Confused about war graves

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Infiltrator, Jun 30, 2012.

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  1. After some gen from someone who understands these things please?

    I was always under the impression that the CWGC headstones (if that be the correct term, you know, the white concrete type with service insignia at the top of the headstones) were only on war graves, those that died as a result of conflict or after if they died as a result.

    I now believe that to be untrue, so I would really like to understand the rules and where these headstones come from.

    I ask as a few months ago I was passing the military cemetery at Tidworth and called in to pay my respects. There were quite a number of graves that fell outwith conflict dates, and the ages of the interred did not tally up to any obvious conflict. I also googled one of the fella's and he had died in Norfolk in a motorcycle accident.

    After visiting my local cemetery yesterday, I found another grave that has really raised my curiosity about it.

    I've searched online and not really come up with a satisfactory answer about it.

    Please could someone enlighten me?
  2. Dunno about the motorcycle one but there are a few anomalies out there. I've seen a slate version in a Cornish graveyard (naval bod ISTR) somewhere near St Justin Roseland. Also, if a serviceman contracted a disease or was mortally injured in an accident before a conflict was declared but died after the declaration, they received a standard headstone with square cuts (about 3") taken out of the top corners. There's at least one in the CWGC section in the municipal cemetery in Calais.
  3. Rod924

    Rod924 LE Reviewer

    Anyone in a service family is entitled to be buried in a military cemetery and the headstone and its surround (none) must also comply
  4. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    Someone who has a military funeral will have one.
    & they can be had by anyone who dies whilst serving.
  5. Interestingly enough I have also seen a headstone made out of slate, somewhere, (sorry about my failing memory), in Northern France roundabout to Verdun or CH.Mezieres, I have got a picture of it somewhere.
    The wife says that it was a replacement of local slate paid for by the poor fellow's family.

    Will attempt to find such.
  6. I'm pretty sure I have seen CWGC headstones for children who died abroad whilst their parent was serving in foreign parts.
  7. Cannot download need to be logged in with sufficient privledges. Any chance you can post it on here or PM it?


    My Grandfather is buried a Tuakkyan CWGC cemetary, the head stones there are very different from those that you normaly, was that because many of the graves were moved post war?
    See picture:

    Attached Files:

  8. PM me with an email addy, as I seem unable to attach it to PMs.
  9. I was given to understand that in the Far East, the choice of lie-flat or standing headstones is dependent on soil conditions and rain-fall, if it was possible that the conditions would support standing headstones (especially in monsoon conditions) then the conventional headstones would be used, if not the lie-flat ones would be used.
    As a general rule, Singapore and Malaysia have standing headstones, Japan certainly and Thailand have the flat ones although there may be exceptions that I am unaware of.
  10. The stone is Portland Stone from Dorset
  11. As I understand it, the difference is between a war cemetery and a military cemetery.

    CWGC has a very tight brief that covers basically the two world wars (up to 1947 in the case of WW2) and these are war graves. Outside of that they are military graves and are the responsibility of MOD, though upkeep is not always as straightforward as in CWGC graves.

    Outside of that (WW1&WW2), anyone dying in service is entitled to a military headstone although depending on circumstances may well be in a civilian cemetery of the NOK's choice.

    The headstones are pretty well similar in both cases.

    Because of CWGCs tight remit, war graves are often kept separate from Military graves, something that in recent years has caused a bit of anguish among bereaved families who cannot understand why their casualty cannot be buried in the midst of war graves.

    Aden has two cemeterys, the old one (Ma'ala) contains graves from a couple of centuries up to about 1965. Because a number of them are war graves, CWGC has taken responsibility and looks after the non-war graves on a 'best efforts' basis, the newer cemetery (Silent Valley) is a Military cemetery so the responsibility for upkeep is the MOD's.
  12. War graves are where they bury war dead. Hope this clears up any confusion. No charge and you're very welcome.
  13. Thanks. But what about those that died once out of service? Who pays for the headstone etc? The grave I spotted yesterday was for a chap that was in his 70's, ex RAF, obviously no longer serving, died a couple of years ago.

    Can anyone that has served have such a headstone and where would it be obtained from?