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St Cuthbert's Churchyard, Bewcastle
Granite obelisk on granite plinth with names.
The War Memorial of the Parish of St Cuthbert at Bewcastle stands in the churchyard a few metres from the church door. It is seen by the many visitors to this historic and remote place of ancient habitation.
Of course most of those visitors generally come to view the Bewcastle Cross and perhaps to learn of their Reiver ancestry.
However they cannot fail to see this classic granite obelisk, and perhaps to note the names on it, names which resonate through the history of the Border Reivers and the many tales of those men of action. Those who left here to serve in foreign lands in the Great War, and to die if necessary, were no less determined than their ancestors.
It is interesting that the names of the Fallen which appear here in this Episcopalian churchyard are the same as on the War Memorial of the nearby Non-Conformist church. This was ever a close-knit community.
Within the churchyard are some burials of those who were brought home wounded but subsequently succumbed to their injuries. The interested will note that their CWGC headstones are of sandstone and not the more traditional white Portland stone. Local stone is used by the CWGC in graveyards and cemeteries all over the British Isles of course, but while the colour may be different the style and design is constant.
There are also a number of private tributes on family headstones.
The names of the Fallen of Bewcastle and district are:-
L/Cpl Christopher Armstrong of 2nd Bn Grenadier Guards, who died on 31st July 1917 at the age of 33 years. He is interred in New Irish Farm Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, grave XXXIII.D.11. Christopher was the son of Mr and Mrs C Armstrong, of Rigg Foot, Bewcastle. They also lost another son, John James Armstrong.
Pte John Forrester died 8th Dec 1917 while serving with 2/14th Bn London Scottish Regiment and is interred in Jerusalem War Cemetery grave V.77. He was the 33 year old son of Thomas and Annie Forrester, of Hole of Lyne, Roadhead, Brampton. He died on the first day of the successful Allied battle for Jerusalem as the Turkish Army finally withdrew after fierce fighting.
Pte Richard Armstrong was another of those young men who, having crossed oceans to find a better life, joined the 2nd Inf Bn Australian Imperial Force to return to fight and die for the mother country. He was badly wounded and was being cared for in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, in Hampshire, when he died on 27th July 1915 at the age of 32. He is interred in Netley Military Cemetery, in grave CEI712. He was the son of James and Elizabeth Armstrong, The Crossings, Roadhead.
Pte William Little, another who came from “the Uttermost Parts of the Earth” (The words on the New Zealand Memorial), died on 4th Sept 1918 at 23 years of age. He is interred in Bagneaux British Cemetery, Somme Region. He was the son of Frank and Mary Jane Little, originally “of Cumberland”, and then living at Hikurangi, New Zealand.
Pte Adam Waugh, serving with 15th Bn Canadian Expeditionary Force, was 40 years old when he died on 3rd October 1916. He is interred at St Sever Military Cemetery, Rouen, grave B.20.23. His parents, originally from Cumberland, had emigrated to Canada when Adam was a child, and were living at Keremeos, British Columbia.
Sgt Septimus Waugh of the Yorkshire Regiment was 29 when he died on 7th June 1917. He has no known grave and is commemorated at the Menin Gate, on panel 33. He was the son of James and Catherine Waugh, of The Row, Roadhead. His brother Robert died of wounds in 1919.
Pte Robert Waugh, the brother of Septimus, died on 3rd March 1919 at the age of 33. He had been severely wounded while serving with the Machine Gun Corp (Inf) and died in a UK hospital. His family received his body and he is interred in this Churchyard near the grave of his ancestors. Robert's brother Septimus was killed in 1917.
Pte David Jackson, serving with 44th Coy Machine Gun Corp (Inf) and formerly the Durham Light Infantry, died on 31st July 1917. He was born at Bewcastle in 1894. He has no known grave and is commemorated at the Menin Gate on panel 56.
Pte Alfred Varley, serving with 15th Bn Durham Light Infantry, was reported Missing in Action on 3rd Sept 1916. He was 23 years old. His body was not recovered. He is commemorated on Bay 8 of the Arras Memorial to the Missing. He was the son of James and Mary Varley, of Bewcastle Park Schoolhouse, and had been a railway clerk on enlistment.
Sapper Robert Easton of the Royal Engineers died of wounds on 19th Feb 1918 and is interred in Bewcastle churchyard. He is one of those with a CWG headstone. Further information would be appreciated.
Sapper James Routledge, Royal Engineers, was attached to 26 Signalling Group RFA, when he died on 6th November 1918 during the period we call “The Advance to Victory”. He is interred in Cambrai East Military Cemetery II.A.27.
Cpl Thomas Beaty was reported Killed in Action on 10th July 1917 while serving with 11th Bn Border Regiment. He is commemorated on the Nieuport Memorial to the Missing. Thomas was born at Gilsland. Nieuport had been held by Belgian and French units until this sector of the Western Front was relieved by the British 32nd Division in June 1917 in preparation for planned Allied landings on German-held territory along the Belgian coast. However German marines launched a pre-emptive attack against the British forces on the river Yser in July and the landings, codenamed ‘Operation Hush’, never took place. Over 260 men commemorated on the Nieuport Memorial were killed or mortally wounded during heavy fighting with units of the German Marine-Korps Flandern on July 10 1917, the day Thomas Beaty died.
Pte William Beaty was 22 years old when he died of wounds on 25th Feb 1917 while serving with 11th Bn Border Regiment. He is interred in Varennes Military Cemetery grave I.I.49, Somme Region. He was born at Newcastle and attended school in Bewcastle.
Pte John James Armstrong, the first of Mr and Mrs C. Armstrong’s two sons to die, was reported killed in action on 19th August 1915. He was serving with the 1st Bn Border Regiment at Gallipoli. John has no known grave and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial panel 222/223. His brother Christopher would die almost two years later.
Pte Hugh Armstrong, serving with 6th Bn Border Regiment was killed in action at Ypres. He died on 10th June 1917 at the age of 22. He has no known grave and is commemorated on panel 35 of the Menin Gate. He had also fought in the Dardanelles campaign. He was the son of Thomas and Margaret Armstrong, of Brownhill, Roadhead.
Pte John Gass, 34 years old, died of wounds and is interred here in Bewcastle churchyard. He was serving with 5th Border Regiment when he was seriously injured. He was brought back to the UK but failed to recover. Our modern medical skills may have saved him. But was not to be; he lies here now under a CWGC headstone. He was born at Crossgreens, Bewcastle, the son of Mr and Mrs Gass, of that address.
Pte William Moscrop, the son of James and Ann Margaret Moscrop, and the husband of Sarah Ellen, lived at the Lime Kiln Inn Bewcastle until enlistment. He died on 6th Nov 1917 while serving with 127th Coy Machine Gun Corps (Inf). He was 23 years old. William is interred in Coxyde Military Cemetery, Nieuport, grave IV.K.13.
Pte William Murray was reported Killed in Action on 16th May 1915 while serving with 2nd Bn Border Regt. His body was not recovered and he is listed on panel 19/20, of the Le Touret Memorial to the Missing. He was born at Roadhead.
Pte Robert Vevers, whose name appears on the nearby War Memorial of the Knowe Church (No 26) with all those listed above, (but not here on the Bewcastle memorial), is commemorated on his family gravestone in the churchyard. He died of wounds in France on 7th November 1918 at 20 years old while serving with 2nd Bn Grenadier Guards. Robert was the son of George and Margaret Vevers, of Simons Onsett, Roadhead.
The family grave in Bewcastle churchyard on which Pte Robert Vevers is commemorated. He lies in grave III.G.5, in Awoingt British Cemetery, France Nort.