A Member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits


Wednesday 31 October 2012

Died on All Hallows' Eve 1917

We recently visited Carnforth Railway's Heritage Centre in Lancashire,
where this display was exhibited in honour of the local men
who had fought in the Great War.

Henry Gardner was killed in an enemy Air Raid on 31st October 1917 in Belgium
during the First World War. His grave is in the Solferino Farm Cemetery, Ieper West~Vlaanderen. He was a Sapper, official number 265578 in the Army with the 22nd Light Railway Operating Coy, Royal Engineers. He died in his 21st year and was the son of Edwar and Ann Gardener of 14 King Street, Carnforth, Lancashire.
A photograph of Henry's War Grave was sent to his Father.  

Photograph by War Graves Photograph volunteer: Rudy van Kerckhoven
 Henry's name appears on the Role of Honour on the War memorial,
opposite the Railway station

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Jimmy Savile's Headstone, Removed And Dumped

The following story comes courtsey of SKY News, related videos and the Funeral Directors comments on the removal of the Headstone may be seen by clicking on the bold script.
The late TV star's headstone is to be sent to landfill after its removal from a cemetery by his family amid new sex abuse claims.
Jimmy Savile OBE, British disc jockey, television broadcaster and charity fundraiser.
Police investigating sexual abuse allegations made against Sir Jimmy Savile say they are pursuing 120 leads going back 50 years. Sky's Katie Stallard reports.
Sir Jimmy Savile's gravestone is going to be broken up and dumped after being removed from a cemetery in Scarborough amid new sexual abuse claims.
Scotland Yard says up to 25 young girls were allegedly targeted by the late television star over a period dating back to 1959.
His family said it took the decision to remove his headstone, which bears Savile's image and lists his accomplishments, as a mark of respect to others buried in the cemetery. It had only been in place for three weeks.
"(We) are deeply aware of the impact that the stone remaining there could have on the dignity and sanctity of the cemetery," a statement released on behalf of the family said.

A general view showing flowers left on the grave of Sir Jimmy Savile

"Out of respect to public opinion, to those who are buried there, and to those who tend their graves and visit there, we have decided to remove it."
Scarborough Borough Council said the work was carried out shortly after midnight - ahead of the scheduled time of 7.30 on Wednesday morning - to minimise disruption and potential vandalism. Police shut the gates of the cemetery as it took place.
Despite making the request, his family did not know it would be removed under the cover of night and the decision to do it then was made by the council and funeral directors.
The elaborate tombstone has been taken to a stonemason's yard in Leeds where the inscription will be ground down. It will then be broken up and sent to landfill.

Woodlands Cemetery, Scarborough

The grave, in which Savile was buried at an angle so he could "see" Scarborough Castle and the sea, will remain unmarked.
Funeral director Robert Morphet, who organised Savile's funeral in November last year and oversaw the dismantling of the headstone, said that once the family had come to terms with the outcome of various investigations they will make a decision as to how the grave should be marked in the future.
A number of memorials to Sir Jimmy have also been removed, including an inscription on the wall at Leeds Civic Hall in recognition of his charity work, and a street sign in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.
A plaque outside his home has already been defaced.

Bunches of flowers left at the grave of Sir Jimmy Savile

Scores of sexual abuse claims against Sir Jimmy have been made to the police and the NSPCC charity in recent days.
It follows an ITV documentary examining historic claims about the presenter's behaviour with children, which aired last week.
Commander Peter Spindler, head of specialist crime investigations at Scotland Yard, said the allegations span four decades, with information suggesting abuse was on a "national scale".
"At this stage it is quite clear from what women are telling us that Savile was a predatory sex offender," he said.
Some 120 leads are being followed up by detectives, with five different police forces involved.

A message alongside bunches of flowers left at the grave of Sir Jimmy Savile

Police have so far recorded two allegations of rape and six allegations of indecent assault against the former Top of the Pops presenter. The youngest victim was 13 at the time of the alleged attack.
Mr Spindler said the first allegation dates back to about 1959 but most claims seemed to be from the 1970s and 80s.
Sky News' crime correspondent Martin Brunt said: "I think we now have acceptance by the investigators that the scale of this is truly big and growing."
Prime Minister David Cameron has hinted that Sir Jimmy could be posthumously stripped of his knighthood.

The defaced plaque outside Jimmy Savile's former home

However, the move would require a change in the law as technically when the former DJ died last year the honour ceased to exist.
TV presenter and founder of the charity ChildLine, Esther Rantzen, is backing a petition to have him stripped of his knighthood, which if left unchecked, she said "taints the whole honours system".
In an interview with Sky News, Rantzen, who worked at the BBC alongside Savile, added: "From my point of view, [the revelation] absolutely wrecks the image of a charity fundraiser and the friend of royalty and the friend of a prime minister.
"For me now, I'm afraid, Jimmy Savile will be remembered as a predatory paedophile."

File photo dated 18/05/2009 of Sir Jimmy Savile reunited with his famous Jim'll Fix It chair, as Sir Jimmy's gold suits, Cuban cigars and beloved Rolls-Royce will also go on sale today as the late DJ's belongings goes up for auction.

There have also been calls for Saville to have his papal knighthood removed - although as for the civil order it also ceases to exist after death. He was awarded this in 1990, the same year as he was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
A spokesperson for the Catholic Church in England and Wales told Sky News: "If the allegations prove to be true and the Church had known about it at the time, the papal knighthood would not have been awarded."
The NSPCC is urging anyone abused or harmed by Savile to speak out and contact them and the police.
The charity’s head of child protection awareness, Christopher Cloke, told Sky News: "We need to learn from these very, very tragic circumstances so we can better protect children today."



Wednesday 22 August 2012

Wednesdays Child

He Shall Gather The Lambs With His Arm

Lois Ann
Daughter of
Robert & Emma L.
Died 19th June 1869

I think the lead work on this beautiful little headstone is amazing, not just because it's so delicate but also for its incredible endurance over the years. 

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Ferry Boat Drowning

In Ever Loving
Memory of
Violet Maude Handscomb
Who was Drowned in the
Ferry Boat Disaster at Fen Ditton
June 10th 1905 Aged 22 Years

The Ferry boat tragedy occured when some drunken undergraduate students attempted to climb aboard the already full 'Plough Ferry' at Fen Ditton shortly after the May boat races had taken place in nearby Cambridge.
As the ferry overturned, Violet was one of three women who drowned and lost their lives that day. 

Today the River Cam appears to be a relatively tame and easy river to cross, but in Edwardian times it was wider and shallower and edged by fen and bog, making it extremely hard to cross. Wagons, livestock and pedestrians used the ferries to traverse the river at this time.

Today there are many bridges crossing The Cam in Cambridge, but apart from the Great Bridge ~ the origin of the City's name and more commonly known as Magdalene Bridge ~  most river crossings before the Edwardian period required a ferry, of which there were several.

Bate's Ferry on the site of Victoria Bridge: a ferry by the Fort St. George ~ replaced by a footbridge in 1927. 
Dant's ferry replaced by the Cutter ~ Pye ~ footbridge, between Pembroke and Emmanuel Boat Houses.
Horse Grind ferry at Chesterton by the Green Dragon pub.
B.Jolley's ferry from the Pike and Eel pub.
Ditton Plough ferry.
All of these were known as 'Grind' ferries, because they were pulled across by a chain wound by hand. The Horse Grind ferry was unusual in that the grind was powered by a horse.

Thursday 2 August 2012

Surgeon of the Parish ~ Linton, Cambridge

In Loving Memory of
Wife of Frederick Bennett
Died January 30th 1893
Also of
Frederick Bennett
For Many Years Surgeon of This Parish
Die 11th Dec 1896 Aged 70.

So I Googled Frederick Bennett's name and occuption and approx year that he would have been practicing and discovered the following information:

Frederick Bennett, a surgeon in England. ~as on his sons marriage certificate~
His son Frederick Henry Bennett b ABT 1848,at Islington,Middlesex, a wine Merchant, married 12th May 1877 in the parish of Woodford, Essex to Emma Baker b.ABT 1845.
Their children, Frederick George and Agnes M. B.ABT 1880 ~twins~, Sydney Harmond b 1882 and John Henry b.1881. The boys and their mother Emma immigrated to New Zealand in 1913.

I then contacted Sally Riches in New Zealand who had posted this information, offering her my photo of the headstone and to see if she had any photographs of Frederick or Harriette, she wrote back to say:

 What a nice surprise to get your message 7 yrs after posting my one.

I would love to have a photo of the headstone. Frederick Bennett was my mothers great grandfather. I was always wanting to trace his medical background as early census listed his occupation as a chemist and then it changed to surgeon.

Most of the information I have is taken from the census records 1851-1891, but missing the family in 1861.   
Frederick Bennett was born in 1818 in Wantage, Berkshire, son of John Bennett who was also a chemist. By 1851 Frederick was working in Clerkenwell as a chemist/drugist, then his occupation changes to Surgeon in London in 1856.
We lose his and his families whereabouts until 1871 when he appears as surgeon in Linton, Cambridge where he lives till his death in 1896 of Senile Decay.

He married Harriette Bennett n May 15th 1847, daughter of George Bennett, Gentleman. She was born in Ullington, Gloucestershire.,

He and harriette had 3 children,
Frederick henry b.1848 who married Emma Baker in 1877 and became a Wine Merchant, they had 3 sons and 1 daughter
Harriette Georgiana b.1850 who married John Holt Moxon of Rugeley, Staffordshire and had 6 daughters and 1 son
Fanney b.1856

We are related to his son Frederick Henry Bennett and his son Sydney Harman Bennett.
We have no photos of him.

Many thanks for filling in some of the history Sally.

Thursday 26 July 2012

Eva Peron ~ 60th Anniversary

60 years ago today Eva Peron,  Argentina's First Lady from 1946 ~ 1952 died from Cervical Cancer at the age of 33 years old. 
The story of her life was like the fairytale of Cinderella, but what happened to her remains after her death are stranger than fiction, when three years later her embalmed body mysteriously disappeared........... 

Eva Peron nee Duarte was born on the 7th May 1919, illegitimately into a large impoverished family.
At the age of 15 she left the countryside to become an actress in Buenos Aires and by the age of 26 she had married Col Juan Peron who then became President of Argentina and Eva became one of the most powerful women on earth.

When her death was announced on all radio stations, shops closed, restaurants, bars and cinemas emptied and national mourning began.
A huge crowd gathered outside the presidential palace and eight people were killed in the crush, another 2,000 needed hospital treatment.

Eva left instructions that after her death, her hair was to be dyed her usual shade of blonde and for her usually red painted nails, to be to painted one last time in a clear varnish.

The embalmer was Dr. Pedro Ara who carried the perfectly preserved head of a peasant as a specimen of his work. Dr. Ara embalmed Evita only long enough for a public viewing, which stretched from a few days to a few weeks as the crowds kept pouring in.

A second embalming, to prepare it for her mausoleum, took two years and cost over $100,000 dollars.

As the mass outpouring of grief for 'the Spiritual Leader of the Nation' continued around the state funeral, Eva was being prepared for public display in the capital Buenos Aires where more than two million people were to file past her open coffin.
While waiting for the monument to be constructed, Evita's embalmed body was displayed in her former office at the CGT building for almost two years.

Her body was to be placed in a mausoleum which would be bigger than the Statue of Liberty. But all the plans for a monument to Evita came to nothing when, in 1955, her husband President Juan Peron’s regime was overthrown by the military and the president fled to Spain.
Fearing Evita’s body would become a rallying point for the opposition, it was seized by the military in 1955. Eva's political opponents feared her grave would become a shrine and focus for revolt, so they planned to remove her body out of the country.

The army commandant charged with guarding the corpse refused to have it on his base.
Hidden in a wooden crate marked 'Radio Equipment' Eva's body was left in a van parked in Buenos Aires at the city’s waterworks. Then later behind a Cinema Screen and in the attic of Military Intelligence. Even in the home of an Army Major who is thought to have shot his wife when she became jealous of the time he was spending with Eva’s body.

But somehow, at every location the news leaked out and shrines of burning candles and flowers would appear. From 1955 until 1971, the military dictatorship of Argentina issued a ban on Peronism. It became illegal not only to possess pictures of Juan and Eva PerĂ³n even in one's home, but even to speak of their names.

Dr Kraniauskas of the University of London says 'She represented welfare to the poor, so she was loved' and whilst the legend of Evita continued to grow around the world, Eva’s embalmed body was being shipped around the globe for two decades.

Eventually it was decided that nowhere in Argentina was safe enough to keep the body and in 1957 the military junta ordered it to be transported to Milan. With the covert assistance of the Vatican, the remains of Eva Peron were taken to Italy and buried in a Milan cemetery under the name Maria Maggi. 

'Where is the body of Eva Peron?' asked graffiti that appeared in Buenos Aires. Her power as a symbol of resistance grew.
In 1970, the Montoneros ~ a Peronist guerrilla group ~ kidnapped and killed the former president, General Pedro Eugenio Aramburu. They targeted him partly because he had overseen the initial disappearance of Evita's body. The guerilla's refused to return Aramburu's corpse until Evita's body was returned to 'The People'. Aramburu left a sealed letter detailing her secret grave and Evita was returned, as was Aramburu's body.
When the body arrived in Madrid, Peron and his third wife Isabel discovered that there was extensive damage to Eva's remains. A finger tip had been removed, due to the militarys attempts to identify whether this really was the actual body of Eva Peron and not just a wax copy.

In 1974 Domingo Tellechea, a restorer of art, antiquities ~ and human remains, was the expert chosen to make the body of Eva Peron presentable for public display.
Eva's nose had been badly damaged and she appeared to have sustained cuts on her face and blows on her body, her feet were in very poor condition as she had been stored in a standing position in her unusual various resting places.

Peron kept the coffin containing Eva in their bedroom, but often placed it on display on a plinth next to the dining room table.

Juan Peron returned to power in 1973 but Eva did not come home until a year later when he died and was succeeded as president by Isabel.
Eva's body was once again briefly displayed to the public next to her husband's coffin. Photos from the time show a queue outside Los Olivos, but nothing like the two million people who had filed past her coffin when she died in 1952.

Another military junta overthrew Isabel in 1976.
The remains of Eva Peron now lie in her families crypt, 5 metres deep under enough concrete to build a Nuclear Bunker, in the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires. 

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Pyramid of Death

Listed amongst the Landmark buildings that 'Never Were', you would find London's Pyramid of Death. 
In 1829, architect Thomas Willson planned a pyramid mausoleum to be located in Primrose Hill, North London. It would hold up to five million bodies because of the lack of burial space in the capital's churchyards.
Thomas Willson's pyramid drawing
Willson, born in 1780 and trained at the Royal Academy, wanted the pyramid to be 94-storeys high and cover a site of 18 acres, (7000 sq m).
'It was supposed to be compact, hygienic and ornamental,' says Catharine Arnold, an expert on London's dead.
'Willson hoped people would come to admire this huge pyramid from far and wide, picnicking on Primrose Hill and enjoying this splendid monument. But it would be rather like a giant car-park of the dead,' says Arnold.
The pyramid-design caught the public's mood for Egyptiana - the height of fashion at the time. Winding walks, similar to today's Guggenheim Museum in New York, were planned to transport the bodies through the pyramid's catacombs to their final resting places.
Why didn't it happen?
'It would have been monumental, but grotesque - a literal Valhalla,' says author Simon Jenkins.
'Public opinion stopped it. The arguments for leaving the site wild won the day and Primrose Hill became one of London's most popular parks.'
Willson claimed the pyramid would cost £2,500 on completion and would make £10m profit when full, but there was suspicion among the authorities that his figures did not add up.
There was also concern that the weight of the bricks may have crushed Primrose Hill. And the public mood turned against necropolises - cities of the dead - as garden-style cemeteries became the norm.
With the building of Highgate cemetery in 1829, the pyramid scheme was finally shelved.

Thanks to BBC News for this information.

Monday 23 July 2012

Amy Winehouse - Back To Black 23 July

A year ago today on the 23rd July 2011, we remember the sad passing of the esteemed singer~songwriter Amy Winehouse, who tragically died from alcohol poisoning, at the age of 27 years old.
Her distinctive contralto jazz vocals can be heard here in this video which has been set amongst the background of Abney Park Cemetery in London.
May she now have found the Peace that eluded her here.

Monday 25 June 2012

Monday Mourning ~ Tumbled Stones

Despite it's aged appearance, I took this photo only last year because I was amazed at the subsidence from rabbit burrows ~ of which there are many etc, that had caused this jumble of headstones in Southend~on~Sea Cemetery.

Sunday 24 June 2012

ARP Warden's Memorial ~ IOW

Sacred to the Memory of
Senior Warden EDWARD A. KERSEY
Killed on Duty during the War 1939 ~ 1945
We Will Remember Them
Erected by their Comrades of the Civil Defence
Warden and Ambulance Services East Cowes 

In September 1935, four years before WW2 began,  Stanley Baldwin the British Prime Minister, issued a circular entitled Air Raid Precautions ~ARP~  which suggested local authorities should make plans to protect their people in the event of a war. This included the building of public air raid shelters.

In April 1937 the government created an Air Raid Wardens' Service and during the next year recruited around 200,000 volunteers. These volunteers were know as Air Raid Precaution Wardens and their main role was to protect civilians from the danger of air~raids.

ARP Wardens patrolled the streets during blackouts, to ensure that no light was visible.
If a light was spotted, the warden would alert those responsible by shouting something like 'Put that light out!' or 'Cover that window!'.

Anderson Shelter in Garden ~ Gas Masks being carried in their cardboard boxes

The ARP Wardens also reported the extent of bomb damage and assess the need for help from the rescue and emergency services.
They were also responsible for the issue of gas masks and pre-fabricated air~raid shelters ~ Anderson and Morrison shelters ~ they also organised and staffed the public air raid shelters.

The ARP's knowledge of their local area, enabled them to find and reunite family members who had been separated after the 'All Clear siren' was sounded.
There were 1.4 million ARP wardens in Britain, mostly part time volunteers who had other full time day jobs.

The ARP Warden was issued with a helmet with the letter 'W' upon it, a whistle or wooden rattle, a hooded torch and canteen of water as seen here carved in stone.

Saturday 23 June 2012

Angel of Death

The Angel of Death is the title given to this monument of George William Lancaster and his wife Louisa Mary who died on this day in 1922.

In Sweet and Loving Memory of
George William
23rd January 1920
Aged 66 Years
'Love Lives Forever'

The memorial was sculpted by Sydney March in Portland stone and Bronze and is a Grade II listed monument in East Sheen Cemetery. This work was influenced by North Italian tomb sculpture ~ especially Leonardo Bistolfi ~ and is considered one of the most significant examples of funerary sculpture.

The Lancasters were a north-country family who made their money in coal mining.

Their monument was described by Hugh Meller, author of London Cemeteries: An Illustrated Guide & Gazetteer, as 'arguably the most dramatic sculpture in any of London's cemeteries'. I have to admit that it is one of my favourites too.

Louisa Mary
June 23rd 1922
'She Lived For Others' 

It is often said that truth is stranger than fiction and I recently found this very interesting article by Sheldon K Goodman about the relationship between George and his wife Louisa, whom he was not even married to, for the full story please continue to read his article..

Friday 22 June 2012

Colonial Governor ~ Sir Claud Hollis

Festina Lente
In Proud and
Loving Memory
Sir Claud Hollis
G.C.M.G  C.B.E
Born 12th May 1874
Died 22nd Nov 1961 

Festina Lente ~ Make Haste Slowly or More Haste, Less Speed

Sir Alfred Claud Hollis  GCMG, CBE ~ 1874 ~ 1961 ~ was British administrator who served as British Resident to the Sultan of Zanzibar between 1923 and 1929 and Governor of Trinidad and Tobago between 1930 and 1936 and author of a historical account of Spanish Trinidad.

He also wrote books on the Language and Folklore of the Masai and Nandi.

Thursday 21 June 2012

Summer Solstice

Today is the longest day of the year.
Daisies in St.Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Widdington, Essex

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Wednesday's Child

Suffer Little Children To Come Unto Me
To the Memory of
Little Bennie
Who Died
November 9th 1869
Aged 11
Redeemed with the Precious Blood
of Christ

Benjamin Gilson Way
And Only Child
Elizabeth Sarah Way

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