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Grace went to the military plot at Brompton Cemetery and investigated the stories of a few men who are buried there, including a Royal Parks gardener:

Tucked on the western side of Brompton Cemetery, standing to regimented attention alongside the miscellany of civilian graves, stands a Commonwealth War Grave Commission (CWGC) burial site, holding the bodies of a total of 379 casualties, from both the World Wars. From the mid-18th century until the start of the Second World War, the graveyard was the military cemetery for captains, gunners, privates, and sergeants: all rest together, united in their sacrifice in the necropolis of London, as in the fields of France and Belgium.

Most - maybe all - of the men buried in the CWGC plot died at home, in England, from illness and injuries. The youngest person buried there was only 14 when he died in the First World War: Edward Davis, who was killed in 1915. His burial record lists his mother's name - it's hard to imagine how she must have felt on hearing the news. A much older man, William Charles Gould, is also buried there and is special to us because he was a park keeper for St James’ Park. He re-enlisted in the army in 1914 at the age of 54 (after fighting in the Boer War the previous century), before succumbing to pneumonia the following year while preparing to head to France with his unit. You can read more about older recruits in Barbara's article.

There are also veterans' graves scattered throughout the rest of the cemetery, including that of Reginald Warneford - famed for shooting down a Zeppelin and one of a total of twelve Victoria Cross winners buried in the cemetery - and Edwin Sandys, who fought with his men at the Somme on 1 July 1916. Sandys was in charge of a battalion which suffered badly, with over 540 men killed or wounded, and he felt guilt-ridden over the loss of his men. He soon returned to England to recover and took his own life on 13 September 1916, writing to a fellow friend and serviceman that he had “never had a moment’s peace since July 1”. Over a century later, I can only hope that he feels something akin to it now.

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