November 2019
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Kipling Memorials

Posted By on November 6, 2019

One of three Duhallow Blocks at Perth Cemetery (China Wall), West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. (P. Ferguson image, September 2005)

One of three Duhallow Blocks at Perth Cemetery (China Wall), West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2005)

Duhallow Blocks

Duhallow ADS (Advanced Dressing Station) Cemetery, Belgium lent itself to the naming of a special memorial feature produced by the Imperial War Graves Commission (IWGC) known as the Duhallow Block. These special memorials were first placed at the Duhallow cemetery, near Ypres.

Duhallow Blocks at Perth Cemetery (China Wall), West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. (P. Ferguson image, September 2005)

Duhallow Blocks at Perth Cemetery (China Wall), West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2005)

The blocks, as well as a related style headstone, are the memorial record when the exact location of a burial, within a particular cemetery, is not known due to a record of the burial not being kept or the grave was destroyed through the course of the war. Duhallow Blocks are also known as Kipling Memorials as the inscription upon them, THEIR GLORY SHALL NOT BE BLOTTED OUT [Ecclesiasticus] was chosen by IWGC literary adviser, Rudyard Kipling. In some instances a headstone rather than a block records the words from Ecclesiasticus. These headstones record the superscription Known To Be Buried In This Cemetery.

At some war graves cemetery sites one will find headstones grouped around a Duhallow Block. These headstones are without the superscription Known To Be Buried In This Cemetery. This landscaping is done when there are more than six graves of this type at a cemetery.

Wooden Crosses

Posted By on November 5, 2019

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… kin who wish.

Their Name Liveth for Evermore

Posted By on November 4, 2019

Imperial War Graves Commission, King George V, Fabian Ware

King George V during the King’s Pilgrimage, May 1922. Fabian Ware of the Imperial War Graves Commission holding papers. Note the wooden crosses
(The King’s Pilgrimage)

The Imperial War Graves Commission

During the Great War the work of Fabian Ware and his associates in the registration of war graves did not go unnoticed. Ware and others also became concerned for what would become of their work post-war. In January 1916 the National Committee for the Care of Soldier’s Graves was formed. This organization, with Edward, Prince of Wales as President, was initially to take over the work of the Directorate of War Graves Registration and Enquiries after the Great War.

However, by early 1916 several committee members felt that a formal organization would be more appropriate to take over the work. In 1917 with the help of Prince Edward, Fabian Ware forwarded a memorandum to the Imperial War Conference suggesting the creation of such an organization. Ware’s memorandum was approved and on 21 May 1917 the Imperial War Graves Commission (IWGC) was established. With the end of the war in November 1918, the work of the IWGC grew in magnitude.

Imperial War Graves Commission Cemetery

Imperial War Graves Commission sign Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, France.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2005)

Three experimental cemeteries were constructed by the commission at Le Treport, Forceville and Louvencourt respecting the principles introduced by the Directorate of the British Museum, Frederic Kenyon. Of special interest was that the remains of the fallen should not be repatriated and that memorials should be uniform in nature in order to avoid class distinctions.

Sir Edward Lutyen's Stone of Remembrance at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium. (P. Ferguson image, September 2010)

Sir Edward Lutyen’s Stone of Remembrance at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2010)

Three architects were appointed Sir Herbert Baker, Sir Reginald Blomfield and Sir Edward Lutyens with Rudyard Kipling as literary adviser. Work commenced in earnest and in association with the influential horticulturalist Gertrude Jekyll. The three experimental cemeteries were walled, with uniform headstones set within pristine gardens. Of the three, Forceville became the template cemetery for the Imperial War Graves Commission.

Cross of Sacrifice, Menin Road South Military Cemetery

The Cross of Sacrifice designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield at the Menin Road South Military Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium.
(P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

Some revisions were made to the overall concept and decisions were made that the Stone of Remembrance was only to be placed in cemeteries with more than 400 graves, cemetery walls were limited to 1 metre in height and shelters were only built in cemeteries with more than 200 graves. In addition to the Stone of Remembrance designed by Lutyens; the Cross of Sacrifice by Blomfield, ranging in height from 18’ to 24’, was only included in cemeteries with 40 or more graves.

Rudyard Kipling lost his son to the Great War, Lieutenant John Kipling, Irish Guards, 27 September 1915, age 18. John’s loss profoundly affected his parents who searched for him in military hospitals and spoke with his comrades in efforts to learn what had happened. The loss of John inspired Rudyard Kipling’s literary work with the IWGC . Kipling chose the phrase for the inscription for Lutyen’s Stone of Remembrance, Their Name Liveth For Evermore (Ecclesiasticus) as well as the inscription on the markers of the unknown fallen, Known Unto God.

Did you Know?
In 1960 the name of the Imperial War Graves Commission was changed to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).

Today the CWGC is responsible for the care of more than 23,000 separate burial sites of 1.7 million deceased Commonwealth personnel. These burials are in 153 countries.

The Commission is also responsible for more than 200 memorials worldwide.

A website developed by the CWGC allows visitors to search for the fallen and where they are commemorated. See Find War Dead.

Fabian Ware: Royal Automobile Club Volunteer

Posted By on November 3, 2019

Royal Automobile Club, Fabian Ware, War Graves Registration

Visionary Fabian Ware, Royal Automobile Club volunteer and founder of War Graves Registration.
(Wiki Image)

Director of War Graves Registration Commission

The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) was founded in 1897 and in August 1914 a group of RAC volunteers offered their services to the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). Known as the Royal Automobile Club Corps of Volunteer Motor Drivers, twenty-five RAC members were attached to the BEF. Using their own vehicles the volunteers provided chauffeur and messenger services for the British General Staff.

A month later, in September 1914, other RAC members offered themselves and their vehicles to assist the British Red Cross in the transport of casualties becoming the British Red Cross’ Motor Ambulance Department. One volunteer, Fabian Arthur Goulstone Ware, was previously the editor of the Morning Post (1905 – 1911) and, prior to 1914, a consultant for the metals and mining firm of Rio Tinto Ltd. conducting negotiations with France regarding zinc.

Royal Automobile Club

Royal Automobile Club Badge.
(Wiki image)

Ware commanded a motor ambulance unit that was engaged in searching for British wounded and missing in Northern France. The unit soon added medical staff and a mobile light hospital and found themselves working extensively with the French. After dealing with some 12,000 casualties the unit was disbanded. However, during this time of operational service, Ware had become cognizant of the lack of any war graves registration records…no active recording or marking of war graves of those who had been killed was taking place.

Ware set about to create an organization to deal with these omissions and in 1915 Ware and his team were transferred to the British Red Cross. With the new organization Ware, in May 1915, became a Temporary Major though his contract recognized his work in this area had commenced in February 1915. The new organization worked quickly and by October 1915 over 31,000 graves were registered increasing in May 1916 to 50,000. About this time Lieutenant Colonel Fabian Ware was made Director of War Graves Registration and Enquiries, subsequently promoted to Major-General, and continuing in this position until war’s end.  For his work with the Commission Fabian Ware was created a Companion of the Order of the Bath (1919) and Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (1917).

During the course of the war it was recognized that this important work needed to be continued and maintained post-war. Fabian Ware would continue to be part of this vision.


Posted By on November 2, 2019

Bibendum, tyres, Michelin

Bibendum poster, 1898 by Marius Rossillon (O’Galop). The phrase Nunc est Bibendum translates as Now is the time to drink. [To your health! Michelin tyre drinks obstacles!)
(Wiki Image)

…and the 100-Foot Journeys

At the 1894 Exposition universelle, internationale et coloniale the Michelin Tyre Company introduced their mascot, Bibendum (the Michelin Tyre Man) to the world. Hosted by the French city of Lyon between 29 April 1894 – 11 November 1894 the plump tire man, comprising rings of white bicycle tires, continues to be one of the world’s most recognizable logos. Over the years his appearance has changed and Bibendum, during the Great War, was once shown as a French soldier wearing the French Adrian style helmet, gas mask and boots. Hoisting a tire aloft Bibendum proudly proclaims Michelin’s tires as the best. Today his appearance has slimmed, Bibendum no longer has a cigar, glasses and his bicycle-tire frame now resembles modern automobile tires.

Michelin House, Art Deco

Along the streets of London, the Art Deco Michelin House, built in 1911 stands at 81 Fulham Road, Chelsea, London.
(P. Ferguson image, August 2018).

Six years after the introduction of Bibendum, Michelin started to produce guidebooks. Having printed about 35,000 guidebooks Michelin distributed these freely to French drivers in an effort to increase the numbers of drivers in France which, in 1900, numbered about 300 motorists. More vehicles on the roads meant more Michelin tire sales! Within the pages of Bibendum’s Western Europe guidebooks – maps, lists of gas stations, mechanics, hotels and eateries.

In 1914 Michelin stopped producing their guidebook but in 1920, following the Great War, production returned. Changes were made as advertisements were withdrawn and Michelin became more selective in the promotion of restaurants introducing, in 1926, the “star-value” of eateries. One star – very good…two star – excellent (worth making a detour) and three star – exceptional (worth a special journey).

Michelin House, Art Deco, 1911

Michelin House, London. Side view along Sloane Avenue.
(P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

It is Michelin’s promotions of 100 and 1000-mile journeys that I turn to the frequency of the 100-foot journeys (but a million miles away) made by relatives, friends and lovers to the Great War gravesides of their loved ones. Each step forward…with each breath and every tear…

Bibendum and Michelin can be praised for these guides that assisted many to find those corners of earth where family lay within the soil of France and Flanders. To their credit Michelin by 1921 had produced 15 guidebooks in English, the funds they received were provided to the reconstruction of areas devastated by the Great War…bon travail mon amies!

Two hundred miles from my home…A million miles from you.
Living without you on my own…

(Hélène, Roch Voisine, 1989)