World War One Grave Markers
Watching a local news report on soldiers from a local village who lost their lives at Passchendaele which included scenes from inside the church I spotted several Grave Markers from the Great War. I couldn’t see exactly how many were displayed but it was more than one or two.
I have seen a similar group elsewhere when looking round churches when visiting new areas but generally there are just one or two simple plain crosses, with occasionally those of an officer which are more elaborate. These markers were erected to mark the spot where a soldier was buried where he fell on the battlefield. As the Commonwealth War Graves Cemeteries developed the original markers were available to the families. Displaying them within the church was quite common, given there was no grave in the churchyard to visit.
Airmen often had a cut down propeller formed into a cross as these were made of wood, too. I have only come across one of these locally.
I recall seeing one for an army officer when visiting Kent, possibly Hythe, but the majority of those displayed are simple plain crosses recording the name and regiment of the fallen along with the date.
After a hundred years it is perhaps surprising to still find these on display. Often they have been cleared away during refurbishment of churches and indeed some I have seen have been found in the porch or in the ringing area rather than alongside the church Roll of Honour.
They are very poignant reminders of sacrifice and a direct link to the battlefield.