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CWGC Cemeteries still open


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#1 jay dubaya

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 01:49 AM

Hi folks,

a recent research project has fueled my interest in the cemeteries of the Somme and I have several questions which I'm struggling to find answers to;

From what I understand regarding the 'Body Density Maps' and the burials that followed these initial searches into the 1920s, how many IWGC cemeteries remained 'open' and how has the number of these 'open' cemeteries changed upto present day?

What are the dates/years of the large scale searches? My only knowledge of these are between 1919 into the 1920s and again early 1930s

How many burials from the initial searches are 'unknown' and how many burials have taken place since the inital searches ended and how can this number broken down?

Did the Exhumation Companies keep any surviving documents?

As I say, my main drive is the CWGC Somme Battlefield Cemeteries but it would be of interest to include all the battlefields and all denominations. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated,

cheers, Jon

#2 AussiesinArras

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 02:10 AM

Hi Jon,

I know that the London Cemetery and Extension was still taking burials in 1955. Pte AW King 2675 AIF and five of his mates ex Bullecourt were re-buried there and that their graves are in amongst others, as such, it is reasonable to deduce that there was continuing activity there. Of general interest, there is also a small section of WW2 burials in the Extension.

I have been informed that Serre Road No.2 also had "late burials".

The other one that I was told "accepted late burials" was the Terlincthan Cemetery but that is out on the Coast.

I have an interest in any cemetery taking "Late Burials" as I am trying to rectify some of the ommissions in the Australian War Memorial On-Line Roll of Honour as it contains some mis-leading information relating to Australians, particularly, those whose remains were discovered between 1923 and 1955, at least. I have so far found 112 WW1 graves that they said did not exist and also, 14 WW2 RAAF aircrew, two of which had been re-located but their new burial location was not identified.

Regards, Peter

#3 Nigel Cave

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 07:14 AM

In the Salient, Cement House did into the 80s; Sanctuary Wood did in the later inter war years; in the later inter war years Canadian No 2 (in the Vimy site) did and now any cemetery where a space can be found will take remains found near them (or perhaps if there is a regimental connection) - thus Prowse Point, Ovillers, Monchy le Preux British, Pont du Jour. I imagine the list would have to be looked at on a year by year basis, tho' seem to have been'designated' post WW II, perhaps - eg London, Cement H and Terlinctun uniquely for a while (in the 70s?)

#4 AussiesinArras

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 08:53 AM

Hi Nigel,

Found six, with some assistance from a West Australian researcher, of my 112 at Canadian No. 2. One was said to have been killed at Fromelles, so it is possible that he was transported down to Vimy Ridge. His date of death is 19 July 1916.

I will conduct audits on the other cemteries that you have mentioned.


Best regards, Peter

#5 Nigel Cave

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 08:58 AM

Hi Nigel,

Found six, with some assistance from a West Australian researcher, of my 112 at Canadian No. 2. One was said to have been killed at Fromelles, so it is possible that he was transported down to Vimy Ridge. His date of death is 19 July 1916.

I will conduct audits on the other cemteries that you have mentioned.


Best regards, Peter


More than likely - there are casualties from all over the WF in CCNo2 and its register was the last to be completed for France (or, put it this way, it has the last register number for CWGC cemeteries [WWI] in France). I am not so sure that it had burials after WW II, however.
You also get oddities - such as two cemeteries at Flesquieres (one was F Chateau, the other had something to do with railway crossing or similar) concentrated in to Orival Wood Cemetery in the early 30s, apparently because they could not resolve land issues. The railway one was, I think, fairly well established - even now there is an 'out of place' number of flora at its location.

#6 AussiesinArras

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 03:33 AM

Nigel,

Tks, your comments are much appreciated.


Jon,

I have been told in the past that the official, and organised "sweeps" of battlefields were ended in 1923 when the volunteer soldiers, who offered to stay behind to assist with the locating and reburial of the dead, were sent home. Again, as told to me, the time was chosen as the number of battlefield burials being discovered had significantly diminished. It was said that some of the major battlefields were "swept" up to 10 times looking for "sign".

Further, I was told by another person, a private individual living in one of the battlefields, that the more suttle clues that were searched for were, the "grayish-green colour of a small pool of water" or a small hole (rat hole) with small white bones close by to the entrance. This is in addition to the more obvious traditional indicators, that I have not repeated here.


Best regards, Peter

#7 jay dubaya

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 12:31 AM

Sorry for not getting back sooner fellas...festivities somewhat got in the way!

Thanks for the replies, I did wonder regarding remains being found in later years and them being interred in nearby cemeteries. Are there any examples of names being removed from memorials to the missing because remains have been found and have been identified?

Jon

#8 River97

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 02:46 AM

Thanks for the replies, I did wonder regarding remains being found in later years and them being interred in nearby cemeteries. Are there any examples of names being removed from memorials to the missing because remains have been found and have been identified?

Jon


Jon,

That's a very good question. The ideal memorial that could answer the question would be VC Corner Cemetery with the Australian Memorial to the missing of Fromelles. If someone was close to it they could have a look. I don't know if the names have been 'removed' yet, but I would think they would at some stage.

There are also a significant number listed on the Brookwood Memorials in the UK whose graves have now been identified (one of the IFCP sidelines). Same situation, They would be due for removal, but unsure if it has been done yet.

Cheers Andy.

#9 Tom Morgan

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 08:52 AM

Sorry for not getting back sooner fellas...festivities somewhat got in the way!

Thanks for the replies, I did wonder regarding remains being found in later years and them being interred in nearby cemeteries. Are there any examples of names being removed from memorials to the missing because remains have been found and have been identified?

Jon


The Thiepval Memorial may be of interest here. There is evidence on some of the panels of names having been removed by chiselling the letters out and filling the resultant hole with cement. This isn't a very attractive method and it isn't used any more. I don't know which names were removed in this way. The CWGC now waits until a panel needs to be replaced.

As a result, there are soldiers still named on the Memorial whose remains were found, identified and buried in cemeteries in the area, years ago. There are similar examples on other memorials to the Missing.

Tom

#10 SPOF

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 09:35 AM

That's a very good question. The ideal memorial that could answer the question would be VC Corner Cemetery with the Australian Memorial to the missing of Fromelles. If someone was close to it they could have a look. I don't know if the names have been 'removed' yet, but I would think they would at some stage.



Andy

The names of the men who have been identified at Pheasant Wood are still on the memorial at VC Corner. As Tom has said, they will normally wait until the panel is replaced. In this case, given the numbers spread over a large number of panels, the whole lot might be replaced as others not effected are pretty badly worn too.

Either way, I don't expect any changes until after the last Identification Panel has sat in early 2014 and the official identification process has been completed. So perhaps sometime between then and the 2016 centenary perhaps due to the high profile of the new cemetery?

Glen

#11 Michelle Young

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 12:00 PM

I think that John Kipling is still named at Dud Corner, the gravestone with his name on was erected some years ago in St Marys ADS

Michelle

#12 genef

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 12:43 PM

While visiting the American Cemetery at Bony I noticed several of the names of the missing had a small
item engraved next to the name, I am sorry but I don't remember what the item was.
I was told the item indicated the soldier had been found. I thought this was a very neat way to tell
visitors the status of no longer missing soldiers without defacing the memorial.

Happy New Year,

Gene

#13 AussiesinArras

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 11:55 AM

Sorry for not getting back sooner fellas...festivities somewhat got in the way!

Thanks for the replies, I did wonder regarding remains being found in later years and them being interred in nearby cemeteries. Are there any examples of names being removed from memorials to the missing because remains have been found and have been identified?

Jon



Hi Jon,

Funny that you should ask this question. I was thinking about creating a new thread on this very subject.

Prior to the CWGC taking over the responsibility for the Thiepval Memorial, I was told a short time ago, that a Committee (no name or title given) were in charge of the Memorial over the past years and that they removed the names of those who were later found, or, should not have been on the Memorial due to administrative errors etc.

When you look closely at the "removals" on the Memorial panels, it appears as though they used a "router" or similar equipment, as the leading and ending horizontal edges of the stone removed, are perfectly round. They were not "chiselled".

Again, if you have a look around the Memorial, you will find some rather "fresh" looking stone panels with blank spots on them. This is because the CWGC is now deleting the names as and when a panel section needs to be replaced. This seems to be a more economical decision rather than going out and getting rid of superfluous names as and when they are discovered.

It is my understanding that whoever was in charge of the Canadian Memorial on Vimy Ridge in the past years were also removing superfluous names, same as at Thiepval, BUT, when the Memorial underwent a major restoration some five or six years ago, I have been told that they put the Memorial back to original. That is, they put all the names back that they had removed. I have seen it mentioned (can't remember where) that the Canadian Government did this because it was a "work of art" and should have been left as it was originally created. So, I understand that the CWGC Charter (see next paragraph) does not appear to apply to this Memorial.

Now, according to the former Director of the Australian War Graves Commission, the panels at VC Corner are to be replaced once the Identification Committee has finished regarding the identities of those remains found at "Pheasant Wood" . This is to remove the names of all those who now have a known burial location ie/ a grave. When I suggested to him that we should not be "fiddling around" with the Memorials that have stood for so many years, he became rather upset with me and told me, in no uncertain terms, that is what the CWGC Charter says, each name in one place only, on a Memorial or on a grave....never in two places. He told me that he had had some long debating sessions with a person (not named here) who is very involved with the discovery of the Mass Grave and the Director does not want to keep having to repeat himself. If you visit the Memorial panels at VC Corner today, you will see that some of the panels are getting hard to read. It needs a visit from a CWGC Re-engraving Team.

Regards, Peter

#14 SPOF

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 12:37 PM

......

It is my understanding that whoever was in charge of the Canadian Memorial on Vimy Ridge in the past years were also removing superfluous names, same as at Thiepval, BUT, when the Memorial underwent a major restoration some five or six years ago, I have been told that they put the Memorial back to original. That is, they put all the names back that they had removed. I have seen it mentioned (can't remember where) that the Canadian Government did this because it was a "work of art" and should have been left as it was originally created. So, I understand that the CWGC Charter (see next paragraph) does not appear to apply to this Memorial.


He who pays the piper....

If the Canadian Government was able to persuade the other Govts funding CWGC, I can see the arguement for Vimy being treated differently to Thiepval, Tyne Cot, VC Corner etc. Ploegsteert and the Lions could be regarded as a borderline case of "art"


Now, according to the former Director of the Australian War Graves Commission, the panels at VC Corner are to be replaced once the Identification Committee has finished regarding the identities of those remains found at "Pheasant Wood" . This is to remove the names of all those who now have a known burial location ie/ a grave. When I suggested to him that we should not be "fiddling around" with the Memorials that have stood for so many years, he became rather upset with me and told me, in no uncertain terms, that is what the CWGC Charter says, each name in one place only, on a Memorial or on a grave....never in two places. He told me that he had had some long debating sessions with a person (not named here) who is very involved with the discovery of the Mass Grave and the Director does not want to keep having to repeat himself. If you visit the Memorial panels at VC Corner today, you will see that some of the panels are getting hard to read. It needs a visit from a CWGC Re-engraving Team.

Regards, Peter


An item in today's CWGC newsletter on defining legibility of inscriptions (http://www.cwgc.org/...ionsinStone.pdf) states readable at 2 paces and I agree that some of them are getting close to failing that criteria. It all depends on whether CWGC decide to wait another 2 and a bit years or spend money now. Given budgetary restraints, the temptation to wait must be strong. Some of hte panels are still OK so it would be an interesting excercise to draw up a plan of hte panels and mark off ones which have names to be removed.

Glen