Morecambe Municipal Cemetery, Lancashire, England.
Lancashire Family History and Heraldry Society celebrates its 40th birthday this year and in that time has undertaken thousands of projects in order to help fellow genealogists to find their 'roots' and to safeguard the records for future generations. It has been during this project work that we have recorded wording on grave stones such as; "our sons FRED & JIM missing presumed killed on the Somme 1916"
In the large Morecambe Municipal Cemetery we have identified 33 such gravestones that are in some cases, well over a hundred years old, some have very poignant wording about their lost sons and grandchildren. The cemetery was first opened in 1874 and closed in 1991, about 6,500 burials have taken place in that time in the cemetery.
Our project is to:
Tidy the area at each grave then sprinkle a few Flanders Poppy Seeds at each location, we will have researched each family and this trail of poppies will be plotted on a chart of the cemetery which will be available to visitors free of charge.
We are being assisted by Poulton Heritage and Lancaster City Council and data on some of the service personnel is supplied by: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission www.cwgc.org, Jim Dennis and his Lancaster Military Heritage Group www.lancasterwarmemorials.org.uk
The project at Morecambe is unique and has meant a lot of hard work in identifying any memorial that contains wording about a family member who has lost their life in the services, we do have the same data for the other large municipal cemeteries in the Lancaster area i.e. Torrisholme, Hale Carr, Halton Road, Scotforth and Carnforth and if the ‘Flanders Poppy Trail’ proves as popular as we think it will be, the other cemeteries could also have their own ‘Poppy Trails’ in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
In 2013 we will visit each of the grave memorials (30) take an up-to-date photograph and survey the plot
in order to ascertain what is needed to present the grave to its best and; clean, tidy and sprinkle a few ‘Flanders’ poppy seeds on the prepared area, where the memorial is damaged i.e. broken in half, flat or face down the Lancaster City Council have offered to repair and re-erect the memorial for us. All the poppy graves will then be plotted on a map of the cemetery and pathways marked on the plan.
We plan to publish a free three fold leaflet on the ‘Flanders Poppy Trail’ that will include the grave yard plan,
and then a 200+ A4 publication covering the details of the whole of Morecambe Municipal Cemetery a,
we will also publish a CD for people interested in family history to purchase.
During 2014 we propose to be present on specific dates in the Morecambe Cemetery in order to help the public locate their loved ones and relate some of the stories of the fallen heroes remembered here.A free index to all the memorials for the municipal cemeteries at Morecambe, Torrisholme, Lancaster Halton Road, Lancaster Scotforth and Carnforth is already available on our branch website www.LancasterFamilyHistory.org.uk
You can be sure the Flanders is going to be on people’s minds as next year will be the centenary of the start of World War 1 and the loss of so many of our young men and women.
For this new project of ours we are cooperating with the Lancaster City Council, Poulton Heritage
and the Lancaster Military Heritage Group and it will be, just one, of many ways in which the area will mark the centenary.
A dedicated local website is to be set up to coordinate the many diary dates that will occur between 2014-2018
If you think you could organise a similar ‘Flanders Poppy Trail’ in your area, then please chat with your branch projects coordinator and get permission from the Church or local authority, you may be surprised at just how helpful they can be, especially when the learn that it can all be accomplished at little or no cost to them.