Bath (Haycombe) Cemetery Back to Search

Cemetery Details

Location Bath, Sommerset, United Kingdom
Co‑ordinates N51.38445, W2.38502
Description

Whiteway Road, Bath, Somerset, England, United Kingdom.

Haycombe Cemetery opened in 1937 to coincide with the closures of Bellotts Road, Locksbrook and St James municipal cemeteries in the same year.

290 burials of World War II.

The plot was used by the Royal Air Force as a regional cemetery and contains the graves of airmen serving with the Commonwealth and allied air forces stationed in the south-western counties. Alongside these graves are those of men who served in squadrons of Coastal Command in their work of patrol, searching for U-boats and providing convoy for shipping. Many of the casualties came from the RAF station at Colerne.

Bath suffered heavily from attacks by German aircraft and a severe air raid in April 1942 killed a number of servicemen at home on leave with their families. They are buried with them in the cemetery.

The Top (or Burial) Chapel was built in time for the opening, as was the lodge which housed the Cemetery Superintendent serving as both his office and dwelling.

The crematorium came later in 1961. It had no car park at all at first, as services normally took place in the local church and the coffin was brought into the crematorium by a funeral director purely for cremation.

The last occupants of the lodge as a dwelling left in 1996. They were no longer connected with the cemetery in any way by then. There followed several years of controversy, as the Head of Cemeteries and Crematorium saw it as the perfect opportunity to transfer from cramped offices adjacent to the Top Chapel with little or no reception area, whilst the council, following government policy, hoped that it could remain as part of the housing stock. Unfortunately it was neither specifically house nor office - or rather it was both. The original Cemetery Superintendent's office had been blocked off from the rest of the house and was still in use as the current Cemetery Superintendent's office, which meant that no 'right to buy' could be incorporated in any tenancy. Therefore it could not be offered as a council house to a tenant, and there was certainly no room to move the Cemetery Superintendent (and his burial and grave registers for several cemeteries) into an office already creaking at the seams in the Top Chapel.

All avenues were explored to try to resolve the situation, but the lodge remained unoccupied (apart from the office) and unloved, degenerating through lack of use. Although the fabric of the building was maintained by the council, there was no-one to prevent damp and general deterioration taking place as in any unoccupied building. However, in 2004 permission was finally granted for a change of use and the lodge was spruced up ready for all office staff to move into it in July of that year.

Overnight the facilities for both staff and public changed beyond recognition. A spacious reception area now greets members of the public. A 'Quiet Room' is available for them to sit quietly and complete forms, or assemble before an ashes interment, or talk privately to staff, or even just to sit quietly and recover their composure. Whilst staff now no longer have to grab a sandwich at their desk. There is a staff room, or in summer a garden, in which to eat lunch properly.  And one of the offices is large enough to double as a meeting or training room  - albeit not for large numbers.

Haycombe war graves section
Bereavement Service is justifiably proud of its war graves section, which it maintains on behalf of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).

The area is towards the end of the road leading to the crematorium car park and is unmistakeable with its typical war grave headstones, English garden planting and the Cross of Remembrance. It also boasts a tempettio - a small temple shaped building, built to house a Book of Remembrance . We think that there are only two in the country, so we are very proud that one is here. The Book of Remembrance is no longer there. It is safely stored in the council's archives.

The servicemen buried here are all casualties of  the 1939 - 1945 war.
They are mainly Air Force, and from many nationalities - including Australians, Canadians, Italians, Poles and Germans etc. All are young and died before their time.

Other graves are spread throughout the cemetery marked by the distinctive CWGC memorials. Details can be found in the attached CWGC link.

Locksbrook cemetery - war graves section
The servicemen buried here are casualties of the 1911 - 1918 war.

There is a dedicated section with a Cross of Remembrance which is reached by following the roadway branching to the left, not too far from the main entrance gates, leading up towards the mortuary chapels.

Sourced and submitted by Juilanne T Ryan.  9/6/2016.  Lest we forget.

Thank you to Bath & North East Somerset Council for their information.

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Names

Showing 6 people of interest from cemetery

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ROULSTON, Alexander Somerville

Service number 421127
Flying Officer
Born 2 Aug 1912

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SMITH, Graham Natt

Service number 416719
Pilot Officer
No. 263 Squadron (RAF)
Royal Australian Air Force
Born 30 Sep 1922

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BIRD, Hugh Alexander

Service number 410210
Flight Sergeant
Born 2 Jul 1917

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LANGWORTHY, Walter Dinnathorne

Service number 408157
Pilot Officer
No. 97 Squadron (RAF)
Royal Air Force (WW2)
Born 21 Feb 1913

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HABERECHT, Leonard Burtham

Service number 413377
Flight Sergeant
Operational Training Units (RAF)
Royal Air Force (WW2)
Born 28 Jun 1922

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BATTERHAM, Jack Alexander

Service number 414382
Sergeant
RAF Conversion Units
Royal Air Force (WW2)
Born 10 May 1920