Missing Headstone for Norwegian Sailor
With the kind assistance of the Australian Embassy in Baghdad and Dr Christopher Morris of the RAF Habbaniya Association over the past six months, I have finally completed (18th January 2024) an interactive photographic database of the 290 headstones at the Habbaniya War Cemetery, located 50 miles west of Baghdad. Of this number, 173 graves were for WW2 deaths and 117 for burials that took place 'between the Wars' as well as those occurring post WW2. However, when trying to reconcile the number of photographs with the CWGC's own files and also the records kept by the RAF Habbaniya Association, I discovered that a grave had been overlooked when the full restoration of the cemetery was carried out in 2018/19. During the restoration process, the original (and almost illegible) headstone for the Norwegian sailor, First Mate Oskar Magnus Kristiansen of the M T Bralanta, was overlooked and since 2019, his grave (Plot 6, Row C, Grave 1) has remained unmarked. I immediately contacted the CWGC with photographic proof of this (see images below) and was advised on the 20th January that a meeting will be arranged with the CWGC counterpart at the Norwegian Department of Cultural Heritage in order to arrange for a replacement headstone to be made in Norway and transported to Iraq, where the CWGC will have it erected on site at Habbaniya in its original location. I will update this post when progress has been made.