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.

This entry was posted in Cornwall, U.K. Churches, Memorials & Cemeteries - Back in Blighty. Bookmark the permalink.

25 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.

          • Good evening Kathleen. I am thrilled to have found a relative of Leslie! I am the daughter of one of his high school friends. I have letters that Leslie wrote to my late father, prompting me to look further. His Royal Canadian Air Force service records are also available and it is indeed, Flight Sergeant Leslie Leathen Jones R105354. The International Bomber Command Centre also has some details on how he died online. I would love to hear from you, Darja

  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.”

  4. Michael Salmon says:

    Hello. I’m not sure if this thread is still active… I am the local CWGC coordinator in West Cornwall and conducted our annual inspection of the military graves in St Just Methodist Chapel cemetery yesterday. As I follow up on all inspections, I came across this thread when searching for details on F/Sgt Jones. Our records show that he was buried here, but was killed on 28th August 1942 when his Wellington DV834 from 29 Squadron Operational Training Unit (OTU) ‘swung on take-off, corrected several times and became airborne in a bad attitude, stalled and crashed, F/S L.L. Jones killed, Sgt R.G. Walters, Sgt G.H. Dood RAF and Sgt G.W. Hall RAF injured’. So he would have been killed on active service and as this was in the UK it is likely that his body would have been recovered. I am very happy to help change any details like the misspelling of his name on the CWGC register.

    • Magicfingers says:

      Hello Michael. Thanks for commenting and for the above info. Everything on this site is well and truly active!! And you might possibly be the man I need to talk to! But consider carefully first. I have been running this website for ten plus years now, and one of the problems has been finding all sorts of cemetery errors – mainly on the CWGC website, I am sorry to say. And as the CWGC are custodians of these cemeteries and their history, that frustrates me immensely. I have in the past succeeded in getting certain headstones in France ( corrected, but, well, take a look at a post I published last week as an example ( and you will see what I mean. What I need is advice!! Anyway, thanks again for your comment, and what a fine job you are clearly doing! Excellent stuff.

      • Michael Salmon says:

        Thanks Magicfingers, what a great site and well done on putting right mistakes where you can see them! I work locally in the west of the UK helping to look after war graves as a volunteer, but I know that if you see any problems with the CWGC register then you can find help by sending a message to and look for the CWGC enquiries link. They are very good at helping. I have already submitted the fact that F/Sgt Leslie Jones’ middle name should be Leathen and not Leather, so hopefully this will be changed soon. Regards and great work

  5. Thank you Kathy!
    I have 12 letters and a card from Leslie to my father from May 41 to July 42, and would love to get copies to you.

    Magicfingers, would you be able to act as a bridge and forward my email address to Kathy and Lyn Wilkinson? I do not want to post it for the world to see. Again, thank you for your work! It is so important to have correct records, and to honour our predecessors. Darja

  6. Stephen Gilbert says:

    Good evening, I have a lot of ancestry buried in and around St Just but I’m desperately looking for the grave of my gggrandmother Mary Jane Jelbert. She died of accidental poisoning whilst ill and was buried aged 32 on 26th Dec 1870. She left 5 children (2 others had died) and was living on Fore St with my ggrandfather John. The newspaper report is accessible on Cornwall OPC and even Google. He remarried and is buried in the ‘new’ Higher Churchyard with his wife (also Mary Jane, nee Roberts) In the parish burial records she is page on 129 number 1025, but no indication as to which graveyard. They were poor and I’m pretty sure it would have been a pauper’s grave, but I’m still hopeful of at least an identification stone. As the family were miners and my ggrandfather was later buried in a Wesleyan Chapel in Lancashire, I’m hoping she could possibly be here. I’ve located almost everyone, including her son in Phoenix, but sadly I cannot find her. I intend to visit and my one wish is to lay flowers and say “thank you”. Her maiden name was Addicoat. Many thanks

    • Magicfingers says:

      Hello Stephen. Unfortunately I don’t live anywhere near St Just, so really cannot help you here. But good luck with the research.

  7. Andrew Greco says:

    I’m descended from the Robert and Jane Prowse shown on the headstone located at the back of the Chapel, and their son Robert also noted, who died in South Africa in 1903.

    The younger Robert’s son, another Robert Prowse, served throughout the First World War in the DCLI and Royal Garrison Artillery, and in the Second World War he was in the anti-aircraft defences during the Plymouth Blitz.

    In 1919 he was one of the rescue and recovery men in the Levant Mine disaster. On the 50th anniversary, the BBC Yesterday’s Witness Levant documentary (now on YouTube) interviewed him and other miners and their families and he mentions having served during the war with some of the victims of the accident. There was an added sense of disbelief that men who had survived the war were then lost so soon afterwards and so close to home.

    Thanks for remembering them.

    • Magicfingers says:

      Hello Andrew. Interesting stuff. Thanks ever so for taking the time – am watching the YouTube documentary as we speak! Or at least as I speak.

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