Lieutenant JOHN EDWARD RAPHAEL
Regiment/Service: 18th King’s Royal Rifle Corps
Cemetery: LIJSSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY XIII. A. 30.
From ‘Ypres Salient : Cemeteries and Memorials’ by Michael Scott. Published by Naval and Military Press
He was born in Belgium, and died there, defending it. He had captained England during the All Blacks’ first British tour in 1905. Raphael won his first Rugby Union cap in 1902 against Wales eventually winning nine caps. He also played in the 1905 and 1906 Championships as well as in Test matches against both France and New Zealand. He captained the 1910 British Lions tour to Argentina, which included their inaugural Test match. He had also made 77 first class cricket appearances from 1901-13 including for Surrey and an England XI. He gained ‘Blues’ for water polo and swimming as well as those from cricket and rugby while at Oxford University. He was appointed to the General Staff as ADC to General Officer Commanding (GOC), 41st Division and died of wounds received at St. Eloi on the Messines Ridge on 7 June. On a chilly autumn day in 1929 a chauffeur-driven car pulled up on the road here and out climbed an elderly lady dressed in black. The CWGC gardener paused and looked up but this lady approached him with a sense of purpose he was not used to seeing in grieving mothers and widows. What happened next is not clear, but a conversation took place. Nine months later a package arrived for the gardener. He knew what to do. He carefully carried it to this grave where he buried it. The package contained the lady’s ashes – she was the mother of Jack Raphael.