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Milford Haven: Headstone placed on unmarked grave thanks to historian’s efforts

A CAMPAIGN to get a headstone on an unmarked grave at Milford Haven Cemetery has reached a successful conclusion.

In 2020, historian and Pembrokeshire County Councillor Simon Hancock discovered that a Nigerian man, John Myers, killed in battle in the First World War, was lying in an unmarked grave.

Since then he has had support from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales and other local people.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has now placed a headstone on the grave of John Myers and have said they will look after it.

John was onboard the SS Falaba, along with other crewmen and passengers, when it was hit by a German U-boat in 1915.

Eight bodies were recovered and taken to Milford Haven for their inquests and all but one was repatriated.

Cllr Hancock attended the grave on Wednesday (Sept 7) to lay a wreath and was joined by Mayor of Milford Haven Kathy Gray and Lynda (nee Myers) and John Lloyd.

Simon Hancock said: “For the past 107 years John Myers has lain in an unmarked grave, completely  forgotten about, at least locally. Thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission this young African, working as a crew member in Britain’s mighty merchant marine has finally got the memorial which he deserves.

“He was a victim of the terrible U-boat campaign which was fought around our shores from 1915. My two year campaign has achieved a successful conclusion.

“I am determined to find the graves of other black and minority ethnic sailors who might lie in Pembrokeshire cemeteries and churchyards so that they too will be remembered.”

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Mayor of Milford Haven, Cllr Kathy Gray added: “It’s just nice that he will now be remembered and never forgotten and he’s got his own rightful place in Milford Cemetery where he’s been since 1915.”

Liz Woodfield, Director of External Relations at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, said: “It is our honour to be able to commemorate this brave young man who paid the ultimate sacrifice fighting for his country whilst onboard the SS Falaba. We will care for his grave at Milford Haven Cemetery in perpetuity.”

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