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During our many years researching Brimingtons soldiers we have been privileged to visit literally hundreds of Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries. And we have never failed to be deeply moved and highly impressed by the dedication still shown to the British and Commonwealth soldiers by the Commission.
Individual graves are marked by uniform headstones, different only in their inscriptions: the national emblem or regimental badge, rank, name, unit, date of death and age of each casualty is inscribed above an appropriate religious symbol and a more personal dedication chosen by relatives.
Some of the Brimington soldiers headstones were weather worn and barely readable, but in the years we have been visiting the western front some have been replaced whilst other are still waiting.
Depending on the size, each CWGC cemetery contains a Cross of Sacrifice and cemeteries with over 1000 burials also have a Stone of Remembrance. At each cemetery you will find a printed register showing the service details and, in some cases, family details, of the men and women buried. There will also be a grave plot reference and a layout plan of the cemetery to help find the grave. And a visitors book which you are invited to sign, and leave your thoughts
Below : Cemetery Register Box
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Cemeteries & Graves
It is a constant battle against time and weather to maintain the headstones. Damage & erosion is routinely inspected, and maintenance is an on going task. A damaged or eroded headstone - a name that cannot be read - is unacceptable, there is a constant 'work in progress' of inspections of headstones & memorials. Eroded headstones are re-engraved, but where the damage is beyond repair headstones are replaced
New headstones already engraved and awaiting placement
in Tyne Cot Cemetery
'A Soldier of the Great War"
Over 700,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers are buried but not identified by name or have no known grave but are remembered on a memorial.
In some cases soldiers were buried in collective graves, as distinguishing one body from another was not possible and so one headstone covers more than one grave.
If a soldiers country, rank, and/or regiment could be accurately confirmed then the headstone would reflect the details.
You see so many different headstone inscriptions as you walk along the rows and rows of graves in CWGC cemeteries - here are just a few:
They may not be known
St Symphorien Cemetery, Mons
St. Symphorien cemetery was established by the German Army in August 1914 as the final resting place for British and German soldiers who were killed at the Battle of Mons. Brimington soldier George Insley is buried there and despite its significance we found the cemetery quite lovely, serene and unique in its layout.
Among those also buried there is Private John Parr of the Middlesex Regiment who became the first British soldier to be killed in action on the western front. And ironically the last British soldier to be killed Private George Ellison of the Royal Irish Lancers is also buried in St Symphorien- and they are buried only a few feet apart.
Private Parr Private Ellison
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