Welcome to the Carlisle and Stanwix Branch of The Royal British Legion
St Mary Magdalene Church, Gilsland
Grid Ref: NY63313 67278 Post code CA8 7AR
The small church of St Mary Magdalene is set in a remote and peaceful location just outside the village of Gilsland in the heart of Hadrian's Wall Country. The village actually stands in two counties, Northumberland and Cumbria, and straddles the River Irthing. The church is always open in daylight hours and many visit and find peace and tranquillity here.
You will find the church on the road out of the village on the way to Spadeadam - at the turn off for Gilsland Spa Hotel.
Many young men of the district answered the call to arms in the period of the Great War. Five would not return.
Their names are inscribed on a simple memorial which is actually the cover of the baptismal font. They are;-
Pte Joseph G Irving, who died on 9th Oct 1918 while serving with 2nd Bn Machine Gun Corps (Inf). He is interred in Forenville Military Cemetery in grave E2. Joseph, 29 years old, was the son of Mr and Mrs J Irving, of The Towers, Gilsland.
Pte George Robson was the son of John and Sarah Anne Robson, of Renwick. He was born at Gamblesby. George died on 11th April 1918 at the age of 32 while serving with 1st Bn Border Regiment. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial at Hainault, near Ypres, on Panel 6.
Pte John Joseph Smith was born at Low Row and had enlisted at Carlisle. He was Killed in Action on 9th August 1915 while serving with 6th Bn Border Regiment. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial to the Missing, at the Dardanelles.
Pte Thomas Smith was born in Bury in Lancashire and had initially served with the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry until this unit became part of the Border Regiment. At the time of his death on 18th Sept 1918 he was serving with 7th Bn Border Regiment. He is interred in the small cemetery of Villers Guislain, in France Nord region.
Rifleman Frederick Earl Wilson died on 25th August 1916 while serving with 16th Bn King’s Royal Rifle Corps. He has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel 13a/b on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.
There are a number of reasons why a young man from Bury for example, or Gamblesby, should be commemorated in a place like this. Maybe his grandparents lived here, or one of his parents had family nearby, or perhaps work had brought him to the local coalmines or quarries?
While at this distance in time much information will be lost, there will be someone who may have a link. The promoters of this website invite anyone who can fill in any details to use the “E Mail us” facility on our home page.