British war graves to be restored in northern Poland

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The graves of 39 First World War British soldiers who died at the German army’s Heilsberg prisoner of war camp are to be restored.

The graves, at Lidzbark Warminski in northern Poland, were marked with a Cross of Sacrifice and Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) headstones in the years immediately following the end of the conflict. But, during the 1960s, the cemetery deteriorated and the men’s names were added to the memorial at Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery.

Restoration

Experts from the CWGC are now restoring the Lidzbark Warminski site, erecting new headstones that have been manufactured in the CWGC’s offices at Arras in France.

A number of families of the men have come forward and will be able to attend a rededication ceremony planned for May, at which the CWGC will also install a new Visitor Information Panel.

Among those commemorated at Lidzbark Warminski is 19-year-old private Frank Bower, of 22nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, who was taken prisoner in April 1918 within a few days of arriving in France with a draft of reinforcements.

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14 Responses to British war graves to be restored in northern Poland

  1. Reblogged this on museumandhistory.com and commented:
    Prisoners of War: They are soldiers, who must have encountered the enemy in close quarters and gone through an individual, and perhaps group, process of deciding to fight to the death, lay down their arms in defeat, exhaustion, injury, abandonment or at the lost of all hope.

    The encounter, the surrender or capture, for a soldier is, I suspect one of the most gut wrenching feelings a person could be faced with. Perhaps there was a feeling of relief – I’m safe at last: I will rest out my days in a camp and just wait until this awful War to end all wars is over. Some camps horrific, some civilized. But to die in captivity is something that is unimaginable.

    At times there was kindness in death, but the captors, priests, nuns or a wreath provided by a surrounding occupied town, but largely dying as a prisoner of war in captivity in an unconscionable end to the of a teacher, plumber, a baker, father or a son.

    It is important to remember them, and restoration of their final place headstones and monuments is important.

  2. Trev Hill says:

    I was present at the rededication ceremony, as I live locally. I tried to get a number of British local newspapers interested in this story but surprisingly, only one was interested (Tyneside chronicle), despite me writing to places where the soldiers were from.

    As well as the representative of CWGC, the British Ambassador and Defence Attache,
    the local people did a superb job in honouring our lads. There were uniformed veterans of WW2, including the Polish underground, a troop of the local army battalion fired volleys above the graves and local school children laid grave candles (red, white and blue) on the graves. Local scouts were also in attendance with banners etc.

    I should point out that the graves are symbollic as the cemetery has suffered since WW2. There are around 3000 people buried there, mainly Russian, and the sites of many of the British graves are now uncertain.

    I have photos of graves and the ceremony, if interested.

    • Thanks for getting in touch. I’d be interested in seeing/publishing the photos etc.

    • ALLISON HILLIER (nee Buck) says:

      Yes please, I am a direct decendant of Lance Corporal George Barnard Buck 202066. He was my first cousin x3 times removed. Would be so very grateful if you could e mail me with anything you have on George. His father was Ephrim Buck and his mother Louisa Buck (nee Nichols). George was born in 1897 Tacolneston, Norfolk.

      • trev hill says:

        Hi Alison, can you email me: moominpics@yahoo.co.uk

      • ALLISON HILLIER (nee Buck) says:

        Hi Trev, you asked me to e mail you., Regards, Allison J Hillier (nee Buck
        )

      • ALLISON HILLIER (nee Buck) says:

        Hi Trev, I have tried several times to e mail you independently with the e mail moomin pics, but it just bounces straight back to me. Can I double check that it is mominpics@yahoo.co.UK
        For whatever reason my e mail will not allow me to use all lower case!! It insists on uk being Capitol. Frustrating!! Thank you so much for your prompt reply

    • Allison says:

      As a direct decendant of George Barnard Buck, I would be very grateful for any photos that you may have. GEORGE BARNARD BUCK, Lance Corporal, Northumberland Fusilliers 202066. Regards, Allison Jane Hillier (nee Buck). George was my first cousin x3 removed. Thanking you, Allison Hillier

  3. ALLISON HILLIER (nee Buck) says:

    I am a direct decendant of one of the 39 British soldiers George Barnard Buck Lance Corporal with the Northumberland Fusilliers. I have been researching George for a couple of years, knowing that he fell in WW1 but really struggled to find his war grave. My husband and I have just returned from Belgium and France where we searched in vain to find his burial location. It was only tonight, that I discovered he is in Poland! Would be very grateful for any information you might have. Lance Corporal George Barnard Buck, 202066 Northumberland Fusilliers 1st/4th Battalion, death 11th Oct 1918. Born 1897 in Tacolneston, Norfolk to Ephrim Buck and Louisa Buck (nee Nichols). George Barnard Buck is my first cousin x3 removed. Thanking you, Allison Jane Hillier (nee Buck)

    • ALLISON HILLIER (nee Buck) says:

      I should be very grateful to see your photo of George’s Grave. Thank you very much Trev. Ally

      • trev hill says:

        Just noticed you wrote email address as momin, with only one o. Should be two 🙂

        I would post pic on here but don’t know how.

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