(This email message is especially apt as we prepare to commemorate Remembrance Day in November.)
"During The Great War the fallen had their graves marked with simple inscribed wooden crosses. In the early 1920’s the Imperial War Graves Commission (now the Commonwealth WGC) after a programme of concentration, when outlying graves, allied graves in German battlefield cemeteries and the like were reinterred in IWGC cemeteries, set about replacing these markers with the now familiar Portland headstones.
In a number of instances the original wood markers were returned to families in the UK; some families went on pilgrimages to the Western Front (and other places) to retrieve them. The majority were placed in local churches, or church halls and some in private collections. Given that remains were not returned to the UK but buried where they fell, having something tangible close by must have been a great comfort to families who lost a loved one.
Almost 100 years later these markers still survive. The Returned is a project that a number of amateur historians are undertaking to record for posterity these surviving markers. Results of our work can be found here.
May I make an appeal through you to your congregations to let us know of any that they know either in their own locality or elsewhere so that we can survey them? I can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me at the following address:
6A St Andrew Street