In the corner of the well-kept cemetery at St Mary’s parish church in Kirkby Lonsdale lies a modest grave. There is no headstone to draw the attention of the thousands of visitors who amble through on their way to the famous Ruskin’s View, over the River Lune to the fells beyond.
Yet the grave marks a poignant link between the picturesque village and perhaps the most famous legacy of the First World War. For the grave is of Brigadier General Louis John Wyatt DSODL, the man who chose the unknown warrior to represent across the world the sacrifice and suffering of all those who fought in the Great War and battles ever since.
Blue Badge Tourist Guide Tess Pike has organised a series of charity walks in support of the Armed Forces charity SSAFA to mark the 100th anniversary of the interment of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey. She is also organising a special commemoration on Armistice Day, November 11th, to be held in Lunesdale Hall.
She said: ‘I was inspired to offer the walks because I was intrigued this highly decorated Brigadier General, who played such a significant role in the country’s history, should have chosen to retire to our little town and be buried in the churchyard.’
Ms Pike, whose business as a tourist guide across the north of England was put on hold during lockdown, added: ‘Once I started researching the stories of those men who died in the First World War, the ones who have memorials in the churchyard, I became increasingly intrigued by their stories and wanted to bring those people to life.
‘Instead of offering my walks on a commercial basis, I decided to do them as a fundraiser to support one of the many charities that will be struggling with donations this year in the current economic climate.’
The main charity to benefit is SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association. It is the UK’s oldest military charity, being founded in 1885. It provides lifelong support to serving men and women and veterans from the British Armed Forces.
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