X is for crosses and memorials

Today is ANZAC Day Down Under and we remember the sacrifice of lives in service of their country. We also remember that these deaths left behind tragedy and sorrow among their families and communities around our own country. Memorials play a part of possibly every town in Australia as few families would ever be able to visit their lost sons and daughters. This is my 2023 commemoration (and yes I haven’t muddled my alphabet).

In Flanders fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses, row on row, 
That mark our place: and in the sky 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly 
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
(Major John McCrae)

In the early days both during and after the war, men were buried with a cross over the grave. Some of course, would lie interred in the soil where they fought and died, undiscovered and unknown. Today, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) does a remarkable job of maintaining large military cemeteries and each grave has a marble memorial.

Accession number H03479. Australian War Memorial. https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C292942
Beach cemetery, Gallipoli. P Cass 2014
Lone Pine Memorial and graves. Mr Cassmob’s Pentland great-uncle is remembered on the list of names.
V C Corner cemetery, France
Cemetery at Fromelles, France
“Don’t forget me cobber”. The memorial to the Battle of Fromelles. Mr Cassmob’s great uncle and his men fought at that exact spot.
A German military cemetery near Fromelles.
Tyne Cot cemetery, Belgium.
Black Watch Canada Memorial, Polygon Wood, Belgium.

During World War II, the war came to our shores with the bombing of Darwin on 19 February 1942. Ships were sunk in the harbour and civilians were lost from the Post Office.

Adelaide River memorial to the victims of the Bombing of Darwin as well as later deaths.

The first Japanese defeat on land occurred in Milne Bay during August 1942. The local Catholic church has several stained glass memorials

Memorials in different parts of Australia vary.

Roma, Queensland has an avenue of bottle trees honouring the men who died, including James Thomas Paterson, a Kunkel relative. https://vwma.org.au/explore/memorials/2946?page=15
A memorial to those who served from the Catholic population of Crows Nest, Queensland. It is held by the Crows Nest Museum and Historical Centre.

Other countries also memorialise their local service men and women.

At All Saints Church, Sandon, Herts, England
The memorial in Coleford, Gloucestershire, England.
One of the most moving memorials I’ve visited is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC, USA.

On 11 November 1993, an emotional and evocative ceremony took place in the Australian War Memorial when an unidentified, unknown soldier was laid to rest. I watched the ceremony at work and was very moved. https://www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/customs-and-ceremony/soldier

We are the Dead. Short days ago 
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie 
In Flanders fields.

Lest We Forget.

You may wish to read some of my other Anzac Day or Remembrance Day posts, which you can find using the side bar. V is for Villers-Brettoneux remains one of my most read posts. https://cassmobfamilyhistory.com/2012/04/25/v-is-for-the-valiant-of-villers-brettoneux-lest-we-forget/

15 thoughts on “X is for crosses and memorials

  1. We visited the WW1 battlefields in France and Belgium in 2015. I didn’t know then that my biological father (born 1892) fought there in WW1. To think that he survived Gallipoli and Europe is amazing but he also left detailed diaries of his time there which are the only links I have to what sort of a person he was. He is buried in a cemetery in Mildura where he died aged 60.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A very moving post that illustrates the toll of war. My letter V post tomorrow discusses Vietnam War casualties. I agree with you about the memorial wall in Washington, DC — heartrending.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was pretty sure that would be your V story 😉 The thing that moved me most were the gifts and notes that were left, including a white teddy with a red heart round its neck saying “loved you then, love you now”. 😭

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The poppy wall is one in our national war memorial with the names of all those who died. I always place a poppy against the names of family members. Interesting about the poppy lady.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. War memorials and war cemeteries highlight the great losses. I remember visiting a war cemetery in the Philippines as a child and being in awe of the number of white crosses which went on forever it seemed. I have just looked it up https://www.abmc.gov/Manila “The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines occupies 152 acres on a prominent plateau, visible at a distance from the east, south and west. It contains the largest number of graves of our military dead of World War II, a total of 16,859, most of whom lost their lives in operations in New Guinea and the Philippines.” It wasn’t my misremembering – it was indeed vast.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A very moving tribute to the men and women who gave their lives for their country – also an imaginative title for the tricky X letter

    Liked by 1 person

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