Sunday 29 May 2016

War Memorial Gravestones in Thurnscoe 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.

Thurnscoe Cemetery contains 4 WW1 & 7 WW2 memorial gravestones + 10 CWGC burials

Plot letters at Thurnscoe from notice board
The Cemetery opened in 1902 yet there are no WW1 CWGC graves. Two ex-soldiers who died in 1920 are buried in the Cemetery but neither has been recognised by the CWGC despite the inscription on John Smith's grave indicating his death was due to wounds received in France.

Ernest Collingwood d.1/06/1920  buried plot D 363
John Smith d.21/11/1920 buried plot E 25

There is also a grave for an ex-soldier who died after the CWGC cut off 31 August 1921.

Arthur Morton d. March 1929 buried plot D 274

The Cemetery was the original home of the Dearne Memorials Group now Barnsley Cemeteries who have indexed all the cemeteries and cremations in the area up until almost the present day. Searches of their database are free and results are a very reasonable £3.50 for 50 credits.

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
F 17
Fred Barber

King's Own Yorkshire LI

8 July 1916
D 448
William Bennison

Royal Artillery

25 December 1942
D 111
Jack Crackle


22 Jan 1944
E 46 & 47
Charles Henry Glasswell

King's Own Yorkshire LI

13 December 1915
D 246
Frederick Walter Glasswell

Gordon Highlanders

4 November 1944
E 2 62John Lawton

Seaforth Highlanders

4 August 1918
F 25
Arthur Moulton

Coldstream Guards

17 February 1944
C 214John Addison Robinson

 Royal Engineers

2 June 1941
E 110
Robert Steward Rodgers

Royal Navy H.M.S. Fearless

24 July 1941
William Smith
F 325
Thomas Trueman

(Scottish Rifles)

18 April 1917
John Cutts

 York and Lancaster Rgt

30 September 1917


Thurnscoe Cemetery John Lawton

Lawton Family Gravestone in Thurnscoe Cemetery

War Memorials Archive listing

War Memorials Online listing

Lives of the First World War

Photograph by BarnsleyHistorian

Grave Location and Inscription:

E 2 62
In Loving Memory of / Ada / the beloved wife of John E Lawton / who died Aug 12th 1936, aged 65 years. / Also of our dear sons / John who was killed in action in France / Aug 4th 1918, aged 22 years / William who died April 8th 1921, aged 29 years / Edward who died Sept 5th 1925, aged 21 years / and Thomas who died Aug 24th 1933, aged 39 years//

John is buried at Gonnehem British Cemetery in France and commemorated on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. 

Only Ada and her husband John are buried in this grave, the other sons mentioned are not buried here.

BWMP #THN10/06