Sunday 24 April 2022

Tankersley St Peter's Churchyard Commonwealth War Graves Commission Graves

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) recognises the burials of men and women who fell in the First and Second World Wars.  Where a men or women has no known grave they are remembered on CWGC memorials around the world, usually close to the place that they fell.

The most common CWGC gravestone is made of Portland Stone. This is bright white when new and very conspicuous in a churchyard or cemetery even when a little darkened by age.  The size and style of the stones was designed to be the similar for everyone, no matter what rank, regiment, class, religion or nationality.  See this section on the CWGC website for background information.

Each stone has a rounded top, some have the crest or badge of a regiment and/or a religious symbol. There is an inscription giving rank, name, regiment and date of death, sometimes age is included.  At the foot of the stone is a space for a family dedication.

When the burial of a serviceman or women is within a family plot, their details are often recorded on a family gravestone.  This can be quite confusing as other family gravestones in the same churchyard bearing similar inscriptions are memorials to men or women NOT buried there. It is only when a burial has taken place that the site is recorded by the CWGC.

There are 5 CWGC burials in Tankersley Churchyard. Two are First World War, three are Second World War.

Joseph Allen Walton has a family gravestone, rather than a CWGC style stone, but his burial is, of course, recognised by that organisation.  Follow the link on his name to reach the CWGC website.

There are also 5 war memorial gravestones in Tankersley churchyard.  Click here for more information.  

Note: If the photos below are overlapping the table and covering text try turning your phone or tablet landscape. Links on the names are to the CWGC website. The FindAGrave links will take you to a webpage which usually contains a transcription and a larger photo.

Find A Grave link
Name / Regiment / Date of Death
Thumbnail Photo
East border

O. 47.

Find A Grave
Ben Elliott

York & Lancaster Regt

9 December 1916
In South East corner


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Joseph Allen Walton

York & Lancaster Regt

4 January 1919


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Raymond Athol Bruck

Royal Air Force
Volunteer Reserve

22 December 1944


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Frank Chambers

Royal New Zealand
Air Force

9 December 1942


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Thomas Arthur Howe

Pioneer Corps

14 January 1945


Tankersley St Peter's Churchyard War Memorial Gravestones

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. 

Tankersley churchyard contains 5 war memorial gravestones that we are aware of, but as one was only recorded very recently (April 2022) we can never claim to have found every memorial.

Gravestones which are situated on the site of the burial of a casualty, such as Commonwealth War Graves (CWGC), are NOT War Memorials, however the Barnsley War Memorials Project collected their details for inclusion in the Barnsley Roll of Honour. Tankersley churchyard contains 5 CWGC burials and there is a dedicated page for them here

In the list below, where the name is blue click to follow the link to a page with a larger photograph and more information. We recently added links to the Find A Grave website (with thanks to Pete Schofield) where more photos of the graves and transcriptions of the inscriptions can be found.

 Gravestone Location
Section Row No.
B&DWM code
Find A Grave
Soldier's Name & Regiment
Date of Death
Thumbnail Photograph


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Raymond Cave

Royal Air Force

12 September 1944


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James Albert Marsh

Royal Artillery

8 July 1944


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Alfred A Ellis

King’s Own Yorkshire
Light Infantry

2 May 1915


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Charlie Mallinson

Northumberland Fusiliers

6 June 1917


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Leonard White

York & Lancaster Regt

9 or 10 October 1917