A group of local history enthusiasts led a guided walk around a selection of war graves in Falmouth Cemetery to tell the stories of the people buried there on Saturday. 

The stories were told by Glyn Winchester, Tony Casey and Terry Hedge.

Around 20 people turned up to hear the story of Phillip Stevens, who served on the First World War battleship HMS Vanguard.

He survived the Battle of Jutland only to perish in an horrific accident when the ship suffered a catastrophic explosion in its home base of Scapa Flow, an accident which led to the deaths of 843 of the ship’s 846 crew.

Also related was the story of army chaplain Ben O’Rorke who served in both the Boer War and the First World War.

Ben was taken prisoner by the Germans at the Battle of Mons, was repatriated after ten months only to return to France where he won the DSO. Although he survived the war, he fell victim o the Spanish flu epidemic which was raging towards the end of the war and died of pneumonia in Falmouth Military Hospital on Christmas morning 1918.

Amongst a number of international war graves highlighted during the walk were those of six French merchant seamen, members of the crew of the cargo ship the SS Ango which was torpedoed off Falmouth on November 26th 1917.

Until recently these graves had been badly overgrown with brambles but, thanks to the efforts of the cemetery maintenance team, these have now been cleared and one of the walk’s leaders, Tony Casey, was able to lay the French symbol of remembrance, the cornflower or “bleuet”, on each of their graves.

One of the most fascinating stories was that of Dutch Jewish art dealer Jacques Goudstikker who died in an accident at sea, not far from Falmouth, while fleeing the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands.

Hurriedly buried in Falmouth, his wife continued to the United States.

His entire art collection was later seized by the Nazis but recovered by the Allies in 1945 only to be retained by the Dutch government. It took over half a century of legal action for the surviving members of the family to recover just some of the looted paintings.

These are just a few of the moving stories related during Saturday’s walk. To find out more, follow facebook page We Love Falmouth Cemetery.