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Visiting War Graves

Rushden Echo, 22nd November, 1918

Our Dead Heroes
Their Graves to be Cared For

  The military situation will not for some time permit the restrictions now imposed on visits to France and Belgium to be removed.  This news may cause some anxiety to many in whose thoughts a soldier’s grave is continually present, and the following information is communicated by the War Office in the hope that it may do something to relieve the strain of suspense.

  The North of France includes, so far as the British arms are concerned, a Western area which has been in Allied occupation, an Eastern area which was for four years in German occupation, and a middle area over which the campaign of 1916-1918 took place.  In the Western area lie the graves of four years’ fighting which have never been disturbed.  In the Eastern area it is hoped that there may be found also some of the graves of the two corps which retreated from Mons to the Marne.  In the middle area, which includes the Somme battlefield, the tide of war has dealt unequally with the graves of the British dead; some cemeteries are left in good order, while some are partly, and a few wholly, destroyed by shell-fire.

  No wilful damage has been done by the enemy, so far as can be ascertained, to a single grave; but the inevitable effects of fierce fighting cannot be repaired as quickly as the ground has been recovered.

  The armistice, however, has at last rendered it possible to make a thorough examination of the cemeteries in the middle area, and a thorough search for graves in and beyond the old front line of 1915.  The Graves Registration Units, which for four years have marked and registered every grave that could be reached, have now been largely reinforced for the new work, and the trained officers who have carried out this duty under war conditions can now move more freely over the battle fields.

  Arrangements have been made to inform the relatives of those who are buried in the middle area of the condition of any grave about which inquiry is made.  There are complete records in the War Office, arranged by sections of maps, of every grave, whether marked and registered by the Graves Registration Units or reported to them, but not yet found; and these records will be checked on the spot, section by section.

  It is hoped that those relatives whose inquiries relate to areas not yet searched will not lose patience, but remember that the work on the ground which is of special interest to them can only be carried out in its turn.

  In the Italian and Eastern theatres of war the same facilities now exist, and a similar process will be at once carried out.  A Graves Registration Unit was instructed to proceed to Gallipoli as soon as the armistice with Turkey was signed.

Rushden Echo, 29th July 1921, transcribed by Kay Collins

Free Visits to War Graves—The Salvation Army, as previously stated in the “Rushden Echo,” have arranged passages and have given financial assistance to Rushden people who have lost relatives in the war. Last week-end (Thursday to Monday) of the party of 70 from the Northampton Division, the following went from Rushden, free of expenses: Mrs. Sherwood, 8a Albion-place, Mrs. Marlow, 21 Little-street, Mrs. Colgrave, 7 Little-street, Mrs. Sears, 18 Glassbrook-road, Mrs. Denton, 19 Denmark-road, Mrs. Mackness, 26 Denmark-road, Mr. George Mackness, 26 Denmark-road. The papers in respect of two other people were not through in time for that particular visit.
[Note: George Wm Colgrave is listed at 7 Little Street as an absent voter (of the RAMC) in 1918 Electoral Roll, but he does not appear on the CWWG site]

Rushden Echo, 28th June 1923, transcribed by Kay Collins

A Rushden intending visitor to the war graves in France asks us to mention, for the benefit of others in our district, that visitors to those areas are now much simplified by the introduction of a special pass, available for ten days, which is issued from the "€œMilitary Permit Section"€ of the Passport Office, Westminster, S.W.1. The pass is issued free of cost to relatives of the fallen (after the identity of the dead soldier is proved), and the form to obtain the pass (sent from the above address) is much simpler than the form of application for an ordinary passport. Only the following relatives are allowed to have the new passes: Mothers, fathers, widows, fiancees (if still unmarried), daughters, sons, sisters, or brothers of the buried soldier. The Y.M.C.A., Church Army, Salvation Army or St, Barnabas Hostel will obtain such passes for relatives.

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