MORE than 45 casualties from the First and Second World Wars are buried in Pudsey Cemetery.

They include Private George Mason of the 2nd Bradford Pals, who was wounded then taken as a prisoner of war.

On Sunday, May 29 there’s a chance to see George’s grave and other war graves at Pudsey Cemetery, in a free guided tour led by Damon Sugden of the Friends of Pudsey Cemetery and Chapel, and Bus to Bradford, a group that researches and commemorates Bradford men who served in the First World War.

The tour is organised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as part of War Graves Week, aimed at encouraging people to discover the world war heritage on their doorstep. Tours have been held this week highlighting stories of men and women commemorated by the CWGC, and the dedication and expertise of CWGC staff and volunteers who work to keep their memory alive.

Sunday’s tour offers a chance to connect with local history; highlighting the Ordinary People, Extraordinary Times project - the focus of this year’s War Graves Week.

Alongside the frontline armed forces, the CWGC will be celebrating those who served during the two world wars in key sectors such as healthcare, logistics, infrastructure and communications.

Says Damon: “For the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, remembrance and the sharing and caring for world war heritage is a daily duty. Behind every name on a war grave or memorial in Pudsey is a human story waiting to be discovered and War Graves Week is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

“I’d encourage everyone in Pudsey to join the tour to reconnect with their local history and learn about the courageous ordinary people from our community who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

Private George Mason was an early volunteer of the Second Bradford Pals, joining up on February 10, 1915 in the city.

He had been engaged to Pudsey lass Lillian Balmforth, and they wrote to each other constantly while George was serving in France.

George was eventually wounded in action, taking a painful gunshot to the thigh that shattered the bone. Worse was to come when he was taken prisoner and operated on without anaesthetic in an attempt to save his leg.

George was released after the Armistice but came home to Pudsey a broken man, with a shortened leg, TB and deteriorating health.

His heartbroken fiancee Lillian could only watch as George slowly ebbed away over the next nine months, and eventually died, aged just 25.

He was buried in Pudsey Cemetery on September 13, 1919. Lillian never married.

Sadly, her dying wish to be buried with her beloved George was denied because they weren’t related.

* To book a place on the free tour of Pudsey Cemetery go to the War Graves Week 2022 event list at

Emma Clayton