The burial sites
Previously the graves were close together here. The vast majority have disappeared over time, but it is still possible to see some signs of these, now unmarked graves, as sunken-in rectangularly shaped top soil.
Apart from the war graves, there are currently 58 visible burial sites in Krigskirkegården. Eleven are family burial sites with two to twelve buried. With the exception of one grave, they are all located in the eastern part of the cemetery.
• Two are from the end of the 18th century
• Five from the first half of the 19th century
• Eighteen from the last half of the 19th century
• Twenty-nine from the 20th century
• Four in the 21st century.
The oldest remaining tombstone is for a nearly three-year-old boy, Johan Anthon Bing, the son of Stable Master (Equerry) Frederik Christian Bing. The boy died on August 26th, 1789.
The memorials are very different. Material, design, inscriptions, symbols and the use of titles provide interesting insights into prevailing styles, social conditions, personal and family status.
Until the beginning of the 19th century, horizontal stone slabs were most common.
In 1805, a royal decree was issued that burials inside the churches should cease. Now the cemeteries were characterised by more dignity. Most of the memorials were now upright stones. The gravestones varied from small and simple to gradually higher and slimmer obelisks. The obelisk, a symbol of rebirth and new life, was mostly used from the end of the 19th century until well into the 20th century.
With neoclassicism, at the end of the 18th century, major changes in the design of memorials came to Norway.
The use of symbols was introduced, and cast iron was well suited to reproduce the symbols. At Krigskirkegården we find eight remaining cast iron plates. The two oldest are the graves of the parents of the boy who has the oldest remaining grave in the cemetery. The other six are from 1849 to 1893. The cast iron plates have symbols such as:
· Two crossed torches - symbol of marital love
· A wreath of oak leaves around the text, crossed sword and axe, together with a cannonball - symbols of the victory following the course of life
· Oil bottles - interpreted as jars for the mourners' tears
During the 19th century it became common to fence in the graves with cast iron latticework. At Krigskirkegården one such grave monument still exists.
The 20th century memorials are also characterised by symbolism; a beautifully crafted granite angel, an angel motive in a circular inlaid porcelain field, and a seemingly broken pillar that symbolises a young person's interrupted life. A granite tombstone is shaped like an urn - the symbol of both death and resurrection. Another tombstone is shaped like a scroll on a shelf - the book of life and death.
The oldest remaining graves
The oldest graves are found farthest to the east in the cemetery. These four graves belong to the Bing and Kuhlmann families; Johan Anthon Bing (1786-1789), Josefine Marie Kuhlmann (1726-1797), Frederik Christian Bing (1752-1802) and Johanne Anthonette Bing, b. Kuhlmann, (1753-1837).
The tombs are horizontal slabs, the two oldest in grey marble. They were later raised on masonry plinths to prevent damage by moisture and lawn mowing. The other two are made of cast iron.
The tombstone of Johan Anthon Bing is the cemetery's oldest memorial. Stable Master Frederik Christian Bing's son was no more than a scant three years old. The tombstone has the following text:
HERE BELOW RESTS JOHAN ANTHON BING, AT HIS BIRTH,
OCTOBER 21ST 1786 HE BECAME THE JOY OF HIS PARENTS, ON HIS DEATH,
AUGUST 26TH 1789 THEIR GREATEST SORROW. HE WAS FOR 2 YEARS 10 MONTHS
AND 6 DAYS HIS PARENTS’ MOST PRECIOUS HOPE, THE FAVORITE OF WORSHIPERS OF THE
LORD BUT IN PARTICULAR GRATIFYING FOR GOD WHICH IS WHY HE DIED SO EARLY.