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Confused about war graves

#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.
 

Rod924

LE
Kit Reviewer
#5
Anyone in a service family is entitled to be buried in a military cemetery and the headstone and its surround (none) must also comply
 
#7
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.
 
B

bokkatankie

Guest
#9
I have a .pdf from here; CWGC Headstone Shapes - World War 2 Talk which shows the different styles.
Cannot download need to be logged in with sufficient privledges. Any chance you can post it on here or PM it?

Thanks.

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:
 

Attachments

#11
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:
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.
 
#13
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.
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.
 
#15
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.
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?
 
#16
Gravestones of a similar design can be purchased from a commercial monumental mason by the familes of ex-service members. There is on in the burial ground at Oving in West Sussex where the recipient/remembered/commemorated is distinctly ex-RAF but the family have chosen a similar design of gravestone at their own cost.
 
#18
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.
Another flat lying headstone is that of Lt Col John Macrae who penned In Flanders Fields. He is buried in Wimereux CWGC Cemetery in Northern France. McCrae's gravestone is placed flat, as are all the others in the section, because of the unstable sandy soil.



 
#19
I have a .pdf from here; CWGC Headstone Shapes - World War 2 Talk which shows the different styles.
Thanks for that-CB, interesting.

I took a look at the first photo example of a British grave, that of Pte Sherrin, Para Regt. and was interested to see that it showed that he was formerly Captain RA.
Also seemed odd that he wasn't classed as a war casualty, having died in Aug 44
On another thread on the WW2talk site, it goes part way in explaining it.

The Headstone photo is kindly sent to me by Forum Member SusanF as it is partly Royal Artillery related. He is buried in Edenbridge Cemetery.

The Gentleman gets a commission as a Lieutenant, Royal Artillery and is listed in the 7 October 1941 issue of the London Gazette.

Just over a year later, he resigns his commission as a Lieutenant, Royal Artillery and this is posted in the 30 October 1942 issue of the London Gazette.

The Headstone photo shows that he is a Private in the Parachute Regiment, AAC and has a non war death Headstone showing that he is formerly a Captain RA.

The listing on CWGC indicates that he is retired and recorded as a Civilian War Death. When you read all this, are you as confused as I am.

Name: SHERRIN, EDWARD CUTHBERT VINCENT
Rank: Captain (Retd.)
Regiment/Service: Civilian War Dead
Age: 35
Date of Death: 03/08/1944
Additional information: A.R.I.B.A. Son of Capt. Frank J. Sherrin, and Margaret Lindsay Stuart Forbes Sherrin, of Pootings Manor, Edenbridge, Kent. Died at 60 Brompton Road.
Casualty Type: Civilian War Dead
Reporting Authority: WESTMINSTER CITY
Edited to add:

Looks like he was killed in a V1 attack on Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, one of 6 killed and 29 injured.

Be nice to think that he was in London doing something important for the war effort.
Hard to think what the Para Regt connection was-as a 35 year old private
 
#20
Just seen the death notice of the above Pte/Capt Sherrin.

SHERRIN- Killed by enemy action in Aug 1944,
Edward Cuthbert Vincent Sherring, Architect and Parachutist,
North Africa, Sicily, Italy, grieviously wounded, Late Lieut. RE and
Captain RA, dearly beloved third son of Captain and Mrs Frank Stuart
Forbes Sherrin, Pootings Manor, Edenbridge, Kent, and beloved
brother of Jim, Tom, and Richard (overseas)

R.I.P.
" I ride in the empyrean light
To serve St. George, that godly knight.
That foe to evil things,"
Does sound tragic, having been an officer, volunteers (presumably) to be a private soldier in Para Regt at relatively late age (33/34), to be grieviously wounded in Italy, and then to be
killed in London by V1.

Does leave you wanting to know more of what must be an interesting
story.
 

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