During the conflict battlefield crosses had to suffice - made of whatever materials were to hand and often by the men who had lived and fought with the man to be buried. They can be seen in illustrations from the war and postcards created in the years immediately after the end of the conflict. As the CWGC began it's work they were gradually removed and many were obtained by the families of the deceased. I have recently visited three in Somerset, I find them fascinating, often showing marks of weathering, woodworm or battle damage, if you cannot visit the Western Front then they bring a little piece of it to you.
The first two are both housed in the small Somerset village of Mells, more on the village can be found in the post - Mells, Lutyens and Sassoon - it is placed in the back of the plinth of the Horner Memorial, created in memory of Edward Horner. Originally in the North Somerset Yeomanry, he was transferred to the 18th Hussars and was killed in 1917 aged 28. Son of Sir John Horner, his sister had married Raymond Asquith, son of the Prime Minister. H.H. Asquith.
|Battlefield Cross - Horner Memorial|
|The cross is mounted in the back of the plinth, designed by Lutyens|
In the same church, high on a wall in the Horner chapel is the battlefield cross for Raymond Asquith, son of the Liberal Prime Minister H.H. Asquith. It forms part of, but is separate from the other part of the memorial in the church. He was 37 and serving with the Grenadier Guards when he was killed in 1916
|Battlefield cross - Raymond Asquith|
|Asquith Memorial - again by Lutyens|
It was not, I assumed it had been moved for safe-keeping so contacted the church to see if they knew where it was - the reply was not what I expected, the cross was still in the church but not in it's original form: it has been integrated into a table dedicated to Brig Gen Prowse:
|Table dedicated to Brig Gen CB Prowse - Taunton|
|Close up of the inscription|
|The underside is the only indication of the age of the wood used|