When Wayne Hartshorne from Staffordshire in the U.K. saw that the grave of an Australian airman was untended, he felt that he should pay his respect. So for years, he kept the plot tidy without knowing the story of the hero whose last resting place he looked after. Then some friends made a breakthrough, and the tale of the young flier miles from home was revealed.
Hartshorne lives in the town of Cannock in England’s West Midlands, near the Cannock Chase Cemetery. And the wartime navigator whose grave he looks after in that cemetery is a complete stranger to him. But that didn’t stop him restoring and caring for his grave.
Meanwhile, it was during one of his regular visits to his grandparents’ graves in 1992 when Hartshorne noticed another burial place. This was the grave of wartime airman John Benjamin Burrows, who had been a pilot warrant officer in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). And despite not knowing Burrows at all, Hartshorne decided to keep his plot in good shape.