Monday, 25 August 2014

Freckleton Air Disaster

This week saw the 70th anniversary of a tragic wartime accident that cost the lives of two teachers, 38 schoolchildren and seven other civilians when an American B-24 Liberator bomber crashed in the Lancashire coastal village of Freckleton.

The aircraft was one of two taking part in a test flight from the then RAF airbase at Warton. A ferocious thunderstorm started and the two aircraft were recalled. One pilot decided to the fly away from the storm, while the other - Lieutenant John Bloemendal attempted to land. A witness saw lighting strike the aircraft and it ended up partially destroying some houses and a local cafe. Part of the bomber collided with a classroom packed with infants, its fuel tanks catching alight. All three members of the plane's crew also died.

At the rear of the churchyard of Holy Trinity, the memorial is a poignant sight and it is very moving to read the names of all the children who died.

George Formby's Grave

The striking memorial to the popular entertainer George Formby stands in Warrington Cemetery, Cheshire. His career spanned four decades from the early 1920s to his death in 1961. He was a famous music hall and film star and entertained the troops during the Second World War. George's funeral brought the whole of Warrington to a standstill, with an estimated 150,000 admirers lining the route! He was buried with his father whose magnificent white marble memorial headstone was unveiled in October 1922., George Formby Senior was also a star of the stage. A report on the restoration of the memorial can be read on the George Formby Society website HERE and an account of his life and work on Wikipedia, HERE. A photography of his funeral can be viewed HERE and another of the unveiling of his father's memorial can be seen HERE. The memorial is said to be a replica of the Manchester Hippodrome theatre's proscenium arch.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Pair of Cherubs on a Cheshire Grave

In the 1901 Census, Gerald Harry Sydenham is recorded as living in his birthplace,Parkstone, Dorset, where he was a Timber Merchant. His wife, Alice, was born in Frodsham, Cheshire and they married in 1896 at Kensington Register Office in London. He died, leaving an estate of £288, while living in Bonner Road, Victoria Park, Middlesex, so how he ended up in Cheshire I do not know. She later married a builder, James Lea Warburton and died in 1935, aged 65, leaving an estate of £6,249 to her husband.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Chapel Heads

I am starting to take notice of the heads to be found on cemetery chapels. Here are three faces from the doorway into the Chapel at Warrington Cemetery

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Memorial Breakdown

Seeing these neatly laid out constituent parts of a memorial in Warrington Cemetery made me think. You look at these wonderful memorials but you never realise just how many separate pieces of stone have been put together to make the whole memorial. A lucky find but a great breakdown of what's involved.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Tom Boswell's Angel

Warrington Cemetery is very large and packed full of history. In the newer section, Tom Boswell's grave is notable because a large marble Angel towers over it. According to a cemetery leaflet, the tomb is lined with white Morecambe brick and the coffins were placed inside the mausoleum. It sounds like a vault . . . I have yet to establish any information on Tom Boswell.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Sheffield Blitz Victims

On the evening of December 12, 1940, German bombers blitzed Sheffield in Yorkshire. No. 74 Nether Edge Road took a direct hit. Susan Bielby (84) and her three daughters, Annie (45), Emily (51) and Millicent (54) were killed. Emily and Millicent were infant school headmistresses, while Annie was a costumier. [Sheffield General Cemetery, Yorkshire] For more on this wonderful cemetery, click HERE.

Welcome to the Graveyard Detective

An illustrated look at the World of Graveyards and Cemeteries. There are many Stories behind the Stones that Stand in them. Who knows what we might find?


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