Signs & Symbols Walk

Yesterday (18th July 2021) on what is so far, the HOTTEST day of the year, guide Val Ferguson took 24 members of the Public plus 3 FoSOC helpers ( all within the UK Guidelines) on a Sign & Symbols walk in the Old Cemetery.

After greeting everyone, the group set off for the first headstone in the family name of Heath, along the Yew Tree pathway. At first this headstone looks very ordinary but not so. Headstones or from the Greek word ‘Stele’ as they are known and the writing are called, Inscriptions, epitaphs, or ledgers, mostly shown on the front, (there are exceptions).  Edwin Lewis Heath, signed up at the start of WW1 along with his brother James. James was killed in action in France (1918) so this now becomes an  memorial to him.  Edwin was discharged at the end of the war but died 6 weeks later of heart disease, because he was discharged, he was given a ‘silver medal’ to wear, to prove he had fought in the Great War and not a coward, so he would not receive a ‘white feather’, he was the first to be buried there, later his parents.

Within this area Val guided the group, to two more graves ,Brownrigg (CWG) and Operti, (little boy figure) plus the Belgian War Memorial and spoke of the 2019 Remembrance Sunday Service in which two of the Belgian graves were mentioned, Louis Van Den Eyne who died of shrapnel wound in 1914 and  Maurice Salembter who died of a bullet wound in 1915, the latter’s Great grandson was able to attend this event, much to FoSOC delight.

The group then move onto Thomas Cunningham, a gun carriage is engraved on his headstone,  explaining why, he was a drill teacher in the Royal Engineers. (photo attached). Next the Buckle family grave, a beautiful headstone, over 100 years old and perfectly engraved with passionflowers and lily of the valley.  All of the passionflowers have meaning, regarding Jesus on the Cross and the lily of the valley, innocence, and purity. Next to the Buckle grave is Harry Smithers one of the Titanic graves/memorial, this has a couple of mistakes which Val showed the group.

Walking back into the older part of the cemetery, remarking on the Lodge, Main gates and then the Perkins grave, continue into the Jewish section. Val then pointed out the graves and showed photos, two of which had different types of hands (photo attached of one).  Then onto the Anglican Chapel, Cross of Sacrifice, Faith Hope and Charity (Pearce grave) Captain George Smith and finally finishing at the Nicholas mausoleum.

The walk was shorter then normal 1 hour and 15 minutes due to the extremely HOT afternoon and not much shade within the Old Cemetery.

Many thanks to Bruce Larner for taking all of the photos.