Tuesday, 15 April 2014

War Memorial Gravestones in Elsecar Churchyard and Cemetery

During both the First and Second World Wars re-repatriation of the bodies of fallen servicemen and women was not usual.  The Unknown Soldier, entombed in Westminster Abbey represents those buried and commemorated overseas who could not come home.  For many families, deprived of a graveside at which to mourn, one solution was to add the name of their lost son (or daughter) to the family gravestone in their local churchyard.  

The Imperial War Museum's War Memorials' Archive defines a War Memorial as "any tangible object which has been erected or dedicated to commemorate those killed as a result of war, conflict or peacekeeping; who served in war or conflict; or who died whilst engaged in military service."  This includes gravestones which commemorate a casualty buried elsewhere.  There must be a clear statement on the memorial (or in a printed document such as a newspaper report from the time) that defines the commemorative purpose of the feature and reports its erection. The full wording of their definition can be found here.

Thus gravestones which include wording such as: died of wounds received in action, killed in action, fell in France, died on active service, reported missing in action, or even killed accidentally while on active service all count as War Memorials.  The wording is a "clear statement" that the purpose of recording that person's name on the gravestone is as a memorial.

The burial ground at Elsecar is separated into the Old Churchyard - which adjacent to the Holy Trinity church, the New Churchyard  - which is over the road in a separate area and the Cemetery which is behind the church - go to the east end of the Old Churchyard and look for the gate.   Local history and Church records including Monumental Inscriptions, in many cases taken before the stones fell or were lost, can be accessed in Holy Trinity Church on Mondays between 10.30am and 2.30pm when volunteers will be present to help you plus teas and coffees are available.  More information here.

Graves which are situated on the site of the burial of a casualty, such as Commonwealth War Graves, are not War Memorials, however the Barnsley War Memorials Project is also collecting their details for inclusion in the Barnsley Roll of Honour.

There are two Commonwealth War Graves at Elsecar, one in the New Churchyard and one in the Cemetery.

Further information and usually a larger photograph have been provided where the name is coloured blue, click to follow the link.

 Gravestone Location
Section Row No.
Soldier's Name & Regiment
Date of Death
2 N/C
Ernest Guest
Northumberland Fusiliers
9 April 1917

Frank Guest
Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
5 December 1918


Bernard Clifton 


29 February 1944
Old Churchyard
Louis Stringer

King's Own Scottish Borderers

25 December 1915
Old Churchyard
Fritz Harry Leach

Black Watch

23 April 1917
New Churchyard
Ernest Frederick Whittlestone

Coldstream Guards

15 May 1918
New Churchyard
Harry Lipscombe

Highland Light Infantry

9 April 1918
New Churchyard

Harold Oxspring Lowbridge
25 August 1944 

New Churchyard
Reginald Naylor

Durham Light Infantry 

6 November 1917
New Churchyard
Clifford Portman

Leicestershire Regt

28 September 1917

(fallen face down)
New Churchyard
Wilfred Hirst

West Yorkshire Regiment

2 April 1918

(fallen face down)
New Churchyard
12 TP
Peter Bosworth


26 July 1945

BWMP #ELS01 & #ELS04

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