Commemorating the Fallen

A couple of years ago I said I would share a post on Sir Fabian Ware, the man whose vision and determination established the Imperial War Graves Commission, which later became the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). Not sure why is has taken me so long to prepare this post, but here it is today a 100 years to the day after the first ‘official’ Armistice Day.

Sir Fabian Ware - picture from History of CWGC

Sir Fabian Ware – CWGC picture

Born in 1869 and with a background in education and journalism, Fabian Ware was too old to become a soldier in the First World War. Instead he volunteered with the British Red Cross and became a commander of a mobile hospital unit. His unit was to support more than 12,00 casualties. His attention though soon turned to those who had been killed, and his concerns at the lack of any official or formal mechanism for marking and recording the location of the thousands of graves. Supported by a senior British Army officer, he decided to found a new organisation to rectify this.

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Seven Gardens of Remembrance for Passchendaele

You may recall I popped across to Belgium with my Mum and her cousin so they could visit their uncle’s grave (and my great uncle!) on the 100th anniversary of his death. One of the highlights were the Memorial Gardens in Zonnebeke.

PasschendaeleLocated in the centre of Ypres Salient, Zonnebeke was destroyed by the Great War. It was not until the 1920s that people even began to return and this small town was completely rebuilt. There is a museum here which tells the story of Passchedaele and for this year one of the many dugouts has been drained and reopened to enable visitors to experience what life was like for the tunnellers of World War One. It was the dug out which brought us to Zonnebeke, and we all found it an interesting experience. However it was the Memorial Park, an unexpected discovery, which had the emotional impact.reflecting the battle lines and scars of Flanders

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