This event, led by Bill Quine, was Peel Heritage Trust’s contribution to the Open Doors week organised by Manx National Heritage. The invitation was ‘to take part in a conducted tour around Peel’s historic graveyard, with a focus upon First World War graves and notable Peel characters.’
Peel cemetery chapel is a delightful building in a lovely elevated setting. In a previous article I had invited people to take the opportunity of viewing this from a vertical position! This must have struck a chord as the chapel was full and many said that this was their first visit and that they had no idea that the building and graveyard was so beautiful. We have left a supply of guide booklets in the chapel and a more detailed booklet hangs in the entrance porch. You will find the route easy to follow.
Bill explained to us that War Graves Commission gravestones are of identical form, worldwide. If the top has a simple curve, the combatant was killed in action, if the top has shoulders, the combatant had died subsequently as a result of their injuries. Examples of both may be seen, as illustrated in the pamphlet. The most recent example is dated 31st May 2007 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Will there be no end to the killing!
As we had hoped, in the course of the tour, visitors added information to supplement the brief notes on the leaflet. On occasion, this was poignant when relatives were encountered and memories and associations rose to the surface.
At the conclusion of the tour, well-earned applause broke out to recognise yet another fine event organised by Bill with the support of his wife, Mary. I then invited all those present to stand for a few moments silence followed by a brief prayer for the repose of the souls of all those who gave up their lives in order give us the freedom we value so much, today. We left just before scudding black clouds shed their rain.
Our next meeting will be at 7.30pm in the Centenary Centre on Wednesday the 15th October. John ‘Dog’ Collister makes a welcome return with, ‘A Walk With ‘Dog’ in Nepal’. Thanks to the remarkable efforts of a fine team in Kirk Michael, continuing help is given to the hill people of Nepal. Do come and enjoy a fascinating evening as well as showing our recognition of their admirable work amongst fine people struggling in harsh circumstances.