A PIONEER-backed campaign to gain official recognition for war heroes’ last resting place has reached a successful conclusion.
In spring last year pupils from Whitby High visited First World War graves in Belgium as part of a history project.
Doing further work when they came back home they discovered that although the old Christ Church cemetery at the bottom end of the Port contains the graves of 25 First World War soldiers who died from wounds after returning home, there is no standard Commonwealth War Graves Commission direction sign.
History teacher Mike Royden told the Pioneer he believed this could be the subject of a campaign.
We agreed and began to work behind the scenes for a plaque to be placed in the churchyard.
We gained the support of relatives of the soldiers buried there as well as from the Royal British Legion’s Ellesmere Port branch and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The commission said that although it did not have the resources to provide a plaque, the local council might wish to pay for one.
We contacted borough council leader Cllr Justin Madders who pledged his backing for the idea and was happy to liaise with the council’s bereavement services team to arrange for a plaque to be erected.
The officers worked with the War Graves Commission and the YMCA, which owns the cemetery site, to agree a suitable memorial.
On Friday the plaque was attached to the wall of the church during a short ceremony.
It reads: “Christ Church is home to a number of war graves. In memory of those who served our country within this place may their souls rest.”
Inscriptions have also been made in the council’s two books of remembrance at Overpool and Neston cemeteries, remembering the war veterans buried there.
Cllr Madders said: “I am pleased to have helped the pupils and thank them for highlighting the need for recognition of those brave people who lost their lives on active duty for our country.”
Details of Whitby High’s history project can be seen on the website www.eportwarmemorial.org.uk.