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  • Mark Forsdike

Eric Fraser

I’ve been thinking this week of a journey I made to Kent some months back to locate the grave of Lieutenant-Colonel E.G.Fraser who died of wounds received whilst commanding the 1st Battalion during the retreat to Dunkirk.

Eric Fraser had been commissioned into Suffolk Regiment in 1914 and had served on the Western Front with them during the Great War. He served in India throughout the interwar years with 2nd Suffolk, before being joining 1st Suffolk in Malta in 1938. He was wounded in the head and thigh by a German Sniper west of Louvain whilst out on a reconnaissance patrol to establish the enemy's positions and died of his wounds on the hospital ship going home to England.

He was buried in his local churchyard of Leigh in Kent and his widow had a civilian headstone erected over his grave. His brother it was said, gave enough money to be able to buy a spitfire and requested that it be named ‘Eric’ in honour of his late brother.

Fast forward to 2023 and his family looks to have almost died out. His headstone is broken and rather than standing up, it lies flat upon his and his wife’s grave, covered in freshly strimmed grass in an overgrown and by the look of it, seldom visited corner of the Churchyard. It's always sad to see a soldier grave looking so disheveled and I would like to get it restored and the headstone repositioned.

Although he was entitled to a war grave headstone, at the time the family clearly chose not to have one. With no family now to approach, I am not sure who to approach to get his headstone repaired. It only needs to be put back up again and then it should be as it was in 1940. As there is no official war grave headstone, I feel I cannot approach the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for assistance, but I feel it should be sorted, so what is the best course of action to take?


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