Pre-WWI burial practices for British war dead

Section for all discussions and the posting of photographs or links regarding Victorian related monuments, war memorials and graves - both in the UK and elsewhere.

Pre-WWI burial practices for British war dead

Postby Adam Brown » 04 Feb 2009 11:26

Does anyone know when ordinary soldiers started getting individual graves after a battle instead of just being put in a mass grave?

By the Boer War they were certainly getting individual graves although I don’t know how widespread it was though and were mass graves still being used? How far back can you go to find men who aren't officers or long serving NCOs getting a grave? I’m not talking about garrison duty where it would be easy to arrange a burial in the local Christian cemetery, I’m thinking about campaigns.

At Atbara in 1898 there was a mass grave which was marked at a later date with a memorial obelisk naming those buried but that is not the same as marking individual graves.

I’d be interested in finding out about campaigns in countries like Canada, New Zealand and South Africa where there were established Christian communities with cemeteries. Were burials made in those cemeteries or were they just made on the battle site and unmarked?

I’d also be interested in reading about military cemeteries after campaigns (if such a thing existed before the First World War) and also memorials marking mass graves.

Just to widen the discussion a bit further I’d like to know what other countries did in colonial campaigns and also after the Italian and German Unification wars and the Franco-Prussian War or the American Civil War, how where men were being buried when the fighting was in their own countries.

Regards

Adam
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Re: Graves for British Soldiers

Postby DavidB » 04 Feb 2009 14:58

Adam,
Mass graves were still being used in the Boer War when circumstances demanded it. The 2 mass graves at Spion Kop come to mind.

As to individual graves in other campaigns, here's some examples from the Crimea:
http://www.angelfire.com/mp/memorials/crimrollindz.htm
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Re: Graves for British Soldiers

Postby Adam Brown » 06 Feb 2009 23:19

amoaful73

Many thanks for the reply. Thanks for the info about Spion Kop. Interesting to see the Crimean graves too. Lots of NCOs and I take it many died of wounds in hospital but not all and quite a few private soldiers who died in action too. Lots for me to look at.

Thanks again

Adam
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