Birmingham & Black Country

Cradley WW1 graves uncovered during churchyard 'jungle' clearance

Volunteers clearing an overgrown churchyard in the Black Country have found 26 "missing" graves.

Volunteers made the discovery around known war graves in St Peter's Church, Cradley.

Norman Catton, from Cradley and District Ex-Service Association, said the memorials were hidden under brambles.

Amongst the graves volunteers found are 10 belonging to soldiers killed in World War One.

Mr Catton hoped local people would ensure the graveyard did not "get into that state again".

The oldest grave found belongs to a soldier killed in the Boer War.

Mr Catton said he first became aware of the hidden memorials when a woman told him she could no longer get to her father's grave.

Image caption Volunteers from the Cradley and District Ex-Service Association cleared the graveyard

A grant of £9,000 from the Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust paid for equipment to cut back what Mr Catton called "a jungle".

Some of the work was carried out by offenders on the Probation Service's community payback scheme.

In a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One, two million poppy seeds were scattered in the graveyard, in memory of those who died in the conflict.

The war memorial at the church has the names of 117 men who were killed in the war.

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