St. Just-in-Penwith Methodist Chapelyard







Round the back of the chapel…


…experience tells me to leave no stone unturned,…


…and although that isn’t always possible, or feasible, on this occasion I’m glad I persevered, as two of the final three headstones proved of interest (see below).



In particular, sadly, this one.  On the rare occasions one finds ‘Lusitania’ on a headstone, it always sends a shudder down one’s spine.


I had to look carefully at times…


…but the chapel yard was full of headstones with so many stories to tell.  Company Serjeant Major Richard Hocking, D.C.L.I., was killed near Nieuport, on the Belgian coast, on 21st August 1917 aged 21, and is buried at Ramscapelle Road Military Cemetery.  If you were not aware, the British Army took over a small section of trenches, from Nieuwpoort on the Belgian coast, south to Ramscappelle, a distance of only three miles or so, from the Belgians in July 1917.  Click here for more.


As has been mentioned in previous Cornish posts, the diamond mines of South Africa, in particular, but also mines in the United States and elsewhere, were magnets for men with the required expertise who saw an opportunity to make their fortunes.


Two more headstones illustrating the link between Cornwall and South Africa in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries…


…and also the U.S.A., Colorado in this instance.



The Watters children, the oldest of whom was killed in a mining accident in 1904 at the age of just fourteen.


Thirty one men were killed on 20th October 1919 at the Levant mine when the huge man engine, used to ferry men up and down the shaft, collapsed.  We have come across the graves of men killed that day before, at Pendeen, and there are more casualties buried here (above & below).




Sergeant Leslie Leathen Jones, actually an Air Observer with the Royal Canadian Air Force, was killed on active service on 1st September 1942, aged just 19.  He is buried here, however (see GRRF below), with no CWGC headstone, although he would be entitled to one, and one wonders the circumstances of his death; ‘killed on active service’, as opposed to ‘died of wounds’, is quite unusual for a member of an R.A.F., or R.C.A.F., aircrew buried here in Blighty.




And another…


…and yet another.


A place to remember and reflect.  On war.  And peace.

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10 Responses to St. Just-in-Penwith Methodist Chapelyard

  1. Kathleen Conley Ballantyne says:

    One of the gravestones caught my eye. I am a Canadian descendant of the sister of
    May and William Tregear, of Trevegean Farm. The name L.L. Jones (Leslie Leathen
    Jones) was my uncle, my mother’s brother, who grew up in Toronto.
    I think my aunt Lillian Jones and her mother Eliza Tregear, arranged for that gravestone
    on a trip to Cornwall. I used to correspond with Betty Tregear when I was a teen.

    • Magicfingers says:

      Hello Kathleen. That’s very interesting. Do you have any other information on Leslie, because I cannot find him on the CWGC database, which is odd?

      • Kathleen Conley Ballantyne says:

        Yes. I have a dedication framed after he passed away. I think the problem is that
        Uncle Leslie was in the RCAF not the RAF, the Royal Canadian Air Force.
        That stone marking may be an error.

        • Magicfingers says:

          I see. Thanks Kathleen. I presume you noticed the Lusitania headstone in this cemetery – your comment, and re-reading the post, prompted me to add a bit of text to that bit, so thanks for that too.

          • Kathleen Conley Ballantyne says:

            I will check that gravestone. I remember my grandmother was a Methodist, so the chapel yard in St. Just was the reason I looked at the site. She was a nurse educated at
            Guys Hospital in London.

  2. Magicfingers says:

    Kathleen, I have added some text on your Uncle – incorrectly named on the CWGC website (I found him eventually) as Leslie Leather Jones – you could get that corrected – and if you have anything to add I would be most interested. Do we know what actually happened?

    • Kathy Ballantyne says:

      Are you serious? Mispelled as “Leather” instead of Leathen? I have a visual of a leather
      biker on a motorcycle!
      My uncle was killed on active service, and the family was given a dedication by the city
      of Toronto, Sept 4/1942, Roll of Honour, F/Sgt. Leslie Leathen Jones, Royal Canadian
      Air Force. I have the document in front of me. Body never found, like many
      pilots. My father Cliff Conley was an RCAF pilot trained in Hamilton Ontario, and was
      stationed Bournemouth and in Egypt. He survived the war (obviously).

      • Magicfingers says:

        Oh yes, I’m serious. I had the same visual image! Apart from the misspelling, we do have a slight conundrum here. I have added the GRRF for Leslie after the photo of the headstone. Forgive me if I am telling you stuff you already know, but this is the Graves Registration Report Form, and the operative word is ‘Graves’. These only list men buried in a particular cemetery (unless specified otherwise, as in lists of panels on the Menin Gate, for example). Leslie is clearly listed as one of four men whose graves are in the chapelyard. Not remembered here, but buried here. And yet you have a document that states his body was lost. So, time for you to do some detective work, perhaps. Either he is buried in the chapelyard, or someone else is…………….

        • Kathleen Conley Ballantyne says:

          My uncle was only 19. How many flying hours did he have in the air?
          My aunt Lillian Jones Ferguson and her mother Eliza Trejear Jones went to Cornwall
          after notification of Leslie’s death, and added a dedication to an already existing gravestone for Betty Trejear , daughter of Great Aunt May.
          My aunt Lilly was eccentric, and very persuasive. She also had a bit of money.

  3. Lyn Wilkinson says:

    Hi there, sorry to jump into the conversation but as I am a descendant of the Leathan family of St Just in Penwith (Leslie was my 4th cousin 1x removed) I was also interested to see this page. Just in case you hadn’t found it, his death certificate (issued in Canada) is available on familysearch:

    and if you have a findmtpast subscription you’ll find a very good description of the funeral in the Cornishman 10 September 1942 Page 4

    It is an excellent article which includes the snippet “The sad news of his death was received by Mrs Tregear, who went to the place where he had been stationed immediately to cancel the funeral which was to have taken place on Tuesday.”

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