Jump to content


Remembered Today:

Photo

Possible exhumation?


71 replies to this topic

#1 Jackie and Tim

Jackie and Tim

    Lance-Corporal

  • Members2
  • 14 posts

Posted 07 May 2008 - 06:42 PM

End of April whilst visiting London Extension Cemetery at High Wood it appeared that there had been a removal of headstone and possible exhumation of remains recently. The missing headstone had a Gloucestershire Regiment headstone to either side and therefore it would appear reasonable to assume that the missing headstone also marked a Gloucestershire Regiment grave. Can anyone kindly provide any information?

Thanks J & T

#2 seadog

seadog

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 5,107 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bristol UK

Posted 07 May 2008 - 06:55 PM

Jackie & Tim, I know that it is extremely unlikely but I wonder if these two topics are linked somehow?.

http://1914-1918.inv...i...c=97761&hl=

Norman

#3 seadog

seadog

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 5,107 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bristol UK

Posted 08 May 2008 - 04:20 PM

Jackie & Tim

I have today sent e-mails to both the CWGC and the Glosters Regimental Museum regarding both this and the other posting, both of which relate to Gloucestershire Regmt soldiers. If and when I receive a reply I will of course post it here.

The Museum is here:
http://www.glosters.org.uk/

Norman

#4 Chris_Baker

Chris_Baker

    General

  • Old Sweat
  • 14,081 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Warwickshire UK

Posted 08 May 2008 - 04:24 PM

Did you by any chance take a note of the Plot/Row/Grave number? We could easily find out whose grave it was.

#5 Peter J

Peter J

    Major

  • Old Sweats
  • 432 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 08 May 2008 - 04:46 PM

Evening All,

May I ask why you think that an exhumation may have taken place?

Regards,

Peter.

#6 Terry Denham

Terry Denham

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 10,355 posts

Posted 08 May 2008 - 05:16 PM

An exhumation would be almost unheard of these days. Not very likely.

#7 Tyneside Chinaman

Tyneside Chinaman

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,504 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Durham City

Posted 08 May 2008 - 05:25 PM

Hi

A week last Tuesday my son and I went to the Thiepval visitor centre and were told that there were to be two burials that day and were we interested in going along. At two pm the reinterment of the unknown Gloucester took place followed by another at London Cemetery at four.

There were a number of vistors, one party arrived a few minutes before the service started. A number of these people took photographs throughout the service. It was like (edited) disney land, not a military funeral, although looking at them not one of them, even their guide hadn't seen a day in khaki.

Before we went that morning my son a serving soldier asked me why I wanted to go and I said "If we don't pay our respects then the poor lad died for nothing".

The behaviour of one gentleman was appalling in my book, he even took photo's of the small coffin in the grave. Why I don't know and I still can't understand why.

We left the cemetery and my son was rather upset, he hadn't told me they had just buried one of their lads killed on the final exercise before they go operational on Saturday.

I felt so strongly about this that I have refrained from posting anything as I wouldn't want to cause a row. Its not for me to dictate behaviour at a funeral. But I do believe in some standards.

In view of the fact that they were all planning to go to the High Wood service we thought better of it and went else where.

If the gentleman that took the photo's reads this I hope you are ashamed of your behaviour. Whilst I dont want you fell in, in three ranks at attention. You could have showed a bit more respect.

regards

John

*This post has been edited. Foul language will not be tolerated on this forum, even thinly disguised language. TR

#8 auchonvillerssomme

auchonvillerssomme

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 10,160 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Eames chair
  • Interests:First World War in general, Somme specifically. War memorials and losses.

Posted 08 May 2008 - 05:31 PM

The problem is John that many people don't see it as a funeral of a person. more of an internment of remains. I don't know how the service went but of those i have attended the Canadians conduct the best ceremonial funeral.

Best wishes and good luck to your son.

Mick

#9 seadog

seadog

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 5,107 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bristol UK

Posted 08 May 2008 - 05:38 PM

John, I fully agree with all the sentiments you have expressed. May I ask you one question, do you know where the reinterment of the Gloster took place?. Is it Orvillers, the same as mentioned in the topic I have linked to in Post #2 of this topic?. Perhaps you also know why this was a reinterment. Any info you have will be gratefully received.

Norman

#10 PBI

PBI

    Major-General

  • Old Sweat
  • 3,539 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:West Sussex
  • Interests:Anything Connected to The Great War..Particularly 11 & 17 London Battalions and 1st D.C.L.I.
    Also R.A. in the Korean War.

Posted 08 May 2008 - 05:43 PM

During the Burial of a WW1 Scots Soldier in Belgium,a very Portly Chap turned up Dressed as A WW1 Scots Private Soldier,the C.S.M. in Charge of the Burial Party "Politely" asked Him in Broad Scots Vernacular to Please Vacate Himself from the Vicinity of the Burial Service without Delay or He might befall with an Accident...Exit One Large Huffing Puffing Blimp. laugh.gif

#11 Tyneside Chinaman

Tyneside Chinaman

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,504 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Durham City

Posted 08 May 2008 - 06:50 PM

Gents

many thanks for your comments,

the Gloucester is in Ovilliers and from what I understood the lad being intered at High Wood was unknown. It was thought he may have been an officer as a whistle was found near the skull or so the lad at the visitor centre told me.


Seadog as far as I know it was a burial the body having been found in a field must admit I didn't ask too many questions.

The Glouceter is buried about four or five graves along from Pte Nugent of the TS. Those of you who have read Tyneside Scottish will be familiar with that story.

Attached is the one photo I took showing the new headstone in its cradle before the service, I was actually trying to get a one of my lad. He swung out of the way to the right. The lads in the background are those GENTLEMEN gardeners of the CWGC who do such a great job with the cemeteries.

John

Attached Files



#12 seadog

seadog

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 5,107 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bristol UK

Posted 09 May 2008 - 07:51 AM

See below for information received today from the Regiment. I believe that what seemed to be an exhumation at London CWGC was in fact the preparation of the grave in respect of the unknown Gloster soldier. That there was also the burial of the remains of another Gloster at Ovillers is now confirmed. I have requested further details of the discovery of the two sets of remains and will post any reply in due course. My thanks to Jim Smithson and Jackie & Tim for taking the trouble to post the two topics, without them this would have not appeared on this Forum.

Norman

“We have been advised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission that the burials of 2 sets of remains belonging to soldiers of the Gloster Regt will take place on 29th April 2008, timings below. Lt Col Tim Lerwill, OBE will be representing us in his capacity as the Rifles Secretary (Salisbury Office). April 29 April, 2pm Burial of unknown soldier of the Gloucestershire Regiment at Ovillers Military Cemetery, Ovillers-La-Boiselle. At 4 pm Burial of unknown soldier of the Gloucestershire Regiment at London High Wood Cemetery.Col Lerwill attended the reburials and has taken photographs which will appear on our next newsletter.”

Lt Col (Retd) John Denley
The Rifles Secretary
GloucesterCustom House
31 Commercial Road
Gloucester
GL1 2HE

#13 Jackie and Tim

Jackie and Tim

    Lance-Corporal

  • Members2
  • 14 posts

Posted 09 May 2008 - 09:24 PM

To all of you who have kindly provided information in respect of our query - thank you all very much. We will look out for the next Glosters newsletter with interest. Thank you all again for taking the trouble to reply.

Jackie & Tim

#14 seadog

seadog

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 5,107 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bristol UK

Posted 11 May 2008 - 01:41 PM

The situation regarding the burials of the two sets of Gloucestershire soldiers remains have been a “eye opener” to me in respect of a few issues.

(1) Why were these interments not notified on the CWGC website?

(2) Why did it take the efforts of two contributors to this forum in order that eventually and after a process of elimination the fact that the burials had happened were confirmed and this by the Regiment for which I am very grateful.

(3) There is still no news as to the original location of the remains and the circumstances of their discovery.

It is worth recording that one of the original contributors was of the impression that the burial at the London CWGC at High Wood was in fact an exhumation, understandable given the lack of information.

I believe that it is right to flag up these serious points as this is the first occasion in my experience that these circumstances have arisen. Comments would be welcome.

Norman

#15 PBI

PBI

    Major-General

  • Old Sweat
  • 3,539 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:West Sussex
  • Interests:Anything Connected to The Great War..Particularly 11 & 17 London Battalions and 1st D.C.L.I.
    Also R.A. in the Korean War.

Posted 11 May 2008 - 06:51 PM

Norman,I am glad that some one has finally has raised these Points,indeed it seems that if "You are not in the Know" that we are all are kept uninformed by the CWGC .How many Times have i picked up a Newspaper in the Last Twenty Years only to see tucked away in a Tiny Article,"Soldiers Remains Found" this story then usually peters out never to be heard of again,until lo and behold word again Filters out that the Burial toook place on such and such a Date at X Location.I am sure that many of us on the Forum are not privy to Inside Info,being that we are not members of Regimental Assocs or the Like,or an "Old Boys Network".I am now retiring to my M.G.Position,Manning the Weapon,and awaiting for the incoming "Strafe" from the Cwgc Apologists etc,etc,.... laugh.gif

#16 Jim Smithson

Jim Smithson

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,527 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:Arras + Somme

Posted 11 May 2008 - 06:51 PM

Norman

I agree with your sentiments. More information from the CWGC would be useful, if only to avoid the speculation evident in the earlier part of this thread.

I hope the person who gave offence taking the photographs was not Col Lerwill mentioned in the text from the Gloucesters!

For all others , photos of the headstone with floral tributes can be found in this thread. http://1914-1918.inv...mp;#entry916841

Jim

#17 seadog

seadog

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 5,107 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bristol UK

Posted 11 May 2008 - 07:16 PM

PBI, no need to duck. I think that this recent situation did leave a lot to be desired, for instance there could have been a sign on or near the burial site at the London CWGC informing visitors of the reason for the preparations. In respect of both of the Glosters I am disappointed that the CWGC did not think to include the news and arrangements on their web site which indeed has a separate “News” section, not too much to ask I think. This is not a “Go” at the CWGC but a plea for an explanation for the manner in which these latest cases were treated plus an improvement in communications in the future. I have of course communicated my concerns directly to the CWGC and I await a response.

Norman


#18 PBI

PBI

    Major-General

  • Old Sweat
  • 3,539 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:West Sussex
  • Interests:Anything Connected to The Great War..Particularly 11 & 17 London Battalions and 1st D.C.L.I.
    Also R.A. in the Korean War.

Posted 11 May 2008 - 07:30 PM

Good on you Norman,I await the reply to your Questions from the CWGC.Please keep us Posted.Best Wishes Russ... biggrin.gif

#19 Tyneside Chinaman

Tyneside Chinaman

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,504 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Durham City

Posted 11 May 2008 - 07:30 PM

Hi

I don't think the remark re the Colonel was called for. He was immaculatly dressed in British Warm Medals, Regimental Tie, [The Rifles] and Bowler Hat. His reading of the Regimental Collect was perfect and dignified.

If I had known I would have taken my medals tie and blazer - but we only found out that day and we were in rag order for tramping the fields. Still my heels were together and shoulders back.

Where I dipped out was I don't have an ANORAK and my camera ain't that good either.

John

#20 seadog

seadog

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 5,107 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bristol UK

Posted 11 May 2008 - 08:10 PM

John thanks for your response, I do not think that PBI meant anything untoward with regard to the Colonel and I am sure he acted in a dignified and respectful manner as befitted the occasion. What concerns me is that both sets of remains were found with some form of identification with them, cap badge etc and for the CWGC not to report any of this is to my mind a neglect of duty.

Norman

#21 PBI

PBI

    Major-General

  • Old Sweat
  • 3,539 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:West Sussex
  • Interests:Anything Connected to The Great War..Particularly 11 & 17 London Battalions and 1st D.C.L.I.
    Also R.A. in the Korean War.

Posted 12 May 2008 - 06:05 AM

I was in no way Denigrating the Col and His Role in the Burial Service.I am of the same Mind as Seadog,as to why there was NO Prior Notification of these Burials on the CWGC Web Site (Or anywhere else that i was aware of).Had i had previous Notification of these Services i would have certainly Attended to Pay My Respects.

#22 Jim Smithson

Jim Smithson

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,527 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:Arras + Somme

Posted 12 May 2008 - 08:29 PM

John

Clearly it was not the Colonel who was the offending photographer, I also meant no offence. Having re-read your original post I note that the person's behaviour throughout was inappropriate so my rather flippant remark was also inappropriate.

All the best for your son on his posting, many of the children in my school have dads in Iraq or Afghanistan so I am close to the emotions that can cause.

The main point of this thread is, however, that given more notice a greater number of people might have had the opportunity to pay their respects.

Well done Norman for following that sentiment through to the CWGC.

Jim

#23 Jackie and Tim

Jackie and Tim

    Lance-Corporal

  • Members2
  • 14 posts

Posted 12 May 2008 - 09:27 PM

I am pleased to know that there are so many of you out there that have so much interest, thought and knowledge. For what it's worth my initial thinking when at the London ext, Longueval was that the missing headstone and excavated grave was possibly an exhumation because of the following: There was a single width space between two existing adjacent Glos Regt burials. It simply didn't occur to me at that time that the work in progress was for a fresh interrment because I thought the row of graves was uniformly laid out and complete. Any new burial,I would have reasonably assumed, would have taken place using fresh ground either at the end of an existing grave row or elsewhere within the cemetery. It would clearly have been helpful if the CWGC had kindly provided some information in situ. This observation is in no way whatsoever meant as criticism of the CWGC as I have always held them in the highest regard and continue to do so. I look forward to further information in regard to the sad remains of the two recovered soldiers.

Thanks
Jackie & Tim

#24 PBI

PBI

    Major-General

  • Old Sweat
  • 3,539 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:West Sussex
  • Interests:Anything Connected to The Great War..Particularly 11 & 17 London Battalions and 1st D.C.L.I.
    Also R.A. in the Korean War.

Posted 13 May 2008 - 06:11 AM

I recall the Vast Amount of Pre Interment Press Coverage given to the Funerals of Fusilier Frank King and 2 other Soldiers at Monchy Le Preux a Number of years ago.Due to the Media Interest of this Event,many People who were previously unaware of the inpending Funerals,were thus given enough time to make Their Travel arrangements and were there to pay their respects on the Day.I do think that CWGC can do far more to keep People informed as to these Important events via their Web Site.It will be interesting to see their reply to Norman.Regards Russ.

#25 seadog

seadog

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 5,107 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bristol UK

Posted 13 May 2008 - 07:22 AM

Hi Jackie & Tim, thanks for the comments, I am of course making an assumption with regard to the grave at London CWGC. This may be incorrect but again due to the complete lack of any information from the CWGC, an assumption it will remain. Like everyone I have the greatest respect for the work of the Commission but as an organisation this does not defer them from comments and constructive criticism.

The case of the two Glosters brought the Commissions apparent lack of communication into sharp focus, in particular with me as I live in Bristol and the Glosters were and are deeply respected as the local regiment. From Waterloo through the Great War, The Second World War and into their glorious actions in Korea, this regiment has tremendous support in the city as evidenced by the Freedom of the City being conferred upon them. For the commission to show such a lack of forethought to the public, some of whom may have been visiting the Somme at the time of the interments and would have attended out of respect, shows a level of omission which both surprises and saddens me.

That this should occur in this 90th anniversary year only adds to that concern. And finally I do not hold out much hope of a response from the Commission but should I receive one it will be posted here.

Norman