RENOVATION OF MILITARY AND VETERANS GRAVES IN THE EAST PLOT OF ST ANDREWS CHURCHYARD CRANWELL - SUMMER 2021
The majority of graves of service personnel in the UK, who died in military service on or after 1 January 1948 and who received a service funded funeral and have their grave marked by a military pattern (not privately purchased) headstone are now maintained on behalf of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). Whilst the maintenance of privately marked / owned graves of service personnel and veterans is not normally funded by the MoD, the intermingling of such graves in the East Plot at Cranwell means, exceptionally, the MoD has agreed to fund the CWGC to keep privately purchased and veteran's headstones in the East Plot from 1 April 2021 neat and tidy.
Renovation Work in St Andrews Churchyard
The CWGC will shortly commence renovation of the East Plot at Cranwell that will involve:
- Re-alignment of all headstones;
- Creation of standard borders;
- Front border planting;
- Placement of plastic vases (CWGC supplied) to accommodate fresh cut flowers.
- Re-levelling and re-turfing.
The objective is to improve the overall appearance of the churchyard and bring the military graves / memorials up to a similar standard. This work is expected to commence in late June / early July and last until the end of October. This work will involve some disruption and require the temporary removal of memorials from the graves. To allow the straightening and refixing / replumbing of the headstones it will be also be necessary for all personal items and plants to be removed from the graves during the work.
As it is MoD policy that after an initial period following an interment, service graves should be left plain and unadorned (outside of family anniversaries or national acts of remembrance), save for a single vase for flowers, the MoD Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) have already given permission for all the MoD owned graves to be carefully cleared of personal items once the work commences. Whilst the JCCC are writing to the NOK of those personnel who died in service within the last 5 years, to inform them of the forthcoming renovations and seek their co-operation in removing personal items from graves, as we do not hold up to date contact details for other relatives or veterans families, we cannot write to every family affected. The Churchwarden has been asked to publicise the work locally and encourage all families to remove items of financial or sentimental value before the work commences.
As the MoD does not own veterans or privately marked graves the CWGC and their sub-contractors have been asked to:
Remove existing plants for safe keeping during the period of the work;
- Reinstate plants once the renovation work is completed;
- Replace any plants that do not survive either while in storage or after being re-planted.
In all cases (Service and veterans graves) any personal items of commemoration remaining on the graves when the work commences will be removed by the CWGC / their Contractors and kept safe by the Contractor / Church authorities. Please speak to the Churchwarden or other church officials if you wish to recover any items that have been removed.
Should any headstone or memorial be damaged by the CWGC contractors during the renovation work it will be repaired / replaced at the expense of the CWGC / MoD.
Objections to Renovation Work
Should the NOK of anyone interred in the East Plot of the churchyard wish to object to the renovation work please contact:
Veterans / Private Graves - Churchwarden
Email: or telephone: 01452 712612 Ext
6304 / 6442 / 7659/ 7495
For MoD owned graves where a family objects to the renovation of the grave, this wish will be respected, and their loved one's grave restored as close as possible to its original condition after the renovation work is completed. However, henceforth the MoD will regard such graves as being privately owned and whilst the headstone will then be kept clean and tidy it will no longer be eligible for repair or replacement at public expense. (See below)
Once the renovation work is completed the CWGC will continue to maintain all service and veteran's graves in the East Plot; along with a small number of inter war and veterans' graves outside the East Plot, located close to the world war graves. All MoD owned graves will be fully maintained, and headstones replaced or repaired at public expense if they display excessive weathering or damage, whilst veterans and privately marked / owned graves will be kept clean and tidy. Should a veterans / dependents or private purchased headstones subsequently be damaged or broken by a third party or suffer excessive weathering the MoD / CWGC will not replace the memorial and may seek the removal of such memorials if they impact on the appearance of the plot.
The grass around the military graves and currently unoccupied central plot will be kept mown with a cutting cycle in the growing season of 10 to 14 days,
Maintenance of other Graves
With the exception of the graves referred to above, the MoD / CWGC is not responsible for and does not fund or perform the maintenance of privately marked / owned graves of service personnel, veterans' or civilians elsewhere in the churchyard, or the children's graves at the southern end of the east plot.
Should you have any questions on the renovation project or the future maintenance of the graves at Cranwell please contact:
War Graves (WW1 / WW2): CWGC enquiries email:
Tel: 01628 507200.
Post WW2 military graves: MoD JCCC Graves Casework:
6304 / 6442 / 7659/ 7495
For all other graves / issues please speak to the Churchwarden / church authorities.
The MoD apologies in advance for any disruption or temporary distress the work may cause but based on similar work already carried out in other cemeteries / churchyards we believe the improvements the work will deliver will be well received by families once completed.