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Significance of ceremony at British Cemetery at Louvain

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Significance of ceremony at British Cemetery at Louvain

Postby Gene-al » Fri Apr 22, 2016 7:15 pm

British Cemetery at Houverlee, nr Louvain, Belgium
Just discovered this photo in our family archive but with no known family connection, i.e., no military casualty. Can anyone suggest the occasion or ceremony's significance? The reverse of photo gives place and date (?) of 11 November 1918 - Armistice Day? Presumably there were such ceremonies at all British ceremony's on this day? All thoughts welcome, please.
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Re: Significance of ceremony at British Cemetery at Louvain

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:09 pm

My gut instinct is that this is a much later photo - 1930s or 1940s. To me, neither the officer nor the 2 civilians by him, look like 1918 date. Given that there are crosses, not CWGC stones there, is it possible that this is at the end of WW2? Or am I completely out with my dating? Feel free to tell me I'm way out!
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Re: Significance of ceremony at British Cemetery at Louvain

Postby ksouthall » Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:21 pm

The date on the back looks like 12th November 1940 something to me. Either 1945, 1948 or 1949.
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Re: Significance of ceremony at British Cemetery at Louvain

Postby jeffward » Sat Apr 23, 2016 5:14 pm

It is not possible that the date is Nov 1940. The was heavy fighting between German and British forces in the Louvain area in May 1940 as the British rearguard covered the retreat to Dunkirk. After June 1940 there were no British fighting forces in Europe. They did not return to the Louvain area until Sept. 1944. The man in the left foreground appears to be wearing a navy blue beret. These were not on general issue in 1945,but were a year or two later, although tank regiments had been wearing a black berets since 1924. The skull and crossbones on the colours may be significant. This is the regimental badge of the 17/21st Lancers, a cavalry unit which most likely would have been equipped with tanks.
The CWGC web site may indicate when they erected heads stones for the WW2 graves at Louvain. I'd say 1948 is the most likely date. Jeff Ward.
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Re: Significance of ceremony at British Cemetery at Louvain

Postby junkers » Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:10 pm

This may be connected to the new cemetery started in July 1946 (there is information on the cemetery on the CWGC website). The photograph is clearly Second World War era in my view.
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Re: Significance of ceremony at British Cemetery at Louvain

Postby ksouthall » Sun Apr 24, 2016 2:05 am

jeffward wrote:It is not possible that the date is Nov 1940.


Jeff,

I didn't say 1940. I said 1940 something. Either 1945, 1948 or 1949.

Maybe my post wasn't clear enough. Perhaps I should have hyphenated it; i.e. 1940-something.

The bottom half of the year in the date is missing so it is impossible to give an exact year as you can only see the top half of the 45/48 or 49.

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Re: Significance of ceremony at British Cemetery at Louvain

Postby Mick Loney » Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:59 am

Jeff,
Judging by the half finished digit at the end, which finishes on an upstroke, the digit could be a 5 or 6, and eliminates it being a 7; 8 or 9. So in my humble opinion, the date is Armistice day, 1945 or 1946, which makes sense of the ceremony!



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Re: Significance of ceremony at British Cemetery at Louvain

Postby jeffward » Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:33 pm

Been having another rumage around to see what else I could come up with. According to Wikipedia the British Cemetery at Heverlee near Louvain was established sometime in 1946. Discount my remarks about the 17/21st Lancers they never served in Northern Europe.
If it is an Armistice day ceremony I'm wondering why there are no Poppy wreaths, at a guess the flowers look like Chrysanthemums. Perhaps it was a re-interment? Maybe that is why the banners are draped with black ribbons. Or perhaps the dedication of a memorial.
Finally I was struck by the officers resemblance to the Duke of Windsor and it how appears he did attend a ceremony at Heverlee sometime in the late 40s to commemorate a close relative who is buried there, Lord Frederick Cambridge, killed May 1940. Also I understand the re-interment of members of the Grenadier Guards.The Duke once served with that regiment. Jeff Ward.
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Re: Significance of ceremony at British Cemetery at Louvain

Postby meekhcs » Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:22 pm

I have sent you a PM.

Lots of the village cemeteries in the locale contain graves of British servicemen although I appreciate this is something more substantial.

Sally

edited spelling error
Last edited by meekhcs on Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Significance of ceremony at British Cemetery at Louvain

Postby meekhcs » Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:30 pm

Have you looked at the list of casualties (900plus) for Heverlee War Cemetery on CWGC to make sure you have no Family connection?
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