War graves found on home soil as well as foreign fields

War graves are found in this country, as well as abroad.
War graves are found in this country, as well as abroad.

THINK of war graves, and the image is of those great vistas of crosses that characterise the battlefields of Europe.

But just as you can visit France or Belgium and find a handful of carefully tended burials in small town and country cemeteries, so you can in this country too.

In that respect, can I take you back to the piece the other night on the appeal for relatives to come forward of Aircraftsman Norman Quentin Charlton, whose parents lived in East Boldon, and who was killed in 1940.

His grave is one of a number undergoing maintenance by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission who, in each case, are seeking relatives for more information.

I said that Norman, who was only 21, was buried in Boldon Cemetery. He’s not – he rests in Whitburn Cemetery. Apologies for the error.

It has been illuminating, however, to learn how many war graves there are locally (I passed some just the other day, in the churchyard of St Simon’s in Shields. I wonder how many others getting off the Metro there notice them?).

There are more than 400, from both wars, in Harton Cemetery, for instance (including, interestingly, one Dutch) and 17 from the First World War in Westoe.