Sunday, February 22, 2015

Whicham and Silecroft War Memorials, Cumbria

1. St Mary's Parish Church, Whicham, Cumbria
Located on the southern flank of the Black Combe massif
[There are WW1 and WW2 memorials inside the church]
2. Headstone in the churchyard for two unknown seamen
"Known unto God"
[Buried in Whicham churchyard on 17 April 1941]
3. Headstone in the churchyard for an unknown seaman
"Known unto God"

[Buried in Whicham churchyard on 10 July 1941]
4. Whicham civil parish war memorial at Silecroft
This obelisk remembers all who served in WW1

[It also remembers the 'Fallen' of WW1 and WW2]
For additional information click on 'Comments' below. 


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

Whicham, St Mary's Parish Church and churchyard

Whicham, Cumbria (previously Cumberland) is a rural civil and ecclesiastical parish between the Irish Sea and the Lakeland fells. The parish has three small villages, Silecroft, Whicham and Kirksanton and some relatively isolated farmsteads. Its parish church (Church of England), situated on the southern flank of Black Combe, is dedicated to St Mary [Photograph No. 1].

On a clear day from the summit of Black Combe, which forms part of the parish boundary, there are extensive views of southern Scotland, the Isle of Man, Wales, the Irish Sea and those with good eyesight even say they can see Ireland. It is a view that even inspired the most famous of the 'Lakes Poets', William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850), to write one of his best known poems: "View from the top of Black Combe" (see below).

Since medieval times the population of Whicham has numbered but a few hundred souls with a peak of just over 450 in the last decade of the 19th Century. At the time of the 2001 census the population of the parish was just under 400.

Parts of the present parish church dates from medieval times although there have been numerous changes over the years. Inside the church is a memorial to those from the parish who died in the First World War plus another for the parishioners who died in the Second World War. There is a third memorial inside the church commemorating the award of the Victoria Cross in 1917 to Sergeant Tom Fletcher Mayson V.C. (1893 - 1958).

Sergeant Mayson V.C. was born and lived most of his life within the parish at the nearby village of Silecroft. When he died in 1958 he was buried in Whicham churchyard. His Victoria Cross and other medals were bequeathed to the parish church. During the 1914 - 1918 war, Sergeant Mayson V.C. served with the King's Own Royal Regiment. His medals are on long-term loan to the Regimental Museum at Lancaster where they are displayed.

Sunday, 22 February, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

"Known unto God"

Within the churchyard there are a several graves commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission: two from the First World War and six from the Second World War. Five of the six Second World War burials at Whicham were due to the bodies of these men being found washed up on the beach at Silecroft: three Merchant Navy Seamen and two who served with the R.A.A.F.

The parish burial register for the war years also records the burial of another "... unknown male washed ashore" on 2 September 1944. As there is no official C.W.G.C. memorial for this individual it indicates there was nothing found on his body to suggest he was a member of the Armed Forces or served with the Merchant Navy. His identity therefore remains unidentified to this day.

While the three Merchant Seamen buried in Whicham churchyard remain unidentified they are commemorated by headstones supplied by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission [Photographs No. 2 and 3]. Two of them were buried in the same grave on Thursday 17 April 1941 and its spot is marked by one headstone [Photograph No. 2]. The handwritten burial register entry, which is difficult to read, is as follows:
"17.4.41 - On this day I laid to rest the mortal remains of two unknown males brought here after being found on Silecroft shore.
R. Walker, Rector"

The third unidentified Merchant seaman buried in the churchyard was buried in a separate grave and marked by its own headstone [Photograph No. 3]. The handwritten burial register for this interment reads as follows:
"10.7.41 - On this day I laid to rest the remains of an unknown male washed ashore.

The epitaph on both headstones is the same:
"Known unto God".
[N.B. There is a separate article about the known casualties interred in this churchyard, including the two Australian airmen whose bodies were also washed ashore on Silecroft beach (see link below)].

Sunday, 22 February, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Whicham civil parish war memorial

The Whicham civil parish war memorial can be found at Silecroft village at the junction of the main north - south road between Bootle to the north and Millom to the south [Photograph No. 4]. It is in the form of an obelisk inside an ornate fenced compound.

Two of the faces of the obelisk list the names of the local men of Whicham who served in the 1914 - 1918 war. On the side facing the village is a list of the locals who lost their lives in the two World Wars. These are the same names listed on the WW1 and WW2 memorials inside Whicham Parish Church.

These are the names of the 'Fallen' of Whicham in the two World Wars:

"Men of Whicham who served in the Great War 1914 - 1918
T. Broadbent
T. Caddy
T. Fisher
C.G. Lewthwaite M.C.
W. Lowery
W. Norman
C. Page
J. Wilson
These also died for us
1939 - 1945
K. Dodd
T. Huddleston

Sunday, 22 February, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...


This article is dedicated to the 'Fallen' of Whicham parish who died in the two World Wars and WW2 casualties buried in the churchyard that are "known unto God".

As referred to earlier, the parish, its people and its fell (Black Combe) were well known to the Cumbrian poet and former Poet Laureate William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850). Below is Wordsworth's poem about the extensive view from the summit of Black Combe, said to be one of the most extensive and uninterrupted views in the British Isles.

"View from the top of Black Combe"
By William Wordsworth

This height a ministering angel might select:
For from the summit of Black Combe (dread name
Derived from clouds and storms!) the amplest range
Of unobstructed prospect may be seen
That British ground commands:—low dusky tracts,
Where Trent is nursed, far southward! Cambrian hills
To the southwest, a multitudinous show ;
And, in a line of eyesight linked with these,
The hoary peaks of Scotland that give birth
To Teviot's stream, to Annan, Tweed, and Clyde: —
Crowding the quarter whence the sun comes forth,
Gigantic mountains rough with crags; beneath,
Right at the imperial station's western base.
Main ocean, breaking audibly, and stretched
Far into silent regions blue and pale;—
And visibly engirding Mona's Isle,
That, as we left the plain, before our sight
Stood like a lofty mount, uplifting slowly
(Above the convex of the watery globe)
Into clear view the cultured fields that streak
Her habitable shores, but now appears
A dwindled object, and submits to lie
At the spectator's feet.—Yon azure ridge.
Is it a perishable cloud? or there
Do we behold the line of Erin's coast?
Land sometimes by the roving shepherd-swain
(Like the bright confines of another world)
Not doubtfully perceived.—Look homeward now!
In depth, in height, in circuit, how serene
The spectacle, how pure!—Of Nature's works,
In earth, and air, and earth-embracing sea,
A revelation infinite it seems;
Display august of man's inheritance,
Of Britain's calm felicity and power!

For information about the other WW1 and WW2 casualties interred in Whicham churchyard click on the following link:
War Graves at Whicham Churchyard, Cumbria

Sunday, 22 February, 2015  

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