Efforts made by Frederick's mother, Sarah, to bring his body home

Efforts made by Frederick's mother, Sarah, to bring his body home

May 1919

Despairing at the decision not to repatriate the dead, Sarah Smith organised a petition lobbying the Prince of Wales – the President of the Commission – to reverse the policy. Speaking on behalf of “brokenhearted subjects”, she claimed “the right which has ever been the privilege of the bereaved” to personally honour their loved ones. Over 2,500 people signed the petition. Although the petition failed, it led to the creation of the British War Graves Association, a group that opposed the approach of the Commission. Based in Leeds, by 1922 it had over 3,000 members. As the Association’s Secretary, Smith wrote to the Commission over many years outlining new demands. These included returning bodies from Germany, ensuring ‘concentrated’ bodies were reburied in coffins, improving the legibility of engraved headstones and providing Government funding to visit graves abroad. All the requests were politely rejected, leading an increasingly dejected Smith to feel the burden of her responsibility. She wrote, “I find the work of the Association almost too much but nobody will take my place and I feel I must carry on”.

Created by: Charlotte33

  • Born 1899

    Died 1918

    British Army 61081 Private West Yorkshire Regiment

    British Army 55715 Private York and Lancaster Regiment