'I hope you will keep it...'
Laura Clouting: “In November 1920, the body of a single, unidentifiable British soldier was returned from the battlefields of France to be buried in Westminster Abbey in London. This Unknown Warrior represented the many who had died but remained unidentified or missing. This rose was part of one of the many large reefs which accompanied the Unknown Warrior on his voyage home across the English Channel.
At some point, the rose detached from the reef and was picked up by a Mr Chandler. He sent it to his nephew, whose father had been killed at Ypres in October 1914. Chandler wrote to his nephew: ‘I hope you will keep it and in years to come, you will be able to show it in remembrance of your dad.’
The rose remained with the family, and in December 2000, they temporarily reunited it with the Unknown Warrior by placing it on his tomb in Westminster Abbey. The rose was then donated to the Imperial War Museum.”
In November 1920, the body of an unknown, unidentifiable British soldier was taken from the battlefields of France and returned to Britain to be buried in Westminster Abbey.
A single rose from one of the wreaths that accompanied the Unknown Warrior on the journey came to hold special significance for one family.
IWM curator Laura Clouting, author of A Century Of Remembrance, tells the story in this video.
The rose was on display at IWM North as part of Lest We Forget?, from 27th July 2018 to 24th February 2019.