CWGC Headstones - Does the type of cross signify anything?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by flamingo, Nov 11, 2008.

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  1. Hi

    I've often wondered if the different type of cross on CWGC headstones means anything? Some have the regimental crest engraved within the cross, others have a smaller cross.

    I'm sure some ARRSE guru will know!

    Thanks :D
  2. I belive that the size of the cross is different only to accomodate different badges (but not absolutely sure). I have read that the shape of the top of the stone changes depending on whether the stone was privately purchased which was possible after the Great War. For the real experts try the Great War Forum:

    Great War Forum
  3. From what I remember that decision was down to deceased relatives, as to how they wanted the grave stones.
  4. Edited to add. Yes the purchase thing is ringing a bell. Trying to load up the CWGC www site but it isnt playing for some reason. Might be something to do with 11 Nov
  5. Thanks for that, I tried the CWGC site but could not find anything about it.
  6. I believe the Navy use a different (Broad) Cross to the other services that may have ships crest included within
  7. scaryspice

    scaryspice LE Moderator

    All this info is available on their excellent website - try the magazine archive under the "News & Events" section and look for the article on "Features of Commonwealth war cemeteries"

    All stones are the same shape. This is one of their founding principles.

    Where the individual's identity was known the relatives were asked after WW1 & WW2 what religious symbol (if any) they would like and if they wanted to choose wording for an inscription at the bottom of the headstone. Some chose to have the Regimental badge at the top above the religious symbol and some had it placed within a larger version of the symbol.

    Obviously not everyone replied or was contactable and so for some casualties only the officially provided info is recorded. This seems to be the smaller version of the symbol with the badge above it.

    If the individual's identity was not known then there might or might not be a Regimental badge on the stone depending on whether their unit could be identified or not.

    If the individual's Unit could not be identified either then there is simply a cross on the stone.

    The above-mentioned article has a photo that clearly shows examples of all these types both with a badge placed inside the cross and with the badge placed above the cross (for named casualties) and examples of un-named casualties both with and without regimental badges.

    Edited to add link to the Magazine Archive HERE
  8. Just edited my last post cheers for that
  9. Perhaps I am beign thick buit where exactly does it say on the CWGC website that the relatives could choose whether the crest was inside a large cross or above a small one? I cant find the words in bold on the site.

    If relatives did choose the style of cross they seem to have displayed some unlikely consistency as the style of cross seems to be a regimental rather than family choice...
  10. The impression I got whilst looking around Brookwood mil cemetary recently was that RN graves tended to have an anchor and chain device on them.

    Am I correct in suggesting that VC winners etc have an image of the medal engraved on their grave?
  11. Correct on both counts.

    Here is a link to a picture of an RN grave from HJMS Vindictive - note the small cross

    Here is a picture of a VC headstone in Tyne Cot Cemetery

  12. General Melchett

    General Melchett LE Moderator

    I've always wondered about the shape of the headstone.

    I've seen the standard convex topped type, convex with the top corners cut out, angled top and I'm sure different shapes for Jewish soldiers.

    The cut out corners and the angled top type I was told were non CWGC headstones and were just military graves not from war action. Could be wrong on that one though.
  13. Might not be, I can see the grave of one of the lads killed in the training accident with the Puma from my window his headstone has the corners cut out like you say
  14. If you are really interested then read NOT FORGOTTEN by "Neil Oliver".

    A fascinating book. Before I read it I was under the impression that the war memorials where a government idea.

    Oh, it probably wont answer your particular question, but you should find it interesting.
    • Informative Informative x 1