Newington Cemetery Noticeboard

I was delighted to be asked to unveil the new Notice Board at Newington Cemetery.  Local people have put together a group of willing volunteers to maintain the cemetery and ensure that it's unique history is preserved for years to come.

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They do a fantastic job. Well done to Jane Sidaway and the Council team who have supported the residents.  Janet wrote a guest blog about this last year http://www.ianmurraymp.co.uk/guest_blog_newington_cemetery_by_janet_sidaway and there was a really good Evening News piece after the unveiling here http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/neglected-newington-cemetery-restored-1-3893244

One of the stories they told on the day was that of German Captain Erdmann, who was buried in Newington Cemetery. 

The Screen Wall Memorial in the cemetery contains references to Kapitan Erdmann of SMS Blucher.  Its a fascinating story.

Name  
War Memorial in Section A1
Significance  
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists 142 scattered burials from WW1 and 14 from WW2 in Newington Cemetery.   Those of WW1 whose graves are not marked by the 75 individual CWGC headstones in the cemetery are named on a prominent Screen Wall Memorial erected in the main War Plot (Section A1.)
Background
 The Screen Wall Memorial inscription reads:-
“To the honoured memory of 139 British sailors and soldiers who gave their lives for their country during the Great War 1914-1918 and who are buried in this cemetery, 53 of whom lie in this plot and 12 others who are not commemorated elsewhere.”
 
The Memorial actually inscribes 67 (not 65) names with rank, arm of service and dates and it is typical of many in UK cemeteries erected in the 1920s to commemorate servicemen of WW1 who are buried in a common grave or who do not have a marked grave elsewhere.   The one in this cemetery dates from February 1925 and is of Aberdeen granite.   The common grave area lies mainly behind the Screen Wall.
 
From 1915 to the mid 1960s a grave to the right front of the Screen Wall held the body of Fregatten-Kapitan Alexander Karl Erdmann of SMS Blücher, a German armoured cruiser which was sunk in the Dogger Bank naval action in January 1915.   The Royal Navy rescued Captain Erdmann, who was landed at Leith with some other survivors from the Blücher and imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle, where Captain Erdmann, suffering from exposure, contracted pneumonia and died.   He was buried in this cemetery with full miltary honours on February 18th 1915 with an escort from Edinburgh Castle provided by the Royal Scots.  At the cemetery three volleys were fired and a piper played final laments.
 
Captain Erdmann remained here, with two of his shipmates who had also died after the naval action, until the mid 1960s when the remains of all three were exhumed and re-interred in adjacent graves in the newly established German Military Cemetery in Cannock Chase, Staffs.
 
(Photograph by kind permission of Andrew Grant of Easter Warriston)
Location:
Section A1.25
 
Sources:
 SGS 2005 Newington Cemetery Monumental Inscriptions.
CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) website
The Scottish War Graves Project website
Iain Anderson, CWGC Scotland Regional Supervisor
Andrew Grant, Easter Warriston, (private communication to TH also giving permission to use photograph)
“The Scotsman” Press Archive - Edition 19th February 1915
                                                        
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