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Crosses on war graves

by
27 March 2020

March 26th, 1920.

THE remarkably independent position of the Imperial War Graves Commission was well illustrated on Tuesday, when in the House of Lords no member of the Government would acknowledge responsibility for their action. Lord Selborne did, however, succeed in getting an answer to his question, and we thus have official confirmation of the report that the Imperial War Graves Commission is removing the crosses set over the graves of fallen officers and men and returning them “at the expense of the Government”. None who has seen such a cross as the skill and patience of comrades has devised can regard it as anything short of an outrage that such memorials should be replaced by a “general design”. The instinct that planted these crosses — sometimes rudely fashioned in desperate haste and at other times strongly and beautifully made for the permanent marking of the grave of a beloved captain or a nameless enemy — cannot well be analysed, but it must be respected. Lord Selborne told the House of a friend of his who was killed; the officers of his regiment, assisted by the soldiers of his company, erected a cross in oak, made from the beams of a ruined church, but the family of the dead officer had been absolutely refused information as to whether or no the cross would be torn down. Nobody appears to have the slightest control over the War Graves Commission, and we hope that Members of Parliament will press the Government until some sort of responsibility is accepted.

 

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