Created By: Cartsburn Publishing
Hello and welcome to this tour. Listen to the introduction here, before moving into the cemetery proper.
Greenok Cemetery was opened in 1846, and was laid out by Stewart Murray - the first Curator of Glasgow’s Botanical Garden. The paths and plantings were designed to encourage visiting and on Sundays; Walks and carriage-rides around the cemetery were a common occurrence. There is also a class divide in the cemetery. The wide boulevard in the centre, laid aside for the burials of rich families. These families each bought a large plot, with trees, bushes & plants. Then there were the closer packed sections for the less wealthy, which had less decoration. The first interment was that of Mrs Russell, the wife of the ship owner Alexander Russell.
Not being morbid, but it really is a wonderful place to spend a few hours. If you add to the natural surroundings, the local and social history that you can find here, inscribed on the splendid examples of funerary art, it truly is a microcosm of society throughout the last two centuries.
Today we are taking a look at a selection of the First World War commemorations. There are so many that I have split them into the various sections of the cemetery for your convenience and are the subject of separate walks. You can take a look at your leisure. Look at the map for details of the sections. Some are marked by signposts. When you walk into a new section of the grounds I will tell you about the stories of the men and women who gave their lives in the first world war, and how they are memorialised. Today we are looking at sections C, O, P, W, 2i, 2K, 2L, 2H, V, T, R, F & D which are all located to the right of the grounds.
As the war progressed it became obvious that the sight of hundreds of thousands of bodies being sent back to the UK would have terrible effect on the morale of the country. It was thus decided to bury the casualties near where they fell, or commemorate them at a later time on memorials if their bodies could not be found. And so, after the war the Commonwealth War-Graves Commission was set up to look after these locations in France, Belgium, Gallipoli and elsewhere. The problem, however, was that the families of the lost had no physical place to remember their relatives. The answer was to mark their passing on their own family headstones. There are many such stones in this cemetery. There are also, those stones, the official CWGC stones, of those who died in Britain, as a result of illness, or accident, while serving in the Armed Forces. I will talk about these too.
We can only wonder what all these young men, and occasionally women, might have contributed to society had they not been killed. The young men from the older families would have been the leaders, the businessmen of Greenok, while all the others would have contributed in unknown ways. It can be said that the fabric of the Greenok West-End Society was destroyed by the Great War and that in fact Greenok never recovered. The Second World War further added to the losses. We can only guess what the town would be like now had the men and women of that generation been allowed to fulfil their destiny.
Because of the limitations of the GPS signal, individual stones cannot be triggered. I have added photographs of the stones in each section to help you identify them. All the gravestones are detailed in my book on the subject, available on my website www.cartsburnpublishing.com.
Some of the stones may be covered by foliage, or broken, but hopefully you will be able to locate them as you wander round each section. If you accidentally trigger another section, go back to where the original trigger started.
Details of the casualties are available at www.inverclydeww1.org where images of the men and women can be found.
Look at your map and head to section C, which is just over to the right.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Greenock Cemetery WW1 Memorials Walk