Several times of late I have come across comments by writers of how they use walking as an aid to imagination. A Radio 4 item on Charles Dickens, for example, made much of how he used walking as a tool to gestate much of his fictional output. As a Reiki Master and Meditational Healer I recognise the benefits of walking meditations, and I wonder if peace of mind or working was his prime objective.
On my own walk this morning I decided, finally, to sate my curiosity and look for the Commonwealth Graves indicated by the sign on the entrance wall. The term Commonwealth Graves tends to bring up an image of serried ranks of neat white tombstones perched on lofty hillsides. Our local cemetery is high up it is true, but the graves themselves were much harder to find.
I had assumed the markers would, perhaps, be found in a group. Some quiet corner set aside for them, but I was wrong. They are scattered throughout the hillside and not as immediately recognisable as I had anticipated.
Those from the first war did have the familiar white military marker. WW2 graves, however, seemed to have escaped military attention. A brief search of the War Graves Commission site did seem to confirm that graves are genuine graves unless otherwise stated but I wondered why the 1939/45 casualties were not given military burials? I.E. the std military marker.
That was not the most curious question that arose, however. One military marker was not dated in either major conflict. Private J.A. Stone, Royal Army Medical Corps, died on 12th May 1921, aged 23. Where and how is a mystery, yet he was deemed worthy of a military burial. Something to set the imagination on overdrive.
Dickens would no doubt have produced 800 pages on the ins and outs of this conundrum. I am not sure I would want to go quite that far but it is something I shall file away for future reference.
There is, as in everything, a story in there somewhere.