There are some wonderful displays of poppies and art work all over the local area that have been planned and executed by countless people over a number of months – from the trail of flowers at Rawdon, to the stunning wall at Otley. In between we have the display in Nunroyd Park at the Aireborough Commemorative Garden, and the art installation of flowers at St Oswalds.
However, very quietly at Guiseley Cemetery lies another aspect of World War I – how families were affected.
In addition to the First World War Graves and plots in St Oswald’s there are also at least 12 soldiers who fell in battle mentioned on ‘new’ family graves in Guiseley Cemetery. St Oswald’s graveyard ran out of land for burial during the First World War, and the now Cemetery, then a field called ‘The Nooks’, was found suitable as a new burial ground.
The first burial was the wife of the farmer who sold the land Mrs Craven Cooper in July 1922, before the cemetery had been consecrated.
The second is more applicable to now. It was for Ernest Clapham who died in February 1923 Age 49; he too was buried before the Cemetery was consecrated, on a cold February day, with snow lightly covering the fields and hills around.
Ernest was a textile worker at Springfield Mill, who simply collapsed and died. Although a possible reason is written on the Grave as well – James Ernest Clapham son of Ernest and Ann Eliza Clapham of Birklands Guiseley. Died of wounds Etaples France, 3 April 1917 age 19 years.
Both these, the oldest graves in the Cemetery, are under the copper beech trees especially chosen for the new Cemetery along the top wall.
The other members of the military mentioned on family graves at the Cemetery, each one telling its own family story, are
Herbert French, son of William and Annie French, presumed died 12 April 1918, age 19 years.
Harry and Albert Cottrell, Killed at Gallipoli 9 Aug 1915 age 25 and 20 also William Cotterell killed in France 6 Oct 1918 age 27. Sons of Henry and Elizabeth Cotterell.
Pt H M T Wharton, West Riding Regiment, killed in action 29 April 1918, age 37. Husband of Florrie [Hardwick?]
L/Cpl Alfred Exley, killed in Action Flanders Nov 1917 age 20. Son of Joseph and Alice Exley.
R Percy Crowther, lost in action Easter 1918, in his 20th Year. Son of J and A Crowther.
Fred Mounsey, killed in action 25 April 1918, son of William and Lucy Mounsey and husband of Clara Mounsey
Cpl Thomas Clapham killed in action in France 27 March 1918 age 23 years. Related to the Waite family
Fred Clarke, husband of Edith Clarke killed in action 16 October 1918 age 31.
Fred Howarth, son of James Howarth died 12 Sept 1917, in France age 24
We have put together a small exhibition for our coffee morning on 17th November of how Guiseley changed after World War One, when the promise was a Home for Heroes. Parkinson’s Park too was an indirect result.