GRAVEWATCH was a name which started on the 2 PARA REUNION site on the 27th of August 2007 following a request to look at the state of the grave of L/Cpl 24319796 Chris Ireland, ironically, who was killed on the same day in 1979 at Warrenpoint Northern Ireland, along with 16 other men from 2 PARA. His grave was located at Forest Hill Cemetery in Bedford in amongst some 30,000 other graves, and was recorded as being at a specific location. On attendance and accompanied by the ground staff, it was found that the stone had fallen over and been completely covered by grass over the years, and disappeared from view. The task was to restore the grave stone to its original state by cleaning, lifting and re-sitting the stone with sand and cement.
The title GRAVEWATCH was a simple term to be associated to the graves to be inspected, and to report its condition to a central register, that register is held by Gil Boyd ex 2 PARA a member of this site. He felt it was also a good time to log and record EVERY KNOWN grave of former Parachute Regiment or Airborne soldiers since 1946, where ever they fell in the world, on active service, at home or abroad and duly record them forever, so that we that are left grow old, and protect those grave sites for our former comrades. GRAVEWATCH would only record those who died in service.
Chris Ireland's grave has shown us all the way. Without that call for locating his grave and seeing its true condition, and many more that have come to light in the last few years, spread around this country and the World, now need our collective attention. Members of the PRA and also the British Airborne Forces Club have been very supportive of the scheme, and many graves have now been tended by their members. Also a photographic record is being compiled of the grave sites as well Please never let us forsake these men again.
Anyone requiring information regarding the whereabouts, or condition of a certain grave, or indeed wanting to submit new information can contact me by clicking on the contact link situated below. I will then re-direct that request to Gil Boyd who has compiled and holds this register. The register to date has 375 names of airborne soldiers who have lost their lives on active service since the end of WW11 throughout the world.
This is a huge achievement and is now recognised as the only true up to date record of such data. It is now being used by the Parachute Regiment Headquarters, and the Memorial Gardens, as a cross reference to any information they hold.
Article by Al Jones