Sunday 24 April 2022

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


Find A Grave
Raymond Cave

Royal Air Force

12 September 1944


Find A Grave
James Albert Marsh

Royal Artillery

8 July 1944


Find A Grave
Alfred A Ellis

King’s Own Yorkshire
Light Infantry

2 May 1915


Find A Grave
Charlie Mallinson

Northumberland Fusiliers

6 June 1917


Find A Grave
Leonard White

York & Lancaster Regt

9 or 10 October 1917


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