Found: Royal Marine's First World War Grave Identified In Padstow
10 August 2015
Lance Corporal William Whitmore, Royal Marines, served as a Gunner on armed merchant ships during the First World War. On 23 July 1918 he was serving aboard the SS Anna Sofie when it was torpedoed off Trevose head, Cornwall. William was killed during the attack and was believed to have been lost at sea. After the war William was commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
However, Padstow Museum Chairman John Buckingham and Sussex based historian Peter Smith, came across the grave of an Unknown Royal Marine in Padstow Cemetery and became determined to identify the occupant. They painstakingly gathered evidence which proved that William's body had been washed ashore and buried in Padstow as the Unknown Royal Marine.
Isobel Pope, William's Granddaughter, said: "We could never have imagined this happening after all these years but it is wonderful we now know his true resting place."
"The whole family would like to thank the town of Padstow, for taking care of my grandfather when he was found and keeping him until we were brought together again."
"Thanks also to Peter Smith and John Buckingham who did a great deal of work to bring this to a wonderful end, without them we would never have known."
A service to dedicate the new headstone to William will take place at 1400hrs on 11 August 2015 at Padstow Cemetery, Cornwall. The service will be conducted by The Revd T Thomas-Botwood from Royal Navy Air Station Culdrose. It will be attended by several members of William's family, representatives from The Royal Marines and local dignitaries. The service has been arranged by the Ministry of Defence's Commemorations team, with the Commonwealth War Grave Commission arranging the manufacture and installation of the new headstone.