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#1 squirrel

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 05:06 PM

I have seen in several UK cemeteries screen walls with names commemorating WW1 and WW2 casualties buried in the cemeteries - why do these casualties not have individually marked graves?

#2 Terry Denham

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 05:10 PM

It is often because the casualties are buried in common graves with other persons. Local authorities do not usually allow headstones on common graves.

A screen wall can also be used if an area is unstable or the authority wishes to keep it clear of headstones.

#3 squirrel

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 08:36 PM

Terry,

thank you for a prompt response - much appreciated.

#4 judy7007

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 09:12 PM

A screen wall can also be used if an area is unstable or the authority wishes to keep it clear of headstones.


I have occasionally wondered why this plot of consecrated ground at a cemetery not so far from me has only a few headstones in the first few rows and then the rest of the plot is a grassy mound. In this plot there are some WWI casualties who are commemorated on the Screen Wall within the cemetery. Quite some time ago, a council officer was extremely helpful in leaving a marker on the grave of a casualty buried in this plot so I could identify the actual burial spot. I wondered why no headstone had been erected but it is most probably for the reason(s) above. Many thanks
Judy



#5 Phil Evans

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 10:04 PM

Squirrel and Judy,

That looks very much like part of Plot D at Ladywell Cemetery. If that is the case, certainly some of the men there died at the two military hospitals, Lewisham and Bermondsey (Ladywell). Many were, however, local men. There are up to fourteen individual burials in a single numbered plot.
This appears to have become known, at the time, as "Heroes Corner" and from what I can make out from contemporary newspaper reports, was a conscious decision by the local authority to set the area aside for the war dead. The adjoining Brockley Cemetery had it's own Heroes Corner and subsequent screen wall.

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#6 squirrel

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 02:54 PM

Thanks Phil,

I am puzzled as to why some were interred in individual graves and some interred in multiple graves. I wonder who took the decision? The hospitals, Army, Local Authorities or the families?

#7 Phil Evans

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 03:50 PM

The local authorities owned and maintained the cemeteries, so I guess it was their decision.

Although I have spent a lot of time on Ladywell, I must admit, I have never analysed it in that way.

It's also got me thinking whether "Heroe's Corner" is a purely local thing.

Phil

#8 judy7007

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 04:28 PM

That looks very much like part of Plot D at Ladywell Cemetery.Phil


Hi Phil

It is Plot Z at Ladywell which is not a cemetery I go to often but I was searching for some casualties there about a year ago. A casualty buried there was in the Women's Royal Air Force and her name appears on the screen wall with a grave reference alongside her name. It has Z CON in front of the plot number whereas some of the others just had Z and then the number so maybe not all the ground there is consecrated. I wondered at the time, why when it was known where she was buried, a CWGC headstone was not placed over her (and of other casualties in Z Plot) It seems it was most likely a Council decision at the time. Thank you for the interesting information.

Judy

#9 CGM

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 04:36 PM

Shared (common graves) were quite usual in London at that time. The cost of anything else was often beyond what folks could afford. Even if it was possible to pay for a family grave the expense of a gravestone was often impossible to meet, so family graves are often unmarked. Some of my great and great great relatives are in unmarked common graves in Tottenham Cemetery.

There was a Heroes Corner in Tottenham Cemetery but the name has slipped out of use and the staff there haven't heard of it.

I don't think there's much doubt that it's the two grassed areas enclosed by the hedges in this photo. There are no headstones here. Names of Great War casualties are listed on the screen wall.

Posted Image

Click on the thumbnail to enlarge.

More to follow!

#10 judy7007

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 04:40 PM

There is a Heroes Corner at Greenwich



Judy

#11 CGM

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 04:50 PM

As promised...

This is a very interesting thread. There are no Australian casualties in common graves in Tottenham (and possibly everywhere else in the UK?) due to their government's intervention, even if it meant exhumation and re-internment.

See here.

Regards
CGM

#12 squirrel

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 05:13 PM

Thanks for all your comments and to CGM for the link to the previous thread.

#13 Charles Booth

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 06:30 PM

At Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol, there is an area in front of a large screen wall memorial, called Soldiers' Corner. The land was originally bought by the Red Cross, who also paid for the memorial. The plots were originally marked with (non-IWGC) stones, flush to the ground and inscribed with the plot number and the name(s) of the casualty or casualties interred in the plot (up to six per plot). I have photos if anyone is interested. The CWGC took over the site in 1981. The stones were removed some years ago (unsure of dates or who was responsible) and the ground returfed. One new flush stone to Harry Wood, VC, was added in 2001. It may be that some other cemeteries had non-IWGC stones that were subsequently 'tidied up', perhaps?

Single plots appear to have been reserved for Corporal Wood (d. 1924), for the single British officer buried there, and for the Australians and the Canadians. There is a mystery figure on his own who I believe might have been an American officer - I and some colleagues are investigating. There is one Newfoundlander in a shared plot. Several of the Australians and Canadians were originally buried in shared plots and were later exhumed and re-buried on their own. Communal burial for the Australians ceased sometime between January and April 1917: all subsequent burials were in single plots, and all previous Australian casualties were exhumed and re-buried. The Canadian picture is less clear. Shared plots were being used as late as January 1918 (with subsequent exhumations and reburial), while the first single burial of a Canadian serviceman was in January 1917 (all dates from CWGC).

Best wishes

Charles

EDIT: PS There are one or two other Australians and Canadians (and one American) who enlisted in British Army units. These men are all buried in shared plots.

#14 Phil Evans

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 08:31 PM

Fascinating,

CGM's thread was most interesting and Charles's findings would bear it out. The three Australians in Ladywell are buried in singly marked graves, side by side, in isolation from any other war graves. There is a fourth, but he had local connections and is in a private grave.

Judy, you have answered a question for me. Plot Z is, by a quirk of the original layout,in Brockley Cemetery. Why the screen wall is so far away from the plot, I don't know. On one of my maps there is also a feint line that could mean that it was divided into consecrated and non-consecrated areas.

Phil

#15 CGM

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 10:04 PM

I'm not sure I made it clear in my post that there was no disrespect in burying Great War casualties in common or public graves if they died, for example, in local military hospitals.
Common, or public graves belonged to the cemetery owners and were gradually filled with unrelated people who died over a short time. The burials were paid for, but the ground was not purchased. It was a very widespread occurrence.
These burials were not the same as paupers burials where the burial itself had to be paid for by public funds.)

In order to be buried in a private grave, (what I called family grave), with no unrelated people, the plot of ground had to be purchased and the purchaser then had the right to determine who was buried there. This was obviously not appropriate or possible for many casualties.
The Australian government decided that all its citizens must be interred in private graves and the UK government agreed to this.

(I do wonder if common graves just didn't exist in Australia, so the government couldn't countenance its citizens being buried in this way...?)

Regards
CGM

#16 judy7007

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 10:20 AM

Plot Z is, by a quirk of the original layout,in Brockley Cemetery. Why the screen wall is so far away from the plot, I don't know. On one of my maps there is also a feint line that could mean that it was divided into consecrated and non-consecrated areas.


Thanks Phil - yes the Screen Wall and Plot Z in Brockley are quite a long way away from each other. However as regards no headstones on Plot Z, I am wondering if this is an area that Terry referred to that is/was either unstable or they wished to keep clear of headstones. "A screen wall can also be used if an area is unstable or the authority wishes to keep it clear of headstones". There are some headstones in the first couple of rows of Plot Z and then the rest of the mound is grassy. I have a detailed plan of Plot Z and most certainly there are burials over the whole of the plot (a few of them WWI casualties). All fascinating ...
Judy

#17 Harper

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 04:19 PM

I recently came across a shared grave that is slightly different to those discussed above or in other threads.

 

Serjeant Thomas Francis Heaney, RE,  and Private James Butler, Labour Corps, have a shared grave in Chester Overleigh Cemetery.

Serjeant Heaney died on 2 June 1918, or 75 days after Private Butler on 20 March 1918. 

 

Chester Overleigh Cemetery is a local council cemetery.  It was not close to capacity in 1918.  None of the other CWGC graves are shared.

So, am I correct in surmising that the reason these two soldiers share a grave is that their families could not afford individual plots?

Thanks

Attached Files


Edited by Harper, 17 February 2014 - 04:21 PM.


#18 steve morse

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 04:31 PM

Possibly buried shoulder to shoulder, so only one headstone could be put up.

 

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#19 raysearcher

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 06:10 PM

There is also another reason why in some old cemeteries, WW1 and WW2 casualties are commemorated on screen walls 

In many towns and cities the local authority's are deciding that some of the old cemeteries  "can no longer be maintained" 

 

an example 

 

HARTLEPOOL (STRANTON) CEMETERY Has 76 WW1 graves

 

The local authority  in its wisdom decided that the graves within the cemetery including 76 WW1 graves could no longer be maintained

 

The headstones were removed including the CWGC stones and the cemetery was converted to open parkland

 

The WW1 casualties interred in the cemetery  are all now Commemorated on a screen wall within the  old  cemetery

 

regards Ray

 

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#20 steve morse

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 03:29 PM

A man may also have ended up in what was called a 'pauper's grave' and no headstone could be erected as others would also be buried in the same area.



#21 johnboy

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 11:17 PM

There is also another reason why in some old cemeteries, WW1 and WW2 casualties are commemorated on screen walls 

In many towns and cities the local authority's are deciding that some of the old cemeteries  "can no longer be maintained" 

 

an example 

 

HARTLEPOOL (STRANTON) CEMETERY Has 76 WW1 graves

 

The local authority  in its wisdom decided that the graves within the cemetery including 76 WW1 graves could no longer be maintained

 

The headstones were removed including the CWGC stones and the cemetery was converted to open parkland

 

The WW1 casualties interred in the cemetery  are all now Commemorated on a screen wall within the  old  cemetery

 

regards Ray

 

LINK

 

 

Do you know what happened to the headstones as it is unlikely that the local authority owned or paid for them?



#22 simon2

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 02:38 PM

I made a recent search for a family members grave in Isleworth, West London and found the grave plot but no headstone.

According to records originally there was a headstone but it was removed some time before. There are many reasons why

they are removed, unstable, broken / disrepair, unreadable and licence expired. All these were reasons given by the cemetery

grounds person that I met there. Usually they are stored for a period of time and then destroyed. Although if it was a CWGC

headstone I would have thought it protocol to contact CWGC to inform them.



#23 gem22

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 02:47 PM

Squirrel

 

I enquired of the CWGC about the possibility of getting headstones for men buried in our local cemetery who had family memorial or headstones.

This is the relevant part of their reply.

 

If I may explain, all families of war casualties were offered standard pattern Commission headstones (CH) at the time.  In many cases families wished to put up their own family/private memorial (PM) and the war casualty was often buried with other family members who were remembered on the PM.

 

The Commission’s policy for private memorials is to include them on their inspection cycle and to keep them clean.  As the choice of memorial was a family decision, we would only seek to replace this if the PM no longer offers clear commemoration to the casualty. At such time, we would approach the family and/or the burial authority to discuss how to preserve perpetual commemoration of the war casualty.  Commemoration to the casualty is only that the name of the casualty is clear.  A PM is not required to detail their rank or other service details.  

 

In the UK all 170.000 war graves across over 13,000 sites are inspected on an approximate 3-4 year cycle by Regional Supervisors who check for legibility, unacceptable damage etc. and when necessary, arrange for replacement headstones to be erected. We treat our headstones with a masonry biocide every two to three years to help keep them free from algae and lichen. 

 

 

I hope that helps with your query.

 

Garth



#24 LST_164

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 03:06 PM

At Wrexham Cemetery there is a combined grave plot containing 8 soldiers, mostly of the RWF, dating from 1914-15.  With them is a 1914 civilian, unrelated, which suggests it was a common grave though principally used for military burials.  The entire plot has been edged in masonry and paved, and supplied with a large headstone which lists the dead alphabetically by name, rank, number, regiment, and date of death (name and date only for the civilian) plus the individual's original plot number.  It had a single plain cross engraved, and the words "Their Name Liveth For Evermore".

 

There would appear to have been 3 original plots right next to each other, with 3 men in each, so it was fairly simple to create a single "grave" with a shared marker later on.   

 

Clive



#25 John Beech

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:41 PM

Hi

 

In Nottingham Wilford Hill Cemetery there is a small screen wall to WW2 fatalities which lists the names of those men, and from memory one woman, who were cremated rather than buried. In Nottingham General Cemetery the WW1 screen wall there mentions more than 100 men who are buried in an adjourning 'war plot', with the names of the dead inscribed on an adjoining Screen Wall, so there appears to be several reasons why people don't have individual headstones.

 

In the General Cemetery, there are also several joined headstones as described by Harper in post #17. Most of the casualties in this cemetery died of wounds in the local hospitals and usually died on the same day or within a day or so of the other 'occupant.' I have always assumed that these graves were more for convenience than anything else.

 

Incidentally, there is also a solitary Belgium soldier buried in this cemetery - Lt Payeur Albert F-A-L-M De Keyser - He died 5th January 1916. There must be a story there!

 

Regards

 

John