- Abbey End Landmine
- Other Attacks
- In Memory of the 28...
- Sites of Interest
- Odds & Ends
- Abbey End Survivors Stories
- Unknown Souls identified?
The grave of the unknown souls has been marked by a permanent stone.
It was blessed by Rev Stella Bailey on Tuesday 22nd November 2016 at 11.00 a.m. with the Mayor, other Councillors and Council officials, and several members of the public in attendance.
Particular thanks are due to Councillor Patricia Cain and the Town Council General Purposes Committee who picked up my campaign and saw it through so successfully, and to John Taylor Funeral Services who donated the stone without charge.
* * * * *
Two Unknown Souls.....
Lying in Plot V*, Section A, grave 1630 at Kenilworth Cemetery are the remains of two unknown victims of the Abbey End land mine explosion of 21st November 1940. One was a 65 year-old man but there was so little of the other that it could not be decided if the remains were from a male or female. Although generally, and correctly, regarded as a 26th victim of the explosion, it is of course possible the fragments belong to one of the named victims, at least two of which were never found.
The funeral took place on 29th November 1940, 8 days after they died, the last of the victims to be buried in Kenilworth, with the Reverend C H S Matthews performing the service. The grave was not marked, flowers were never left, and eventually the outline became no longer visible. The victims were forgotten save for one mention in the local newspaper on the 25th anniversary which recorded the grave as being beneath a cherry tree.
As the 70th anniversary of the disaster approached, the writer contacted the cemetery supervisor who commendably searched through the records to find the grave's location and so, for a few weeks either side of 21st November 2011, the grave had a plastic marker, "V 1630".
The entry in the Kenilworth Cemetery register
There are a number of 'loose ends' left over from Kenilworth's involvement in the Second World War, the permanent marking of grave V-1630 is perhaps the most important to bring to bring to a close.
* * *
The Town Council has given its support; the following resolution was passed at the General Purposes Committee meeting on 20th January 2011:
"The marking of the grave of the unknown civilians who are buried in Kenilworth Cemetery be fully supported and recommended to the District Council in conjunction with the Cemetery Friends."
Ann Backlock has reported back to me from the meeting on 12th March 2011 of the 'Friends of the Cemetery' group:
"At the Friends meeting on Saturday we discussed the issue of what to do about the grave of the unidentified victims of the bombing raid. The consensus was very clear that yes, they should be marked."
Pam Chilvers, Bereavement Services Manager with resposibility for the cemetery has added her support:
"I’m pleased at your interest in these two unknown souls and will be happy to support your endeavours to have their graves marked."
The Reverend Richard Awre has agreed to perform a dedication service when a stone is in place.
* * *
'All' that remains to be done is to raise funds for the stone.
Marked for the 75th anniversary, 21st November 2015, giving a fresh impetus for the grave to have a permanent marker