Being an active volunteer for the Barnsley War Memorials Project I know that there are 130 of these burials in Barnsley's main cemetery, and dozens more scattered across the borough. But this weekend I am in North Nottinghamshire visiting my mum and I wondered if there were any in her local churchyard.
After we'd sorted that out I explained that I was going to look to see if there were any CWGC burials in the her village. She really did expect me to put my coat and boots on at that point and set off up the High Street - she didn't know I could just search the CWGC site online. My mum has an ipad and she can Google (especially for Simon's Cat videos!) and she watches iPlayer and she can look up the weather forecast. My mistake was to assume that because she could do these things that she understood all the things I do as a family historian. Of course she doesn't .... and if I don't bother to explain, why should I expect her to?
|Lives of the First World war logo|
Alfred Girken Marriott was 29 years old when he died on 23 February 1917; he was a Shoeing Smith in the Royal Field Artillery and his medal card (available to view free on Ancestry during the centenary period) indicates that he served from the beginning of the war as he was entitled to the 1914 Star was well as to the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. I did a bit more research and then persuaded the OH that we really needed to pop along the road for a walk around the cemetery to have a look for his gravestone. After all it was a really lovely day ...
|Gringley on the Hill village cemetery|
Gringley on the Hill cemetery is on the edge of the village, on the main road, right next to the old windmill. There is no car park or lane, but there is a wide bit of causeway (path) with dropped kerbs at either end that you can pull onto. I would recommend a spotter for pulling out though as it is rather near a bend and the speed limit on the road is 50mph.
|War Memorial at Gringley on the Hill|
The village war memorial is in the cemetery, commemorating men from WW1 and WW2.
I counted 24 WW1 casualties which seems a lot from a small village (note to self: nip up the road and count the ones on the memorial in mum's village after lunch for comparison) including A Marriott.
I spotted at least three war memorial gravestones, those are ones where the man is not actually buried in the plot but his family have had a memorial inscription added to the family stone. These usually include the words 'Killed in Action', 'Died in France', 'Died of Wounds' or 'Interred in *name of some cemetery overseas*'.
There was a very new looking WW2 CWGC gravestone just a few yards from the war memorial. It commemorated a young, 18 year old, airman who died in July 1947. The cut off date for qualification for a WW2 CWGC stone is 31 December 1947 so he just qualified.
|Albert G Marriott's CWGC gravestone|
Unfortunately a little bit of the family citation at the bottom of Albert's stone has chipped off. It reads, "Let Those Who Come After / See That His Name / Is Not Forgotten" and according to the documentation on the CWGC website would have cost his wife 14/- (at 3 pence ha'penny a letter or space). Though I understand that families were frequently not billed for this.
We did our bit today remembering Albert. Even my mum was impressed that after a little bit of online research we had found a man locally who did his bit in WW1, visited his grave and taken some photos. You can read what I discovered about Albert on his Lives of the First World War Life Story. I'll continue to add information today, including the photos we have taken.
Why don't you have a go? Information on the Living Memory project can be obtained from the CWGC here. The man you visit might not be a relative, but I tell you, visiting one of these burial plots will not leave you unmoved. Leave a poppy cross or a couple of flowers when you go ... or just take a photo of the gravestone and share it on CWGC's Living Memory Facebook page or via Twitter using the hashtag #LivingMemory.
Thank you for reading. Lest We Forget.