Welcome to Holy Cross Church, Chatton.

Photo of War Graves

Commonwealth War Graves

Situated at the far south-east part of the churchyard are two graves of soldiers who died during the First World War, which are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The graves are those of two local men:-

Private Robert REDHEAD 56914

3rd (Reserve) Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment

Born 10 June 1899 at Bowershield, Elsdon to Robert REDHEAD (a shepherd) and Margaret (née GREENHILL), their third child and eldest son.

Robert, also a shepherd, enlisted in the East Yorkshire Regiment on the 15 June 1918 but sadly died only just over two weeks later, on the 1st July, having contracted acute pneumonia during training. He was just 19 years old.

At the time of his death, Robert's family were living at Hetton House which would explain why he is buried at Chatton and recorded on the war memorial there.

Private Joseph COMMON 2943

1/7th Northumberland Fusiliers (Territorials)

Born in 1896 at Longframlington to Joseph COMMON (a shepherd) and Mary (née DIXON), their third child and second son.

Before enlisting in the army, Joseph was employed by Mr Coates, estate agent to Major Leather at Middleton Hall, Belford.

On his third attempt to join up (rejected on the two previous occasions because of his age) Joseph enlisted in the Northumberland Fusiliers and became an officer's servant. He died on the 12th May 1916 as the result of an accident (the nature of which is unspecified in the records) at an army camp at Retford, Nottinghamshire. He, like Robert Redhead above, was only 19 years old. His funeral took place at Chatton at 2pm on Tuesday 16th May 1916.

As well as being recorded on the war memorial at Chatton, Joseph is also remembered on a brass plaque in St Mary's, Longframlington, a plaque in Longframlington Memorial Hall, and the Roll of Honour in Longframlington Memorial Hall.

An interesting aside.

Joseph's parents had separated at some point prior to 1911. His mother came to live in Chatton with her children while his father remained in Longframlington, surviving his son by only 1 month.

Joseph senior had some notoriety, it would seem. In 1913 he had unexpectedly inherited a large sum of money from a rather reclusive uncle, who had apparently speculated in gold during the boom in South Africa and had made himself a fortune of £20,000. Upon his death in August 1913, this fortune, in gold, was discovered in his cottage! Joseph Common was one of four nephews to share the inheritance and by all accounts rather let the money go to his head. Mary, his estranged wife, on hearing of his windfall, tried to claim maintenance due to her and her children, eventually winning £200.

Joseph sr. did not want to see any more of his money go to his wife and so attempted to persuade his solicitor, Hugh James Percy of Alnwick, to make a Will in which he, HJP, was the sole beneficiary. To his credit, Mr Percy persuaded Joseph this was not really a good idea and eventually a Will was executed in favour of the children, and upheld by the courts following Joseph sr's death. Sadly, of course, Joseph jr never saw the benefit of his share.