Staff from a military charity have been remembering those who gave their lives in the First and Second World War by carrying out much needed maintenance work on the headstones of heroes buried in a Penryn cemetery…

Four headstones have showed signs of weathering and moss growth which led a team from Turn to Starboard in Falmouth to conduct a clean-up operation. The group scrubbed and cleaned the headstones at St Gluvias churchyard of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and attended to their plots.

Charity founder Squadron Leader Shaun Pascoe (Rtd) said the charity was approached by the Falmouth branch of the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) after a member of the public spotted the graves needed some attention.

He said: “RAFA asked for our support after been informed that some Commonwealth war graves in the cemetery looked like they weren’t been attended to. After hearing this, some our staff members and volunteers decided to form a group to clean up the gravestones and surrounding area to restore them. In the meantime, the RAFA branch has contacted the Commonwealth War Graves Commission who were not aware of two of the graves, and are now looking into replacing two of the headstones.”

Turn to Starboard, who help military personnel affected by operations by taking them sailing, is partnered with RAFA along with other national military charities including Help for Heroes, ABF, RNRMC, the Prince’s Trust, The Endeavour Fund and more recently The Royal British Legion.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has more than 1300 staff in the UK and overseas who inspect and maintain war graves to ensure that headstones are legible and accessible. Headstones are treated with a masonry biocide every two to three years to keep them free from algae and lichen. The organisation has a rolling headstone replacement programme, currently running at 22,000 per year, to replace headstones which are no longer physically intact or where the inscription is difficult to read.

Reflecting on the fallen heroes, Squadron Leader Pascoe said: “One of the headstones was particularly sad in that we noticed he had fallen two days before the end of the Great War. With Remembrance Sunday taking place next week it seems fitting that we stand with the Royal British Legion and take time to remember.”