War Diaries Talk

News Items ww1. Ral/Cynthia - thought I would post these 2 really interesting news items re ww1 in to-days BBC news:

  • marie.eklidvirginmedia.com by marie.eklidvirginmedia.com

    (1) Video re Melting Mud Statue-ww1 in Trafalgar Square London.

    (place curser in the picture to start the video - will show the start arrow).


    (2) Back from the Front: Tracking down WW1 grave markers – Photos/Battlefields/Stories



  • cyngast by cyngast moderator

    That's really interesting about the crosses. If I lived in the UK, I'd want to get involved in that.

    It's also interesting to me that his birthday is Armistice Day, as that is also my birthday, although in the US it's now called Veterans' Day.

    The comment about graves not being well marked makes me think of the 1st East Surreys. Early on in the war, in the fall of 1914, they were fighting around Wulvergem. There are a couple of remarks in the diary about particular soldiers being buried in a cemetery, but those grave sites appear to have been lost through the course of the rest of the war because today the CWGC lists them only on the Menin Gate.


  • ral104 by ral104 moderator, scientist

    Thanks for the links, Marie. The mud sculpture is really effective, isn't it - the way it wears away over time makes it somehow more powerful than just a normal sculpture, I think.

    I'm also interested in the crosses - one of my jobs when I worked at IWM was the development of the War Memorials Register and this project sounds like a great complement to that. Definitely a good idea to preserve information about these things before they're lost.

    Cynthia, I wonder whether some of the information in the diaries might help CWGC identify the burial sites of some of these men.


  • David_Underdown by David_Underdown moderator

    Their are groups try to identify the burial sites of the missing, in particular some Canadians are very active. Sometimes even where the original burial site was well-recorded the ground had been so smashed up by later shelling that (even if crosses had been replaced) no remains could be found when the exhumation parties came to move bodies into the new permanent cemeteries were being created after the war.

    I've been following the Returned from the Front project since it started, and interestingly a cross has just surfaced at the church where I'm a bell ringer. We're going to be ringing a peal to mark the centenary of the death of one of the earlier ringers in a couple of weeks (he was serving with 7th Bn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers), and I'd been discussing the display I've been preparing with another guy in the congregation who's a local historian and that (and some other work going on with the church roll of honour) reminded him that years ago a cross had been on the outside of the tower and subsequently stored away out of sight. We've managed to identify the man it relates too and realised that his father was a church warden in the 1920s, and his mother was one of two ladies responsible for arranging floral tributes around the roll of honour when it first went up.


  • cyngast by cyngast moderator in response to David_Underdown's comment.

    I looked back through the diary, thanks to your link to the Royal Surreys website, David, and found that the three men I was thinking of who are listed on the Menin Gate were buried "in the vicinity of Wulverghem." That's not very specific, but to me it implies that they were not buried in the churchyard there, which is now one of the CWGC cemeteries. I can't imagine how anyone could figure out where those graves were, given all the shelling that took place around there.

    That's an interesting story about the cross at your church. It's good that you've been able to trace that man's family and learn that his mother was one of the people who arranged the floral tributes.