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CWGC commemorates men in Guernsey

20 April 2016

The CWGC has erected a new headstone and a special Gallipoli Marker in
Guernsey for two men who fought in the First World War.

The men were either previously unknown to the Commission and had not been added to its casualty register or their place of burial was unknown and they were commemorated on a memorial.

CWGC staff have spent a week in Guernsey this month installing the new Commission headstones and cleaning others in cemeteries up and down the island, as well as in Jersey.

Able Seaman John William Helman, (pictured in the left) aged 24, died on February 28, 1920 due to ill health sustained from gassing during the First World War. He is buried at St Andrews Churchyard in Guernsey with a private memorial. The new headstone will be placed in front of his original grave. The CWGC did not know about John, due to the fact he died when he got home and authorities made no contact with the Commission.

Corporal Alfred William Hannis, (pictured on the right) of the Canadian Engineers, died on July 12, 1921 and is buried at St Peter Port (Candie Road), Guernsey. A Gallipoli Marker has been placed, instead of a headstone due to the location of Alfred's grave.

He was originally commemorated by name at Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey, as there was no known grave until now. A Gallipoli Marker is a stone which lies flat to the ground and is used where a vertical headstone would not be safe, such as near a cliff top and is mounted on a small concrete base.

CWGCs Regional Supervisor for the South West, Steve Stewart, said: "We are always very pleased to be able to place headstones to honour those who fought in both world wars.

"When we were contacted about Able Seaman Helman's grave, an investigation was conducted and once the facts were established, we commissioned a headstone to be made and have now installed it by his private memorial.

"Sometimes the CWGC are unaware of sailors or soldiers who have died due to injuries sustained from the war because they died at home, sometimes years afterwards, and we were never notified by authorities.

"Now Able Seaman Helman and Corporal Alfred Hannis can be honoured and remembered by the local community for their contribution to the war and never be forgotten."

A special thanks goes to Condor Ferries who have been a huge support by giving free transport to the CWGC staff travelling around the Channel Islands, which have brought costs for the Commission down considerably.

For those interested in finding out more about war graves in their area and the stories behind the names, join the Commission's Living Memory Project or email livingmemory@cwgc.org for more information.

With thanks to the Channel Islands and the Great War website for their information on Able Seaman Helman and Corporal Hannis.