Monday, 30 December 2013

Commonwealth War Graves



In the cemetery of my home village are three Commonwealth war graves from the First World War.  All three are Canadian, and all died in the last months of the war, two of the young men in the closing days.  One served with the Canadian Forestry Corps, which had a large presence on densely-forested Speyside.  The Corps provided timber for the Allied war effort, including for trench construction, railways, ammunition crates and road-building.  The others served with the Canadian Army Service Corps, which provided logistics support, presumably necessary for the onward transport of the timber. 

Towards the end of the war some units were called on to provide infantry.  Given that these graves are located on Speyside, I think it's unlikely that the men died in battle.  My internet searches so far haven't revealed any further information.  Perhaps they died in logging accidents, or in the Spanish flu that swept the world in 1918.  The deaths of Private Eby and Private Berthiaume, a day apart in November 1918 came at the peak of the second wave of Spanish flu that year.  Unlike other flu viruses, this strain killed healthy young adults with strong immune systems.  

Whatever the reasons for their deaths, they are not forgotten.  Posies of spring flowers appear on the graves every Easter, and these lovely wreaths every Christmas.  I haven't been able to find out yet who does this.  The Commonwealth War Graves website doesn't have any information about laying of tributes during the year.  Perhaps it's done through the church, or perhaps someone has decided that these young men, far from home, will have their flowers too.

11 comments:

  1. How lovely that they are not forgotten.
    Liz

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for helping to remember them.

    ReplyDelete
  3. As a Canadian it always pulls at my heart strings when I see the graves of our young soldiers especially when they appear in unusual places. So often we forget that not all died in battle but were serving the war effort in many other capacities. Whoever takes such good care of these three graves have my heartfelt thanks. Thank you so much for sharing....Diane

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's nice that these graves and the young men's sacrifices continue to be remembered.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Every death was a tragedy. It is poignant but comforting to know that somebody still remembers these young men.

    ReplyDelete
  6. A touching post today, Linda!

    ReplyDelete
  7. What an interesting and very touching post. How good that someone remembers these young men - forever young, I suppose.

    Wishing you and your family a restful and fun Hogmanay and all good things in 2014 for you all. xox

    ReplyDelete
  8. Peter McDonald one of the soldiers lived in Rothes before going to Canada in 1908. His parents, Peter and Elsie lived in 1901 at 71, High Street, Rothes. Peter also in 1901 was a shop assistant and he gave his occupation as a grocer aged 18 when leaving for Canada. This could be a connection with the lovey gesture of who is leaving the posies on these graves.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Interesting post, so touching that the young men is not forgotten.
    Thank you for your nice comment on my blog, I like that very much!
    The heart on the christmas-tree was made for over 20 years ago. How nice that you like it! :-)
    ☆Happy new years to you and your family! ☆

    ReplyDelete
  10. A wonderful tribute thanks for the heads up Alf

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm paying a long overdue visit to your blog. I'll see what I can find out about these servicemen. I rember going to a small church in Nottinghamshire where the graveyard had several graves from the Crimean war. All the young men had died from disease.

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails