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Who are we?

I was having coffee with my father again on Friday, and as he does every so often, reminded me I was named after his best mate who was gunned down by the Irgun on December 16, 1947, three weeks before I was born.  I have always disliked my name and would have preferred my middle name which is shared with my fathers name which was popular in 1915, and even today, as it’s my young nephew’s name. 

I told him I could probably find his mates entry on the internet somewhere and undertook to look it up.  It took me about 5 seconds to find it under the Commonwealth War Graves site and this is what I found.

The GWGC manages a database of 1,700,000 casualties from WW1 and WW2 and the maintenance of 2400 cemeteries and memorials and it’s times like this you reflect on the cost of wars and total futility of it all. 

In 1994, MP and I were in Jerusalem and my father had told me the cemetery was located just outside the Jaffa Gate of the Old City and that we could get the key from a nearby church which is caretaker for the site.  We arrived just before a 3 day holiday weekend and the key was elsewhere so we missed out on visiting the grave site.  However, I managed to find this 2006 photo from the GWGC web site which shows the current state of the graves.  This cemetery is the resting place for the 73 men of the Palestine Police who died during the Second World War.

My uncle on my mothers side was also killed in WW2 and his simple entry doesn’t convey a very sad and unique story which I will tell you about next.

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  1. March 22, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Lovely post and I really look forward to the rest of the story!

  2. March 22, 2009 at 8:36 am

    COMMENT REPLIES

    Peggy – Thanks. I suppose all of us older generations have stories like these.

    June – I’m glad you were able to follow a lead from that site.

  3. june in florida
    March 22, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Thanks DB.Followed your lead and found my Uncle Reginald Hudson.He was 21 years old and was killed in Tunisia 4/22/1943 just a few weeks before the war in N.Africa ended. I was amazed i was able to find him with so little information.The list of losses in Ww2 was astounding,China and Russia are huge countries but Yugoslavia and Poland are not, of course many concentration camps were in these two countries.Looking forward to your uncles story.

  4. March 22, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    I’ve trawled through the CWGC website too, and found quite a few of my family members. My mother’s cousin left England in 1914, went to Canada to study farming, and joined the Canadian Machine Gun Corps in 1916. He was killed in France in 1917. 21 years old. When I was in France with my 2 sons a couple of years ago, we found his grave (thanks to the CWGC) and took pictures and signed the cemetery visitors book. It was a very emotional moment…. I cried even though I had never met him, I was born more than 30 years after his death. Cemeteries everywhere, how terrible war is.

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