A Cavalry Sword On An East Kent's Grave

Just as a bit of general input, the guy who does the grave cleaning is a well known bloke in Green Jacket circles.

As I understand it, he started off cleaning Green Jacket related grave stones but quite quickly started taking any military related project etc on board.

Examples of his work pop up on Facebook now again and the results of his efforts are excellent. And free of charge!

Well done to him!
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
As I recall, infantry sword knots are wound about the basket as this one is and mounted knots hang free.
 
I can spend hours wandering in an old churchyard, trying to imagine the stories behind the inscriptions.
 
I can spend hours wandering in an old churchyard, trying to imagine the stories behind the inscriptions.

When I was a funeral director, it was a pleasant way to spend the 30 minute duration of the service (after all, there's only so many versions of 'All Things Bright And Beautiful' that the ears can take!).

When carrying out an interment (reopening of a family plot for the last of the daughters) at East London Cem and Crem, we had an idle hour as the family were stuck in traffic.

Over 30 acres, is that place and I could have walked all of it: I tripped over (literally) Jack Warner, Carl Lody (first German spy shot at the Tower during WWI) and 'Long Lizzie' Stride, a victim of Jack the Ripper.
 
I think those Victorian cemeteries are a great reminder to us about our ultimate insignificance in the grand picture of things.

You walk around seeing these magnificent pieces of stonemasonry, genuine works of art many of them, carved with breathtaking skill by talented and gifted men. They have been raised to the glorious and immortal memory of someone, perhaps a local shopkeeper, lawyer, town councillor, or otherwise greatly esteemed member of his local community. The time, effort and money put in by the man's family to remember him are touching testimonies to the respect and love they had for him (or perhaps the family just wanted to outdo the Jones' grave to their father) and no doubt for a few years they annually gathered at his graveside to lay flowers and say a few prayers.

Now who has the faintest idea of who he ever was? His descendants probably live in a flat that they mortgaged their lifetime to own and in which he would have housed his servants. They speak English in a dialect he would be shocked to hear, they go on drinking holidays to places he would have thought barbaric and no place for an Englishman that did not wear the Queen's coat. The corner shop he once proudly ran sells some sort of frothy coffee drinks. And everything he did, everything he achieved, everything that he said and stood for are completely forgotten about.

And the expensive and very beautiful monument to his life and work crumbles amid empty beer cans and used condoms.
I felt exactly that walking round the largest cemetery in Europe in Vienna. Rows of family mausoleums the size of houses with ornate decorations that must have cost a fortune to erect, and for what? Local notables, now long forgotten. I remember thinking that if they wanted to do something useful with their money after their death, then how about an endowment at the university to educate bright poor kids. That would ensure that they would be remembered for the right reasons.
 
There is a small military section in my village church. Standard Portland stone regimental headstones. Part of the village has grown up around what was a classic old red brick barracks, now apartments, so the village church served the small garrison.
There are two Royal Corps of Signals graves, both different dates, but both mid 1970s, so not all that long ago. I often wondered what their story was. Neither are on the National Memorial at NMA, so I guess not died on operations, but why weren't they taken 'home' for burial. Don't know why but it just interests me.
 

soleil

War Hero
There is a small military section in my village church. Standard Portland stone regimental headstones. Part of the village has grown up around what was a classic old red brick barracks, now apartments, so the village church served the small garrison.
There are two Royal Corps of Signals graves, both different dates, but both mid 1970s, so not all that long ago. I often wondered what their story was. Neither are on the National Memorial at NMA, so I guess not died on operations, but why weren't they taken 'home' for burial. Don't know why but it just interests me.

Were Royal Corps of Signals personnel based at the Garrison at the time, LBE?

I'm wondering whether they could have been from the Commonwealth and with no existing family who could be contacted.
 
It was always the home of the Worcestershire Regt, then RHQ for WFR. Doesn't preclude RSig being there, but was only ever a tiny garrison. From the little research I've been able to do, one of them was from Somerset and is listed as having a wife, so it remains a puzzle.
 

sirbhp

LE
Book Reviewer
I dont know why , but when i see a serviceman's grave I always place a small stone on it . Might be from my Jewish Grave digging days ?
 
I remember thinking that if they wanted to do something useful with their money after their death, then how about an endowment at the university to educate bright poor kids. That would ensure that they would be remembered for the right reasons.
Like a Rhodes Scholarship? Fat lot of good that did.
 
What does that symbolise?
No idea on the actual symbolism but it seems to be a more permanent version of flowers at the graveside.

When walking around Commonwealth graves it was easy to spot the Jewish gravestones as they had stones balanced on top.
 
It was always the home of the Worcestershire Regt, then RHQ for WFR. Doesn't preclude RSig being there, but was only ever a tiny garrison. From the little research I've been able to do, one of them was from Somerset and is listed as having a wife, so it remains a puzzle.

I’m not sure that it should be a puzzle that a signaller has a wife.

I’m sure that not all of them are gay.
 
Like a Rhodes Scholarship? Fat lot of good that did.
Point taken - how many 'poor' kids are there in Vienna, anyway? The problem with things like that are that they are seen as 'such a good thing' that those with influence want to get in on the act. Bliar got his son Euan a scholarship at (I think) Harvard which were only supposed to be for very gifted, disadvantaged, offspring to which Blairs kids do not apply on either count. Public schools (e.g. Eton) were set up by Henry VIII to give a good education to poor kids and look how that turned out!
 
An interesting surname to research - as Edwin must have enlisted into the 'new' E Kent Regt at the time of the Childers Reform, his Regimental number was 19 (!).

His son, however, is worthy of research in his own right.

Alfred Victor Ongley was born in 1895 and, it would seem, was keen to follow his father into The Buffs. Whilst the 1911 Census shows him as a 'Errand Boy' it is obvious that as soon as he was of age he was off to the Regiment.

In September 1914, LCpl Ongley entered France with the 1st Bn The Buffs. Obviously a good and steady soldier, 1916 saw Cpl Ongley's name appear in the London Gazette:

View attachment 512660

Albert not only survived the war but continued to serve, certainly up to the late 30s as WOII Ongley appears on the GSM Medal Roll for the 'PALESTINE' clasp:

View attachment 512661

. . . and, at that point, disappears from view.
Are those LG entries for the MM?
 
Are those LG entries for the MM?

Sorry-my bad-I should have put that into context: no, that extract are the brief citations for the award of the DCM and those extracts would have been taken directly from the original citation which (usually) is much longer.

MMs, though announced in the LG, did not (except on very rare occasions) include a citation.

. . . and, to be more confusing and frustrating, not all WWI MMs were announced in the LG.
 

soleil

War Hero
Reading through Edwin's service record, I was wondering why 'Serjeant' was spelled with a 'j', yet 'Color Sergeant' is spelled with a 'g'.

I'm pretty sure that it says 'Color' without a 'u'.
 
Reading through Edwin's service record, I was wondering why 'Serjeant' was spelled with a 'j', yet 'Color Sergeant' is spelled with a 'g'.

I'm pretty sure that it says 'Color' without a 'u'.
Spelt with a J is the old spelling going back centuries. The G only came into use after the last innings.
 
An old word and spelling, coming from Latin for 'servant' by way of Anglo-French 'serjeanty', meaning a higher ranking vassal who received benefit of land and status in return for (usually) military service.

A Serjeant-at-Arms equated to half of a knight, in old money.

By WWI, the use of the word as a rank was being replaced by our more modern spelling of Sergeant, though it was still in some use during WWII.
 

Latest Threads

Top