The white Portland Stone British military headstone that can be seen in CWGC cemeteries across Europe and elsewhere has entered iconic architectural status, not least because of the genius of the simple curvature to the top of each headstone. I don’t know whether you’ve ever considered it, but British military cemeteries might have looked quite different had an alternate design been chosen.
So here are a few that were considered and rejected.
I quite like the double headstone on the right – again, the curve – and one wonders whether cost was the prime reason that this way of remembering two soldiers buried together was not chosen. Or perhaps it was because it takes up twice the space. You can see how it would have fitted in with the other designs on this page in the drawing of the row at the bottom.
Interesting that most state the generic cause of death, which, if you consider it, would surely have proven an administrative impossibility had one of these designs been chosen.
If you have never read the report entitled ‘War Graves; How the Cemeteries Abroad will be Designed’, commissioned in late 1917 by Fabien Ware, founder of the Graves Registration Commission in 1915 (which became the Imperial War Graves Commission in 1917, and is now the CWGC) and presented in November 1918 by Sir Frederic Kenyon, Director of the British Museum, then here’s your chance: The Kenyon Report.