The cemetery opened in 1872 and a crematorium was added to the site in 1962. A total of 189 identified war casualties are buried there, while over 40,000 cremations have taken place at Thorncliffe. Operated by Barrow Borough Council, records of burials and cremations can be found at the Cemetery Office as well as the council's archives at Barrow Main Public Library.
The cemetery contains war graves of 109 Commonwealth service personnel (including one unidentified) of World War I and 83 (including five unidentified) of World War II, besides those of 5 foreign nationals (4 Polish Air Force and 1 Netherlands Merchant Navy).
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