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Civilian war death grave restored

A grave in West Street cemetery has been restored to a pristine condition thanks to the efforts of local stonemasons, Stonecrest.

The grave is significant as it is the final resting place of Arthur Charles Porter who was Farnham’s only civilian death during World War II. Mr Porter died in August 1940 at the age of 51 and is recorded as a civilian war casualty of the Commonwealth. His death is listed as being caused by enemy action in the Second World War.

Arthur Porter suffered injuries at Longmoor Military Camp near Greatham in Hampshire on 16 August 1940. He later died at a house on Hale Road leaving his wife, Nellie Porter who is noted as living at an address in London. Burial records held by Farnham Town Council show that Mr Porter was a lorry driver.

Councillor Carole Cockburn, Lead Member for Cemeteries says: “Farnham’s cemeteries play an important role in honouring the deaths of 74 servicemen and women of the Commonwealth armed forces during the two world wars. Together with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission we maintain these graves which can be easily identified by the Portland stone memorial.

“As a civilian war death, Mr Porter did not receive a Portland stone memorial but we still feel it is appropriate that his grave should be maintained to an equally high standard. We are extremely grateful to Andy Raitt from Stonecrest who kindly donated his time and skills to restore the grave which now looks as good as new.”

Andy Raitt, owner of Stonecrest says: “We recently cleaned and repaired the war memorial at Hale so when Farnham Town Council approached us to ask if we would be interested in restoring Arthur Porter’s grave we were keen to help. It seems particularly poignant that Mr Porter died in a house close to where the war memorial now stands.

“The grave’s stone edges and the headstone are made from Hopton Wood and Derbyshire Limestone. We are pleased with the end result and that we have been able to bring the stonework back to its original condition.”

Civilians whose death was caused by enemy action are commemorated in the civilian war dead roll of honour which is located near St George’s Chapel in Westminster Abbey, London.

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