A walk around St John's Churchyard, Barkerhouse Road, Nelson.

View some of the graves of the WW1 soldiers who are buried or commemorated there and hear their stories

There are at least 110 soldiers commemorated in the churchyard. Some are actually buried here and have Commonwealth War Graves or family graves; others died abroad and are only commemorated on family headstones. In most cases a more precise location of these graves can be found by using the plan overleaf and by referring to the information about the soldiers on their pages

Plan of the Churchyard

1 The first grave is near the entrance to the Churchyard, in reddish granite. It is of Wilfred James Ashworth who was the son of draper, James and Sarah Ashworth of 41-43 Every St. Nelson (41 is now part of Nelson Pharmacy). Wilfred worked at Clover Hill Mill and was married to Annie and they had a young child. He died from pneumonia on active service with the R.A.M.C. whilst working at the Military Hospital in Weymouth. He was brought back to Nelson by train with his coffin carried on a gun carriage to Weymouth station, accompanied by a firing party and escort.

2 Just round the corner (car park side) is the Hornby family grave. Bertrand Hornby was a prisoner of war in Germany. He was the son of the Headmaster of St John's School, James Simpson Hornby and his wife, Janet. They lived at 182 Barkerhouse Road, that's the end house across the road. He enlisted when he was just 16. This was not unusual, there were cases of boys as young as 14 and recruitment officers deliberately turned a blind eye. In April 1918 Bertrand was taken prisoner at Armentières suffering from a wound to his thigh. He died a fortnight later in Minden Camp, Germany and was buried in Hamburg Cemetery.

3 Some families lost more than one son in the conflict. The Place family grave details the sons Tom and Fred Place, sons of painter and decorator, Richard Place, both dying in France.

4 There are many different ranks and regiments represented in the churchyard. William Henry Ainsworth was in the Army Cyclists Corps. Bicycles were a very useful method of transport over short distances and more importantly were quiet. Originally, the Cyclists were intended to be used for coastal defences in the U.K. but as time went on they also served abroad and were armed as infantry. William was killed in action in France in March 1918, aged 25. His parents lived at 95 Every St., Nelson.

5 This is one of the Commonwealth War Graves (C.W.G.) in the churchyard where Private Herbert Higson is buried. He was one of 15 children born to William and Mary Higson of 16 Vernon St., Nelson. Private Higson's brothers, Private Rennie Higson (age 24) and Private Morris/Maurice Higson (age 20), were killed in action. They both died on the same day, 25th September 1915.

6 Walk down the main path and you will reach the end of plots G and E. Look to the right and you will notice the Memorial Garden and the information boards. Turn to the left at this point and after a few metres you will notice the distinctive C.W.G. of John Dinsdale. Originally from Hawes he was the son of Henry and Eleanor Dinsdale. John was the husband of Mary Ellen Dinsdale. Private Dinsdale fought in France and Flanders with the East Lancashire Regiment. He died of wounds at 2nd W.G.H. Manchester on Saturday 21st April 1917, aged 35. He left a widow and three children.

7  Walk back to the main path and turn left, on the left hand side of the path, less than half way along you will find the grave of Arthur West.  Arthur was one of ten children born to Alfred and Susannah West. Like so many of the people living in Nelson, the whole family worked in the cotton mills; the only exception being Arthur's brother, James, who in 1911 was described as a chauffeur. Arthur appears to have wanted some adventure in his life as on the 31st October 1912 he left Liverpool for Massachusetts. Unfortunately, it is not known when he returned to England, but he joined the East Lancashire Regiment where he served in France and received wounds whilst in action in 1916. On 27th November 1920, he died from these wounds aged 29 years.

Now walk up to the Memorial Garden and have a look at the information panels and enjoy the lovely setting!

St John's Churchyard

St John with St Philip Church
Barkerhouse Road
Nelson, Lancashire

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