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War graves from the First World War 
on the Zuiderbegraafplaats in Groningen


On the Zuiderbegraafplaats (Southern Cemetery) in Groningen are the graves of nine British soldiers who died in the war years 1914 – 1918 during their internment in Groningen. 

Funeral Cortege in the Oosterstraat in Groningen (date unknown)

The complex of graves can be found at the end of the central aisle in “Klasse [class] 4 - rij [row] 37 - graven [graves] 74-82. It consists of nine tombstones out of a greyish type of stone, standing in a common grave field. The monument is generally uninspiring and is certainly a deviation from the well known fields of honour with the white tombstones, such as those in Belgium and Northern France. 

The wellknown Cross of Sacrifice was not erected as this is only put up in a field wsith more than 40 graves. The Stone of Remembrance with the text “Their name liveth for evermore” is not here either, as this is only placed in cemeteries with more than 400 graves. The grey stone Celtic cross is a unique cross of remembrance for Seaman John Mac Leay. The money for this cross was collected in 1915 by his fellow internees and the citizenry of Groningen. 

From left to right, we find the graves of: 

Albert T. Vigar
Stoker 1st class - R.N. SS 100877 - Benbow Battalion
Deceased 29/09/1916 (aged 33 years) 

Leslie E. Whitehead 
Able seaman - RNVR. L4/2861 - Hawke Battalion 
Deceased l8/03/1916 (aged 22 years) 

Donald McLeod
Seaman - RNR. A3409 - Benbow Battalion 
Deceased 01/03/1916 (aged 25 years)

John Smith
Seaman - RNR. CH/2742/A - Collingwood Battalion
Deceased 18/10/1917 (aged 42 years)

John MacLeay
Seaman - RNR. B2588 - Collingwood Battalion
Deceased 26/08/1915 (aged 33 years)

Thomas Bennett
Stoker 1st class - R.N. 163931 - Hawke Battalion
Deceased 08/06/1917 (aged 42 years) 

Percy H. Hedger
Able seaman - RNVR. L7/3464 - Benbow Battalion
Deceased 21/02/1917 (aged 22 years)

Ernest Bruce
Able seaman - RNVR. T2/169 - Collingwood Battalion
Deceased 14/11/1918 (aged 24 years) 

Sydney F. Fowler
Private - RMLI. PO/1604/S – 1st RM Battalion 
Deceased 30/11/1918 (aged 35 years) 

The first eight names belong to men from the 1st Royal Naval Brigade. The ninth grave belongs to Sydney F. Fowler, a prisoner of war repatriated out of Germany, and housed in the English Camp after the war. He died there 19 days after the Armistice.

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