WORK on clearing an overgrown Carrington churchyard has uncovered the graves of two soldiers who died during World War One.

A community work unit, based at Trafford, have been clearing weeds from the grounds of St George's Church, on Manchester Road, for the past two years after the site of the disused church had become so overgrown that only a handful of the graves were visible.

David Bowyer, an unpaid work officer, spotted the two graves and carried out research into the soldiers’ identities. He was eager to trace relatives who may still live in the area.

The first grave marks the resting place of Thomas Albert Barlow, who had been a private in the King's Liverpool Regiment, 53rd Battalion, and who died aged 18, just three weeks before the war's end, on October 22, 1918. His parents were Mr and Mrs T and E Barlow, who lived on School Lane, Carrington.

Private Alfred Holt, of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, was also buried in the graveyard. He died aged 27 on March 30, 1919. His parents were George and Mary Holt, of Carrington - but their address is unknown.

David, who prior to working for Greater Manchester Probation Area served in the Army Air Corps, said: "Before offenders cleared the graveyard the undergrowth was so high you could only see a couple of the graves.

"I carried out research into the soldiers and would love it if the newspaper were able to trace their descendants, whom in all probability have no idea of the graves’ existence.

"It is possible Private Holt either died of his wounds or was involved in mine clearance, and that's why he died after the war had ended."

David's interest in military history started after he researched his family tree and discovered his great grandfather, Richard, served in the army from 1855 to 1879, followed by his grandfather, Thomas, who fought in the Boer War and World War One, prior to his father Richard, who also served in the forces.

Rev Peter Geddes, vicar of St Mary's in the parish of Partington and Carrington, is responsible for St George's churchyard.

He said: "When I arrived four years ago the churchyard had been totally neglected, some of the brambles, weeds and young trees were over 10ft high and it was in a disgraceful state.

"I felt it was my responsibility to clear the place, but had no money with which to do it. I did some research and found the probation service, who since then have come in and done a fantastic job.

"They also come back and maintain it and the people of Carrington really appreciate it because they can now come here once again to pay their respects."

St George's was built in the late 18th century by the Earl of Stamford, but fell into disuse. It is now owned by the Church Conservation Trust.

David Aldred, unpaid work officer, said: "We are delighted that the work our teams are carrying out is so appreciated by the local community, and I am proud of the teams and the efforts they have made to restore this graveyard to its best."