Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Great Faversham Explosion

I have been looking through a collection of several hundred postcards of cemeteries, graveyards, memorials and funeral scenes that I had collected together over the past 30 years. They are contained in two large albums and total just short of 1,000 individual items. I was pleased to find the postcard published here which shows the mass grave of the victims of the worst explosion in the history of the British explosives industry.

On the reverse is a letter from William to his sweetheart Emily who lived at 11 South Road, Faversham. He told her:

"This is a photo of the grave where they buried some of the men killed down the Gun Cotton. My chum Harry Anderson, who you used to see me with before I kept company with you, was killed."
According to Wikipedia, at 2.20 pm on Sunday April 2, 1916, a huge explosion ripped through a gunpowder mill at Uplees, near Faversham, when a store of 200 tons of TNT was detonated after some empty sacks caught fire.
Being a Sunday, no women were at work. One hundred and fifteen men and boys, including all members of the Works Fire Brigade, were killed. The bodies of seven victims were never found and 108 corpses were buried in a mass grave at Faversham Cemetery on April 6.
The factory was in a remote spot in the middle of open marshes, next to the Thames coastline. The explosion was heard as far away as Norwich and Great Yarmouth. In Southend-on-Sea, domestic windows were blown out and two plate-glass shop windows were shattered.
William's Postcard

The Mass Grave as it is Today
Published under Creative Commons, courtesy of Pam Fray

Friday, 18 April 2014

Hand reaches Over

I've not come across this sort of grave topping before. I found it slightly unnerving to see a disembodied hand, clutching a wreath, draped over the top of a headstone. It was very striking, to say the least. There was one other in the Great Harwood Cemetery in Lancashire but not so well-preserved.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Lamb of God 2

A second Lamb of God memorial in Blackpool's Layton Cemetery. Sadly, the lamb's head has been damaged.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Lamb of God

This impressive memorial in Blackpool's Layton Cemetery commemorates Amy, the daughter of Frederick and Emma Maria Nixon who died 10 June 1882 aged four years and ten months.

It also mentions her father who died in 1905 aged 59 and her brother Edward, a Veterinarian, who passed away in 1913 aged 37.

Layton Cemetery was opened in 1873 and the site encompasses 30 acres.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Memorial Wall

There is a very picturesque stone wall bordering the graveyard of the Parish Church of the Holy Ascension in Settle, Yorkshire. Part of it is constructed from fragments of graveyard kerbstones still bearing details of the departed. I wonder why? Unusually, there is no record of someone with the Christian names of Gertrude Harriet being buried in the graveyard . . .

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Dog Sentinel at foot of Grave

At the base of a gravestone in the graveyard of the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Michael, Alston near Grimsargh, Lancashire is this Dog sentinel. I find it very realistic.

Bomb Aimer Memorial

I saw this memorial in the churchyard of St Peter and St Paul RC Church in Ribchester, Lancashire. It commemorates the death of a Royal Air Force bomb aimer.

Flight Sergeant Edward Walter Fletcher died on the night of 28/29 January 1945 when his Lancaster bomber crashed while returning from a raid on Stuttgart. It was his 30th mission on what should have been the final sortie of his first tour of operations. He is buried in the Durnbach War Cemetery, Bad Totlz, Bayern Germany.

The fascinating Ribble Valley Remembrance website carried a lot of information about Flt Sgt Fletcher and can be found HERE

Welcome to the Graveyard Detective

An illustrated look at the World of Graveyards and Cemeteries. There are many Stories behind the Stones that Stand in them. Who knows what we might find?


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