Over the past few months I’ve been involved in the ongoing efforts to restore and preserve an historic graveyard. You can find a link to my previous posts documenting our efforts by clicking here. Over the past few weeks some of my fellow volunteers have been working hard on a project to commemorate those who fought in both WW1 and WW2 and who lie buried or are commemorated in the graveyard. Due to getting to grips with a new job and lots of travelling to and from said job, attempts to complete an essay on Charlotte Brontë, and trying to cram all kinds of jobs into my weekends, I haven’t done much work in the graveyard recently. I still have some photos to share from my previous visit a few weeks ago, but I’ll save them for the next post. This is a post to and for those who risked and lost their lives fighting for our freedom.
Let me start with two images that I captured this morning. You can see below how beautiful the cross looks now it has been adorned with poppies, and it’s all thanks to the hard work of our head volunteer.
The second image is a close up of the silhouette of the soldier on the left of the picture.
Around the graveyard, other tributes have been springing up such as this lovely bunch of poppies in the photograph below.
However, the main event, so to speak, is the erection of poles around the graveyard which feature information on the soldiers who either lie there or are commemorated there in some way. The effect as you walk into the area is very powerful and I couldn’t resist the urge to document this tribute to the past. Below I’ll post the photographs I took and provide a brief description of the respective soldiers. The information on the tributes is from the St. Helens Roll of Honour. You can access their website by clicking here to find out more about these soldiers. The individual credits for the photographs and documents on the tributes can be found by clicking on and enlarging the image. Below I present my photographs and my words, but many people have worked hard on the information, and many have provided photos and documents to use on the tributes.
William Gaskell lies buried here (see above), however, another William Gaskell (Diddle) is commemorated here. The headstone states that the second William was killed in action on 29th April 1918, aged just 24 years. The theatre of war where he died is listed as France and Flanders. You can find a photograph of Lance Corporal William Gaskell on the St. Helens Roll of honour by clicking here. I don’t think that he is actually buried here, but I think he deserves some recognition for his sacrifice. When I arrived at the graveyard, I noticed there was no poppy on this grave so before leaving I placed one on (below right). However, I believe there is now a tribute next to the grave that was erected after my visit.
However, the presence of the flowers does indicate that somebody has remembered the Gaskells in this grave fairly recently.
Second Lieutenant James Hector Traverse (see above) was killed in action on 30th November 1917 aged just 20. The theatre of war where he died is listed as France and Flanders.
Major Patrick John Mulqueen died in Italy on 30th April 1944 aged 25. The photograph you can see above right was taken on his wedding day.
Second Lieutenant Cyril Joseph Unsworth (picture above right) died of his wounds on 7th July 1916 aged just 18. The theatre of war where he died is listed as France and Flanders.
Corporal Martin Oswald Lavelle died at home aged 22 on 12th June 1921 (see above).
Driver James Michael Dean (see above) died on the 8th May 1921 aged 38.
Private Siegfried Harrison Brockbank was killed in action on 5th June 1915 aged just 20 (see above). The theatre of war where he died is listed as France and Flanders.
Above, Private John Copple is commemorated. He was killed in action on 1st July 1916. The theatre of war where he died is listed as France and Flanders.
Sapper Charles Edward McArdle died aged 38 on 9th November 1919 at Prestwich Asylum (see above). His cause of death was pneumonia.
Private William Devine died aged 27 on 1st March 1919 at home (see above). His cause of death was pneumonia.
Private Edward Green was killed in action at Ypres on 23rd October 1917. The headstone (above left) states he was 37, but the information displayed (above right) states he was 36.
Private William Vose died of his wounds on 1st August 1916 aged 41 (see above). The theatre of war where he died is listed as France and Flanders.
Private Alfred Ecclesston died on 13th March 1919 aged 21 (see above). The theatre of war where he died is listed as France and Flanders.
Private Wilfred Thomas Winstanley died at home on 10th April 1945. He was 43 years old (see above).
Sapper Frederick Gordon Rigby died from his injuries at home on 19th January 1942 (see above). He was just 21 years old.
This final entry is very interesting (see above). Civilian William Leyland is commemorated here. Leyland perished on the RMS Lusitania on 7th May 1915 at the age of 45. His body was tragically never recovered. He officially died as a direct result of enemy action along with another 1197 victims. There were just 761 survivors out of the 1959 people on board. Leyland was travelling 3rd class and had been working in San Francisco.
There is so much history to be found here about the individuals who sacrificed so much for us, and those unconnected with the conflict who perished as a direct result of it. I tried to capture all of the war graves and tributes that had been erected before my visit, but if I have missed one, it was not intentional. I believe more were put in place after my visit too so I don’t have any photographs of them. This is my way of putting names and faces to those who lost their lives due to war. I’m going to end this post by giving thanks once more to all those who gave up so much for the freedom we take for granted in the 21st century.
By Nicola F.
Please do not copy, share, or use the images from this post without seeking permission first.