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Who was 'James'?


BereniceUK
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This broken headstone is in Preston Cemetery; I've contacted the Civic Society to ask if they know of anyone who's recorded headstone inscriptions there but they can't help. I think it's unlikely that the Cemetery Office would have a record of the missing half. So who is the soldier recorded on it?

ALSO JAMES TH_________

OF THE ABOVE THOMAS

KILLED IN ACTION APRIL 5TH 1918

AGED 33 YEARS

The surname Porter is on the headstone but there's no James Porter died around 5th April 1918 according to the CWGC.

Lying in front of the upright half is a flat stone with more Porters inscribed on it including "James, son of the above (Charles and ---ah Jane Porter) who fell in France, 10th September 1916, in his 26th year." This is 24148 Private James Porter of The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

So it's the Porter family headstone but the first James could have had a different surname; he could have been the grandson or son-in-law of Thomas. Any suggestions?

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Well, by eliminating from the CWGC list those who it cannot be, I get down to 60 names (from over 1800 killed that day. These are men listed as James, or just J, and were aged around 31 or, as in the vast majority, have no age. None have an obvious link with the Preston area.

Our man is a close family of the "above Thomas", which might indicate that the "Th" in his name is also Thomas. Maybe a nosy through the 1911 census might ID the family.

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I think the "TH" looks smaller, as in "THE SON OF" or some such, rather than his surname.

I agree and, looking at the lay-out on that line, I think it may well have read "THE GRAND-SON". There's too much space left on that line for it to be "THE SON".

To be honest, I doubt we'll ever know what the surname was but I felt I should ask just in case. Maybe it will ring a bell with someone.

Here's another example of a lost surname, from Silverdale Cemetery in North Staffordshire. Can anyone identify the cap badge?

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Charles Porter married Sarah Jane Lancaster in Preston in 1880, son James born 1891, obviously the name on the horizontal stone. Grandson looks the obvious choice, but g/son of who ? that's the question. Does the cemetery office not have a record as to who is actually buried in this plot, that will give you the missing surname of Thomas. Ralph.

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Charles and Sarah Porter had a son Thomas born 1881

which would have made him aged 33 in 1914

its possible that the stone laid flat is the broken piece from the standing stone

regards Ray

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Charles and Sarah Porter had a son Thomas born 1881

which would have made him aged 33 in 1914

its possible that the stone laid flat is the broken piece from the standing stone

regards Ray

Now that could be the Thomas in the top line who possibly died aged 2. I've just phoned the Cemetery Office and it seems that there are four people in the plot, all with the surname Porter. But I've looked on CWGC for J. Porter, died between 1st and 10th April in each war year and the only one that comes up is 151169 Corporal James Robert Porter, Canadian Infantry, died 9th April 1917.

I don't think we can get a solution to this. Swizz.

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Thomas Porter can be found on the 1901 census residing with his parents in Preston, On the 1911 census he is married wife Elizabeth residing in Barrow in Furnace

so Thomas the son of Charles and Sarah Ann, did not die aged 2

looking at the stone there is a full stop "after son of the above" and before Thomas which would make Thomas ect a separate inscription

a return trip to the cemetery would help, by clearing away the over-growing grass on the sides of the laid flat stone, to reveal the remainder of the inscriptions

and to ascertain if both stones were once one

regards Ray

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a return trip to the cemetery would help, by clearing away the over-growing grass on the sides of the laid flat stone, to reveal the remainder of the inscriptions

and to ascertain if both stones were once one

Okey dokey, will do but not until after my holiday.

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The upright stone mentions Ernest Porter beloved son of the "above named Charles and Sarah Porter" which means that the flat stone was the top half of this memorial. As Ray says the stone needs a wee bit clearing from the bottom to see if it "fits" . Have a good hol. Ralph.

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which means that the flat stone was the top half of this memorial.

(I have just deleted one post as I'd just repeated what someone else said,,,,it's late)

Second attempt to help: could it be WW2; there was a James Porter killed on 5 April 1945 (CWGC states aged 34 but it's close ?)

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Although he was in the Highland Light Infantry, he was from Preston

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Hi All

The flat stone is obviously the top piece as there is only one inscription "Loving Memory of".

The descending dates of death are 1921 Sarah Jane, 1925 Charles, 1916 James, 1925 Thomas and 1946 Ernest.

I've checked all the dates and was about to hit post when I lost the lot!!!!

1911 Census shows Thomas and his wife Elizabeth have been married for 10 yrs with no children and none have died. So If James is Thomas's son he couldn't be fighting in WW1. As Steve says in Post 13, There is only one James Porter died 5th April BUT 1945. ( HLI Pte 3460712) If he was 33 at time of death then he would have been born 1912, so that would fit. I think the 4 in the plot will be Sarah, Charles,Thomas and Ernest, all the death records check out.

Regards Barry

Probate was granted to Thomas's wife...ETHEL!

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Solved! Thank you very much everyone. btw Ethel was the last to be buried in the plot.

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As to the second "unknown". There is an inscription on the base of the standing cross and probably more inscription on the sides of the plinth. These should help identify.

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As I recall it (I no longer live near that cemetery) there was nothing inscribed on any of the sides or backs. The problem I had with the inscription on the standing cross was that it had sunk into the ground and all that was visible was 'In Loving Memory". No way was I going to start digging down to see more.

I've emailed the photos to the cemetery office and asked them who is buried in that plot. Watch this space!

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BereniceUK or may I call you Beren

(Your quote) No way was I going to start digging down to see more.

I always carry a small pointing trowel and two inch paintbrush and on my graveyard photo jaunts

They are indispensable, Not forgetting a notepad and paper to write down the low contrast, or weathered inscriptions

Saves an awful lot of headaches or return trips later on

regards Ray

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I'd be concerned that someone might complain about my being seen to be digging where people were buried. Have you never had any bother doing that? The small brush is an excellent idea, I'll do that in future. I always make sure I have a soft cloth in case I need to remove lichen from a headstone.

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I'd be concerned that someone might complain about my being seen to be digging where people were buried. Have you never had any bother doing that? The small brush is an excellent idea, I'll do that in future. I always make sure I have a soft cloth in case I need to remove lichen from a headstone.

As long as you only remove the overgrown grass

or the soil around the base of the sunken gravemarker

to read the inscription, and not damage the stone in anyway what harm are you doing ?

regards Ray

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From the cemetery office, regarding the cap & rifle stone,

"The grave you are enquiring about is grave number 1206 in Silverdale Cemetery.
Buried in the grave are:
Elizabeth Malpass (24.02.1887)
Mary Alice Evans (09.01.1889)
George Osman Hough ((Child) 06.11.1895)
John Malpass (09.07.1902)
Florence Hough (29.01.1919)
As you can see the cross was buried one third into the grave as part of the memorial safety programme of work in 2009.
Our records show that John Malpass was a miner. It could be that as part of the original inscription a soldier was mentioned but as you said, not buried within the grave."
There is no-one by the name of Malpass on the village's WW1 memorial in the church but there are two Houghs and one Evans.
IMG_4457.jpg
C. Evans
F. Hough
C.W. Hough
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Charles EVANS 300896 Staffs Yeomanry 21-10-1918 son of Edwin/Annie Silverdale Staffs. Chatby War Cemetery Egypt. Ralph.

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