An appeal has been launched to fix the grave of a Cornish major who famously raised the Chorley Pals Battalion in Lancashire during the outbreak of World War One. 

Colonel James Clymo Milton, originally an officer in the local militia in Cornwall was involved in the Territorial Force in Chorley based out of the Drill Hall on Devonshire Road from around 1899. 

During the war Colonel Milton was appointed captain on September 11, 1914 and major on January 15, 1915. He went overseas with the Chorley Pals in 1916, serving in Egypt and then the Somme. 

However, due to injury, he did not lead the men over the top of Somme in July 1916, as he had been transferred due to medical grounds a month earlier.  

Milton was born on May 19 1869 and died in a nursing home in Penzance in April 1931 but his grave site is in Worcestershire, alongside his wife, Mrs James Clymo Milton. 

Unfortunately, his gravestone - a Cornish Celtic cross-  in the churchyard of St Augustine in Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire is very old and in danger of falling. 

The family that own the grave next to it are appealing to Colonel Milton’s descendants to repair the stone in order to prevent it falling. 

Christopher Belk, whose family grave the cross could fall onto said: “I just wonder if there are any Milton descendants or relatives who would be able to take-up the cause of underpinning the Milton stone, so that it doesn’t tumble? 

“The grave onto which the stone could tumble is the grave of my Grandfather, Frank Holtham Gwilliam, who was also a solider in the First World War. He was a Royal Marine who fought at Third Ypres. 

“Before the war, my grandfather was a Broad Saltmaker - Droitwich Spa is famous since Roman times for its salt.  

“Salt making was a reserved occupation in WWI, so he declared his hobby, hay trussing, as his job in order to be able to enlist. Such was the universal spirit that motivated men of Cornwall, Chorley and of Droitwich to join-up, in WWI.” 

The grave also contains his grandmother, parents and uncle, so it is a cherished plot. The maintenance and restoration of a grave stone in a church year is the responsibility of the family. 

Mr Belk adds: “I wouldn't say that the task is urgent, but it could become so, and remedial work soon might be money well spent. 

“It is the practice in some churchyards to lay unsafe stones flat - but I think that this would be a pity for such a man as this.”