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A Grave for Two Soldiers

7th November 2011 @ 7:07am – by Ann Tilling
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On Saturday, Audlem Online published the moving story of Lt Atkinson, the first name on the Audlem war memorial, and 'The Soldier with Two Graves.'


Today, it's a story of 'A Grave for Two Soldiers' but only one body!  For obvious reasons, as you read on, the names have been changed. 


Last May, we went on a trip with husband John's schoolfriend and his wife who were over from The States to find his grandfather's WWI grave and as an extra, visit her family area. 


Research


Some research had been undertaken so JS, John's friend, knew that the grave was in the Cabaret Rouge military cemetery. He was unsure under which name the grave was listed!


Apparently JS's grandfather had volunteered and been posted to France. After a year or so he left his regiment, while wounded. This is, of course, desertion and JS has been so far unable to find out why he avoided being shot as a deserter.  However he re-enlisted in a different regiment under a different name and was eventually killed. Hence the confusion about the grave name.


We made our way gradually to Cabaret Rouge, named after the establishment, a small café,  which had stood on the site, via Vimy Ridge and other WWI special places which certainly fills one with a feeling of the sheer scale of casualties and destruction. Made me weep. 


Also made me understand why, next time round, some bravely decided to become pacifists.  All those young men lost for not a lot of gain.


Impressed


We were all impressed by the care that the War Graves Commission take of the numerous cemeteries but also of the honour and care that is accorded by the local population. There are two copies of the grave registers and map of the site held with guest books in accessible doored recesses in each side of the entrance gate. Not a piece of vandalism in sight. 


We did eventually locate his grandfather's grave and both names and regiments were on the immaculately kept headstone. It was a moving occasion but JS was glad to lay it to rest. 


Some schools, Allied and Axis alike, still make the trip, in a spirit of honouring all the dead in what seems to be one of the more futile wars. Cabaret Rouge, like all the cemeteries has many Commonwealth graves and headstones bearing the 'unknown soldier'  inscription.


Remembering


I will be standing quietly at eleven o'clock on Friday and on as many anniversaries as I am around for to honour the men and women who over the years have done the country proud. I probably will have tears in my eyes. I have now.


This article is from our news archive. As a result pictures or videos originally associated with it may have been removed and some of the content may no longer be accurate or relevant.

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