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We Will Remember Them: Commonwealth
War Graves in St Paul's Churchyard

by Vincent Riley

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There are 5 Commonwealth War Graves in St Paul’s churchyard, 3 marked with the characteristic Portland Stone headstone. Who were these men and why are they buried here?

Captain Cecil Domville Wynter, No.3 Company Irish Guards died of his wounds October 5th 1915 aged 31. The Battle of Loos on the 27th September 1915 led to 60,000 casualties including Rudyard Kipling’s son 2nd Lieutenant John Kipling and 2nd Lieutenant Siegfried Sassoon. Cecil’s wife lived at Long Close, Woodhouse Eaves. As a mark of respect for Captain Wynter and deceased local lads, a peal of bells half muffled was rung at St Peter’s Church in Mountsorrel.

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Captain Cecil Domville Wynter in France

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Grave of Private Wilfred Hollingshead

Private Wifred Hollingshead died of his wounds May 31st 1916 aged 22. Born in Leicester, his family moved to both Victoria and Maplewell Roads before 1914. He joined the 1/1st Leicestershire Yeomanry and was wounded in the Battle of Frezenburg Ridge near Ypres, in May 1915. He died at Connaught Military Hospital in Farnborough.

Jesse Gibson died 7th March 1919, aged 56. Born in Walsall, Jesse was Headmaster of St Paul’s Primary School, Church Hill, Woodhouse Eaves from 1896 to 1918 living on Charnwood Rise. During World War I he joined the Royal Defence Corps, becoming Commandant of a prisoner of war camp in Suffolk.

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Jesse Gibson in military uniform

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Grave of Flying Officer Tom William Kempin

Flying Officer Tom William Kempin died January 2nd 1944 aged 30. Born in Leicester in 1913, he trained as a pilot with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve after serving as a police constable in Coventry. He joined the RAF in 1940 transferring to 613 (City of Manchester) squadron at RAF Lasham. His plane crashed on a practice sortie when a spring fractured in one engine.

Bombardier Edmund Stanley Symes died July 25th 1946, aged 27. He was born in Chard, Somerset. He lived in Maplewell Road, Woodhouse Eaves and served with the Royal Artillery.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, is responsible for commemorating all Commonwealth war dead on identical memorials, irrespective of military or civil rank, race or religion. This organisation of six member states (Australia, Canada,  India,  New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom) is currently responsible for memorials to 1.7 million Commonwealth military service members in 153 countries.

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Grave of Bombardier Edward Stanley Symes