Memorial 52 St Johns Church Yard Houghton War Memorial

Welcome to the Carlisle and Stanwix Branch of The Royal British Legion

GRID REF: NY40834 59765  Postcode CA6 4JE

St John's Churchyard, Houghton 


The War Memorial in the Churchyard of St John the Evangelist Houghton

The churchyard contains four CWGC burials.   Three are from WW1 and one is from WW2.   Only two of these have traditional CWGC grave markers, the others are private headstones.  Two additional ex-service burials, not listed by the Commission, are here. 

The following are those named on the War Memorial situated just by the church entrance.  These narratives are incomplete.  We would like your help to expand them.


Lieut Herbert J. Little died aged 23 on 26th March 1918 while serving with 1/7th Durham Light Infantry.   He was the son of William and Martha Little, of Knells Cottages.   Herbert has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, on panel 68/72.   His elder brother would die in battle five months later.

2nd Lieut James Blackwood Hay was serving with 4th Bn York and Lancaster Regiment when he died at Genoa in Italy on 29th October 1918.   He was the 31 year old son of James and Mrs Hay, of Houghton.   He is interred in Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, grave I.D.5

2nd Lieut Henry Walter Little of 5th Bn Duke of Wellington’s Regt died on 30th Aug 1918 at the age of 29.  He was 29 years old and the elder of two brothers, the sons of Mr and Mrs William and Martha Little, of Knells Cottages, who made the Supreme Sacrifice.   He is interred in Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery, Haucourt , grave 1.A.41.

2nd Lieut John S. Wills, serving with 20th Bn Durham Light Infantry, died in that final cataclysmic clash as the Central Powers made their last throw for victory.   The sacrifice of John and his comrades ensured the defeat of the enemy as the Allied nations proceeded on what we call the Advance to Victory.  John lost his life on 4th Sept 1918 at the age of 26.   He was the son of George and Mary Wills, of 7, Etterby St., Stanwix, Carlisle.   He is interred in Voomezeele Military Cemetery Enclosure No 3 Belgium, grave XVI.L.12

Acting Sgt William Graham died on 18th November 1916 while serving with B Coy 11th Bn Border Regiment.   He was 22 and the son of William and Mary Graham, of Moorville, Carlisle.    He has no know grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, on P/F 6A/7C. 

Cpl Robert Kirk was reported Killed in Action on 15th May 1918 while serving in Italy with 2nd Bn Border Regiment.  He was born at Houghton, the son of Mr and Mrs Kirk, of Kingstown, and 23 years old on his death. His father had pre-deceased him.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Giavera Memorial in Italy.

L/Cpl William Johnston lived at Moorville, Carlisle.  He died in battle on 18th November 1916 while serving with 11th Bn Border Regiment.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, Pier/Face 6A/7C.   

L/Cpl Richard Mitchinson, of the 54th Battalion Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment), died of wounds received in action, on 19 November 1916, aged 31, and is buried in Contay British Cemetery, Contay, Somme, France.   In the death notice in the Cumberland News he was described as a Lance Corporal although his CWGC record states Private. He is also described as such on the Houghton and Kingmoor War Memorials. He was born on 19 January 1885 and enlisted at Saskatoon, Canada on 11 April 1916, his occupation being given as homestead famer. He was the son of the late William, a nursery foreman, and Margaret Mitchinson, 14 Hobart Terrace, Moorville, Carlisle. The family were formerly of Knowfield Cottages, Stanwix.

Richard was among the thousands of young men who had emigrated to faraway lands, leaving family and friends in the land of their birth, only to return at the call of duty, and who now lie in a distant grave, their potential unrealised. 

L/Cpl William Thompson, 24 years old, was born in Carlisle and served with 2nd Bn Border Regiment.  He died on 5th November 1917 and is interred in Kortrijk Communal Cemetery, Belgium, in grave C39.

Pte Charles Alford served with the 19th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers.   He died age 24 on 1st July 1916.  He was born in Oxford, the son of Henry and Sarah Alford, latterly of Carlisle.   He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, on Pier/Face 3C/3D

Pte Frank Jefferson Birrell died on 14th August 1917 while serving with the 6th Bn Royal Munster Fusiliers.  He was the 20 year old son of James and Rebecca Birrell.  Frank  is interred at Struma Military Cemetery, Greece, in grave VI.D.14. 

Pte Christopher Bainbridge, serving with 8th Bn Gordon Highlanders, died aged 25 on 14th November 1915.  He was the son of William Charles and Margaret Bainbridge of the Coach and Horses Inn at Kingstown.  He is interred in Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, Belgium, in grave I. F. 21.  There is a tribute on his parent’s gravestone in Houghton Churchyard.

Pte Thomas Brown fell in battle on 22nd August 1917 at the age of 33.  He was serving with 11th Bn Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.   Thomas, a farmer, was the husband of Edith Elizabeth Brown of Kingstown.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial panel 141/143/162

Cpl Joseph Birkett died from injuries received in battle, in a Hull military hospital on 22nd December 1917.  He was the 26 year old son of Mr and Mrs Joseph Birkett, of Milbourne Crescent, Carlisle and had been serving with 5th Bn Durham Light Infantry. He is interred in the City Cemetery at Dalston Road, in grave 11.M.31.   He is also commemorated on his parent’s gravestone in Houghton Churchyard.   The inscription tells us; “In my youth I was called away”.

Pte Robert George Birkett of 2/4th Bn Border Regiment, was born in Kendal, the son of David and Margaret Jane Birkett.   He died on 22nd October 1918 and is interred in Peshawar, India but commemorated on the Delhi Memorial (India Gate) as the graves at Peshawar are inaccessible to visitors.   

Pte James Curran, probably of the 12th Bn West Yorkshire Regiment, died on 6th June 1917.   He is interred in Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery, Arras, in grave IV.H.16.   More information on this young man would be appreciated.

Pte William Blaylock Hoodless died in battle on 17th Sept 1916.  He had been at Gallipoli but was killed at Ovilliers in France at the age of 24.  He served with 6th Border Regt and is interred in plot I.F.11. Ovilliers Military Cemetery, near Albert.  He was the son of James and Elspeth Hoodless, of 1, West View, Kingstown, Carlisle.  His brother also died in battle.

Gunner Thomas James Hoodless died on 16th November 1918 at the age of 22 while serving with 29 Bde Royal Field Artillery.  He is interred at Quevy-le-Petit Communal Cemetery, Mons.   His brother also died.   They were the sons of James and Elspeth Hoodless, of 1, West View, Kingstown.   Both these young men are commemorated on the family grave at Stanwix cemetery.

Pte Parker Haughan, born at Kingstown, died in battle on 16th May 1916 while serving with 2nd Bn Border Regiment. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Pier/Face 6A/7C.

Pte Wilfrid Lee died in battle on 23rd April 1917.   Born in Alston, he had enlisted in Carlisle to serve with 5th Bn Border Regiment.    He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, on Bay 6.

Pte Joseph Monkhouse, the husband of Mary Monkhouse, of Whitehouse, Kingstown, enlisted into the 11th Bn Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.   He died at the age of 25 on 26th January 1917 and is interred in Dernancourt Military Cemetery, grave IV.G.24. 

William Routledge was serving as a Fireman in the Mercantile Marine Reserve when his ship, the Armed Merchant Cruiser Alcantara, was lost North East of Shetland on 29th February 1916 in a battle with the German cruiser Greif.   The Greif also sank from damage inflicted on it by the lightly armed Alcantara.    Many of the crew of both ships were rescued but William Routledge was not among them.   He is commemorated on panel 20 of the Plymouth Naval Memorial.   He had lived at Curator’s Lodge, Kingstown, Carlisle.  

Pte Richard Rayson, of 5th Bn Border Regiment, died from wounds on 29th November 1918.   He is interred at Premont British Cemetery France, grave 111 E 23.   We would like to know more about this young man.

Pte William P Robson’s service is unknown to us.   He may have served with the Army Service Corps. Information would be appreciated.

Pte Frederick Scott was the son of James and Susan Scott, of 15 Charlotte St., Carlisle.  He had earlier served with the Border Regiment but was with 97th Coy Machine Gun Corps when he died on 26 April 1917 at the age of 23.   He is interred at Cerisy-Gailly Military Cemetery grave I.C.6.

Pte John Stephenson.    We would like information on this man.

Arthur Steel.   Possibly Robert Arthur Steel who was a 20 year old Sgt when he died on 18th November 1916.   It is believed he was serving with 11th Border and is interred at Ten Tree Alley Cemetery, Puisieux, in grave A37.  He may be the son of Mr and Mrs J. and M.E. Steel, Kendal Street, Carlisle, and the husband of Isabella.  We would like confirmation.

Pte George Ward.  Born circa 1894.   We would like information on this man.

Pte Joseph Ward, born circa 1896, served with 2nd Bn Border Regiment. He died on 26th October 1917 and is commemorated on panel 85/86 of the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing.

Pte John Ward, born circa 1879 served with 5th Bn Border Regiment.   He died on 17th Sept 1916 and is interred in Adanac Military Cemetery, Miraumont, in grave VIII.C.24.

Pte George E. Walker was the son of Thomas and Mary Ann Walker, and the husband of Eleanor, of Kingstown, Carlisle.   He died on 1st July 1916 at the age of 33 while serving with 11th Bn Border Regiment.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Pier/Face 6A/7C.

The following served and are also considered to be casualties, having died from the effects of War and been interred in Houghton Churchyard.   They are not listed on the Memorial.  

Pte George Graham served with the fledgling Royal Air Force towards the end of the War, dying prematurely at the age of 45 on 27th July 1922.   It is not known how he received his injuries, or what illness caused his death.  He is described on his gravestone as the son-in–law of Henry and Agnes Cartner, and the husband of Mary.  They had a son, John.  George is not numbered among the war casualties which the CWG Commission lists for this cemetery.  (There are four listed).    Nevertheless he is a casualty.

The grave in Houghton Churchyard of Pte George Graham


Christopher Birkett died on 19th November 1922 from the effects of his war service, at Garlands Hospital Carlisle.   He was 38 years old and had Boer War service and is interred in Houghton Churchyard. He was the son of Christopher and Margaret Birkett.   He is not listed on the memorial, nor has he a CWGC headstone.

Pte Peter Swinney Anderson is buried here in Houghton churchyard.   He died on 14th November 1920, two years after hostilities had ended.   Peter was 22 years old on his death and still suffering from the effects of his wartime service with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.  Modern medical practice may have extended his life.  It was not to be.   Peter was the son of Robert and Mrs Anderson, of The Lodge, Houghton, and the husband of Florence, of Pearson’s Cottages, Kingstown.

He lies here near his family home, under a Commonwealth Graves Commission headstone, and is as much a casualty of war as those of his comrades who are buried on a distant battlefield.

Pte Thomas Simpson, of 5th Bn Border Regiment also lies here in Houghton churchyard.   Thomas died on 28th August 1917 in Stobhill Military Hospital, Glasgow, from wounds received in late April of that year.    The action during the Battle of Arras in which he was wounded was a successful engagement for 5th Border.   Unfortunately Thomas was among the many who might have been saved by modern medicine.   However he lived for a sufficient time to be brought home to his family.   He was the son of Tom and Mary Simpson, of Town Head, Houghton, Carlisle.  

Pte George Ord died in Hawick Sanatorium on 15th May 1921, from the effect of his service with 11th (Lonsdales) Bn Border Regiment and his later experience as a Prisoner of War.   He was 44 years of age on his death and is interred here in Houghton under a Commonwealth Graves Commission headstone although his name does not appear on the Parish War Memorial in the Churchyard.   George was the husband of Jane Ord, of Main Road, Kingstown.

Private Ord was rather old for trench soldiering, particularly for a Private Soldier, although we today would consider him quite young.  However a century ago poor medical provision and diet meant many had a shorter and less healthy life.  George would have found the trials and tribulations of service more difficult than a younger man.


ACCESS  Memorial stands in the Churchyard which is accessible at all times.

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