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Kilrenny War Graves

Kilrenny is a village in Fife, as near to Anstruther – and Cellardyke – as almost makes no difference, separated only by a (short stretch of) road.

I spotted a Commonwealth War Graves sign on its graveyard’s entrance and went to investigate. There were two graves.

Private G Corstorphine, The Black Watch, 10/8/1917, aged 25:-

Commonwealth War Grave, Kilrenny, Fife, Scotland

Private J Doig, The Black Watch, 15/11/1915, aged 20:-

War Grave, Kilrenny

In addition three private gravestones mentioned war dead.

James Anstruther Moncrieff, killed in action, HMS Invincible, 31/5/1916, aged 22. Presumably in the Battle of Jutland:-

Kilrenny Memorial

Alexander W Henderson, lost at sea by mine explosion, 14/8/1917, aged 29:-

Kilrenny Commemoration

Similar name but a different gravestone yet obviously the same incident. Andrew Henderson, killed at sea by an explosion, August 1917, aged 53:-

Kilrenny Grave Commemoration

Lance Corporal James Murray, 48 Canadian Highlanders, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 22/4/1915, aged 21:-

Kilrenny War Commemoration

Some corner of a foreign field…. Wietje Farm Cemetery

Wietje Farm Cemetery is close to Ypres (Ieper,) Flanders, Belgium, just off the N313 road. The access is up a grassed path between two houses into a field growing crops. The path continues round the edge of the field until it is at a right angle to the cemetery to which it then leads.

115 Commonwealth servicemen of the Great War are buried here along with one German.

Wietje Farm Cemetery From Access Path

Wietje Farm Cemetery, Flanders, Belgium

Graves and Cross of Sacrifice:-

Wietje Farm Cemetery, Graves

The German grave; Unteroffizier O Hoffmeister, R Inf R, 22/9/1917. This lies off to the left of the previous photo:-

Wietje Farm Cemetery, German Grave

Poelcapelle War Cemetery, Flanders, Belgium

Poelcapelle is today spelled Poelkapelle. The village is a few miles north-east of Ypres (Ieper.) The British War Cemetery (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) is by the N313 road from Bruges (Brugge) to Ypres.

Poelcapelle War Cemetery,  Belgium

I’ve been to Tyne Cot but nevertheless still gasped when I entered Poelcapelle Cemetery. There are nearly 7,500 burials here, the vast majority, 6,230, of which are “Known unto God”.

View of interior from entrance:-

Interior of Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Graves:-

Graves, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Some of the unidentified soldiers of the Great War:-

War Graves, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Lines of graves:-

Lines of Graves, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance:-

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Memorial to some of those whose earlier graves were destroyed in later battles:-

Memorial Stone, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

As usual the graves are beautifully kept. A Soldier of the Great War, Known unto God and Private F J Patten, Hampshire Regiment, 4/10/17, aged 21:-

Planting, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Two Soldiers of the Great War:-

More Planting, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

There is one World War 2 grave at Poelcapelle. Private R E Mills, Royal Berkshire Regiment, 30/5/1940, aged 19:

WW 2 Grave, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance:-

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance Closer View

War Graves, Mainland Orkney

The churchyard cemetery at St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, had a Commonwealth War Graves sign on it. There were two, both Seaforth Highlanders from the Great War.

Private J Brass, 30/10/1918, aged 18:-

Kirkwall War Grave

Private J McKay, 11/11/1918, aged 21:-

War Grave, Kirkwall

Similarly, in Stromness’s Warebeth Cemetery on the shores of Hoy Sound, W Parsons, Second Hand, RNR, HM Trawler Dale Castle, 8th December 1918:-

Stromness War Grave

And at Orphir, Lance Bombardier J W Bews, Royal Artillery, 26/3/1941, aged 20:-

Orphir War Grave

Also in Orphir cemetery was this dedication to James Oliver Flett, Airborne Division, who died on active service, 22/4/1944, aged 22:-

Grave at Orphir

HMS Royal Oak Memorial

On the night of 8th October, 1939, the German submarine U-47, under the command of Günther Prien, penetrated the defences of Scapa Flow, Orkney, through Holm Sound and Kirk Sound. Her first two torpedo salvos missed all but an anchor chain but her third struck HMS Royal Oak. Within fifteen minutes the ship had sunk with the loss of 833 British sailors out of the crew of 1,234 men and boys. Many of their bodies were unrecoverable and remain on the ship. A few are interred at Lyness Naval Cemetery on Hoy.

For his feat Prien was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, the first sailor of a U-boat and the second member of the Kriegsmarine to receive this decoration.

To prevent any further such attacks a series of barriers known as the Churchill barriers was built between four of the southern Orkney islands to connect them to each other and the mainland. The one shown below (picture from the Royal Oak’s Wikipedia page) crosses what was Kirk Sound.

Churchill Barrier across Kirk Sound

For decades afterwards the Royal Oak, a designated war grave on which diving is therefore prohibited, leaked oil into Scapa Flow before the leak was sealed off.

A memorial to HMS Royal Oak is set into the north wall of Kirkwall’s St Magnus Cathedral. There is a dedication plaque, a book of remembrance listing the names, with a page turned every day, surmounted by the ship’s bell.

Royal Oak Memorial

Further along the same wall lies another site of more general remembrance, a niche containing poppies and candles.

Remembrance niche, St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall

Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Hoy, Orkney (iii)

An unknown sailor of the Great War, HMS Narborough, 12/1/1918:-

A Sailor of the Great War

An unknown sailor from the Royal Oak, sunk by a German submarine, 14/10/1939:-

A Sailor of the 1939-1945 war.

There are civilian burials in the cemetery at Lyness. Whether these deaths were due to enemy action or not is not made clear on the gravestones.

A Merchant Navy Seaman, Ham Fat, fireman, SS Pass of Leny, 14/6/1943:-

Merchant Navy Seaman, Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery

T H Coleman, First Radio Officer, S S Vasna, 17/9/1941, aged 46:-

Merchant Navy Sailor

“A Parsee” and “A Musalman” Sailor:-

A Parsee and A Musalman Sailor

K Ullah, fireman and trimmer, K Ullah, SS Mostyn, 30/1/1941, aged 32:-

K Ullah

Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Hoy, Orkney (ii)

Unusually for a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, in Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Hoy, Orkney, there are memorials other than the Cross of Sacrifice and the individual graves.

I posted about the HMS Vanguard Memorial on the anniversary of its sinking.

There is also a memorial to HMS Hampshire on which Lord Kitchener and many others died.

HMS Hampshire Memorial, Lyness War Cemetery

HMS Malaya went down in the Battle of Jutland:-

HMS Malaya Memorial, HMS Hampshire Memorial, Lyness War Cemetery

This cross commemorates Roman Catholics:-

Roman Catholic Memorial, Lyness War Cemetery

The following memorial is to “Henry Dixon Dixon-Wright, Chaplain to HMS Barham, died 1/6/1916 of wounds received in the Battle of Jutland and in memory of officers of HMS Barham who fell that day and lie at sea.” (I note the absence of “and men” in the dedication):-

HMS Barham Memorial, Lyness War Cemetery

Gravestone of Zu Sing Kang RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) who died at Scapa Flow, 2/5/1916. “Erected in memory of a kind act done by a Chinaman in nursing a blinded working man afterwards Senator McGregor of the Australian Commonwealth”:-

Zu Sing Kang, Lyness War Cemetery

A Boy Telegraphist, C Rogerson, HMS Pembroke I, 5/1/1918:-

Boy Telegraphist, Lyness War Cemetery

A Boy 1st Class, J T Porter, HMS Malaya, 31/5/1916:-

Boy 1st Class, Lyness War Cemetery

German graves:-

German Graves, Lyness War Cemetery

Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Hoy, Orkney (i)

Panorama from road:-

Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Hoy, Orkney

Entrance and Cross of Sacrifice from road:-

Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Hoy, Orkney

Graves (WW2):-

Graves at Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Hoy, Orkney

More WW2 graves:-

Graves at Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Hoy, Orkney

Johannes Thill. Despite the fact more German sailors and one soldier are buried elsewhere in the cemetery this grave stands in splendid isolation well away from all the others. It can be seen in the background to my photo of the HMS Vanguard Memorial (previous post):-

Johannes Thill, Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Hoy

A German Soldier. The other Germans in the cemetery were all sailors:-

A German Soldier, Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Hoy

A Norwegian Seaman (Norsk Sjømann) called Ivar Jacobsen, 1941:-

A Norwegian Sailor (Norsk Sjømann)

Abernethy War Graves

Despite the absence of a “Commonwealth War Graves here” sign on the gateposts we found three war graves in Abernethy churchyard.

Private J Gray, RASC, 18/11/1917, aged 33:-

Abernethy War Grave 1

Private P Scott, Royal Scots Greys, 20/2/1919, aged 28:-

Abernethy War Grave 2

Private H Rutherford, Cameron Highlanders, 10/12/1918:-

AbernethyWar Grave 3

In addition several headstones commemorated war dead.

Alexander Stephen, 16/8/1018, aged 48:-

Abernethy Graveyard, War Inscription 1

William Edmiston, 23/5/1915, aged 19:-

Abernethy Graveyard War Inscription 2

Private John Greenhill, 28/10/1914, aged 20:-

Abernethy Graveyard War Inscription 3

John Saunders, died from wounds at Boulogne, 26/5/1915, aged 35:-

Abernethy War Inscription 4

Sergt Alexander Mitchell, RAF, died in Cambridge Hospital, 13/10/1918, aged 31:-

Abernethy War Inscription 5

Kenneth James, CMF, 22/3/1944. aged 26:-

Abernethy War Inscription 6

Railway Wood, Ypres

In Railway Wood itself, near the Royal Engineers Memorial, there were several large craters.

Shell Crater , Railway Wood, Ypres

Shell Crater, Railway Wood, Ypres

Shell Crater near Ypres

Shell Crater near Ypres

It was quite spooky walking round the shell shattered ground, the peacefulness contrasting with what it must have been like for the soldiers of both sides, some of whom must lie underneath all this.

Pinned to a tree we found this memorial note for Private John William Ogley:-

Memorial Note for Private John William  Ogley

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