Grave of the unknown soldier

Liverpool Daily Post, Nov 14th 1939


Rector of Liverpool on his “Inspiration.”

In the current issue of the Old Contemptibles, the monthly magazine of the Old Contemptibles Association the Rev David RAILTON, Rector of Liverpool and Liverpool padre of the association who first suggested the idea of the Unknown Warrior’s Grave in Westminster, tells how he was first inspired to make the suggestion, he says:-

The idea came to me I know not how, in the early part of 1916, after returning from the line at dusk to a billet in front at Erkingham, near Armentieres at the back of that billet was a small garden and in that garden, only about six paces from the house, there was a grave. At the head of the grave there stood a white cross of white wood, on which was written in deep black-pencilled letters, “An Unknown Soldier.” And in brackets underneath, “Of the Black Watch.”.... how I wondered! How I longed to see his folk! But who was he, and who were they?

The impression made by the nameless grave never left his [Mr RAILTON’S] mind and, in August 1920, he wrote to Bishop RYLE, then the Dean of Westminster, inquiring the possibility of burying in the Abbey the body of an unknown comrade.

He also made “Bold” to suggest that a real “War” flag in his possession be used at such a burial, rather than a new flag of no service experience.

The idea was passed on, and accepted, and the flag he had carried with him from France was used as a shroud.


Liverpool Daily Post

Aug 26th 1942

Hoylake’s ship

Carried the Unknown Soldier

Hoylake came aware for the first time yesterday that HMS VERDUN the destroyer adopted during War Ship’s Week was the vessel in which the Unknown Warrior made his last journey from France to England before being laid to rest in Westminster Abbey. The fact was disclosed by the Commanding officer of the VERDUN, Com DONALD, RN, of Hoylake Town Hall when he formally presented the borough with a plaque commemorating the adoption of the ship by the district. The plaque consists of the arms of the VERDUN and is appropriately inscribed. In exchange the chairman of Hoylake UDC, handed the commander a plaque from the people of Hoylake which will be erected on the ship. Commander DONALD said the VERDUN, a 25yr veteran of the last war, had escorted 113 convoys and steamed 70,000 miles during the present war.


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