Published on 03.02.2023

A fascinating new book reveals the stories behind Alnwick Cemetery’s War Graves.

Written by local historian Patricia Jones with images from Colin Watson, ‘We remember them still…’ is a tribute to all those who are buried or remembered in the cemetery who lost their lives in the Great War 1914-1918 and the Second World War 1939-1945.

Before the First World War it was the fate of the ‘ordinary’ soldier to be forgotten. Even when the war started, there was no system or organisation in place to mark or care for the graves of servicemen and women. The creation of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission changed the way we remember the fallen.

Patricia comments: “The section of Commonwealth War Graves in Alnwick Cemetery is not widely known about yet the cemetery has one of the largest number of such graves in the country. We wanted to bring them to the attention of the town as many of these were local men. There are 36 official war graves and in the book we have added a further fifteen casualties who are not buried here but are all mentioned on a gravestone in the cemetery.”

As we look at the history of the names inscribed on the headstones the book encourages the reader to think of them as people, a father, a son, a brother… it also reminds us of the grief that will have been endured by their loved ones.

Many died locally following injury or illness not always sustained in battle, such as Frederick Lee who died when moving landmines at Newton by the Sea in 1944. His wife Mary Ellen died in Kensington 50 years later and chose to be reunited with him in the cemetery.

There are many Northumberland Fusiliers included in the book such as James Hynes who died in 1918.The son of William and Mary Hynes of Stump Yard, Clayport Street, he was a coach painter who worked for the Duke of Northumberland. He was wounded in Ypres in 1917 and transported back to England. Having sustained serious injuries to both hands which resulted in the amputation of fingers, he was discharged as being unfit for service in 1918. He was awarded a Silver War Badge to wear on his civilian clothes so that people recognised he had been honourably discharged from service. He died two weeks after the war ended. He was just twenty-two.

Mike Laviloette was a Canadian soldier from WW1 who died of his wounds and was buried in Alnwick alongside two Polish soldiers from WW2.

The book also records the story behind the headstone of the Angus family. William and Mabel Angus lost their three sons John, George and Thomas during battles in France. The headstone also records the two sons of Donald Angus who were killed in World War I.

An interesting connection that came to light during Patricia and Colin’s research is from the grave that belongs to Rev. George Marshall, an Alnwick vicar. During WW1 he was serving as a padre with the RAF in France near the Somme. As the only clergy man in the area, he was called upon to conduct the burial of the famous Red Baron flying ace when he was shot down.

Patricia’s interest started in researching family history and has now widened to include historical research especially about Alnwick its buildings and people. She produced a history of Alnmouth Friary for the Franciscan Brothers and answer requests for research for authors and family researching their ancestors.

In 2020 due to the increasing interest from visitors and locals, Colin and Patricia researched all the deaths and burials for St Michaels churchyard from 1646. Colin created a data base recording and photographing the 700 tomb stones that survive and we were surprised to find that 20,000 people are buried in the churchyard.

Alnwick Town Mayor Councillor Geoff Watson was engrossed with the book saying: Patricia and Colin have created a wonderful tribute to the servicemen now at rest in Alnwick Cemetery. Each gravestone tells a story, –  a story of family and sorrow, a story of life and bravery during wartime and of love on the home front.”

Alnwick Town Council owns and manages the cemetery, and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is responsible for wartime casualties including two non-commonwealth soldiers from Poland.

‘We remember them still…’ costs £5. To order a copy please contact