Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Grave Reminders

To the innermost heart of their own land they are known,
As the stars are known to the Night.
                                         Laurence Binyon

April 1984 was a memorable one for me and my family. It was the Easter school holidays and we were stationed in Germany at RAF Rheindahlen. My mother came over from England to join us, on her own as Dad was working, and we had a two days touring the WW1 battlefields and cemeteries, with two small children. Not the most exciting trip for such youngsters I know, but we were making the most of the opportunity we had, and they behaved very well.

I’ve written about this trip before, telling how we had gone in search of the memorials, and one grave, of my mother’s three uncles, and shared many of the photographs associated with them. I still had photos to show, and as this blog is about old images, here they are.

This is my husband on 9th April 1984, standing by the grave of my Great Uncle Edward, in Caudry, France. Edward died here after the War, and you can read his sad story in The Last Hundred Days.

The following day, among the many moving memorials and cemeteries we visited, was Tyne Cot at Passchendaele, containing 11,900 graves.

Here were also several memorials to the missing, including this one to the New Zealanders who fell at Broodseinde and the First Battle of Passchendaele.

There was an intact German Pill Box, later used by the Canadians as a field dressing station. This in itself a moving memorial, and a reminder that men of several countries died here.

We posed our small son, not quite five years old, in front for scale.

We returned to our married quarters that evening, and a couple of days later, leaving the children with their grandma, we went off to Berlin, on a special four day trip. I wrote about that in Where We Were Then, and showed pictures of the amazing Treptower Park, a memorial to the 80,000 Red Amy troops killed in the Battle for Berlin in 1945, and a cemetery for 7,000 of them.

Here, my husband stands in front of one of the memorials, designed as sarcophagi to represent the graves; these actually lie beyond the park, behind the plane trees which line it.

Altogether these Easter holidays were memorable and a grave reminder of the scale of damage and misery wreaked by two world wars.

See more contributions to this week’s Sepia Saturday, where our prompt image is Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, from The National Library of Ireland on Flickr Commons.


  1. You did a great tour of graves on that trip, or trips, and I'm impressed! I need to spend more time (once the weather changes) finding more of my ancestors who might be buried somewhere I could search.

  2. Wonderful pictures,including people was a great idea rahter than than just the tombstones as it gives a slightly different perspective than a tightly cropped headstone picture and helps to link the past with the present. I might try this myself next time. Great post.

  3. Military cemeteries are always so beautiful and moving in their perfect arrangement.

  4. Such a moving post. I have seen photos of these graveyards before, but reading about your family's personal visit brings home the lessons of war and loss.

  5. There's something very powerful in the symmetry and uniformity of the military cemeteries.

  6. The graves of soldiers, particularly those of the Great War, are different from ordinary cemeteries in that they are also memorials to a specific time. To see marker after marker with the same date or same place is a history lesson in the terrible consequences and tragedy of war.

  7. I am always impressed by how immaculate our war cemeteries are kept. A unique meeting of personal sadness and public honour.

  8. The senselessness of war really hits home when you see so many graves! So many lives lost - and so many of them young men just beginning to blossom into full adulthood. Such a terrible waste, and yet mankind never seems to learn. Your husband looks very handsome standing there so smartly in his uniform. :)

  9. One of my husband's great uncles also died of the flu, on 25 February 1919, but he had returned home so does not have a war grave on the battlefields. The story goes that his best friend went back to France to pick up some belongings that had been left behind and brought the flu back with him, from which they both subsequently died.

  10. Those cemeteries always make me very sad, I think it is the way that there is nothing individual about the graves. But of course they should be visited and the people who died must be honoured.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.