‘The Living Memory project remembers the “forgotten front” – the 300,000 war graves and commemorations right here in the UK.‘
Worcester Writers’ Circle (WWC) is taking part in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and Big Ideas Company’s Living Memory Project; the first in a series of projects about WWI. The project we’re working on commemorates those lost on return home following the Battle of the Somme which lasted 141 days. Many of the servicemen died as a result of injuries sustained overseas and a proportion of them lost their lives to Spanish Flu later.
There are upwards of 156 war graves in Worcester Cemetery and several WWC members have been there to view them, we found 20 within a 50 metre radius. We learned that all UK war graves are the same shape and have name, regiment, rank and number engraved on them along with date deceased and age at time of death. There is a regimental emblem either over or on an engraved crucifix. Below the crucifix there is sometimes, though not always, a family engraving such as R.I.P. or ‘At Rest For King And Country’ or ‘Thy Will Be Done’. All war graves are looked after by CWGC and are upright, clean and well-maintained despite being 100 years old.
Boys and men ranging from 18 to 63-years-of-age are buried in our local cemetery: some will have been conscripts or Military Servicemen; some would have been in service as officers and men of British and Imperial forces as the war began. 18 to 40-year-olds were deemed available for Military Service in 1916 when the British Government passed the Military Service Act which applied to England, Scotland and Wales, Ireland was exempt due to the political situation. Later, the age limit was raised to 51-years-of-age.
WWC members are writing poetry and prose about the war graves and The Somme and plan to create a pamphlet of the work. Readings will be available and can be booked by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Walks around the cemetery with readings will be organised and publicised on this website.
Here is an illustration of one of the war graves, this one an RAF serviceman, with the inscription faded out as a courtesy to potential family members.
If you would like to join in a walk or book a reading for your organisation, or if you have a relative from WWI in Worcester Cemetery and would like to tell us their story, please contact our secretary: email@example.com.