Cornhill memorial mystery leaves researchers perplexed

The Parishes of Cornhill, Carham and Branxton gathered for a joint Remembrance Day Service in St Helens Cornhill for an extra special occasion.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 13 November, 2016, 15:23
Cornhill Remembrance service. Picture by Susan Hughes

Churchwarden, author and local historian Eric Grounds has teamed up with fellow local historian Clive Hallam-Baker, to produce an exhibition in Cornhill Parish Church.

They have researched the names of each person named on the local memorials, discovering a local man whose name was never inscribed and finding that mystery surrounds a name which was inscribed.

Flying Officer Francis Swan Renton died 5 January 1945, serving as an Air Gunner on a Lancaster of 550 Squadron, RAFVR over Germany and was buried in Hanover War Cemetery. Trevor Swan of Coldstream, when discussing Eric’s project, raised the question as to why Francis’s father, Alexander’s name was not on the memorial.

Thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, Eric learnt that Alexander had died on the 19 October 1917, serving as a 32 year old Private in the Lincolnshire Regiment and is buried in Locre Hospice Cemetery in Belgium. He checked Norham, Carham and Branxton memorials and could find no mention of him, applied to the Local Authority for planning permission to add his name to the Cornhill Memorial.

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After the service in church, piper Ollie Farr and The Royal British Legion Standard Bearer Tony Waddell led Canon Alan Hughes to the Cornhill Memorial. After Last Post and Reveille were sounded by Willa Straker-Smith, Alan re-dedicated the name A Renton, newly inscribed on the Memorial.

However, Eric and Clive discovered that the name of one person on the Carham Memorial is a mystery. James George Tweedie does not appear in the 1901 or 1911 Census as a native of Northumberland and the Borders. There are two listed: one in Scotland and one in Ireland but not the man inscribed. Eric has tried to find out more, but so far has drawn a blank. More than a blank, a mystery, for there is no JGT listed at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission nor on the Forces War website.

WHO WAS JAMES GEORGE TWEEDIE? If anyone can shed light on the mystery, please leave a note for Eric by the exhibition in St Helen’s Cornhill, open daily.