110th -12th September 2021
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) was established by Royal Charter in 1917 as the sole organisation charged with the commemoration of Commonwealth service men and women who died during the First World War. This remit was later extended to cover the Second World War. Today, we maintain the graves or commemorations of over 1.7 million such fallen service personnel worldwide. The most common image of war graves is of the formal cemeteries in Belgium and northern France such as Tyne Cot and Thiepval but this is only part of the story.
“Eyes On, Hands On” was launched in October 2020. Its purpose is to care for over 127,000 scattered war graves in Great Britain. ‘Scattered graves’ are single burials or groups of less than 10 that are found in civic and consecrated cemeteries in cities, towns and villages from the Shetland Islands to Kent and the Isles of Scilly. Volunteers are trained to survey and record (Eyes On) and to care for these graves (Hands On). Some families chose to put up their own memorials – many of these are commemorated by the CWGC overseas but where they are the resting place of a casualty, we monitor the graves to see that they remain legible although we cannot maintain the headstones. While most are casualties of the two World Wars from the Commonwealth, the commission also cares for many foreign graves from both allied and enemy countries along with some non-war graves of those who died while serving their country outside the war years. It is not practical to maintain the formal garden approach of the Great War cemeteries, so scattered graves are kept in sympathy with the setting they are in.
The underlying principle of the CWGC is that all are equal in
death, so a prince or a peddler has the same headstone.
In the Parish Church of St. Mary, Radcliffe, there are six
CWGC headstones and two private memorials from the World Wars. There is also one casualty who has both a private memorial and his commission headstone.
If you want to know more of these brave souls, the CWGC website, www.cwgc.org, has a section called Find War Dead where you can find out more about each individual.
the great people of Radcliffe get together.
Thank you to the Radcliffe Litter Pickers (especially Leslie Stott who was the cameraman and took this great video), for answering our prayers and recently coming down and helping join those from St Mary's congregation start the work on making our churchyard look great again.
Plus we have had a great deal of help from a local gardener who is affectionately known as the 'strimming fairy' who pops into the churchyard unannounced whenever they get chance, to keep on top of things for us.
When a bequest that had been left to fund the churchyard upkeep had run out and the money was not there for church funds to pay for it and with a small aged congregation, the upkeep had become an issue a few years ago. People were commenting on the state of the churchyard but up till now we just didn't have the help to do this, there was no funds available from anywhere and it had become embarrassing. Add onto this the year that we've just had and not being able to open and collect even our normal church funds, it felt like we were just never going to get anything sorted.
So when the Radcliffe Litter Pickers agreed to come and help along with the Strimming fairy, it felt like the sun was peaking out from behind the dark skies.
For those of you that have visited since, I'm sure you'll agree they have done a wonderful job and we are committed to keep up with this great start by being out there in the churchyard on the first Sunday of every month (weather permitting) from now on with anyone that wants to join us.
So if you are looking to make new friends and can help with a community project, there are jobs for all abilities and we would love to see you for any time you can spare on any month.
Watch the video below to see what happen on the day some good people came to St Mary's.
Reverend Jeffrey Clawson who has joined us at St Mary's Church and STSJ as our Interum Minister. He has certainly landed with a bump given what is happening locally and with the UK but we are so
very excited to have him join us and offer him a warm Radcliffe welcome.
Radcliffe Parish Church of St Mary
St Thomas & St John
St Philips Community Centre
Higher Dean St