they are not forgotten. Anybody else do that? (Can take a while getting round some of the Normandy graveyards!) Moggy
Profile picture for user kev35

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RE: War Cemeteries Moggy. Same here. I think it's an attempt to individualise them. Maybe it relates to something someone said in another forum, that five deaths are a tragedy, 5,000,000 are a statistic. Reading their names brings them closer to us and that's exactly where they should be. Because of our shared interest in the past, their lives touch us constantly. Maybe in seeing a headstone, the books we read, the conversations we share and the simple fact that although their names may not be on our lips there is a certain knowledge among us that they will always be in our hearts. We can never repay the debt we owe, but at least we acknowledge there is a debt to be paid, and in so doing ensure that the courage, service and sacrifice of those who have gone before will always be remembered. Regards, kev35
Profile picture for user Snapper

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RE: War Cemeteries Very compressed jpeg, that has given a lot of artefacts and wrecked what resolution was there. On the plus side, the exposure was good, and has recorded (before compressing) the detail in the stone. It was clearly a bright day, but the stone was in shadow - a burst of flash would have helped things a bit, or taking on an overcast day.
Profile picture for user Merlin3945

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RE: War Cemeteries Hi Snapper thanks for your comments on the snap. The reason I asked was that not being able to afford the great digital camera we all like to dream of I opted for a 40 quid mini made by Mustek (G-smart) its about all I can afford. As I was going to use it to take piccies for my website as long as it is readable then it should be ok. There are some plus points to it and some negative. Negative first is that Indoor pictures are a big no unlike my mates 40 quid camera and obviously the res and quality are another. Plus are it almost fits in my wallet and is usually found in my poket or round my neck. And nobody knows its there. It is also rechargeable through the pc but this can also be a negative. You were right about it being heavily compressed as I used jpeg optimiser to comp it to below the 100 kb limit. Would it be ok to send you the original to get your opinion on it and see if it will suit my requirements. I will send it via email its about 125 kb. On the Cemeteries point though I visited the war graves on Rhodes 2 years ago. I will be going to Rhodes this year again and will visit the cemetery again if I am in that part of Rhodos. I left a note in the CWGC visitor book. How many other cemeteries have a visitors book I wonder as I had never seen that before. Merlin
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RE: War Cemeteries Merlin, all Cemeteries under the care of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission should have a complete Cemetery register and a visitor book. It is an unfurtunate symptom of today's society that in some cases the visitor's books have to be locked away due to theft or the occasional inappropriate or downright vulgar comment that could ruin a visitors day. Regards, kev35
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RE: War Cemeteries Hi Kev is it the same for cemeteries that are only part cared for by cwgc. I think that it is a sad state of affairs when vandals wreck graves and other memorials. Merlin
Profile picture for user kev35

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RE: War Cemeteries Hi, Merlin. Churchyards and municipal Cemeteries should also have details of burials such as plot and grave numbers. I don't think they are always available and at one Cemetery near where I live I was told that all the records had been lost. There is a CD-ROM which I believe is called the National Burial Index but I'm not altogether sure what it contains or the time period it covers. I'll see if I can find out for you. Regards, kev35
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RE: The view from Moggy's back garden [updated:LAST EDITED ON 27-01-03 AT 09:57 AM (GMT)]I have my 'own' war cemetery. This is the view from the bottom of my garden, you will be able to make out the familiar cross and the thirty odd CWG graves contained in the hedged enclosure. I started researching the guys and put all the stuff on a database. Lost the lot last year so have been a bit disheartened since. Taken with my 59 quid Enigma mini-digital. And to tie up to the Ludham thread mentioning Johnny Johnson - from my front garden you can see the house he used to own. Moggy Attachments: http://www.keypublishing.com/forum/importedfiles/3e35024e1aa2c764.jpg
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RE: The view from Moggy's back garden [updated:LAST EDITED ON 27-01-03 AT 12:31 PM (GMT)]Found a few interesting ones at Gorleston yesterday. Many Civvy Ones, (different stone, similar design, different shape) A Searchlight Regt (double badge) and a Lamplighter (Trinity House). Nice to see a WW1 grave with flowers still being placed on. And a family tomb with an RAF badge on, commemorating a lost son presumably. Attachments: http://www.keypublishing.com/forum/importedfiles/3e3524a3554f5191.jpg http://www.keypublishing.com/forum/importedfiles/3e3524c45581b377.jpg http://www.keypublishing.com/forum/importedfiles/3e35253d562ce562.jpg http://www.keypublishing.com/forum/importedfiles/3e35256256d40a38.jpg http://www.keypublishing.com/forum/importedfiles/3e35268258e08f40.jpg
Profile picture for user Moggy C

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RE: Headstones Odd spelling of Sergeant on that bottom headstone Moggy
Profile picture for user Snapper

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RE: Headstones Not so - it was generally spelt as Serjeant in WW1 - certainly my Great Grandfather was (Lancer). Even says SJT on his 'Pip, Squeak and Wilfred' and dogtag. Check out on the CWGC site for WW1 'Sarnt's' and it will come up with that. Surprised me at first - an evolution of a word I guess.