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Military Cemetery - RAF Habbaniya

#1
I have just read this article online - 11 Oct 07 on DTonline:

Iraq insurgency: rebuilding must begin

Quite a moving article about the CWGC cemetery at RAF Habbaniya which the USMC are caring for whilst there is a moratorium on work being done by the CWGC (unsurprisingly) in Iraq.

There is a corner of Anbar that is forever England but it's in sad shape. A furious row is raging over whether or not that should be so. Security is at the heart of the matter.

American Marines on a former RAF airbase in western Iraq have criticised British neglect of the base cemetery. The Marines have given repeated assurances that it is safe to carry out restoration work within the camp but the official body that administers British war graves has spurned the invitation. It's sticking to a moratorium on working in Iraq.
And this very moving image:



A real shame, but I am delighted that our cousins are caring for their memories in the right way:

Damaged gravestones bear poignant references to the homes the servicemen left to serve the Crown. One broken stone shows that D.J. Williams lived at 3 Craig View, Brecon. Another epitaph sums up the heartbreak suffered by families who lost relatives: "Your mother expected you home but God needed you."

Another visitor, Commander William Klorig, the chief Marine medic for Anbar, said: "It kind of makes you wonder why in the world those men’s memories weren't brought back home."

Gunner Walker dismisses the Commission's fears as "b-sh*t." "They say a man dies twice," he said. "Once when his soul goes to Jesus and the second time when men forget his name."
 
#2
barbs said:
I have just read this article online - 11 Oct 07 on DTonline:

Iraq insurgency: rebuilding must begin

Quite a moving article about the CWGC cemetery at RAF Habbaniya which the USMC are caring for whilst there is a moratorium on work being done by the CWGC (unsurprisingly) in Iraq.

There is a corner of Anbar that is forever England but it's in sad shape. A furious row is raging over whether or not that should be so. Security is at the heart of the matter.

American Marines on a former RAF airbase in western Iraq have criticised British neglect of the base cemetery. The Marines have given repeated assurances that it is safe to carry out restoration work within the camp but the official body that administers British war graves has spurned the invitation. It's sticking to a moratorium on working in Iraq.
And this very moving image:



A real shame, but I am delighted that our cousins are caring for their memories in the right way:

Damaged gravestones bear poignant references to the homes the servicemen left to serve the Crown. One broken stone shows that D.J. Williams lived at 3 Craig View, Brecon. Another epitaph sums up the heartbreak suffered by families who lost relatives: "Your mother expected you home but God needed you."

Another visitor, Commander William Klorig, the chief Marine medic for Anbar, said: "It kind of makes you wonder why in the world those men’s memories weren't brought back home."

Gunner Walker dismisses the Commission's fears as "b-sh*t." "They say a man dies twice," he said. "Once when his soul goes to Jesus and the second time when men forget his name."
This is a complete disgrace!
This can't be allowed to remain in this state, send some Engineers up to atleast tidy the site up a bit!
One small point however it is a Commonwealth cemetery, its not just a corner of England, all home nations have brave souls resting here as well as India, Australia,New Zealand ,Canada to name but a few, we must remember all our nations have a small corner out there
 
#3
Fellas forgive me, and call whatever name you want but rightly or wrongly why do we honestly expect anyone to give a feck about this?..only the poor sods family and mates miss these fellas. I've been to Tyne cot, Ypres, Calais and Crete and many other places that will forever be a part of England and they were all truly moving experiences ..and i agree that it wouldn't take a genius in military engineering to clean up all the neglected war graves..and HMG should lay on free travel for the dear old widows of brave men ..but, all who ever thinks that civvies in the government give a feck are maybe expecting too much?...i expect that most of us on this site joined up on our own free will, we choose to do it...i have more respect for those that had to do it.

Some of us have lost comrades and good friends on active service, and of course 'we will remember them' as we do the members of our regiments who served before us, so shouldn't our own regimental associations get a grip with the care of these places?..would you donate a days pay towards the cost of maintaining them if asked?...

Of my tours, no one, i. e, the general population, gave a flying feck when i returned ..and why should they?..did i care that they had a baby to feed or a bill to pay? or lived in shitesville estate?..did i think twice about the conditions down a mine or about life on a north sea trawler?...who remembers the dead and wounded of Borneo? the 66 world cup was on while some of them were dying...what about korean war vets, did you think about them while on leave yourself? did they think about Normandy vets when they were on leave? ..i don't understand all this recent whining about wanting to be thanked and respected for being in the forces.....laying your life on line for the country? really? more like it was a job we chose to do for good and bad, rain or shine ..big deal,live with it ..we aint special , we were just fellas doing a job.....we shouldn't demand respect, if we get it fair play, if we don't, so what? .. we know what we've done or been through, why do we need others to care? once you are dead or wounded you are no good to the mob, just another nuisance to HMG. War cemeteries ARE sacred places and should be lovingly cared for but i know of a good few graves of VC's winners that are totally ignored, why do you think that a few Toms buried half way round the world will be cared for by HMG? do you think that they really care?

I do expect to get some flak and even abuse for these comments and maybe i even deserve some of it ,but i respect the old boys who did there bit, i might even want to admit to myself that i did a bit too but civvies will never know what it's like and i'll never know whats it's like to be a miner or trawlwerman ..we're just like all the other old soldiers , we'll fade away with our memories and then someone else will pick up a rifle and follow on in our footsteps, it's the way it is and we shouldn't expect anything more. I've come to terms with it and moved on..i'm not bitter or cynical, just aware that no one owes me or any other squaddie a single thing.
 
#5
There are many Commonwealth War Grave sites in Iraq. The Brits did some renovations on certain sites in their areas when it was safe to do so.

I have a relative buried in the centre of bad-town Iraq. It took me about 3 weeks of research (around my usual job) to track down the place - converting the 1920s colonial name from a death certificate into a Saddam-ised district of Baghdad was tricky! Unfortunately, I could not get permission to visit as it was too dangerous (fair enough and rightly so - personal tourism is not to be encouraged in a war zone). Instead I got permission to obtain satellite imagery of the area - it was dilapidated and overgrown, but what would I expect after it had been in the middle of the the capital city of one of our enemies for 80 years? I gave a print of the image to my Grandfather (it is his uncle or great uncle buried there), as they had had no idea of where he lay.

Interestingly, Saddam moved alot of Commonwealth Grave sites out of towns into other areas, probably not for any honourable reason, but it did mean that there were sites outside of towns that were in fair nick. The unit we took over from had been able to conduct a ceremony at one.

Maybe the Americans working in Anbar think it is safe to work on, but I doubt any CWGC employees would agree and it seems a large task to divert British troops to the area to assist - they are a bit busy elsewhere after all.

Sadly, a situation that is not likely to change
 
#6
you should have seen the place before the USAF USMC and the nepalese contractors that work there tidyed it up it was a complete shite whole the iraqis had used parts of it as a toilet and set fire to other parts, i was at the rememberance service there in on the 11th November 2006 its an on going project that the yanks have they are slowly rebuilding the perimiter wall and trying to peice together the fragments of the head stones so they can put the correct ones over the correct grave then get them replaced and they plan on replanting the trees and grass
 

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