Star readers pledge to make grave ‘fit for hero’

Alfred and Alice Broughton
Alfred and Alice Broughton
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The shattered grave of WWI war hero Alfred Broughton is to be restored – thanks to readers of The Star.

Yesterday we highlighted the dilapidated state of his last resting place in Darnall Cemetery and, within hours, our readers and website visitors were mobilising all around the world.

The derelict gravestone of WW1 hero William Broughton in Darnall Cemetery in Sheffield

The derelict gravestone of WW1 hero William Broughton in Darnall Cemetery in Sheffield

Retired market trader Derek Naylor has pledged up to £1,000 towards the restoration of the grave, and several volunteer groups have offered to help physically restore the broken and overgrown plot.

“When I saw it I thought, ‘People have short memories’,” said 81-year-old Derek, whose family had a food stall on Castle Market from 1964 to 1974.

“For the first time in my life I have some time and money to spare, so I want to help. I want to go down there and help sort it and whatever money is collected I will make it up to the total needed with up to £1,000.

“We need to take care of these men’s memory, not leave their graves in a state.”

The story of former Company Sergeant Major Broughton’s abandoned grave was soon going around the world on The Star’s website and a host of military veterans’ Facebook pages. Alfred went through the war after winning the Distinguished Conduct Medal and surviving horrible wounds. Yet he was killed in a factory accident in Sheffield in 1919.

Messages of outrage, and pledges of support, have been posted from all over Britain and Europe, from the USA, Canada and Australia, after The Star revealed neither the council nor the Commonwealth War Graves Commission was prepared to take responsibility for the grave, and Alfred’s grandson in Sussex was unable to.

Ex-Royal Navy man Stan Kaye has been keeping tabs on the story’s progress.

“It’s gone viral on a lot of the ex-forces Facebook sites and people are sharing the post and commenting from all over the world,” said Stan, from Peterborough.

“I can get a team together to come up to Sheffield at any time to put this grave straight. I have been on to the War Graves Commission this afternoon to see if they will review the case.

“If we come to Sheffield it will be standing room only – there’ll be loads of us. We just need to co-ordinate all the people who want to help.”