Bomb victims' neglected graves spark Tupton man's mission

Eleven victims of a bombing raid on a north Derbyshire village during the Second World War lie in graves that have fallen into disrepair.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 4:08 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th March 2021, 4:12 pm
David Parmley at the grave of Phyllis Lee.
David Parmley at the grave of Phyllis Lee.

Two of the graves are unmarked, others have crumbling stonework or letters missing and one has a small tree growing out of it.

Now a campaign is underway to restore the final resting places of the Tupton residents who lost their lives in March 1941.

David Parmley is on a mission to spruce up the six graves in Danesmoor and North Wingfield and buy headstones for the unmarked plots.

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The grave of Mr and Mrs Cocking is in the worst state of repair.

He said: “No-one knew where the graves were, nobody knew the condition they were in so I thought it was important that they were brought back to a good condition and the 80th anniversary was the perfect time.”

Four of the graves are at North Wingfield churchyard, including those of the Higgs and the Howe families – each with a husband, wife and infant child – and teenager Phyllis Lee who is buried in her family’s plot.

A grave marking the final resting place of Mr and Mrs Cocking in Danesmoor cemetery is in the worst state of repair.

David said: “It is sad. Modern graves are well kept but you go back 100 years and that part of the graveyard is normally overgrown because nobody ever visits.”

Bomb victim Phyllis Lee was 18 years old and worked as a waitress at Woodheads Cafe in Chesterfield.

Estimating that repair work and headstones will cost £2,500, David has set up an appeal which has attracted a £500 pledge from Tupton Community Group and support from Tupton Parish Council.

He said: “At the annual Tupton Remembrance Service, we always say that we will remember the sacrifice of our fallen, including for those who were killed in the Tupton bombing. This project aims to do this.”

David’s campaign is a spin-off from an initiative he launched in Tupton in 2014 during the centenary of the First World War. David said: “I set up the Lest We Forget project and researched all the names on the war memorial –there are 42 and I’ve traced 39 of them.”

To support his appeal, go to

Teenager Phyllis Lee's grave.

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