During the first week of the year, Raymond Nash was buried in the small village of Ember in Wiltshire in the southwest of England. Hymns were sung, sermons preached, and flowers laid at the grave at St Giles’ Church.
Nothing strange yet, nor that 110 people said goodbye to Nash. Strangely, the funeral was the first in the village since 2012, and perhaps the last ever, according to British media.
He left in 1943
The village of Ember has been deserted since 1943, when the British Army gave its 150 residents 47 days to vacate their homes. They were promised to return, but this has not yet come to pass.
The village is in the middle of an area where the armed forces needed to train for the invasion of Europe that would take place the following year, and the army still uses it as a training ground for street fighting.
The Ministry of Defense, which had already in the 19th century begun to buy land around the village, owned large parts of the area in 1943, facilitating the decision to relocate the residents. Ember is one of the villages that suffered the same fate, and one of the few villages that can be visited under the auspices of the Defense Forces.
This also applies to the church and cemetery. To be buried there, he must have been born in or lived in the village when it was vacated. Thus, there are only a few people alive today who could be taken to their final resting place in the village, according to the Times, it is about two or three people at most now that Raymond Nash is dead.
Nash was 87 when he died in December and, according to his son Kelvin, had many memories of Ember, whom he visited as often as he could — usually to tend to his father’s grave.
Now it would be his four children and twenty-four of his grandchildren who might apply for permission to tend the graves at Ember.
When we were younger, going to the military training facility was exciting, and you didn’t think about the feelings he had. Next time we come, it will be for the same reason he came here, Kelvin Nash tells The Times.
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