Monday, February 09, 2009

"The snowdrops in bloom"

1. Headstone of Sapper Peter Doyle, R.E. (died 13.11.1940)
[St Mary's R.C. Churchyard, Cleator, Cumbria]
2. Lourdes Grotto replica, Cleator, Cumbria , Cumbria.
[Peter Doyle was laid to rest adjacent to the Grotto]
Sapper Peter Doyle, R.E. (Service No 2117012) from Cleator Moor, Cumberland (now Cumbria) served with the Royal Engineers in the early part of the Second World War. He passed away while serving in the U.K. on 13 November 1940. A few days later, on 16 November 1940, Peter's funeral service took place near his home at St Mary's R.C. Church, Cleator. In February 2009, when visiting Peter's grave, I found the snowdrops in bloom - a symbol of hope and a remembrance that life goes on.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

(1) Some family details

According to Entry No 721 of the Baptismal Register of St Mary's, Cleator, Cumberland Peter Doyle was born on 1 December 1912, the son of Peter Doyle (Senior) and Mary Doyle (née Devlin). He was baptised as a Roman Catholic on 8 December 1912, with the baptismal ceremony being performed at the church by Father G.W. Neranas O.S.B. Peter's godparents were Francis Hall and Sarah Devlin. Peter was ‘Confirmed’ as a Roman Catholic at this church on 18 November 1923. This was a few weeks before his 11th birthday. The register also records Peter's death on 13 November 1940, which cross-checks with the Church Burial Register. .

Almost 28 years after his baptism, Sapper Peter Doyle's funeral service also took place at St Mary's, Cleator. According to the Church Burial Register Peter passed away on 13 November 1940 at Blencathra Hospital (Sanatorium), Threlkeld, Cumberland. This was where people living in the then county of Cumberland and suffering from TB tended to be sent at that time. His home address was listed as 52 Ennerdale Road, Cleator Moor, which is approximately 30 miles from Threlkeld.

As referred to above, Peter's funeral service took place in his home parish church at Cleator on 16 November 1940, with the funeral service being conducted by Father F.K. McCann O.S.B. who at that time was a curate to the Parish Priest, Father F.C. Clayton O.S.B. Peter was laid to rest in the same grave as his dear mother Mary, who had passed away before the war.

NB: Cumbria County Council Archives references for the above registers are:

(a) YDFCRC 2/1/9 (Reel JAC 1430)
St Mary's R.C. Church Baptismal Register (1906 - 1923)

(b) YDFCRC 2/3/8 (Reel JAC 1435)
St Mary's R.C. Church Burial Register (1920 - 1941)

(2) Memorial Headstone (CWGC Cemetery 2030)

Most service men and women who died in WW1 and WW2 are commemorated by a Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) headstone or, where there is no known grave for a person, their name is remembered on an appropriate memorial. However, Sapper Peter Doyle was buried in a family grave with his mother and where his father was subsequently also laid to rest. This is marked by a private headstone although it is still recorded by the CWGC who were able to assist me in locating its whereabouts.

The headstone citation is as follows:

Of Your Charity
Pray For The Souls Of
Died 14th Aug. 1935. Aged 51
And Her Beloved Husband
Died 3rd April 1956 Aged 72

Also Their Son PETER
(Sapper, R.E.)
Died 13th Nov. 1940. Aged 28
"On Whose Souls
Sweet Jesus Have Mercy"

NB: At the time of writing (February 2009) Sapper Peter Doyle's CWGC citation is incomplete, omitting to list his Next of Kin, hometown or age. I have submitted the details to the CWGC to see if they will update the record. Peter was actually only 27 years old when he passed away although the headstone gives his age as 28.

(3) Lourdes Grotto Grounds, Cleator

Sapper Peter Doyle's final resting place is adjacent to the Lourdes Grotto replica in the church grounds. This was built by unemployed iron ore miners and engineers from the whole community of Cleator and Cleator Moor in 1927. This work had been organised during the hard times in the area following the General Strike of 1926 by the Parish Priest of St Mary's, Cleator, Father F.C. Clayton O.S.B. As mentioned above Father Clayton was still Parish Priest during WW2.

It is quite likely that Peter Doyle and his father were among the townsfolk who built the Grotto. Those who had mining and engineering skills and being able to build the structure of a Grotto from scratch would have had the kind of skills useful to the Royal Engineers. So it is perhaps fitting that Sapper Peter Doyle, a Royal Engineer is one of many in the well-maintained church grounds adjacent to the Cleator Grotto in his home area. It will have held a special place in the hearts of the family and a lasting tribute to the hard work of those who built it.

The Grotto is a replica of the Marian shrine in the French town of Lourdes, which in November 1940 was in the 'unoccupied' Vichy zone of France. It has always been a place of hope in turbulent times, even in 1940. In its turn the Cleator Grotto has also been a special place of comfort for many people since it was first built.

Sapper Peter Doyle (1912 – 1940) – May he rest in peace.

Monday, 09 February, 2009  
Blogger Tomcann said...

Joesph -
I am aware of your recent visit to Lourdes and your report thereof and would have you know that this shrine is perhaps the most copied of all the Marian shrine as it does emanate peace and tranquillity

It enjoys the visits of some 6 miilion tourists per year and gives hope to many sick and ailing patients and the understanding and acceptance that their suffering will have a peaceful end.

The O.S.B's of course are Franciscan fathers and religious brothers who follow the rule of St. Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, 11 February, 2009  
Blogger Tomcann said...

Joseph - many apologies as I got carried away there - the OSB's are the Order of St Benedict of Montecassino fame and not the Franciscans.

St Benedict of course was the founder of that order by converting the pagan Gods Apollo and Jupiter and constructed the first Benedictine Abbey at Cassino around th4 daste of 529 - this was demolished four times through the ages and the last being in February 1944.

Ther are many Abbey's for the order and probably the most beautiful are to be found on the Danube at both Melks and Krems on the way from Strasburg to Vienna...

Wednesday, 11 February, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is correct – O.S.B. is the Order of St Benedict and those belonging to it are Benedictine monks. The Cleator mission was founded by Benedictines and served by them until 1972, and I can remember that time.

I know a little of the building of this particular replica of the Lourdes Grotto in 1927 from what my mother and grandparents told me, as this was where they lived at the time. My maternal grandfather was one of those who worked on building it. Although I don’t know for certain at this point, because Peter Doyle was in the Royal Engineers my guess is both he and his father were probably in miners or engineers and were probably also involved in building the Grotto.

Because of this, I know that later on a lot of the families wanted relatives buried as close as possible to the Grotto, and when I eventually found Sapper Peter Doyle’s grave it is right beside it. So it would seem to tie in. (My grandparents are not buried in this churchyard as a matter of interest). The photograph above was taken when I visited the churchyard in February 2009.

Incidentally, since starting this project on the Cleator & Cleator Moor Roll of Honour, many people have mentioned about Father Clayton O.S.B. He was also on the Town Council at the time and was in charge of the Cleator mission for over 40 years (covering both World Wars). He was often one of the first to visit a bereaved family in the war, regardless of what religion (if any) they were. I have mentioned on some of the other stories I have posted to the 2WW Blog.

Cleator & Cleator Moor tends to be known near and far as ‘Little Ireland’ and as can be guessed from this term the population in the first half of the 20th C (the time of the World Wars) was largely of Irish origin: Catholics, Presbyterians, etc. Of course there were also families of Cumbrian origin going back many generations, a small number of families of Italian origin (mainly Catholics) of from central Europe (mainly Hebrews). Hence I have visited various churches, churchyards and other places in compiling information for a ‘Roll of Honour’.

Wednesday, 11 February, 2009  
Anonymous Steve Young, Maghull, Merseyside said...


Mary Doyle, nee Devlin, was my great aunt. She was born in Workington in 1883 - birth registered as Bridget Mary Devlin. One of 9 children (5 girls, 4 boys) - 3rd born daughter - of Peter & Margaret Devlin originally from Ferla, County Armagh who arrived in Workington early 1880's with their 2 eldest Irish born daughters. She married Peter Doyle at Banklands RC Church, Workington 1911.

Her youngest sister Sarah Devlin (1891/1948) emigrated to Fernie, British Columbia, Canada in 1914 to join the eldest Devlin daughter Catherine Foster (1878/1958) and her husband Ted a coal miner at nearby Coal Creek.

There was a large West Cumberland community working in the coal mines of the Crows Nest Pass on the Alberta/British Columbia border and Sarah married a William James Fowler (1895/1951) originally from Harrington, Cumberland at Michel, BC in 1920.

Mary Doyle lost 2 of her younger brothers during WW1. Peter Devlin (1893/1916) KIA @ La Boisselle, Somme 1st July 1916 and the youngest brother Frank Devlin (1897/1916) was KIA @ Bazentin Le Grand, Somme 14th July 1916. He had enlisted in 1914 aged 16 yrs and had been wounded at Ypres in February 1915. My gf John Devlin (1885/1934) was an Old Contemptible wounded at Reutel, Ypres in November 1914. He survived. The 4th brother Patrick Devlin (1887/1940) did not serve.

Rose Devlin (1889/1943) married a Richard Keogh (1892/1917) in 1915. He was an Irishman from Maryborough, Queens County who worked in the Cleator Moor Ironworks. He lived next door to the Doyle family in Bowthorn Rd. He was KIA at Roclincourt, Arras 9th April 1917. Margaret Mary Devlin (1879/1924) married a James Kernan from County Armagh and having lived in Harrington, Cumberland per 1911 census the family moved to Port Clarence, Stockton on Tees about 1917.

Sunday, 03 September, 2017  

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