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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Non CWGC Headstones


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I live in Leek, Staffordshire, and there is a project ongoing to research all of the men and women buried in our town cemetery from the Great War.

The majority of headstones are standard CWGC but two of the men are buried under private headstones in family plots.

Unfortunately over the years the headstones have become unsafe and the local council have taken the decision to take both crosses off their plinths for health and safety reasons. The crosses need securing, cleaning up and relettering in places.

We have set up a group, 'Leek Remembers Them' and we are in the processs of trying to track down any family members if we can. We are also exploring the likely cost of a full restoration to give these men the respect they deserve.

My question is whether the CWGC would be able to provide some help here - although these are private memorials they are official casualties and listed as such on the CWGC website.

We are looking at all options on terms of both practical and financial support including approaching the regimental associations, the local council or raising the funds ourselves.

The men commemorated are

Corporal Samuel Stretch - Duke of Wellingtons (West Riding Regiment) died 21/5/1918

Air Mechanic 1st Class Harold Keates - 23rd October 1918

I'll post some more information and pics if anyone is interested

Many thanks


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Contact CWGC. But they might not be interested as the families may have turned down an offer of a headstone originally.

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See page 4 'Scattered War Graves'. The CWGC will take action but have to take a 'practical approach to care'http://www.cwgc.org/media/416728/maintaining_standards_in_the_uk_2014.pdf

There is also a £200 grant available under the 'Living Memory' project


Suggest you contact CWGC direct


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Hi again Liam,

Oddly enough, it's when the name on a private or official gravestone becomes illegible that the CWGC are more likely to step in with a replacement: I know of examples where the original stone has been supplemented with a standard CWGC one. And others where, because the name is still just about readable, no replacement is proposed despite some awkward situations (like the CWGC stone which has been half swallowed by a tree!). I know of two I'd like to see supplemented, where the original lead lettering has mostly dropped out.


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What LST_164 has said is correct, I know this from practical experience in having this done in my own home town Cemetery.

The Local Council will have the burial plot details and ownership.

For Data protection reasons they will not be able to provide a third party with this information but, ask them if they have an address?. You can always write a letter explaining what you are trying to do - put it in a pre-stamped envelope and let the Council officials at the Cemetery office write the address on it and post it.

Failing that and dependent on funding etc, you could approach your local press and have them do an article on what you are doing. You can ask family members to contact you that way and hopefully get some permissions.

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That's great, thanks everyone for taking the time to reply

I'll contact the CWGC direct and also look at the Living Memory Grant

We already have good contacts with the press and our own facebook page so will use that to publicise our appeal

I'll keep you updated


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9031 CSM David Pickford, DCM, is buried there. Died of wounds received in Battle of Thiepval, September 1916. Died 23 October 1916. 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters. DCM for actions on Gallipoli and also mentioned in dispatches.


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