Chandler was Headteacher of St Mark's School from
1985 to 2005. He has lived in Natland since 2001
and is a member of St Mark's Church Committees and a Natland Parish Councillor.
asked John what had prompted him to
undertake his research into the Fallen of Natland.
Remembrance Service is held at St. Mark's Church annually.
Several years ago, at this service, I offered
to read out the names of those from this parish who
had lost their lives as a result of the two major conflagrations
of the twentieth century. I have continued to
do this but it was on the first occasion when I read
the 26 names that two events occurred which prompted
I met a couple who were tending a family grave and after
conversation it was apparent that one of their ancestors,
who had died in Russia, was not on the memorial and
as such was not remembered. I was asked to read
out his name, at the service, which I was content to
do. This was Herbert Nixon.
when I read the names, in most cases I was only able
to read the surname plus an initial(s). Following
this I was asked the reason why the full name was not
given and my response was I did not know the whole
name. This was when I was challenged to find out.
So I began.
first few names were fairly easy but so much research
was needed on the remainder, some of whom are still
presenting problems. The time factor meant I was
not able to address the research until after I retired.
the Second World War, sadly nine members of our community
made the supreme sacrifice whereas in the First there
were seventeen in this category.
the present memorial will note that there are only six
names included for the First World War, five soldiers
and one who was killed on the ill fated Lusitania. All
the names included were those of local men.
there are eleven others associated with the ecclesiastical
parish of St. Mark's who made the supreme sacrifice.
One was the aforementioned Herbert Nixon from
Oxenholme while the others had all been at St. Mark's
Home at some time in their earlier lives.
some have been moderately easy to specifically identify,
others, despite intensive research, have not. It
is both the initial and continuing challenge as well
as the mounting interest which provide the motivation
for this project.
with the original memorial*
text on the original memorial on the wall of
St Mark's Church
has been erected in honour of those
men of Natland who gave their lives in the Great War
and whose names are inscribed below.
8th Border Regt
Sunk on Lusitania
new memorial, which is mounted below the original, reads:
in memory of those who gave their lives from 1914 -
next stage of John's research is to find out more about
the Fallen of the Second World War.
are commemorated on the stone beneath the other memorials.
and Collectively: The Fallen Remembered
the end of the First World War, the Great War as it
was then called, various ways of acknowledging the huge
sacrifice made by so many of our service personnel were
inaugurated. For the most part these took
the form of a Cross in a prominent place in towns and
villages, often a churchyard as in Natland. The
names of all those who made the supreme sacrifice were
eligible to be included on their local memorial.
this was sometimes where the problems began. Did
the hero, who most probably lay in a corner of a foreign
field, have his name (it usually was he) engraved on
the memorial where he was born, where he grew up, where
he enlisted, where his family now lived or where a local
committee agreed it could appear?
This could mean
that the fallen did not have their name recorded anywhere,
if the local committee did not agree, or the family
had moved on. Or sometimes the opposite could
be the case that the name was recorded more than once,
the record is believed to be seventeen appearances on
different war memorials.
Natland the names of six local men who died during the
said period are on the
St Mark's Church War Memorial. These
there are eleven other names associated with St. Mark's
Church, Natland and Oxenholme who at present are recorded
on an internal board but not on the actual memorial.
the exception of Herbert Nixon, the names listed are
all believed, during the pre-war period, to have been
"inmates" (that is what they were called) at the Institution
St. Mark's Home for Waifs and Strays.
information on any of them has not been easy as tracing
their backgrounds has been difficult. Blakeman,
Keenan, McGrath and Paget are all known or believed
to be on Memorials elsewhere. Spratt is not believed
to be on any Memorial. Davies, Hudson, Rooksby,
Watson and Young either have very common names and/or
cannot be specifically identified. This is particularly
true of R. Rooksby as someone certainly with this initial
does not appear to have been a fatal casualty during
the conflict. Some "inmates" were sent to Canada
and some were believed to have been "inmates" at a sister
home in Canada. As a consequence many will have
joined the Canadian Forces.
memorial cross plus plaques
Mark's Natland and Oxenholme Parochial Church Council
has made the decision to
include all these eleven names on a new Memorial treating
them all equally and collectively.
If anyone has any additional information which
would add to our knowledge
of these young men who made the supreme sacrifice please
Chandler, November 2008
was the youngest of five children born to Richard and
Hannah Blakeman of Mount Road, Stone, Staffordshire.
He joined the army as 40491 Private R. Blakeman,
of the 8th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment. He
was killed on the 10th June 1917 aged 20. Richard
has no known grave. His name is recorded on Panel
55 at the Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium as well as the
Stone Memorial in Staffordshire.
was the youngest of seven children, born in 1899. His
parents were William and Catherine Cragghill of 19 Helmside,
Oxenholme. William and some of his children worked
on the railway.
Alexander became 91188 Private
A. Cragghill of the 13th
Battalion The King's (Liverpool) Regiment. He
was killed on the 28th March 1918. His age was
given as unknown but he was probably aged 19. He
has no known grave. His name is recorded on Bay
3 of the Arras Memorial, in France, as well as the Natland
history is unknown except he was a good swimmer while
at "the home." The date of his death is
unknown or the whereabouts of his grave but he was almost
certainly killed prior to July 1917. There were
124 soldiers with the name George Davies killed in the
First World War.
was the only child of John and Louisa Mary Elleray (nee
Shaw). At the end of the war his parents
lived at Tourist's Rest, Little Langdale, Ambleside
though Thomas was born in Natland. However, the
family originally lived at Riverside Cottages, Sedgwick.
They lived with Louisa Mary's father, a
powder mill keeper. John was a labourer at the
joined the Border Regiment but transferred to the Royal
Engineers where he became 259620 Pioneer T. Elleray.
He was attached to the 18th Division Signal Company.
Thomas died on the 19th July 1917 aged 19 and
is buried in plot 11A47 in the China Wall Perth Cemetery,
Belgium and his name is also recorded on the Natland
Memorial. Following his death a Memorial Service
was held in St. Mark's Church. He was described
by the Minister as someone who had grown up in our community,
attended our schools, sang in our choir, been confirmed
and known to everyone as a bright, happy, cheerful and
light-hearted boy. Thomas had volunteered to join and
his commanding officer had described him as a faithful
soldier who had died at his post.
was the son of John and Elizabeth Fallowfield of Church
View, Natland. John was born at Old Hutton. He
was originally employed as a servant and stable boy.
When joining the army he became 24208 Private J.G. Fallowfield
of the 8th Battalion the Border Regiment. John
died on 23rd March 1918 aged 31 and he has no known
name is recorded on Bay 6 of the Arras Memorial in France
and the Natland Memorial.
were 123 J. Hudson's killed in the First World War and
40 had just the initial J.
Consequently for the
present it is not possible to specifically identify
Francis known as Frank was born in Natland the youngest
of six children. He was born in 1900 and baptised
on 30th September1900. His parents were William
Jackson and Isabella Margaret Inman of Church View,
Natland. They formerly lived at Powder Works Cottage.
William was a stoker at the Gunpowder Works. Frank
joined the army towards the end of the war on the 24th
September 1918 as 87309 Private J.F. Inman in the 53rd
Battalion the Manchester Regiment. He was
discharged on the 29th October 1919 as a result of wounds
or sickness. Frank died on the 28th August 1920
aged 19. He is buried in St. Mark's Churchyard,
Natland a Commonwealth War Grave and is also recorded
on the Natland Memorial. There is only one reference
in St. Mark's School log book to former pupils who lost
their lives in the period of the First World War and
it is to James Francis Inman. When he was buried
the children at School (it was next door to the Church
then) stood in silence round the School flagpole where
the Union Flag flew at half-mast.
Edward was born in Natland, the second child of William
and Isabella and older brother of James Francis. John
was to be a passenger on the ill-fated Lusitania.
the 26th April 1913 the Cunard ship Caronia left Liverpool
for New York. On board was John E Inman, aged
24, a blacksmith by trade. On the 7th May 1915
the S.S. Lusitania inbound from New York was torpedoed
with severe loss of life including that of third class
passenger Mr. John Edward Inman aged 26. His name
is recorded on the Natland Memorial.
were 4 H. Keenan's killed in WW1. The one at St. Mark's
Home is believed to have come from Liverpool. He
was Henry or Harry and is believed to have worked as
a farm labourer and/or servant at Broughton -in-Furness.
He died on 23rd February 1919 and is buried at
Mexborough. In the same grave is his brother James.
Ernest Howard Keesey
was the eldest of two sons born to the Reverend George
Walter and Mrs. Annie Keesey. The Keesey family
came to Natland from Newington where Reverend George
had been a Congregational Minister. G.E.H. was
educated at St. Olaves School where he was School Captain
and at Downing College, Cambridge where he gained a
B.A. in Natural Sciences with first class honours and
later an M.A. He taught at Kendal Grammar
School for three years and afterwards at Wellington
College as Science Master. He held a commission
in the Officer Training Corps and began active service
in October 1914 as a Lieutenant and promoted to Captain
in September 1915. Earlier that year he had been
slightly wounded but returned as a company commander
the best in the battalion according to the Colonel of
the Unit. Captain G.E.H. Keesey of the 8th Battalion
The Rifle Brigade died on the 24th August 1916 aged
30. He led his company on an operation and he
and his batman were found in a trench apparently killed
instantly by an exploding shell. He is buried
in grave XXV.L.8 at Serre Road Cemetery No. 2 on the
Somme. He was married to Violet Marian and
at the time of his death had a one-year-old son who
was to die in the Second World War. George Ernest
Howard Keesey's name is also recorded on the Natland
is believed to come from Liverpool. For an unknown
period Michael lived in Burton. At some
stage he moved to Natland and became a farm labourer
for the Bindloss family at Higher House Farm. Michael
joined the army as 30414 Private Michael McGrath of
the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) and died on the 8th
November 1918 aged 23. He is buried in St.
Mark's Churchyard, Natland but his name is recorded
on the Memorial at Burton.
Nixon came from Oxenholme and died (along with many
other British soldiers) in Southern Russia. Herbert
a railwayman came from a railway family. Prior
to living at 24 Helmside, Oxenholme the Nixons came
from Burton. Herbert born in 1893 was the eldest
of two sons born to Thomas and Elizabeth Nixon. In
July 1917 Herbert married Helen and a year later on
15th October 1918 a daughter Marian was born. Three
weeks later Helen died and subsequently Marian was brought
up by her Mum's sister. Herbert joined the army
and became ES/58659 Private Herbert Nixon of the RASC
Motor Transport Unit. He died from typhoid on
the 25th January 1920 His grave along with
35 others has long since been lost and consequently
his name is recorded on the Haidar Pasha Memorial in
Turkey but not on the Memorial in Natland. His
family had asked for his name to be included on the
Natland and Oxenholme War Memorial but allegedly the
aforementioned committee declined to include him. This
was rectified with the unveiling of the additional plaque
on Sunday 9th November 2008.
was born in 1895 the second of three children born to
Frederick and Isabella Paget. After being born
in Burton-on-Trent and living in Birmingham Frederick
James and his family settled in Barrow at 104 Greengate
Street. Second Lieutenant F J Paget served
with 206 Squadron of the Royal Air Force Regiment and
died on the 6th August 1918 aged 23. Frederick
is buried at St. Omer in grave V.D.34 of the Longuenesse
Souvenir Cemetery and his name is recorded on a Barrow
War Memorial. The inscription on his grave
A glorious death is his,
Who for his country
name is an enigma. There is no recorded death
in the First World War of a serviceman with this name.
Like some other pupils young Rooksby may have
been sent to Canada. Whether he joined a British
or Canadian unit, there is no recorded death with this
initial. The internal board of St. Mark's
Church indicates R. Rooksby as a Corporal. There
was an acting Corporal Richard Rooksby but he appears
to have survived the war.
surname Rooksby is very much one that is associated
with Northamptonshire where in fact nearly all with
this name lived a hundred or more years ago. There
was one exception to this as in 1891 a Rooksby family
lived in Kendal though of course the father and mother
had married in Northamptonshire. Edward was a
cabinetmaker and the family presumably travelled for
his work as every one of their children was born in
a different town. There were in fact six children
and by 1901 two had joined another family as step children,
though not with either of their parents, one had sailed
to South Africa, one was "an inmate" in Gordon Boy's
Home, Surrey while another (James) William was in St.
Mark's. In 1906 Jas W Rooksby at the age of 17
and travelling on a joint ticket with Percy Dew (who
was also at St Mark's) sailed from Liverpool to Montreal
on the Virginian.
James (Christian names reverse d) Rooksby joined the
Canadian Army on 15th September 1916 and died as 1057045
Private William James Rooksby on 30th September 1918.
His age was given as unknown but he must
have been 30 having been born on the 29th June 1888.
JW states he was born not in Manchester as indeed
he was but gave the Canadian authorities Kendal as his
birthplace. The name of his wife is given as Matilda.
On the internal board within St. Mark's
there are two Rooksbys and it would appear that the
wrong one has been identified as having made the supreme
was the second of two sons born to William and Maud
Spratt of 52 London Avenue, North End, Portsmouth. William
died in 1910 and Maud remarried in 1912 and is then
believed to have moved away from Portsmouth. Charles
joined the army as 32671 Private C R Spratt of the 9th
Battalion the South Staffordshire Regiment. Charles
died on the 1st December 1918 aged 20. He is buried
in grave 7, row B, plot 3 at the Giavera British Cemetery,
Arcade, Northern Italy. Until now his name
is not believed to have been included on any War Memorial.
other details are available other than he was almost
certainly killed prior to July 1917.
were 104 T. Young's killed in WW1 with 33 just given
Identification of the T. Young associated
with Natland is probably impossible.
new plaque has been made by Coopers Engraving of Stavely
Photograph of *John Chandler with the original memoria
details of theirl
reproduced by kind permission of the Westmorland
images of regimental
badges are carved on the headstones within Commonwealth
War Graves Commission cemetries. They
have been taken, with kind permission,
from the website
site of remembrance and a comprehensive guide to the military cemeteries and memorials of
Belgium, France, Great Britain and throughout the world.