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  • Lechmere graves and tragedy

    I want to clear up a few misconceptions as to why to Lechmeres were buried in different parts of Bow Cemetery.
    Charles Letchmere died in 1920, he had been living at Rounton Rd Bromley He is buried in a common grave at Tower Hamlets [ Bow] Cemetery because the family could not afford a private grave. Funeral money would be spent on the hearse, the horses the coffin. Eastenders liked to make a show of the funeral. His wife Elizabeth died in 1940 age nearly 90. She had been living at the Central Home Leytonstone,a former workhouse which had been taken over by the council in 1936 for the aged and infirm. She is buried in a common grave. She died in The Blitz, the sustained bombing campaigne against London that started on Sept 7th 1940. It was not possible to bury her in the same common grave as her husband, as he had died twenty years earlier and they were not marked. The cemetery was bombed also during the war.
    In 1943 was the Bethnal Green tube disaster in which 173 people died, the most cilvilian deaths in one incident. The underground stations were being used as bomb shelters. On the night of 3d March, at 8.22 the sirens went off. The entrance to Bethnal Green Station was small 10/12 and lit by a 25watt bulb. It had been raining and the steps were slippery. Hundreds of people crowded into the entrance, someone slipped and they all went down like dominos crushed to death. 27 men 84 women, 62 children and 62 injured.
    Among the dead were the son of Charles Allen Lechmere, Thomas Allen Lechmere 66, his wife Florence 66, their son, Thomas Charles, 43. Thomas wife, May survived with a few bruises.
    Thomas Charles Lechmere was awarded a George Cross [ bravery by cilvilians] forth class i think for trying to save others during the disaster.
    Churchill did not allow it to be reported as he thought it would be bad for moral and hand a propaganda tool to the nazis.

    Miss Marple
    Last edited by miss marple; 07-11-2016, 03:30 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by miss marple View Post
    I want to clear up a few misconceptions as to why to Lechmeres were buried in different parts of Bow Cemetery.
    Charles Letchmere died in 1920, he had been living at Rounton Rd Bromley He is buried in a common grave at Tower Hamlets [ Bow] Cemetery because the family could not afford a private grave. Funeral money would be spent on the hearse, the horses the coffin. Eastenders liked to make a show of the funeral. His wife Elizabeth died in 1940 age nearly 90. She had been living at the Central Home Leytonstone,a former workhouse which had been taken over by the council in 1936 for the aged and infirm. She is buried in a common grave. She died in The Blitz, the sustained bombing campaigne against London that started on Sept 7th 1940. It was not possible to bury her in the same common grave as her husband, as he had died twenty years earlier and they were not marked. The cemetery was bombed also during the war.
    In 1943 was the Bethnal Green tube disaster in which 173 people died, the most cilvilian deaths in one incident. The underground stations were being used as bomb shelters. On the night of 3d March, at 8.22 the sirens went off. The entrance to Bethnal Green Station was small 10/12 and lit by a 25watt bulb. It had been raining and the steps were slippery. Hundreds of people crowded into the entrance, someone slipped and they all went down like dominos crushed to death. 27 men 84 women, 62 children and 62 injured.
    Among the dead were the son of Charles Allen Lechmere, Thomas Allen Lechmere 66, his wife Florence 66, their son, Thomas Charles, 43. Thomas wife, May survived with a few bruises.
    Thomas Charles Lechmere was awarded a George Cross [ bravery by cilvilians] forth class i think for trying to save others during the disaster.
    Churchill did not allow it to be reported as he thought it would be bad for moral and hand a propaganda tool to the nazis.

    Miss Marple
    Thanks for that, Miss Marple. I still wonder, though, why Elizabeth was buried as far as possible from her husband. Even if Charlesī grave was not marked, it was still well known just about where it was situated.
    Then again, maybe that area did not offer any possibility for a burial whan Elizabeth died, I donīt know. But the fact of the matter is that husband and wife were buried as far apart as possible.
    Whether it has any significance or not, I donīt know.

    Comment


    • #3
      It has absolutely no significence. The nature of common graves is that bodies are placed where there is space in a communal grave. If the graves are full they would not be used, twenty years had passed. Also burial in a common grave does not consider relatives. No one is going to search through registers looking for relatives because it has no bearing on the case. The original grave location may have been forgotten to family as there are no markers. There was a war on, more important things to worry about.

      Miss Marple

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you Miss Marple.
        G U T

        There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by miss marple View Post
          It has absolutely no significence. The nature of common graves is that bodies are placed where there is space in a communal grave. If the graves are full they would not be used, twenty years had passed. Also burial in a common grave does not consider relatives. No one is going to search through registers looking for relatives because it has no bearing on the case. The original grave location may have been forgotten to family as there are no markers. There was a war on, more important things to worry about.

          Miss Marple
          I donīt think that you or I can conclude what significance it had, Miss Marple. Whether we like to think so is another matter.

          Comment


          • #6
            Its facts. Bodies in a common grave are buried where there is space. The poor don't have choices.

            Miss Marple

            Comment


            • #7
              I don't think it's true that the family couldn't afford to bury Charles in a private grave. He left Ģ262.00 in his will, a considerable sum in 1920.

              Thomas Lechmere did not win the British George Cross, which as Miss Marple states is awarded to civilians. He was presented with the Cross of St George by the Russian Tsarist authorities for blowing up a railway line and capturing a train during WWI. He was also awarded the British MM for bravery while serving in Russia. There is no evidence that he performed any acts of bravery in the aftermath of the Bethnal Green tube bombing.

              While it's true that the families of those buried in communal graves had no say in exactly where the grave was located, in this case it would seem it was very much the family's (his wife's?) choice that Charles should be buried in one in the first place.
              Last edited by MrBarnett; 07-11-2016, 05:02 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thank you both for your research and information about this, Miss Marple and Mr. Barnett. I had not heard about the accident in the bomb shelter, which sounds terrible.

                Re the wife picking a common grave for Charles, perhaps she was merely being as thrifty as he had been, and saved money where possible. Interesting.
                Pat D.
                ---------------
                Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.
                ---------------

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pcdunn View Post
                  Thank you both for your research and information about this, Miss Marple and Mr. Barnett. I had not heard about the accident in the bomb shelter, which sounds terrible.

                  Re the wife picking a common grave for Charles, perhaps she was merely being as thrifty as he had been, and saved money where possible. Interesting.
                  Actually, it was the Petrograd campaign of 1919, not WWI as I indicated above.

                  See post 213 etc. here:

                  http://www.jtrforums.com/showthread....dal#post289299

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thank you for that Mr Barnett. It is very interesting, I had just been speculating about how he got his medal [ something Fisherman does all the time] It is good to hear the facts.
                    Thomas was obviously a very brave man, someone who gets involved rather than standing by, just like his grandfather.
                    The two hundred odd pounds left by Charles is an Ok sum but they had several children and grandchildren and Charles was the breadwinner for her. Im sure she would not throw money away on a private grave. Better to spend the money on the living. He he considered it a priority he would have bought one. He would have had a good east end funeral but a grave purchase would take a chunk out of that money she needed to survive and help her children.

                    Miss Marple

                    Miss Marple

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You may well be right Miss M. It seems he did have a decent funeral.

                      I was looking at a funeral invoice from 1920 earlier. The cost of the funeral was approx Ģ9., the cost of the interment approx Ģ5.

                      The Youngest surviving Lechmere child would have been around 35 at the time, so Charles's widow didn't have any direct dependants. For around a fiver she could have secured a plot for herself and her husband to lie together. Ģ5 out of Ģ260. She was obviously not a very sentimental woman.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by miss marple View Post
                        I want to clear up a few misconceptions as to why to Lechmeres were buried in different parts of Bow Cemetery.
                        Charles Letchmere died in 1920, he had been living at Rounton Rd Bromley He is buried in a common grave at Tower Hamlets [ Bow] Cemetery because the family could not afford a private grave. Funeral money would be spent on the hearse, the horses the coffin. Eastenders liked to make a show of the funeral. His wife Elizabeth died in 1940 age nearly 90. She had been living at the Central Home Leytonstone,a former workhouse which had been taken over by the council in 1936 for the aged and infirm. She is buried in a common grave. She died in The Blitz, the sustained bombing campaigne against London that started on Sept 7th 1940. It was not possible to bury her in the same common grave as her husband, as he had died twenty years earlier and they were not marked. The cemetery was bombed also during the war.
                        In 1943 was the Bethnal Green tube disaster in which 173 people died, the most cilvilian deaths in one incident. The underground stations were being used as bomb shelters. On the night of 3d March, at 8.22 the sirens went off. The entrance to Bethnal Green Station was small 10/12 and lit by a 25watt bulb. It had been raining and the steps were slippery. Hundreds of people crowded into the entrance, someone slipped and they all went down like dominos crushed to death. 27 men 84 women, 62 children and 62 injured.
                        Among the dead were the son of Charles Allen Lechmere, Thomas Allen Lechmere 66, his wife Florence 66, their son, Thomas Charles, 43. Thomas wife, May survived with a few bruises.
                        Thomas Charles Lechmere was awarded a George Cross [ bravery by cilvilians] forth class i think for trying to save others during the disaster.
                        Churchill did not allow it to be reported as he thought it would be bad for moral and hand a propaganda tool to the nazis.

                        Miss Marple
                        Hi Miss Marple.

                        Very interesting, but what are the sources for this?

                        Regards, Pierre

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          miss marple: Thank you for that Mr Barnett. It is very interesting, I had just been speculating about how he got his medal [ something Fisherman does all the time]

                          Yes, miss Marple, that is correct. That, by the way, is why the Lechmere bid is referred to as a theory. A theory is basically a suggestion, based to a smaller or lesser extent on the facts.

                          Thomas was obviously a very brave man, someone who gets involved rather than standing by, just like his grandfather.

                          This is an example of how a speculation can be poorly based on the facts. It has been suggested that Lechmere was afraid of the gangs, he has been pointed out as heartless to leave Nichols in the street etcetera, so the bravoury may be quite questionable in his case. But speculate away, by all means - I do!

                          The two hundred odd pounds left by Charles is an Ok sum but they had several children and grandchildren and Charles was the breadwinner for her. Im sure she would not throw money away on a private grave.

                          So you are sure this time? You are NOT speculating? It is a fact that Elizabeth Lechmere would prefer to bury the man she lived with for fifty odd years in a paupers grave? Do you know her intimately enough to conclude this? Could there be other explanations?
                          And was that why money was spent on printed cards informing about the burial?
                          Last edited by Fisherman; 07-11-2016, 06:31 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

                            The Youngest surviving Lechmere child would have been around 35 at the time, so Charles's widow didn't have any direct dependants. For around a fiver she could have secured a plot for herself and her husband to lie together. Ģ5 out of Ģ260. She was obviously not a very sentimental woman.
                            Indeed, Mr Barnett. Itīs either that, or...

                            Here I go, speculating again!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
                              Indeed, Mr Barnett. Itīs either that, or...

                              Here I go, speculating again!
                              Fish,

                              Have you seen a copy of Lech's will. His wife was his sole executor, but did he leave all his money to her?

                              Gary

                              Comment

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