Wooden Crosses

The original wooden cross of Lieutenant Edward Chandos Elliot Chambers, 19th Lancashire Fusiliers. Packed for transport to his father Richard Edward Elliot Chambers - married to Edith Frances Chambers...their only son...age 20. National Army Museum, London. (P. Ferguson image, November 2018)

The original wooden cross of Lieutenant Edward Chandos Elliot Chambers, 19th Lancashire Fusiliers. Packed for transport to his father Richard Edward Elliot Chambers – married to Edith Frances Chambers…their only son…age 20. National Army Museum, London.
(P. Ferguson image, November 2018)

Next-of-kin who wish…

HERE LIES Lord Edward B. Seymour, Lord Strathcona’s Horse Died of Wounds 5-12-17 Received in Action 2-12-17.

Hand-written, black painted words and dates, upon a once white painted wooden cross, held by Holy Trinity Church, Arrow, Warwickshire. The cross, anchored to the wall above a decorative brass plaque also in Lord Seymour’s name…3rd Son of the 6th Marquess of Hertford…Erected by his Loving wife and Brothers and Sisters. Another trip to some day make…to see an original Graves Registration Unit (GRU) wooden cross of which Lord Seymour’s includes its GRU metal tag – 6 B 11. The cross once at his graveside at Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Somme, France.

Joshua Strong, 29th Battalion CEF

The original wooden cross of Corporal Joshua Strong.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2005)

Original war graves wooden markers, from the Great War, have managed to survive. Another is held by the Imperial War Museum in the name of Canadian soldier Private J. Strong who served with the 29th Battalion CEF and buried at Bellacourt Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. Wooden crosses were eventually replaced by the uniform headstones of the Imperial War Graves Commission and a note about the temporary markers was published in the Canada Illustrated Weekly, July 3, 1920, page 16…

The Imperial War Graves Commission announces that when the temporary wooden crosses that mark the graves of officers and men abroad are replaced by permanent memorials, it will not be possible to preserve beyond a certain amount of time those that are not required by the relatives. Next-of-kin who wish these wooden crosses to be sent to them are therefore required to apply to the Secretary of the Imperial War Graves Commission, Winchester House, St. Jame’s Square, S.W. London before September 1, stating the address to which the cross is to be sent…

In one known instance a wooden marker came to the Fraser Valley community of Chilliwack. Colonel Albert Leslie Coote obtained, on behalf of the Henderson family, the marker of Lieutenant Richard Arthur Henderson. A letter from Colonel Coote to Richard’s widow, Mrs. Mary Henderson, was published in the Chilliwack Progress, March 11, 1925, p. 2 – Coote reported, I got the wood cross that marked the grave before the stone was put up and will have it sent out to Chilliwack with some more and shall give it to you on my return in May. The wooden cross originally marked Henderson’s grave at Villers Station Cemetery, Villers-au-Bois, France. A private family memorial is located at Chilliwack’s Little Mountain Cemetery. No record of the “some more” mentioned by Coote are known by name.

Marker of Captain Frederick Despard Pemberton,  (shown as J.D. Pemberton) Royal Flying Corps at Christ Church Cathedral. (P. Ferguson image, June 2015)

Marker of Captain Frederick Despard Pemberton, (shown as J.D. Pemberton) Royal Flying Corps at Christ Church Cathedral.
(P. Ferguson image, June 2015)

In Victoria, B.C., the marker of Lieutenant J.D. Pemberton of the Royal Flying Corps rests at Christ Church Cathedral. Made by a local farmer the cross that marked Pemberton’s grave includes slight errors but with correct surname and date of death. The cross marked the grave of Captain Frederick Despard Pemberton who served with 50 (S) and is buried at Honnechy British Cemetery, Nord, France.

…and so often I have stopped – to read upon these writing in wood, I cannot help but think upon person and family. Even in this evening, as I post our first picture to Lieutenant Chambers, I read and re-read name and address for his father R.E.E. CHAMBERS ESQ CO MESSRS COUTTS & CO 440 STRAND WC PREPAID PARCEL 7D PAID 6 LBS…..next-of kin who wish.


About The Author

pferguson
Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and in Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was further amazed by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and with time he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he learned Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.

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