Saturday, 24 July 2010

Remarkable Memorial Angels!

Now, have you ever seen anything like this in a cemetery or graveyard. A real feat of engineering by the stone mason. Two angels support a praying figure in this remarkable memorial in the Redan Road Cemetery in Aldershot, Hampshire.

It is just an ordinary town cemetery, but it contains some unusual features as the following photographs show:

Two angels support a praying figure - remarkable!

Here is the headstone of George Greenwood who died in 1884 and his widow.
The inscription records that he was Caretaker of this Cemetery for 23 years

A grieving figures stands over a grave
The Old Contemptibles Association provided bronze memorials in the design of the 1914 Star  to commemorate members who passed away. Here, R F Colville of the Royal Fusiliers is remembered.
This type of memorial is quite rare. I have two in my own collection
that I purchased at a militaria fair many, many years ago.
This Old Contemptibles grave marker records the details of J Thompson,
Royal Army Service Corps who was a member of the Aldershot branch
A young angel prays
A view up the main avenue through Aldershot's Redan Road cemetery

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Funeral Gatherings 2

Two more postcards of funeral gatherings. Both took place, it is suggested in Helston, Cornwall.

The first is said to be of the funeral of a Policeman, but I am surprised no police officers are involved in lowering the coffin into the grave. The coffin looks very light. I wonder if it was white and are the officers there because the deceased is actually female and a murder victim? Look at the precarious angle it is being lowered in at and, more importantly, the open grave next to it. A double funeral?

The other shows a coffin on a funeral bier being drawn by hand and the crowd of mourners stretches into the distance. I don't think I have ever seen so many men in bowler hats in one photogaph. I wonder if they are Masons or similar

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Swastikas on Scottish Gravestones

Some time ago, I had an opportunity to visit Faslane Cemetery at Garelochead. There I saw the grave of Mary G Browne who died in 1930. I noticed that it bore a swastika sign and a fleur-de-lis. Some research revealed that the founder of the Boy Scouts, Baden Powell redesigned the Scouts Medal of Merit in 1922, superimposing the Scout emblem on the Swastika as good luck to the person receiving the medal. Quite why it appears on this headstone, I do not know.

Trafalgar Cemetery

Back in the dark old days, well, about twenty years ago, I used to carry two cameras with me - one loaded with Kodachrome 200 slide film and the other with Ilford XP1 Black and White film. Oh, how much easier life is now that digital photograph is the norm! Anyway, I digress. As the last boxes were packed today, I glimpsed a photo-negative storage folder and had a look to see what I could find. Here are some of the results.

About twenty years ago, I had an assignment in Gibraltar and took the opportunity to look round some of the cemeteries and memorials on the island.

As the sign suggests, the Trafalgar Cemetery contains the remains of some who died of wounds at Gibraltar after Nelson's great victory in October 1805.

Just how unlucky can you be? This memorial commemorates the lives of Lieutenants Thomas Worth and  John Buckland of the Royal Marine Artillery who were killed by the same shot in November 1810!

The grave of Captain Thomas Norman of the Royal Marine Corps, late of HMS Mars who died in the Naval Hospital after several weeks of suffering from the effects of his wounds received at Trafalgar.

Not that far away, above a very long drop, is this memorial stone set into a wall. Let this be a lesson to everyone who stands close to the edges of cliffs and looks over!


Another grave in Hemington Churchyard. The top of the gravestone is embossed with the word Asleep.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Funeral Gatherings 1

I found a number of real photographic postcards showing funeral processions and crowds at the graveside.

The first shows the enormous procession at the funeral of the late Councillor Rogers and the horse-drawn hearse carrying his coffin. Poignantly, the reverse is inscribed:

To Dear Hilda From Her Loving Mother.

"My dear Fathers funeral" April 10th 1912.

A later owner writes - Probably Bridlington, North Yorkshire

The second shows spectators, dressed in their Sunday Best, watching a hearse drawn by two black horses pass by/ The coffin is draped in a Union Flag. I wonder whether the deceased is a First World War soldier.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Sleeping Angel

Today, I found an external hard drive that I had been looking for for ages. It was packed with lots of photographs of exciting places I had visited during days out with the local art society. Hemington is a lovely country hamlet in Somerset and it has picturesque church and churchyard. Having just posted about a fading angel, I was pleased to find an example of a sleeping angel. I don't ever remember seeing one before.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Fading Angel

There are many, many Angels marking graves in Locksbrook Cemetery in Bath. This one surprised me as I don't think I have come across another where the face is fading away. The most recent inscription on the grave is that of Florence Mary Taylor who died on 13 June 1942 aged 68. It is much earlier than that.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Police Funeral

Police Sergeants act as Pall Bearers at the funeral of an unknown police officer. Was he of high rank or merely a constable? Was he murdered by a criminal? We will probably never know, unless someone recognises the Graveyard?

Early In Memoriam Card

I found this In Memoriam Card in with some vintage postcards yesterday. It marks the passing of Mary Ann Watson, aged seven years, in 1850.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Winnie Mitchell's Grave

In 1913, Dorset rabbit trapper Bill Burton was, according to contemporary accounts, described as a lady killer [womaniser] - an apt description to which he would live up to.

He seduced Winnie Mitchell and, after she revealed she was pregnant, said he would elope with her. Burton changed his mind and Winnie threatened to go public. Two day's later, he lured her to Sovel Plantation and shot her in the head with a shotgun, burying her body in a shallow grave.

Police discovered fragments of Winnie's shattered teeth in the wood and discovered her grave nearby. Arrested and confessed, he faced a jury at Dorset Assizes who took only 19 minutes to find him guilty. On midsummer's day 1913, he was hanged by Britain's best known executioner, Thomas Pierrepoint. A post-mortem revealed that Winnie was not pregnant when she died.

Photographers, at the time, were quick to make a profit from accidents or sensational murders and one photographed the empty shallow grave where she was discovered. His name or the price he charged are unknown. As he scratched the caption on the reverse of the glass plate negative, the difficulty of writing the wrong way round is revealed by his use of back-to-front Ns in her Christian name.

Welcome to the Graveyard Detective

An illustrated look at the World of Graveyards and Cemeteries. There are many Stories behind the Stones that Stand in them. Who knows what we might find?


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