Unknown soldier,s grave.

Discussion in 'Non-Commemorated War Dead' started by stevej60, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. stevej60

    stevej60 Active Member

    Sorry if this is not the place for this post but I think this story would be of interest.In the nearby village of Langley Park
    Durham there is in the churchyard a CWWG headstone to "an unknown soldier 1939-45,the story was that Mrs
    N Bolton was informed by the war office that her son trooper William Bolton had died in hospital in may 1940,his body
    was returned and buried in June.She then had the trauma two weeks later of seeing William alive and well arrive at the
    house on a motorcycle!he had not been ill or in hospital,So for over 70 years someone,s husband or son has lain in
    that grave I can only guess a victim of the Dunkirk campaign
  2. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    Happy out come for Mrs. Bolton but very sad for the lad not reunited with his family. Who ever he is I hope he still found some peace being buried back in the UK. I wonder if an index still exists as to what was found on the body? Do you have any information on William Bolton? Was he with the Durham Light Infantry? Nothing short of DNA would prove who he was now.

    Researching my grandad from Sri Lanka (served in the Merchant Navy WW1 & WW2), I discovered him in an unmarked grave in South Shields, along with his grandson who died in infancy.

    A bit more research I came across his 2nd family there. I now correspond with his granddaughters (my half cousins). One of them has now purchased the plot and is going to be putting the ashes of her mother (my half aunt) who sadly passed away this year there. I find it remarkable that she will be laid to rest with her father and her infant son. I hope to get down one day to lay flowers at their grave and pay my respects.
  3. stevej60

    stevej60 Active Member

    Sorry I have not a lot more information on this story,the northern echo one of our local newspapers mentioned it in a 2004 article on the
    village but puts the date of burial at 1942 and claims it is the only WW2 unknown burial in the country which I am sure is wrong? there
    is an Australian online newspaper article dated 1941 that puts events a year earlier hence my thoughts on Dunkirk,I am sure I am sure I
    read in a local history book that the mistake may have happened due to paperwork belonging to William Bolton being found on the man
    who later died.As his rank is given as trooper he was not a member of the DLI.
  4. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    There are a couple of things you might like to try to confirm the circumstances and narrow down the search parameters a little:

    ( a ) contact the CWGC to ask what information they have regarding the circumstances of the intermement and if they can confirm the date of the burial;

    ( b ) check the burial register record for Langley Park (All Saints) parish at the Durham County Records. The original register is not there but there appears to be a microfilm record available (Burial Register 1925 - 1946, Original Ref. EP/LP/ 1/12, Microfilm No. M42/981).

    They may also have copies of the local newspapers at the Durham Records Office. You might find the relevant articles there as well.
    4jonboy and CL1 like this.
  5. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    hello Steve

    yes you are right that is incorrect

  6. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    news items below

    The Second War claimed the lives of a further 27 men from the village and their names were added to the memorial. However, Langley Park's most intriguing memorial to the war lies further west along Quebec Street in the graveyard of All Saints church.
    In May 1942 an elderly Langley Park couple called Mr and Mrs Bolton received sad news from the army notifying them of the death of their son, Private William (Billy) Bolton.
    His body was returned with full honours and on May 21 his funeral was held, attended by many Langley Park residents. Imagine the shock two weeks later, when Mrs Bolton heard a motorcycle pull up outside her door and Billy walked in.
    The body of the mystery soldier buried in the graveyard has never been identified but in 1978 the grave was adopted by the Fellowship of the Services. They provided a new headstone dedicated with the inscription "A soldier of the 1939-45 war, Known Unto God".
    It is reputedly the only Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in England apart from the one at Westminster Abbey.




    Attached Files:

    ritsonvaljos likes this.
  7. stevej60

    stevej60 Active Member

    Thanks Clive i was sure that there must be aircrew and naval personnel who lie buried across the country who could not be positively
  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    hello Steve 2 attached from Finchley cemetery North West London

    Attached Files:

  9. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    A good find! I notice there is still a discrepancy with the burial date. The war memorial gives the burial date as 6 June 1940 while the newspaper article suggests the mix-up took place in 1942. They cannot both be correct.

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