Sunday, 13 August 2017

Etaples Military Cemetery

I'm a huge fan of Lutyens and this is one of 'his' cemeteries and also the largest CWGC cemetery in France. There are nearly 11,000 First World War burials here, grim testimony to the many hospitals at Etaples which, at their peak, could deal with 22,000 sick and wounded and men.

The cemetery is interesting because you can plot the expansion of it by the dates on the headstones. The semi-circular arrangement of headstones in the distance are exclusively officers; another interesting feature of this cemetery in that these men at least are certainly not united in death with other ranks.

There are the usual touching inscriptions on many of the headstones. STK/488 L-Cpl Arthur Paston Parnell of the 10th (Stockbrokers') Battalion, Royal Fusiliers died of wounds on the 17th April 1917. His wife's inscription simply reads, "The dearly loved husband of Annie A Parnell of Sunderland, Co Durham." Arthur had married Annie A Thompson in Brentford, Middlesex in the first half of 1915. Their time together must have therefore been very short-lived as Arthur had proceeded overseas on the 31st July 1915. Annie re-married - Harry S Parkin - in Sunderland in 1922. By 1939 the couple was living at Alexandra Park, Sunderland.

Naval & Military Press