Wednesday 2 July 2014

War Memorial Gravestones in Worsbrough St Thomas' 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.

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.

St Thomas' Worsborough (written without the second o for the last fifty years) was built in 1859, prior to that the area would have been covered by St Mary's church up the hill in Worsborough Village.  The Commonwealth War Graves Commission record the Churchyard and Cemetery separately.   

There are five CWGC burials in St Thomas' Churchyard and eight CWGC burials in St Thomas' church cemetery in addition to the war memorial gravestones shown below.

Clifford Barber
John Charles Cooke (WW2)
George Rose
William Henry Savage
Thomas Sutton

Thomas Glover (WW2)
William Hardcastle (WW2)
Albert Henry Hilliard (WW2)
Sam Lockwood-Dukes (WW2)
William Henry Nicholson
Horace Smith (see Willie Smith below)
Joseph Speight
Ernest Wesley (WW2)

In the list below, where the name is blue click to follow the link to a page with a larger photograph and more information.

 Gravestone Location
Section Row No.
Soldier's Name & Regiment
Date of Death
Maurice Paul Ellis

York and Lancaster Regt
2nd/5th Battalion 

4 May 1917
Arthur Heathcote

York and Lancaster Regt
1st/5th Battalion

22 October 1917
 William Henry George Raley
Yorkshire Regt
3rd Battalion
 15 June 1915
Walter Hugh Raley 
York and Lancaster Regt
5th Battalion
14 May 1915
Charles Edward Savage

York and Lancaster Regt
10th Battalion

16 November 1916
Stanley Spencer

 York and Lancaster Regt
2nd/5th Battalion

3 May 1917
Laurence Taylor

Durham Light Infantry

27 March 1918
William Pickering

Canadian Infantry

30 Jun 1916
Oliver Roebuck

Kings Own Yorkshire LI

3 May 1917
William Baker

York & Lancaster Regt

24 October 1918
Church Cemetery
Herbert Petty
York and Lancaster Regt
1/5th Battalion
7 September 1916

Charles Graham Petty
Black Watch
1st/6th Battalion
17 September 1916 
Church Cemetery
Row 1, above walk, 26
Willie Smith

Kings Own Yorkshire LI
1st/4th Battalion

13 April 1918


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