Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sepia Saturday: Flowers and crosses

Two men in suits, yarning in the doorway of a coffee lounge. That's the theme photo for this week's Sepia Saturday. So of course I ignored the men and went with some of the signage on the wall.

On the left side of the photo there is a florists's sign that reads 'Wreaths and Crosses' and I'm following that link in this blog. In World War 1 a relative was sent an album of pressed flowers from the Holy Land and Jerusalem.  There are about 12 pages like those below. The album is about A4 size and has a cover made of olive wood. Some of the pages have crosses, some not. The flowers are in remarkably good condition and retain a lot of colour.

Also during the war a family member, David Ray Leed, was killed in France. This photo was sent to his parents.

David Ray Leed's cross, Rue-Du-Bois Cemetery, Fleurbaix, France
Private David Ray Leed, 23 Battalion,  Killed in Action Pozieres, Somme, France 15 Jul 1916;
Buried Rue-Du-Bois Cemetery, Fleurbaix, France.
About 15 years ago friends of ours visited the cemetery and gave us these photos as well as a pressed red poppy they gathered from a field there. As you can see, the cemetery looks much different now. It's under the care of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Rue-Du-Bois Cemetery, Fleurbaix, France
David Ray Leed's headstone, Rue-Du-Bois Cemetery, Fleurbaix, France
At about the same time, between 1910 and 1920, this postcard was sent to a lady in Melbourne for her birthday. Now why would you put a cannon on a birthday card??? Even if it is covered in flowers.


  1. Yes,Easter Is A Good Time To Remember Fallen Heroes.
    + I Love That Cannon! Fancy Receiving That On A Birthday! {Ideal For A Guns & Roses Fan?}

  2. Your post is another really good example of having pictures as themes rather than words. You choose a particular thread you find in the theme image and follow it to a fascinating conclusion.

  3. How poignant to have the pictures of a life that was cut short in war. And the dried flowers are beautiful. What people did before the technological age.

  4. Perhaps the flowers are to show that the guns are silent now. An appropriate theme for the Easter weekend, and how kind of the visitors to bring back those keepsakes.

  5. I can't believe that those pressed flowers from WWI are still so beautiful. Amazing.
    What an interesting post and a great twist on the theme.

  6. The cannon with the flowers is postcard of the type called "floral objects." Any type of object could be covered with flowers like that. The flowers are often forget-me-nots.

  7. The cannon does seem a rather odd choice for a birthday greetings card, but it was decorated, and as we know from postcards of decorated bicycles, anything goes in a parade.

    I have some photographs of my great-uncle's grave in Ploegsteert Wood, taken in the early 1920s, before those permanent stone markers replaced the original wooden crosses in all the cemeteries. He was with the AIF, and his cross, with the stamped metal tape, was very similar to that of your Private Leed, but they were not all like that. I have another postcard of Canadian war graves, taken during the war (here), which have a very different style.

  8. I was interested to see an image of an original war grave marker. I have come across a few original images in matters I have been researching, and I do find the original, often grainy poor images, very poignant. Its what the parents and siblings etc saw back home, at the time. They likely never saw the beautifully kept CWGC cemeteries of ordered Portland stones that keep their memory alive.

  9. Many have not made it home, may they rest in peace where ever they are. You have chosen a good theme,to remember the lost ones.

  10. Next year it is 100 years since the start of WWI. There will be many commemorating what went on and on loved ones lost. Fine post about David Ray Leed. The War Graves Commission does a great job as we can see from this post.

  11. Nice slant on this week's topic. I have friends who have been to this cemetery and they were very moved by it. Nice that it is being cared for.

  12. I enjoyed your post and I have similar items about my ancestors. How do I follow you blog? I can't see a link.

    1. Hi Sharon
      I've added a 'follow' button right down the bottom of the blog.

    2. Thank you, I am signed up.

  13. A most special post you brought to us this Saturday! A lovely tribute indeed. Also, I like that word, yarning! It just clearly defines that moment between those two men!

  14. How good of you to notice that link! That's what makes this so much fun. Those pressed flowers are lovely. I wonder what happened to the wooden crosses that were replaced by the stone markers? Enjoyed your take on the prompt and the way it flowed from one piece to the next.

  15. Look at you being on theme and seasonal as well! Great post! By the way, a cannon is perfect for a message like "Hope your birthday is a blast!"

  16. A fine thread to take from the theme photo. Over the past few months, I've read several WW1 histories on the Battles of the Somme and also watched a very good movie, "Beneath Hill 60", on the Australian Tunneling Co. which set the massive explosives under the German line. So meeting Pvt. Leed was a special honor. Thank you.

  17. I would guess the sender was in the military and he found the cannon covered with flowers
    quite an acceptable card for birthday wishes. No?!? As thus, it would appear Peace time.
    That French cemetery looks good now. It looked so desolate in its previous state.
    Good post!!


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