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War Graves

I was sad to hear on the news today and read in the Guardian that the Imperial War Graves Commission* failed to ensure that African or Indian servicemen of the Empire in the Great War were accorded the same treatment in death as those from the UK and the Dominions.

I can’t say however that I was very surprised – a clue is in the name: Imperial War Graves Commission.

It’s no excuse for the behaviour of those in charge but the times were different and the attitudes of the powers that were were very unenlightened compared to those that I hope would apply now.

Again, there’s no excuse but it may have been a non-Western Front ruling. There are certainly individual graves of Maori soldiers at Birr Cross Roads Cemetery near Ypres. But New Zealand was of course a Dominion not a colony. (I also remember seeing somewhere a headstone for a Chinese member of the Labour Battalion but not which cemetery his grave was in.)

There are of course collective memorials to Nepalese and Indian soldiers at the Menin Gate as well as names of individual Burmese and Indian soldiers on the building itself.

However, it was and is deplorable that non-white servicemen were at any time not accorded the respect that was – and still is – their due.

*The name was later changed to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

War Graves, Errol

Errol is a small town in the Carse of Gowrie, and lies about halfway between Dundee and Perth.

One of our sons lives there and while walking round one day last July (in that short time frame when such a thing was within Covid rules) I came across two Commonwealth War Graves in Errol cemetery.

Private W Soutar, The Black Watch, 17/1/1921:-

War Grave, Errol

Corporal C Anderson, 2nd Life Guards, 12/31919, aged 41:-

Errol, War Grave

Another grave bore this commemoration; Alfred Bramhill Doe, killed in action near Arras, 23/4/1917 aged 25:-

War Inscription, Errol

Commonwealth War Graves, Hebburn Cemetery (iii)

Private H Dobson, The East Surrey Regiment, 1/6/1940, aged 21:-
Hebburn, Second World War Grave

Sapper J McCarty, Royal Engineers, 8/11/1942, aged 20:-
Second World War Grave, Hebburn

Private R Binnie, Royal Defence Corps, 10/2/1918, aged 46:-
Great War Grave, Hebburn

Private J Lacey, Royal Army Medical Corps, 12/3/1918, aged 25:-
Hebburn, Great War Grave

Sapper J T Marshall, Royal Engineers, 23/4/1916, aged 34:-
Great War Grave, Hebburn

2nd Corporal J Trodden, Royal Engineers, 21/2/1921, aged 23:-
Hebburn, Great War Grave

Private H Herries, Durham Light Infantry, 14/3/1917, aged 23:-
Hebburn, Great War Grave

Groups of Commonwealth War Graves, Hebburn Cemetery

Sapper W E Milne, Royal Engineers, 16/11/1945, aged 28 ; Private W Shone, The Seaforth Highlanders, 29/3/1946, aged 17; Gunner J Stubbings, Royal Artillery, 1/5/1947:-

Hebburn, Group of War Graves

Private W J Jackson, Durham Light Infantry, 25/12/1942; Private I Richardson, The Border Regiment, 9/11/1943, aged 24; Corporal J J Taylor, RAF, 24/11/1944, aged 44:-

Group of Second World War Graves, Hebburn

Sergeant W Watson, Wireless Operator/Rear Gunner, RAF, 14/11/1941, aged 21; WO B 11 (BSM) T W Picken, Royal Artillery, 1/8/1942, aged 34; J Weatherstone, Observer, RAF, 9/8/1947, aged 23:-

Group of Second World War Graves, Hebburn

Private W Hall, The Buffs, 5/5/1941, aged 18; W T H Oliver, Military Provost Staff Corps, 11/5/1941, aged 48; Guardsman C Hope, Grenadier Guards, 10-11/5/1941:-

Hebburn, Second World War Graves

Commonwealth War Graves, Hebburn Cemetery (ii)

P Moran, Air Mechanic First Class, Royal Navy, HMS Heron, 18/4/1943, aged 29:-
asecond World War Grave, Hebburn

Corporal J McDonnack, RAF, Auxiliary Air Force, 1/5/1941:-
Hebburn, Second World War Grave

Gunner A Keegan, Royal Artillery, 11/12/1939, aged 30:-
Second World War Grave, Hebburn

Private J Lydon, Durham Light Infantry, 2/12/1915:-
Hebburn, Great War Grave

Private T McKeown, Northumberland Fusiliers, 1/11/1918, aged 34:-
Hebburn, Great War Grave

Sergeant J G Forrest, Flight Engineer, RAF, 14/1/1945, aged 19:-
Hebburn Second World War Grave

Bruno Joseph Turcotte, Petty Officer Royal Canadian Navy, HMCS Provider, 16/6/1964, aged 36:-
War Grave, Hebburn

Commonwealth War Graves, Hebburn Cemetery (i)

As I mentioned before Hebburn Cemetery contains 41 War Graves, from both World Wars.

Sapper T C Brown, Royal Engineers, 7/4/1916:-

Great War Grave, Hebburn

Serjeant W W Norrie, Corps of Military Police, 27/2/1945, aged 42:-
Second World War Grave, Hebburn

Lance Corporal W G Nicholson, Royal Engineers, 4/3/1941, aged 30:-
Hebburn, War Grave

Private J Adair, Durham Light Infantry, 29/9/1942, aged 32:-
Hebburn, Second World War Grave

Able Seaman A Cottrell, Royal Navy, HMS “President III”, 14/5/1942:-
Hebburn, Second World War Grave

Private O Ward, The Border Rgiment, 2/12/1940, aged 25:-
Seecond World War Grave, Hebbrun

J Wilson, Stoker, Petty Officer, Royal Navy, HMS Zephyr, 31/12/1944, aged 27:-
Hebburn, Second World War Grave

Birr Cross Roads Cemetery, Belgium

Birr Cross Roads Cemetery lies on the Menin Road just east of Ypres/Ieper. One of the many Commonwealth War Graves cemeteries surrounding the city.

The cemetery contains 834 burials, 330 of whom are unidentified casualties. There are 504 identified casualties; from the United Kingdom (375,) Australia (115,) New Zealand (9,) Canada (4) and one Belgian.

From Menin Road. Cross of Sacrifice to right of centre, Stone of Remembrance to left of gates:-

Birr Cross Roads Cemetery from Menin Road

Soldiers of the Great War:-

Graves, Birr Cross Roads Cemetery,

The Belgian grave is of an interpreter to the British Army. It is inscribed, “A la Memoire de De Wattine Camille, L E, Sergent de l’Armee Belge, interprete a l’Armee Britannique. Mort pour la Belgique, la 29 Septembre 1918.” (In memory of De Wattine Camille, L E, Sergeant, Belgian Army, interpreter to the British Army. Died for Belgium, 29/9/1918):-

Grave of an Interpreter, Birr Cross Roads Cemetery, Near Ypres

The nine New Zealanders there include five soldiers from the Maori Battalion.

Corporal W M Karena, New Zealand Maori Battalion, 30/11/1917 and Private H Kanaru, New Zealand Maori Battalion, 30/11/1917:-

Maori Graves, Birr Cross Roads Cemetery, Belgium

Private H R Kereama, New Zealand Maori Battalion, 7/12/1917, aged 26 and Private M Hapuku, New Zealand Maori Battalion, 30/11/1917:-

More Maori Graves, Birr Cross Roads Cemetery

Private H M Power, New Zealand Maori Battalion, 7/12/1917, aged 22:-

New Zealand Maori Battalion Grave, Birr Cross Roads Cemetery, near Ypres

Great War Graves, Overleigh Cemetery, Chester

I have posted about Overleigh Cemetery Chester, before. These are all graves within the cemetery of casualties of the Great War:-

Private L C Woolley, Royal Army Ordnance Corps, 16/4/1919:-

War Grave, Overleigh Cemetery, Chester

Private J Lawrence, Royal Lancaster Regiment, 20/12/1915, aged 33:-

War Grave, Chester, Overleigh Cemetery

Private H Jones, Cheshire Regiment, 15/11/1918, aged 45:-

War Grave, Chester

Private C Nuttall, Cheshire Regiment, 4/11/1918, aged 29:-

Chester War Grave

Pioneer C H Webb, Royal Engineers, 11/9/1918, aged 24:-

aChester War Grave 20

Serjeant Major J W T Francis, Cheshire Regiment, 25/5/1915, aged 27:-

Overleigh Cemetery, Chester, War Grave

Gunner R T Ryder, Royal Field Artillery, 20/4/1915, aged 20:-

Great War Grave, Chester, Overleigh Cemetery

Corporal H Cooper, Cheshire Regiment, 4/1/1917, aged 44:-

Chester, Overleigh Cemetery, Great War Grave

Boy A Burton, Cheshire Regiment, 19/2/1918, aged 17:-

War Grave of Boy, Overleigh Cemetery, Chester

Corporal J Warburton, Royal Engineers, 21/2/1917, aged 44:-

Overleigh Cemetery, Chester, Great War Grave

Private H H J Martin, Cheshire Regiment, 3/11/1918, aged 30:-

Chester, Overleigh Cemetery, Great War Grave

Private T Z Stephenson, Royal Engineers, 7/7/1915, aged 32:-

Chester, Great War Grave

Captain Thomas Arthur Ellis, RAF, 20/11/1918, aged 25:-

Great War Grave, Chester

Pioneer A Sutton, Royal Engineers, 17/5/1920, aged 50:-

Chester, Great War Grave, Overleigh Cemetery

Private T Jenkins, Welsh Regiment, 30/8/1915, aged 18:-

Overleigh Cemetery, Chester, Great War Grave

Private E R Noakes, Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry,) 26/4/1920:-

War Grave, Chester

Sapper W H Turton, Royal Engineeers, 3/6/1918:-

Overleigh Cemetery, Chester, Great War Grave

Second World War Graves, Overleigh Cemetery, Chester

I have posted several times previously about Overleigh Cemetery Chester. I photographed several World War 2 graves there.

Warrant Officer K Buckingham, Pilot, RAF, 7/9/1944, aged 23:-

Chester, Overleigh Cemetery, War Grave

Aircraftman 2nd Class W Ledsham, RAF, 23/2/1940:-

Second World War Grave, Overleigh Cemetery, Chester

Corporal A Henshall, Royal Engineers, 5/12/1944, aged 28:-

Second World War Grave, Overleigh Cemetery, Chester,

Leading Seaman J D H Gibson, Royal Navy, 25/5/1945, aged 30:-

World War 2 Grave, Overleign Cemetery, Chester

Guardsman T E Mallard, Grenadier Guards, 9/7/1944:-

Overleigh Cemetery, Chester, Second World War Grave

Aircraftman W J Wilding, RAF, 14/2/1942:-

Second World War Grave, Chester, Overleigh Cemetery

Paired War Graves, Overleigh Cemetery, Chester

For more general views of Overleigh Cemetery, see here.

It’s unusual in the UK for two soldiers to be commemorated on the one headstone. (It is much more common in the battlefield War Cemeteries in Belgium and France.)

There were two such paired burials in Overleigh though.

Gunner W Jones, Royal Garrison Artillery, 5/11/1918, aged 35 and Driver A Wildman, Royal Field Artillery, 6/11/1918:-

War Graves, Overleigh Cemetery, Chester

Private R Jones, Cheshire Regiment, 19/10/1915, aged 21, and Private C H McLaren, Cheshire Regiment, 12/10/1915, aged 43:-

War Graves, Overleigh Cemetery, Chester

Private A Waterfall, West Yorkshire Regiment, 26/7/1916, and Private E T Morris, Cheshire Regiment, 22/5/1916:-

Overleigh Cemetery, Chester, War Graves

Private J Williams, Royal Welch Fusiliers, 15/6/1921, aged 29, and Private F Dale, Manchester Regiment, 16/1/1921.

Chester, Overleigh Cemetery, War Graves

Bombardier C Pearce, Royal Field Artillery, 13/7/1920, aged 32, and, in background, F Williams, The King’s Liverpool Regiment, 2/6/1920, aged 20:-

War Graves, Overleigh Cemetery, Chester

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