Tag Archives: Shorncliffe

Only A Cemetery.

Shorncliffe Cemetery.

Going through my notes and adding things. Over fifty pages for an average talk/tour of forty minutes.

So why are the notes so long?

Never used or needed all of the notes. There are there for backup and to answer questions. The first part of the notes cover the Units, American, British, and Canadian based at Shorncliffe Garrison in the years up to 1920. Plus modern British Army Regiments and Corps that have been stationed there.

Followed by a note of the extent of Shorncliffe Garrison.

A quick run down of what surrounds the cemetery. Martello towers, the different designs of the two within easy walking distance. Which one opened fire on an airship in the First World War, where the tower a soldier got shot in is. The World War II trench, the trench dug by the Royal Engineers in 1918, the practice trenches, the Tolsford Hill trenches, where William Tull was based. Where the the American hospital in WWII was, that sort of thing.

Bit on the Canadian Hospitals, the VD hospital,

Little bit on War Poets, Sorley, and John McCrae were both at Shorncliffe. There is also a rather tenuous link to E A Mackintosh

A little piece on the Spitfire, Hurricane, and the Halifax bomber pilots buried there, and the other pilots.

As I tend to mention Flynn the Machine Gunner, A few lines on the Americans, and

the Royal Canadian Air Force. There are notes about Step-Short and the FWW commemorations in Folkestone.

A couple of pages on Major Bellamy and the Irish Marriage Laws.

Notes on Key dates, 13th October 1915, 25th May 1917, 28th November 1920, 24th May 1941, and the 29th May 1944.

The two 14 year old and the 16 year old Boy Soldiers buried in the cemetery.

Notes on the suicides. The Victorian, Novelist, the leading Methodist clergyman buried there.

The child who were killed in both World Wars, the three VCs

Reminders of the War in the Far East, Major Close, is buried in the cemetery. A reminder about the Malayan Emergency, a soldier killed by the CTs is commemorated in the cemetery. It is surprising who asks questions, I once showed a relative of Chin Peng (google him) around the cemetery.

Notes about the American Service man who was buried there. notes about some of the Americans, Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, and Africans both black and white who are buried there. The oldest Memorials, they date from circa 1804. A note on the wooden Victorian grave marker. The earliest grave, the secret burials, the hidden graves. Reminders about the crewmen from a U-boat who were once buried there. The air raid victims from both World Wars.

The notes are increasing, more pages will be added. As I need something to sit on when my legs give way.

Oh if my legs do give way on a tour with you. This is what to do, tilt your head skyward start to whistle and slowly walk away. I will be fine after a few minutes.

Canadian War Graves at Shorncliffe #FWW

Shorncliffe Military Cemetery is a place of pilgrimage. A fascinating place to gather hooks for history to hang onto.  With the focus on Vimy this year it is the Canadian graves that will be getting the most interest.  There is more to Shorncliffe cemetery than Canadians though. There is a memorial to an officer in the Mahratta Light Infantry killed in 1917 as well as numerous other memorials and graves. On a previous visit I spent some time chatting about Chin Peng and the Chinese War Graves. There is also a South African War Grave, an Old Contemptable, but yesterday was really just about visiting some of the Canadian graves. IMG_8292 This is the gravestone of Cecil Kidd Wilson one of the first to die. Which no doubt seems a strange thing to say about someone killed in April 1918. The 1st April 1918 was the day the RAF was born and the day C K Wilson RAF, died, making him one of the first from the RAF to be killed.

Heading down the hill into the main bit of the cemetery my next stop and where I sit down is May Arnold’s grave. Some people sit by Willie McBride’s grave at Authuille on the Somme. I sit by May’s at Shorncliffe.IMG_8295 May married a Canadian soldier, we shot him at dawn. Not for marrying May, we shot him for desertion. May’s husband was also an American. One of the things about the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War, the men who forged a nation at Vimy is where they came from. A large number were Americans.   Two other graves caught my eye yesterday the first. IMG_8299 Thomas Geddes, from Glasgow in Scotland. Struck off strength on the 5th October 1916. He had died on the 1st October 1916 from appendicitis.

The last grave I stopped at was this oneIMG_8301 The grave of Trooper H J C Prior of Lord Strathcona’s Horse. Difficult to find a more Canadian regiment. Still part of the Canadian Army, now I think it is an armoured regiment. A son following in his father’s footsteps. He died on the 4th of August 1918. Harry John Chauvell Prior is a reminder that the Canadians were part of an Imperial Army. He was born in France. His father Major General Prior was in the Madras Staff Corps, Harry had served for eight years in the Ceylon Mounted Rifles. Unfortunately, his service record has not been digitalised a project for the future is to find out if he took part in the cavalry charge during the Battle of Moreuil Wood in March 1918.

One last grave, I did not stop at,IMG_8304 He was Irish. Don’t know much about him. He lived with his wife in Montreal. I just like the epitaph “Someday we’ll understand” One day

One day we may know, but I doubt we will ever understand.