War hero’s grave lost among weeds

David Spouse from Duns in Scotland whose great uncle, Bill Pattison is buried in Bedlington Cemetary. He is angry the grave is overgrown and not looked after properly despite the council getting money from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for its upkeep.  GM016807
David Spouse from Duns in Scotland whose great uncle, Bill Pattison is buried in Bedlington Cemetary. He is angry the grave is overgrown and not looked after properly despite the council getting money from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for its upkeep. GM016807

Relatives of a First World War hero have hit out at Northumberland County Council after it allowed his grave to vanish among weeds for a second time.

It was an unwanted sense of de ja vu for David Spouse when he returned to Bedlington to find the grave of his great uncle, Private William Pattison, covered in weeds yet again.

David, 79, makes the trip from his Scottish borders home in Duns, to pay his annual respects to his great uncle, who was seriously injured on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916, but died in a military hospital 19 days later, aged 28.

He said: “I have been to France and Belgium and all the war graves are perfect.

“It is just totally unacceptable.

“The council is getting paid from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for the maintenance and upkeep so for it to be in a state like that is disgraceful, especially the second time round.”

David had already complained to the local authority back in 2006 when he found the grave covered in grass, weeds and shrubs, as reported in the News Post Leader.

Officials at Wansbeck District Council, who were responsible for the upkeep of all war graves in the district, tidied up the site, but David said it would appear that nothing has been done to look after it since.

He said: “Clearly, somebody is not doing their job.

“Northumberland County Council is not very pro-service.

“I would just like to see them look after it.

“He was born in Bedlington and he lived in Cambois.

“It is a sheer lack of respect by the council.

“When a young lad gets killed in action you would think they would have more respect.”

David said he now plans to get in touch with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Northumberland Fusiliers to make them aware of the problem.