Brothers’ WW1 grave receives new headstone

Private Roland Hartley.
Private Roland Hartley.

Two family members who were killed during the First World War have been give a new headstone, correcting a mistake made on the previous one.

Brothers Frank and Roland Hartley are buried in the graveyard at Whitechapel Church, Cleckheaton, in the same Commonwealth War Grave.

CORRECT DATE: The new headstone for the Hartley brothers.

CORRECT DATE: The new headstone for the Hartley brothers.

Roland was killed on 7th September 1917 and Frank died of his war injuries on 18th September 1919.

Last year it was discovered that there was an error in a date of death engraved on their headstone; Frank was also shown as having died in 1917.

This was brought to the attention of the Spenborough Branch of the Royal Branch of the Royal British Legion and the matter was referred to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The commission have now replaced the old headstone with a new one with the correct dates.

RESTING PLACE: Whitechapel Church in Cleckheaton.

RESTING PLACE: Whitechapel Church in Cleckheaton.

Branch chairman Eddie Morton said: “It is very unusual for two brothers to be buried in the same Commonwealth War Grave and we are very pleased that this error has been corrected.

“There are two other WW1 graves at Whitechapel for Pte S Butterworth, who died 16th September 1916 and Pte R Barstow, who died 13th December 1916 and we are grateful that the church maintains them all.”

The commission has confirmed that the original headstone was replaced in 2011 as a result of erosion.

It is believed that the date error occurred when a drawing was produced for a layout for the inscription on the new headstone or when the stone was actually engraved in the CWGC workshop in France.

The original headstone, with the correct dates was shown in a Spenborough Guardian article dated 21 September 1919.

Whitechapel Vicar, Rev Brunel James, said: “Whitechapel is a treasure house of World War One heritage and we invite anyone interested to come and see our historic church on the first Saturday of the month when we are open from 9.30am to 1.30pm, or simply to join us for Sunday worship at 9.30am.”