Stonemason restores graves of two brothers lost in WWI

Fantastic job: Neil Relf restored the graves

Fantastic job: Neil Relf restored the graves

First published in News by

A stonemason has devoted more than 20 hours to restore the Twickenham graves of two brothers who gave their lives in battle in World War I.

Infantryman John Blackman, who died in 1916 aged 23, shares a grave in Twickenham Cemetery with Bombardier brother George, who lost his life three years later aged 29, but neither has any surviving relatives and the graves had fallen into disrepair.

Craft stonemason of 27 years Neil Relf felt compelled to use his skills to restore the memorial to properly honour the fallen brothers, and did so at his own cost.

The 46-year-old said: "I’m delighted with how the memorial of the Blackman brothers has turned out - it’s beautiful.

"This is my way of remembering two brothers whose lives were cut so tragically short."

Comments (2)

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7:34am Fri 29 Aug 14

jeremyhm says...

This is a very noble deed. But what I don't quite understand is why these graves are not the responsibility of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, whose job it is to erect and look after war graves in perpetuity
This is a very noble deed. But what I don't quite understand is why these graves are not the responsibility of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, whose job it is to erect and look after war graves in perpetuity jeremyhm
  • Score: 0

8:11am Mon 1 Sep 14

bandit63 says...

Relatives can decide not have them buried in a military grave or buried with military honours (i.e. a private grave). Alot of people disagreed with the war or were very resentful that their menfolk went to war, so may have wanted nothing to do with army etc. Also, the site is not "owned" by the CWA, so unless there was an actual military headstone, then we need to respect how the plot was marked before being restored.
Relatives can decide not have them buried in a military grave or buried with military honours (i.e. a private grave). Alot of people disagreed with the war or were very resentful that their menfolk went to war, so may have wanted nothing to do with army etc. Also, the site is not "owned" by the CWA, so unless there was an actual military headstone, then we need to respect how the plot was marked before being restored. bandit63
  • Score: 0
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