A Member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits


Friday 25 February 2011

Musicians ~ Guitar Man

Jan Blok
06-08-1923 ~ 30-11-1995

Dag Mijn Liefje

Jan Blok is seen in this video playing the guitar, whilst Greetje Kauffeld sings 'I couldn't sleep a wink last night' 

Thursday 24 February 2011

Unknown ~ Lost, But Not Forgotten

I often shed tears when I discover something particularly heart-breaking, as I make my way through the stones in the Sleeping Gardens of Churchyards and Cemeteries.

A Seaman
Of The Great War
Royal Navy
7th November 1914
Known Unto God

A Sailor
Of The Second World War
Merchant Navy
23rd December 1939
Known Unto God

In the Churchyard of St. Peter and Paul in Aldeburgh in Suffolk, I discovered the War graves of these young men who had laid down their lives for their Country. Both of them a Mother's Son, whose loved ones and friends, had surely grieved for, and missed them. For they never knew what had become of them, or even where they were finally laid to rest.
I trust they are now Re-united.

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Wednesday's Child

I recently discovered this touching little monument to Victor Alan Moore in Leiston Cemetery in Suffolk.

In Loving Memory of
our Darling Son
Victor Alan Moore
20th April 1960
Aged 12 years
Always in our thoughts
Mum and Dad

To Our Dear Brother Victor from Megan & Valerie & G?
To Dear Little Victor from Friends and Neighbours

Monday 21 February 2011

Monday Mourning ~ The Vacant Chair

New Pinner Cemetery, Middlesex

Susan Sophia Dunsford
May 10th 1899
Left her chair vacant
January 30th 1954
Our wedding day was bright with hopes,
Sweet dreams, anticipations.
Walk softly, for you are treading on my dreams.
To the loving memory I keep of you - Fred.

The vacant chair is a symbol that is often used to remind us that a loved one has now departed and has therefore left a space behind them.
It was especially used to mark the passing of young people and children, but as seen here, is also used for adults as well.

The Vacant Chair

When we gather round our hearth,
Consecrated by the birth,
Of our eldest, darling boy,
Only one thing mars our joy,

Tis the dreary corner, where,
Stands, unfilled, the vacant chair!
Little Mary, bright and blest,
Early sought her heavenly rest,
Oft we see her in our dreams-
Then an angel one he seems!
But we oftner see her, where
Stands, unfilled, the vacant chair

But 'twere sinful to repine,
Much of joy to me and mine,
Has the gentle Sheperd given,
Little Mary is in heaven!
Blessed thought! while gazing where
Stands, unfilled, the vacant chair.

Many parents, kind and good,
Lost to them their little brood,
Bless their Maker night and day,
Thiugh he took their all away!
Shall we, therefore, murmur, where
Stands, unfilled, one vacant chair!

Little Mary! angel blest,
From thy blissful place of rest,
Look upon us! angel child,
Fill us with thy spirit mild,
Keep o'er us thy watchful care,
Often fill the vacant chair.

Richard Coe Jr.

An American Civil War Tribute Song

The Vacant Chair 
We shall meet but we shall miss him,
There will be one vacant chair;
We will linger to caress him
While we breathe our evening prayer;
When a year ago we gathered,
Joy was in his mild blue eye,
Now a golden chord is severed,
And our hopes in ruin lie.

At our fireside, sad and lonely,
Often will the bosom swell
At remembrance of the story,
How our noble father fell;
How he strove to bear our banner
Through the thickest of the fight;
And uphold our country’s honor,
In the strength of manhood’s fight.

True, they tell us wreaths of glory
Ever more will deck his brow,
But this soothes the anguish only,
Sweeping o’er our heartstrings now.
Sleep today, Oh early fallen,
In thy green and narrow bed.
Dirges from the pine and cypress
Mingle with the tears we shed.

The Battle of Balls Bluff, Virginia, 21st October 1861, in which General McClellan was defeated.
John William 'Willie' Grout of the 15th Massachusetts, was an i8 year old lieutenant who fought with valor and courage. He was killed in aiding the retreat.
Four weeks later Henry S. Washburn, who knew the young lieutenant, thought with with deep emotion of the chair that would be vacant at Thanksgiving and wrote the words of the song in a moment of inspiration. A few weeks after the lines were written, Dr. Root set them to music.

Friday 18 February 2011

Count Maurice Coreth ~ Modern Day Adventurer

Count Maurice Coreth
Born 24th August 1929 ~ Died 11th February 1997
Life is Eternal
and love is immortal
and death is only an horizon
and an horizon is nothing
save the limit of our sight.

The bronze carving of Elephants under an African Acacia tree, marks the resting place of Count Maurice Coreth and was created by his son the sculptor Mark Coreth

Maurice Coreth was an exuberant sportsman and swashbuckling adventurer whose love of big-game hunting led him to organize an acclaimed campaign to save the African Rhinoceros from extinction. He died in England on Februaury 11th 1997.
He was 67 and the founder of Rhino Rescue, an organization credited with reversing an alarming decline in the animal's population.
According to The Times of London, the cause of death was an aortic aneurysm.

To say that Count Maurice Rudolf Coreth von und zu Coredo und Starkenberg was imbued with a spirit of adventure would be something of an understatement.
Whether it came from his aristocratic Austrian father, chamberlain to the last Emperor of Austria, or from his sporting English mother, whose uncle had been Master of the Wilton fox hunt, it surfaced early.

African Elephants under an Acacia tree

Count Coreth, who was born in Austria in 1929 and taken to England in 1936 to escape the Nazis, was a 10-year-old boarding school student when the German invasion of Poland set off World War II. That prompted the boy to steal his headmaster's bicycle and pedal off with a friend to enlist in the British Army.
After an overnight stay in a chicken coop, the boys arrived at the enlistment office, where a bemused recruiter asked the young count just which regiment he wanted to join. ''The Blues, sir,'' he replied, referring to a cavalry unit. ''I am very fond of ponies.''

Within a decade he was a master fox-hunter, show-jumper and steeplechase rider. Although he broke his back in a fall, he became Master of the Wilton at 21, living happily above the kennels, lulled to sleep, he liked to recall, by the contented ''singing'' of the hounds.

Although he had no experience with big game, when a friend who was an official in Sierra Leone invited him to go to Africa to shoot marauding elephants, he accepted. He soon became such a recognized expert that he was the first amateur to be given honorary membership in the East African Professional Hunters Association.

Settling on a farm in Kenya, the Count spent the better part of a decade riding horses (he won the Kenyan Grand National) and hunting big game. But when he had to give up his farm after Kenya gained independence in 1963, he left Africa and sought adventure on the high seas, typically without any experience.

After buying a 50-foot ketch and acquiring a rudimentary knowledge of navigation from a night-school course, he set sail from Britain for Kenya, by way of Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town, blithely reassuring friends that the crossing would give him a chance to hone his skills.

See the Coronet in the tree above the Elephants heads

Despite his peripatetic life, he found time to marry and raise a family his wife, Jenny, three sons and a daughter.
Settling in Yoxford in Suffolk, he attended meetings of a group of former big-game hunters. A 1985 lecture on the plight of the Kenyan black rhinoceros, which had declined from 20,000 to 300 in 15 years, galvanized him. Within months he had established Rhino Rescue.

A charming raconteur whose life of derring-do had given him a fund of compelling stories, Count Coreth mastered the persuasive art of fund-raising as quickly and as well as he had his previous endeavors, soon enlisting the support of celebrities like Prince Philip, Prince Bernhardt of the Netherlands and Jimmy Stewart.
Largely as a result of his efforts, a game preserve for rhinos was established in Kenya and tough new anti-poaching operations were established in Zimbabwe and Namibia.

On journeys to Kenya in connection with his work, Count Coreth was again in his element, a blazing campfire illuminating his face, lions bellowing in the distance, a three-course meal in preparation in the mess tent, a large whisky in his hand and yet another story on his lips, perhaps the one about the dicey little incident in East Africa that awakened his interest in the rhinoceros.
''A great black rhino chased me up a small tree and poked his horn literally inches from my behind,'' he would say, relishing the oft-told tale. As his listeners pictured him there, a slip away from certain death, he would take a long drink from his glass, a man who sought combat at 10, defied death on horseback at 15, faced charging elephants at 25, challenged the raging South Atlantic unprepared at 35 and later sailed alone into the teeth of pirates. 

''So what did you do?'' he would be asked.
"I simply crossed my legs,'' he'd say, ''and thought of Ginger Rogers.''

Story from the New York Times

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Wednesday's Child

I was so touched to see how carefully this beloved child's grave has been tended to, in the 50 years that have passed. It reminded me of this simple quote:
A Mother holds her child's hand for a moment,
but their hearts forever ......... 

In Loving Memory
of our darling daughter
Josephine Carole,
only child of
Alec and Joyce Baggot
Died Oct. 6th 1959
aged 7 years

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Cemetery Ornaments to be Banned

The subject of Graveside Ornamentation is an issue of personal taste and choice.

In the wonderful book Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier, this subject became a very personal issue in the Victorian age, with the type of ornamentation, reflecting not only a matter of good taste, but also the class from which one came from. It defined the lines between being 'tasteful' versus 'common and vulgar'.

The debate is still an on going issue today, with Colchester cemetery in Essex, making the news with their policy on banning and removing certain items of ornamentation.

In Britain, most Churchyard interments, favour more conservative regulations, including specific monument size, design and certain wording allowed.
By comparison, Cemeteries in general are more liberal and lenient with their rules and regulations and therefore make them the preferred option for those who wish to be more creative in their expression of grief, such as these Travellers graves in Chelmsford.

Please click on the bold type above for more information.


Wednesday 2 February 2011

Wednesday's Child

Clive R. Preston
Aged 17 years

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