AN ERROR on the grave of a First World War soldier who is buried at a Cleckheaton church has been corrected after an engraving showing the wrong date was discovered last year.

Brothers Frank and Roland Hartley are buried in the same grave at Whitechapel Church.

Roland was killed on September 7, 1917, and Frank died of war injuries two years later on September 18, 1919.

An error in the date engraved for Frank’s death was spotted last year – it showed he died in 1917, the same year as his brother.

The Spenborough branch of the Royal British Legion took up the issue and referred it to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which has now replaced the headstone and rectified the dates.

Branch chairman Eddie Morton said: “It is very unusual for two brothers to be buried in the same Commonwealth War Grave and we are very pleased that this error has been corrected.

“There are two other World War One graves at Whitechapel for Pte S Butterworth, who died on September 16, 1916, and Pte R Barstow, who died on December 13, 1916, and we are grateful that the church maintains them all.”

The Commission has also confirmed that the original headstone was replaced in 2011 due to erosion, and they believe the date error could have occurred when a drawing was produced showing the layout of the inscription on the replacement headstone.

Or it could have been when the stone was actually engraved in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission workshop in France, they said.


The vicar of Whitechapel Church, the Reverend Brunel James, said the church, which was built in 1820, had a number of historic links to the First World War.

“Whitechapel is a treasure house of World War One heritage and we invite anyone interested to come and see our historic church on the first Saturday of the month when we are open from 9.30am to 1.30pm – or simply to join us for Sunday worship at 9.30am,” he said.