There are Commonwealth War Graves Commission graves from the First World War located in all six of Liverpool’s local authority cemeteries. However due to its proximity hospitals and the fact that Liverpool was a major port for the embarkation of troops during the First World War, Kirkdale Cemetery war graves are far more varied when it comes to nationality than others in the city.
Of the 397 burials from the First World War in Kirkdale Cemetery, over a quarter are Canadian servicemen. This is due to a Canadian hospital opening in Westminster Road in 1917, for the treatment of sick/injured servicemen returning from Salonika in Greece.
A large number of the the Candian servicemen died in 1919, many from the Spanish Flu epidemic. Due to the sheer number of troops in Europe that had been brought over a four year period, when the war ended there were literally not enough vessels to take them home, so many were staying awaiting transfer back and got sick. Some of the servicemen were from the Canadian Pacific Railway and their main role was railway maintenance. Amongst other regiments/battalions were Pioneers, who were repairing infrastructure/equipment, and and Infantry.
There are six New Zealand servicemen buried at Kirkdale Cemetery. One of these is Joseph Simotich. who was raised in Liverpool but emigrated in 1913 to live with an aunt and work on a farm in Rotorua. In 1917 he enlisted with the Otago Regiment of the New Zealand Reinforcements and sailed for Liverpool on board the Maunganiu, arriving on 17th January 1918. Sadly he had caught disease on the ship and died in the Northern Hospital just three days after arrival.
Just a couple of plots from Simotich is the grave of an indigenous Maori serviceman, Rangitauwira Wiremu, a married farmer. He was in the Maori Pioneer Battalion, whose main role was intended to be construction and engineering tasks, but changed to providing reinforcements for killed and injured troops. Wiremu enlisted in February 1918, sailing on the Ulimaora but getting sick on the voyage. The vessel arrived in Liverpool on 29th March but he died just two days later.
Five Australian servicemen are buried at Kirkdale, two each from the Infantry and Engineers, and one munitions worker. There are also two members of the Belgian army who died from wounds in November 1914, having been transferred to Liverpool for treatment. Their burials were attended by the Belgian consul and their coffins were draped in their country’s flag and had their helmets placed on them.
The non British burials from the First World War at Kirkdale Cemetery are completed by the graves of Indian and Russian soldiers. John Brewer of the Indian Army Reserve of officers died in November 1918 and Russian naval seaman Morosoff died in May 1917 while his vessel the Varyag was being overhauled at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead.