Tragic Doncaster babies get memorial 70 years late

Julie Morris, Christopher Shackshaft and Stephen Morris, pictured by the new memorial garden that has been created within the grounds of St. Michael's church yard for all the children who died in the 1930's. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP St.Michaels MC 3
Julie Morris, Christopher Shackshaft and Stephen Morris, pictured by the new memorial garden that has been created within the grounds of St. Michael's church yard for all the children who died in the 1930's. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP St.Michaels MC 3
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It was 70 years ago that a little Doncaster boy died of his injuries in a pit village after being struck by a bin lorry.

Alfred Taylor was one of a number of youngsters who died in the 1930s who were buried in a hidden corner of a churchyard in Rossington.

But now, the memory of those youngsters has been brought back after that little boy’s niece discovered the uncle she never knew.

Now Julie Morris has created a memorial garden in memory of all the youngsters who died in the 1930s and whose bodies were buried in a corner of the yard which had become overgrown by trees.

Julie and her friend Donna Marshall decided to create the memorial at St Michael’s Church after Julie went looking for Alfred’s grave.

Alfred died back in 1936 outside what was then the family home on Allenby Crescent, in Rossington.

Julie’s 67-year-old dad, Alfie, of Queen Crescent, Bawtry was named after him,

Julie, of Allenby Crescent, Rossington, said: “We went to St Michael’s Church and they got their 80-year-old records out, and took us directly to where he was.

“We had to cut away a holly bush to get to it. We then found there were 24 babies buried under the bush.

“We decided to do a memorial garden and we’ve had volunteers come to help.

“We’re not sure what had happened to all of them, or if there was some sort of epidemic or something.

“But we have managed to get in touch with relatives of 14 of the children to tell them what we’re doing.

“One wept when we revealed we had found the graves, but she said how grateful she was.

“She could not believe we had done all this. But it is a pleasure to give these babies something that they never had - a memorial.”

“It has meant a lot to my dad, that we have been able to find where his brother was buried.

“His brother was only 13 months old when he died.

“A bin lorry reversed over him. It devastated the family, and in those days it was a taboo subject.

“I only found out a few months ago that my uncle existed. But I traced him through the archives.

“My dad was shocked that I managed it. It has brought me and my dad closer together and he has been with us every single day we have been working on the memorial.”

“I’m so pleased that we can do something for those children.

“In those days I don’t think parents were all able to afford memorials. We’d like to put headstones in place for Alfred. But it would be up to other families if they want headstones for the other children”

A spokeswoman for the Church of England’s Sheffield diocese said the graves were discovered in a quiet part of the churchyard, and now the church is working with the families and community to put together a suitable memorial to those buried there.