There is not only a new Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) sign at the entrance to St Michael’s churchyard this week but also a new gravestone within it. We have been waiting for both to appear for quite some time.
The sign is part of a countrywide initiative to highlight where small groups of CWGC graves exist. The new gravestone is the result of one individual’s research to identify gaps in CWGC coverage and his campaigns to fill in the gaps.
We know that James Hornshaw, who was living in Elsenham Road at the time of his death, was buried in the churchyard but we do not know the exact location of his grave so we picked a location for his new gravestone close to another pair of CWGC stones; his is the left hand one of the three in the group photograph.
He was a steward on a trawler who was guarding bridges and pipelines in the Grimsby area at night with only reused railway platelayer huts for shelter and his final illness may well have been caused or exasperated by a severe wetting on one of those nights.
At one point the help of Grimsby’s then MP (the Tickler of jam factory fame) was enlisted to gain some support for his wife when his death was judged not to been due to military service; a gratuity of £50 was paid to her.
He was born in Greenwich and she less than ten miles away at Sutton at Hone in Kent. Their eldest sons were twins born in Grimsby, a younger James who had been discharged from the army on the grounds of ill health in May 1915 and who died of tuberculosis a few months later (and who had already been buried in the churchyard) and a Charles who was to be killed in 1918 (and who is buried at Senlis in France where a major Casualty Clearing Station operated briefly).