12 April 2018

Burial and rededication services in April

The following burial and rededication services are due to be held at CWGC cemeteries this month.

Stone of Remembrance at Tyne Cot Cemetery 

Wednesday 18 April

A burial service will be held at CWGC New Irish Farm cemetery, Belgium, for Capt H J I Walker and six unknown soldiers of the First World War.

Multiple sets of remains were found west of the village of St Julien during April 2016. Despite extensive research it has only proved possible to identify one of them, through personal engraved items, as Capt Henry John Innes Walker, of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Capt Walker was killed in action on 25 April 1915.

Of the other six sets of remains, military insignia found with one of them confirms that he was a soldier of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, although the regiment lost too many men at the time for individual identification to be attempted. He will be buried as an unknown soldier of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. There were no military or personal effects found with any of the others; they will be buried as unknown soldiers of unknown regiments.

They will all be buried with full military honours at 10.30am.

The service has been organised by the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre and will be attended by British Defence Staff, regimental representatives and local dignitaries. The CWGC will provide the headstones. Capt Walker’s headstone will be engraved with his name and a personal inscription chosen by his family.

Saturday 21 April

A rededication service will be held at CWGC Menin Road South Military Cemetery in Ieper, Belgium, at 2pm for Private Cecil Henry Burns, of 46th Battalion Australian Imperial Force, and Driver Henry Martin Comerford, of 5th Field Artillery Brigade, Australian Imperial Force.

The circumstances surrounding Pte Burns death on 19 October 1917, or how he came to be buried as an Unknown Australian Soldier of the 46th Battalion, are unknown. 

In early November 1917, the 5th Field Artillery Brigade were based near Westhoek Ridge in Belgium supporting the attacks on Broodseinde Ridge and Passchendaele. At some time during this period, Dvr Comerford was badly wounded and died of his wounds on 7 November 1917. For reasons unknown, Dvr Comerford was buried as an Unknown Soldier of the Australian Field Artillery.

In 2015 researchers from the Fallen Diggers organisation pieced together evidence from a variety of sources to confirm that the two unknown soldiers graves in Menin Road South Military Cemetery were in fact the graves of Pte Burns and Dvr Comerford.

The service has been organised by the Australian Defence Force (ADF). In attendance will be 15 members of the ADF as well as local dignitaries and volunteers. The CWGC will provide the headstones, which will be engraved with their names and a personal inscription.

Wednesday 25 April

One hundred years after his death, a rededication service will be held at CWGC Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium for Private William Guest, of 33rd Battalion Australian Imperial Force.

Pte Guest died on 12 October 1917 during the Third Battle of Ypres. Witness accounts from his comrades state Pte Guest was asleep in his dugout when a shell landed near him, ‘the concussion of which killed him instantly’.

His body was believed missing and he was commemorated on the CWGC Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, however research has shown he is in fact buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery.

The rededication service will follow an Anzac Day ceremony at the cemetery, during which Pte Guest will also be remembered.

The service has been organised by the Australian Defence Force. The CWGC will be providing the headstone, which will be engraved with his name and a personal inscription.

Latest News

Monday 23 April will mark 100 years since the Zeebrugge Raid. One of the most celebrated episodes of the First World War at sea, the Royal Navy attempted to block the Belgian port and prevent the German navy from using it. More than 200 sailors and marines were killed and over 300 wounded. The dead are commemorated by the CWGC at sites in the UK and in Belgium, including Zeebrugge Churchyard which will be visited by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal over the weekend.

Today (18 April) is the International Day for Monuments and Sites, which aims to raise public awareness about the diversity and vulnerability of the world’s built monuments and heritage sites and the efforts required to protect and conserve them. We have asked the Commission’s conservation team to tell us about four of CWGC’s impressive, but lesser-known sites from around the world. Which one would you like to visit? Vote in our Twitter Poll.

A burial service was held at the Commission’s New Irish Farm Cemetery this morning for Captain H J I Walker and six unknown soldiers, more than 100 years after their death.