Friday, April 13, 2007

Remembering those who gave their lives

The War Memorial at St John's Church, Crossfield Road, Cleator Moor, Cumbria
This war memorial in St John's churchyard remembers the Anglicans of Cleator Moor who lost their lives in the World Wars. Although there are several church memorials in the town until 2007 there has been no combined 'Roll of Honour' for Cleator and Cleator Moor for those of any faith or none. One of the stories I posted to the BBC "People’s War" website in 2005 was about  new War Memorial for the West Cumbrian town of Cleator Moor that was unveiled for the first time on Remembrance Sunday 2005 to commemorate those from the town who had lost their lives in the service of their country.

Although I am not from Cleator Moor I live nearby. My mother and maternal grandfather were actually born in a house across the road from the St John's Church war memorial shown in the photograph. Following on from the memorial statue for Cleator Moor dedicated in November 2005 I volunteered to try and put together a single ‘Roll of Honour’ for the Town Council. Hopefully it will remember ‘The Fallen’ of Cleator and Cleator Moor in their own community for many years to come.

[For additional information about the ‘Roll of Honour’ click on ‘Comments’ below]

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Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional comments about a 'Roll of Honour':

The Town Clerk already had a file of names mainly based on existing or former church memorials, other researchers over the years, or relatives of people who had died and who had enquired about a ‘Roll of Honour’. Like memorial statue, the ‘Roll of Honour’ will commemorate not only the World Wars but also service men and women who died at other times. However, on the whole those who have died did so during the World Wars. Generally speaking, it is more difficult researching the details from the First World War compared to the Second World War for a number of reasons.

At present I have identified ‘about’ 264 casualty details from the First World War from the Cleator Moor area and ‘about’ 94 from the Second World War. It is not as simple as it might seem to ensure everyone has been correctly listed. One might reasonably expect that if a person is commemorated on a church memorial then they should also appear in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records. Yet there are a significant number of people named on the church memorials that I have so far been unable to trace on the CWGC website (even after trying possible spelling variations). Again, there are a number of possible reasons for this. For example, sometimes a person has signed up using an alias in which case the CWGC may list the person under the assumed name while the church memorial in town lists them under the family name.

The Town Council hope to make this an ongoing long-term project involving more people from the town and intend to publicise it more around Remembrance Sunday. With an increasing interest in family history in recent years, there will no doubt be relatives of those who have died in the service of their country who can provide details or photographs about them. A ‘Roll of Honour’ for a town can remember ‘The Fallen’ in their own community for how they lived, who they were and who they belonged to rather than just being a name engraved on stone that nobody remembers.

Incidentally, the story about the Cleator Moor War Memorial posted to the BBC "People's War" website was in my volunteer role as as part of the BBC Radio Cumbria CSV Action Desk Team. I have recently been informed that 36% of the total “People’s War” database was contributed by the CSV Action Teams from all over the country. It was a successful venture.

Friday, 13 April, 2007  

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