Wellington General Cemetery

The Victorian cemetery that was consecrated in 1875 and serves as the final resting place for a number of First World War servicemen, several of whom died in the wake of the conflict during 1919.


By March 1918, the British Government had drawn-up plans to lay-out and maintain military cemeteries abroad. However, it was also recognised that action was needed at home cemeteries and churchyards where those who had died of wounds or from other illnesses, such as the Spanish ‘Flu (which was particularly virulent in the autumn of 1918), had been interred. In Shrewsbury, a plot of land was set aside at the general cemetery for the purpose but no such plans appear to have been in place in Wellington. As wounded former servicemen continued to succumb to injuries during the immediate post-war period the Wellington Burial Joint Committee (which was composed of members of various local civil parishes, and maintained the facility from 1894 until 1974) began to respond to the requests of loved ones to better commemorate their fallen relatives.

In September 1919, a letter was read out at a committee meeting regarding proposals for the erection of a shield and the installation of kerbing ‘in memory of sons who had fallen in the war’. In deciding to wave the fees usually associated with such things Councillor Morrall reflected the views of his colleagues when he said:

‘If they could in some way meet these people who wished to erect a monument in memory of a son, husband, or father who had been killed in the war they should do so’.

 However, by November those proposals appear to have received further consideration and the Wellington Journal reported that the Joint Committee had decided to accept the tender of Messrs G Riley and Son ‘for remaking the plan of the cemetery in book form of six’ (this may well have been George Riley, who had recently left the post of Surveyor at Wellington Urban District Council). No specific site appears to have been set aside, however, and the 26 casualties from the First and Second World War recorded by the Commonwealth Graves Commission can be found in a number of locations around the cemetery.

This memorial to Private John Henry Jones was constructed by members of his family, who were skilled monumental masons

Private JH Jones

One of the families that did erect a monument in the cemetery to a fallen loved one was that of Samuel Jones, a monumental mason working out of premises in Market Street and Bridge Road, Wellington. His son Harry was apprenticed to the family business until enlisting in 1916 — possibly, as a consequence of being called-up following the introduction of conscription in that year. After being posted to the 1st Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (KSLI), Harry was wounded the following spring at Les Brebis, a planned mining village near the commune of Loos-en-Gohelle, succumbing to his injuries on April 4th 1917, aged 23. He was buried close to the 33rd Casualty Clearing Station at Bethune Town Cemetery in the Pas-de-Calais department of northern France, one of 3004 commonwealth casualties interred there. In the absence of a grave close at hand where they could mourn their loss, many relatives back at home commissioned plaques and monuments to honour their loved ones. What is perhaps more uncommon is that in Harry’s case his memorial was actually constructed by his father, who used his stone working skills to fashion an elaborate crucifix with monumental floral emblems and a rifle that stands close to the chapel on the Bowring Park side of the cemetery.