The Cemetery Memorial Cross

In keeping with most communities across the land, Ruskington was not slow to acknowledge the sacrifices made by its young men in The Great War.Memorial 1

On Sunday, 21 March 1920 a Latin cross about 9 feet (2.75 m.) high of white Portland stone was erected near the entrance of the Cemetery. The Memorial was dedicated by Mr George Colborne Bartlett after being unveiled by Lord Winchilsea.

Mr Bartlett had become Headmaster of the Alvey Schools, Sleaford, on 18 June 1910, after a period as Assistant Master at Lincoln St Faith’s School.

He remained in post at the same School until shortly before his death in 1934. George was also a lay-reader and member of the Parish Church Council.

George C. Bartlett

George C. Bartlett

The 1911 Census [RG14; Piece: 19630] shows 37 year old George C. Bartlett living with his wife of 8 years, Alice Ada, (née Watts) at 16 East Gate, Sleaford.

The couple do not appear to have had any children, and George died on 22 May 1934, aged 61, in the Royal Northern Hospital, Holloway, London, where he had been admitted for an operation. (He was born 4 April 1873 in Steeple Ashton, Wiltshire.)  

George was brought home and buried in Sleaford Cemetery where he was joined by his wife after her death on 2 June 1949.

The Memorial is ‘officially‘ described as : “Latin cross about 9 feet high of white Portland stone, which has been, erected near the entrance of the Cemetery. There are three tiered steps at the base and then a square stone block which carries the inscription, then two small tiers at the base of the cross. The area surrounding the memorial is cordoned off with plain wooden posts and chains. ”

Memorial & LychgateIn fact the Memorial is 1.65 m wide by 1.275 m deep by 2.70.m high) It is located at The Cemetery, Sleaford Road, Ruskington, North Kesteven, Lincolnshire, NG34 9BL. (OS Grid Ref.: TF 084 506) It faces the entrance of the cemetery and is approached through the Cemetery lychgate.

The Memorial commemorates only the 30 men of the village who gave their lives in the Great War (i.e. no Second World War additions) and as well as their names and rank. It also (very usefully) lists the Regiment to which each of the casualties belonged.

In recent years (2023) Ruskington Parish Council has done much to enhance the area surrounding the Memorial. The Cross and plinth have been cleaned and the area inside the chained surround gravelled. In addition new gravel paths have been laid.

The front face of the Memorial carries the dedication familiar from all Remembrance Day services, beginning: “They shall grow not old …. ” and the remaining three faces bear the names of the fallen:

Mem Panel 1Mem Panel 2

Mem Panel 3

Mem Panel 4

The Sleaford Gazette” of 27 March 1920, reporting on the unveiling of Ruskington Memorial Cross, under the heading: “RUSKINGTON’S HEROES” read:

The little churchyard at Ruskington gave just the right setting for the ceremony which took place there last Sunday, under a white cloud-flecked sky and bathed in the sunshine of the first day of Spring. The ceremony was brief, but its very brevity added to its impressiveness. It was not an occasion for speech, and it was evident that those who had speaking to do did so under the impulse of real emotion; and one of them Mr. Robert Pattinson was deserving of all praise no less for his choice of language than for the homely sympathy it expressed to the small company of bereaved ones who stood by him on the platform.

The music, from the opening march to the closing notes of the reveille was well-chosen for the occasion; and perhaps it was noticed by some of those whose hearts were heavy with sorrow that, even as the trumpets gave forth the “rouse” [Reveille] larks were singing up in the blue their song of hope and promise. The monument is in the shape of a cross – the symbol of sacrifice – and as it is of enduring stone it will stand for generations as a witness of heroism of Ruskington lads. That one hundred and seventy three men should have joined the colours from this small and remote English community is a record of which it may well be proud.

As to the thirty whose names appear on the monument it may be mentioned that no fewer than twenty six of them received their education within the walls of the church schools; so that Mr. Beattie has reason to feel pride in the fact that he has been honoured with having a share in the formation of the characters of young men who have proved that the bit of English soil which was their birthplace was worth fighting and dying for. Ruskington will not forget them. They live in hearts that loved them well, “they grace Britannia’s story”.

Not all of the 173 men who enlisted have so far been identified. Those that have can be accessed under the “They Also Served” on the Menu Bar above.

In addition to the War Memorial Cross, Ruskington has four other Memorial sites and each has its own page in this site.

C L I C K on the name below to go to the relevant page:

All Saints Church Memorials, Ruskington,

The Methodist Church Memorial, Chapel Street, Ruskington,

The Zion Wesleyan Methodist Church Memorial, Chestnut Street, Ruskington, and

The Garden of Remembrance Sleaford Road, Ruskington.


Ruskington Cemetery:

CWGC_SignAs well as housing the Village Memorial, Ruskington Cemetery is also a recognised Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, although contains just two graves, one from each War:

Morriss Wilson Spinks became a resident of the village after his marriage to Clara Cock in 1909. Aged 28 years, he enlisted in March 1915, but died of pneumonia in Aldershot Military Hospital just 6 weeks later. He was brought home and buried in the Cemetery and is commemorated in this site  – button_read-more-blue.

Ernest John Tilston was born in Lambeth, London, in 1918, but in the December quarter 1940 he married Lucy Ann Blades, aged 19, in the Sleaford District, i.e. probably at All Saints’ Church, Ruskington. Lucy’s maternal family name was ‘Fixter‘ and the 1911 Census shows a the Fixter family farming land at Ruskington Fen. After their marriage it is possible that Ernest and Lucy set up home in the village, in which he was buried.

After Ernest’s death Lucy moved to live in Spalding and it seems likely that his name was omitted from the World War 2 Memorial as there was no-one remaining in the village to put it forward for inclusion. However, Ernest is now commemorated on this site.  button_read-more-blue

  • Captain William Frederick PATTINSON, 404th (2/2nd Highland) Field Company, retired from the Army on 1 July 1919 and died on 21 May 1922 in Queen Alexandra Military Hospital, Millbank, Middlesex. William was brought back to his family home village and buried in Ruskington Cemetery. As he died after the cut-off date for CWGC cut-off date of 31 August 1921 for the dead of the Great War, William has no CWGC headstone, but is buried in his family plot.  button_read-more-blue

In addition, some of the family graves in the Cemetery contain dedication inscriptions to a member of the family who gave his life in the Great War.

  • Private 42613 Leslie William CLARKE, 9th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment, Died of wounds: 20th November 1918. Aged 19. He is commemorated on the grave of his brother, Cecil Burkes Clarke, who died on 21 September 1962.
  • L/Corporal 40591 Wainer KIRTON, 10th Battalion, Essex Regiment. Killed in action 22 October 1916, aged 22 years. He is commemorated on his parents’ and brothers’ grave.
  • Private 73172 Francis Victor LEWIN, 16th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment). Killed in action 2 August 1917, aged 24 years. He is commemorated on the grave of his parents George and Jane Lewin.



  • Imperial War Museum, London
  • Lincolnshire Chronicle 27th March 1920