musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Category: Victoria Cross

Portsmouth Cemeteries, a retrospective

This morning, while editing my Victoria Cross grave collection, I realised that I had not done a blog post on my visit to Portsmouth Highland Road and Milton Cemeteries, although I had done one on my flying visit to Kingston Cemetery.   This retrospective post is to rectify the matter so that I can carry on with my editing.

Portsmouth is not too far from Southampton, but I never really saw too much of it because I always ended up at the Historical Dockyard,  my first visit happed in April 2013, and it was really a taste of this great naval city and its large chunk of maritime history. My visit to Milton and Highland Road were for a different reason though. There are 9 Mendi Casualties buried in Milton Cemetery, and I really wanted to pay my respects. Fortunately one of the Hamble Valley and Eastleigh Heritage Guides was willing to take me to the cemetery to see the graves. 

I also had a map of the two cemeteries in my camera bag, and it showed the location of the Victoria Cross and George Cross graves in the cemeteries. I wanted to photograph as many of them as I could while I was there.

The day was not too sunny, but only rain would have deterred me in this quest. Our first port of call was Milton Cemetery (Google earth:  50.798967°,  -1.060722°). The cemetery is really closer to Fratton than Portsmouth, and when I had first checked it’s location I had considered it was do-able on foot from Fratton Station. 

Milton Cemetery Chapel

Plaque attached to the chapel

The cemetery  was opened in 1911, and contains 426 graves from both World Wars. The 1914-1918 burials are mainly in Plot 1, while the 1939-1945 War burials are widely spread throughout the cemetery.

8 Mendi casualties are buried in this row

Being a Royal Navy base and manning port, it is inevitable that many of the graves do have a naval connection, although Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery in Gosport contains the majority of naval graves in the area that I am aware of.

To be honest, Milton was not a very interesting cemetery, it was a bit too modern for my tastes, although there were a lot of interesting finds to be made in it. There are two Victoria Cross graves (Sidney James Day VC and John Danagher VC) and one George Cross grave (Reginald Vincent Ellingworth GC) in it. John Danagher VC was serving with Nourse’s Horse (Transvaal) during the first Boer War when he was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 16 January 1881 at Elandsfontein, near Pretoria.

The Cross of Sacrifice is also present in the cemetery, but I did not photograph any of the military graves apart from ones that interested me. It was really a fleeting visit as I did not want to take up too much of my host’s time. Fortunately he has an interest in cemeteries and is a member of the Friends of Southampton Old Cemetery.

Random Images from Milton Cemetery

   
   
   

And then it was time to go and we headed off to Highland Road Cemetery which is about 1,5 km away as the crow flies. (Google Earth:  50.786022°,  -1.067228°).

Those heavy clouds did nothing to make the chapel stick out more, Oddly enough the Google earth image shows a marker in the middle of the graves tagged as “St Margaret C of E Church”. I do not know whether that tag is supposed to relate to the chapel. There is one more building in the cemetery and I suspect it may have once been the Dissenters Chapel or a Mausoleum. The history of the cemetery may be found on the Friends of Highland Road Cemetery website.

Highland Road Cemetery was definitely the nicer of the two cemeteries. It was opened in 1854 and contains war graves from both world wars. The 1914-1918 burials are spread throughout the cemetery while the 1939-1945 War graves are widely scattered.

There are eight Victoria Cross graves in the cemetery and I am pleased to say I found them all. (John Robarts.VCHugh Shaw. VCWilliam Temple. VCHenry James Raby. VC. CBHugh Stewart Cochrane. VCWilliam NW Hewett. VCIsrael Harding. VCWilliam Goate. VC.)

I am however very sorry I did not photograph the grave of Reginald Lee who is buried in the cemetery. He is remembered as being in the crows nest with Fred Fleet, on board the ill fated Titanic when the iceberg was sighted at about 11.40 p.m. on 14 April 1912, although it was Fleet not Lee who shouted the famous “Iceberg Ahead”. (Frederick Fleet is buried in Hollybrook Cemetery in Southampton)  

The Mausoleum above is for members of the Dupree family, 

I would have liked to have revisited this cemetery in better weather, but realistically it would have been a very long walk to get there. As hindsight always says “it is too late now”

Random Images from Highland Road Cemetery 

 
   
   
   

It was time to leave this place and head off home. It had certainly been a productive morning, and I liked those. I would revisit Portsmouth in the future, but I never managed to return to it’s cemeteries. 

© DRW 2013-2017. Retrospectively created 12/05/2017. With special thanks to Geoff Watts and Kevin Brazier. 

Updated: 24/05/2017 — 12:48

Remember the Somme

The Battle of the Somme; a name to remember with sorrow because of the huge cost in human life. The campaign has long been picked part by historians and soldiers, and as always there are those who criticise the plan, the generals, the artillery, the weather, the Germans, the French and everything in between. Who is to blame? it is not my task to apportion blame, I am only here to remember those who never returned.

As with my Battle of Jutland post, I am using the Somme 100 toolkit provided by the Royal British Legion. I am afraid I could never explain the battle myself because I do not have the ability to describe such a monumental slaughter. Remember, I only photograph the graves. The Toolkit uses “The Battle of the Somme” From an original work for The Royal British Legion by Professor Sir Hew Strachan FRSE FRHistS. I am only going to reproduce excerpts from it.

The British folk memory of the Battle of the Somme is dominated by one moment: 7.30am on 01 July 1916. It was a bright summer’s day, the sun well up, and falling from the east on the backs of the German defenders and into the faces of the British. Officers sounded their whistles, and their men scrambled up ladders to get out of the trenches and into No Man’s Land. Sergeant R.H. Tawney, with the 22nd Battalion, the Manchester Regiment near Fricourt, recalled that:

“[We] lay down, waiting for the line to form up on each side of us. When it was ready, we went forward, not doubling, but at a walk. For we had 900 yards of rough ground to the trench, which was our first objective.”

By the day’s end 19,240 British soldiers had been killed and nearly twice that number wounded: the total of 57,470 casualties was and remains the highest suffered by the British Army in a single day. This single fact ensures that for most Britons the Battle of the Somme defines what they mean when they talk of the ‘tragedy’, the ‘waste’ and ‘futility’ of the First World War. Apart from the war’s opening and closing dates (for Britain 04 August 1914 and 11 November 1918), 01 July 1916 was the first day picked out for national observance when plans for the commemoration of the centenary were being drawn up.

On 01 July 2016, it will be 100 years since the beginning of the Battle of the Somme. This was one of the largest battles of the First World War fought by the British and the French against Germany. It took place on both banks of the River Somme in France, and is remembered as one of the most tragic episodes in human history. 

  • The Battle of the Somme is synonymous with the United Kingdom’s Remembrance of the First World War and the futility of trench warfare.
  • Fighting at the Battle of the Somme began on 1 July 1916 and lasted four and a half months.
  • In total, 60 nations from across the British Empire and Europe were involved in the fighting across a 25 kilometre front.
  • There were almost sixty thousand British and Imperial casualties on the first day of the battle, of which nearly twenty thousand were killed.
  • At the start of the battle, most of the British Army had been an inexperienced mass of volunteers.
  • Going over the top at the Somme was the first taste of battle for many men, as a large number were part of “Kitchener’s Volunteer Army” which was formed by Pals battalions, mainly recruited from the North of England. The Pals battalions were made up of groups of friends, team mates in sports clubs and colleagues, who had joined together expecting to fight together. The heavy losses in one battalion had a profound effect on Britain and were felt locally and nationally.
  • Of the approaching half a million British and Imperial casualties suffered in the 141 day-long battle, a third died. When the offensive finally came to a halt on 18 November 1916, the Battle of the Somme had claimed a million casualties; 430,000 from Commonwealth countries, with a third of this number killed. 
  • On 15 July the South African Brigade took Delville Wood, a thick tangle of trees, and held it against successive counter-attacks and under shellfire that shattered the forest. Of their original strength of 3,153, just 143 left the wood five days later.
  • 19,240 British soldiers had been killed by the end of the first day. It was and remains the highest suffered by the British Army in a single day. In comparison, the French Army had around 1,600 casualties and the German had 10,000–12,000 casualties.
  • The Battle of the Somme lasted 141 days (from 01 July – 18 November 1916).
  • 1,700,000 shells were fired on to the German lines by 1,600 pieces of British artillery during the eight-day preliminary bombardment.(est)
  • The first tank to engage in battle was designated D1, a British Mark I Male, during the Battle of the Somme on 15 September 1916. 49 tanks of the Heavy Branch of the Machine Gun Corps of the British Army were sourced and were to reach Somme by September 1916. However, due to mechanical and other failures, only 36 of them participated at the Battle of the Somme.
  • 5 Miles was the furthest advance of any allied force during the whole battle.
  • During the Battle of the Somme, 51 Victoria Crosses were awarded – 17 of them were awarded posthumously.

The Battle of the Somme did not produce a ‘decisive victory’ of the sort that was alleged to have characterised earlier wars, but the Somme could be seen as a waypoint on the route to winning the war in 1918. Certainly the Somme redefined modern industrialised warfare, and was fought as a battle of attrition. Within the ‘battle’ of the Somme were scores of other battles – the battle of Albert, the battle of Flers-Courcelette, the battle of Ancre; by the standards of the previous century, the Somme was a war within a war.

“As day breaks through wind and rain we form a line on rough terrain, to face a foe we’ll never know, we will fall and die where poppies now grow. Remember us the chosen ones, the lads the dads and someone’s sons. Be not sad, just be glad, knowing we gave all we had. As you walk on our fields of doom, places where our bodies were strewn, we will gaze on you through heaven’s door and hope our words stay for evermore. When you leave save a tear, for here we stay year on year, the lads the dads and someone’s sons, the boys who fell before German guns.”

Dave Callaghan. Taken from the wall of remembrance at www.somme-battlefields.com

 

 
© DRW 2016-2017. Created 30/06/2016. Period images are sourced from the Somme 100 Toolkit of the Royal British Legion, and they originate from the Imperial War Museum.  Most of the text in this post is copied from that toolkit and Remembrance pack. Some images are from my own collection.
Updated: 15/12/2016 — 07:10

Return to St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery

I had last been in Kensal Green in March 2013, and had never been too happy with the pics I had taken. To exacerbate matters, when I went “next door” to St Mary’s I had been caught in a snow storm and had had to abandon my expedition without finding the VC graves I was looking for originally. Kensal Green is an impressive place, and it is the sort of cemetery that you need a lot of time in because there is just so much to see. 

Getting there is not too difficult. You grab the Bakerloo Line, change trains at Queens Park, then travel one station to Kensal Green. The cemeteries are both not even 200 metres away. Because St Mary’s Roman Catholic cemetery was more of a priority I headed there first. There were 3 Victoria Cross graves that I needed to find; these were the graves I had not found in 2013, and now I was armed with a description of each grave on top of the map I had gotten from Kevin Brazier in 2013.

The cemetery is a Roman Catholic one and it can be quite overpowering with the many mausoleums and statues. It is however quite large, but I did not venture too far from the main gate and chapel area.

The road from the entrance leads to this split, the building on the right is the chapel and one of the mausoleums is next to the pole. The Belgian War Memorial is on the path leading left.

The Chapel

The Chapel

There are enough mausoleums to fill a blog post, and some of them it is possible see inside because of clear or broken windows. Some are really beautiful inside, but I often wonder how many people actually go into them so many years after they were erected.  Some are in a poor condition, but generally they seem to be in a sound condition.

 

Looking at my images now it is difficult to imagine a Victorian era funeral taking place here. It was established in 1858 so the funerals were not only a time of mourning but often a social event.

My personal favourite has to be this one. 

My VC grave search went well and I was able to find all three graves in short order, although I kept on being distracted by statues and small details on graves. I cannot help it, that is how I am.

 

I have to admit she is beautiful, but I do wish I had photographed up into her face.

There are 318 CWGC casualties buried in the cemetery, although I did not go deliberately hunting them down as the cemetery has already been photographed;  naturally now I regret not doing it. But, it is always a reason for returning one day.

 

The weather, which had been warm with slightly blue skies was changing, and I decided that I really needed to get next door and see what was going on there. So I made tracks for the exit, and will leave you with some random images.

Random Images

 
 

And then it was time to head next door to Kensal Green (All Souls) Cemetery. I bade my farewells and walked down the lane, I felt much better now that I had had a chance to explore a bit of this place, unlike last time when I was more interested in keeping snow off my lens than anything else. Who knows, maybe one day I will return.

© DRW 2016-2017. Created 10/06/2016.   

Updated: 15/12/2016 — 07:18

The Battle of Jutland

The anniversary of the Battle of Jutland is one that is rarely remembered, because the war at sea was far remote from the realities of the slaughter of the trenches in France. The clash of the Grand Fleet and the High Seas Fleet sent many sailors to their deaths, often trapped within the ships that they fought, or drowned as the cold waters of the North Sea closed over them.

 

The Royal British Legion produced an information pack to commemorate the battle and I have drawn heavily from that pack to produce this post.

I have never really understood this Clash of Titans, my interest is more related to the ships themselves than the physical act of battle. However, it is 100 years since the thunder of guns was heard in those distant waters, and it is fitting that tribute be paid to those who lost their lives in or after the battle, and to remember them as being part of one of the largest and most costly fleet engagement of the First World War. The battle, which took place over Wednesday 31 May and Thursday 1 June 1916 and the 100th anniversary provides an opportunity to commemorate the sacrifices and contributions made by all those from the Royal Navy, Merchant Navy, fishing fleets, shipbuilding towns and coastal communities who continue to guarantee The United Kingdom’s security in peace and war.

A Short History and Reflection.

Jutland will always be remembered for the huge sacrifices that our naval personnel made. Britain is an island nation with no town more than 75 miles from the sea. Many families therefore have relatives who served at sea and this is the perfect moment to reflect, not only on the sacrifices made during this sea battle but also to commemorate the maritime contribution and the sacrifices that have been and continue to be made by all those from the Royal Navy, Merchant Navy and coastal fleets who serve to ensure the nation’s security.

In 1914, Britain had the biggest and strongest navy in the world. Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz (1849–1930) greatly expanded the size and quality of the Imperial German Navy, until the German Navy grew to become one of the greatest maritime forces in the world, second only to the British Royal Navy.

After the British success at Dogger Bank in holding back the German attack in January 1915, the German Imperial Navy chose not to confront the numerically superior British Royal Navy in a major battle for more than a year, preferring to rely on its lethal U-boat fleet. However, in May 1916, with the majority of the British Grand Fleet anchored far away at Scapa Flow, Vice Admiral Reinhard Scheer believed the time was right to resume attacks on the British coastline. Scheer ordered 19 U-boats to position themselves for a raid on the North-East coastal town of Sunderland, using air reconnaissance craft to keep an eye on the British Fleet. Bad weather hampered the airships, however, and Scheer called off the raid, instead ordering his fleet to head north, to the Skagerrak, a waterway located between Norway and Denmark off the Jutland Peninsula, where they could attack the Allied naval interests and with luck, punch a hole in the stringent British blockade.

Unbeknownst to Scheer, however, a newly created intelligence unit in Britain had cracked the German communication codes and warned the British Grand Fleet’s commander, Admiral John Rushworth Jellicoe, of Scheer’s intentions. Consequently, on the night of 30 May, a British fleet of 28 battleships, nine battle cruisers, 34 light cruisers and 80 destroyers set out from Scapa Flow, bound for positions off the Skagerrak.

On 31 May, a British naval force commanded by Vice Admiral David Beatty spotted a German squadron of warships and confronted them some 75 miles off the Danish coast. The two squadrons opened fire on each other simultaneously. This lasted around 55 minutes, during which time two British battle cruisers (HMS Indefatigable and HMS Queen Mary) were destroyed with the loss of 2,000 sailors. The remainder of the German fleet then joined, so Beatty was forced to fight a delaying action for the next hour, until Jellicoe arrived with the rest of the Grand Fleet. Both fleets faced off in their entirety, and a great battle of naval strategy commenced. As sections of the two fleets continued to engage each other throughout the late evening and the early morning of 1 June, Jellicoe manoeuvred 96 of the British ships into a V-shape surrounding 59 German ships. The German flagship, Lutzow, was disabled by 24 direct hits but was able, before it sank, to sink the British cruiser Invincible.

Admiral of the Fleet John Rushworth Jellicoe,

Admiral of the Fleet John Jellicoe,

Admiral of the Fleet David Richard Beatty

Admiral of the Fleet David Beatty

The German fleet withdrew under cover of darkness at 18:30 on 1 June, thus ending the battle, and cheating the British of the major naval success they had envisioned.

The Battle of Jutland engaged a total of 100,000 men aboard 250 ships over the course of 72 hours. The Germans claimed it as a victory for their High Seas Fleet. At first the British press agreed, but it was not so clear-cut. The German navy lost 11 ships, including a battleship and a battle cruiser, and suffered 2,500 casualties; the British sustained heavier losses, with 14 ships sunk, including three battle cruisers, and 6,000 casualties. Ten more German ships had suffered heavy damage, however, and by 2nd June 1916 only 10 ships that had been involved in the battle were seaworthy. The Royal Navy could have, however put 23 ships to sea at this point. On 4 July, Vice Admiral Scheer advised the German high command that further fleet action was not an option, and that submarine warfare was Germany’s best hope for victory at sea. Despite the heavy losses, the Battle of Jutland had left British naval superiority on the North Sea intact. 

 

 

Many of the casualties from HMS Queen Mary, HMS Black Prince, and HMS Invincible are remembered on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, where around 10,000 sailors of the First World War are commemorated.

Key Facts

  • The Battle of Jutland was fought over 36 hours – from 31 May to 1 June 1916
  • There were a total of 250 ships in the battle; 151 British Grand Fleet and 99 German High Seas Fleet
  • There were 100,000 sailors overall engaged in the Battle, of which 1 in 10 were wounded
  • More than 8,500 were killed in total; 6,000 British, 2,500 German
  • Death was sudden and on a huge scale – Queen Mary 1,266, Indefatigable 1,017, Invincible 1,026, Defence 903, Black Prince 857 (German: Wiesbaden 589, Fraulenlob 320)
  • One thousand men lost their lives when a magazine exploded on the British battlecruiser Indefatigable
  • The British Grand Fleet was under the command of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, who after the war became one of the founders of The Royal British Legion
  • There was no clear winner in this battle, but it did convince the Germans never again to challenge the British Navy in the North Sea
  • This was the first time in history that a carrier-based aeroplane (from HMS Engadine) was used for reconnaissance in naval combat
  • There were four Victoria Crosses awarded after the Battle. (Jack Cornwell (HMS Chester), Francis Harvey (HMS Lion), Edward Bingham (HMS Nestor) and Loftus William Jones (HMS Shark)). 
  • HM The Queen’s father – George VI, the then Prince Albert, Duke of York – took part in the battle, and was mentioned in despatches for his action as a turret officer aboard Collingwood
  • The last surviving veteran of the battle, Henry Allingham, a British RAF airman, died on 18 July 2009, aged 113, by which time he was one of the last surviving veterans of the First World War
  • The British losses amounted to 113,300 tons sunk. (Battlecruisers: Indefatigable, Queen Mary, Invincible. Armoured cruisers: Black Prince, Warrior, Defence. Flotilla leaders: Tipperary. Destroyers: Shark, Sparrowhawk, Turbulent, Ardent, Fortune, Nomad, Nestor.)
  • The German losses amounted to 62,300 tons sunk. (Battlecruiser: Lützow. Pre-Dreadnought: Pommern. Light cruisers: Frauenlob, Elbing, Rostock, Wiesbaden. Destroyers (Heavy torpedo-boats): V48, S35, V27, V4, V29

The Battle of Jutland also caused a rethink about the way capital ships were designed and fought, and some of the flaws in the British ships were addressed. Unfortunately the vulnerability of the battlecruiser design would be once again exposed when HMS Hood was lost to KMS Bismarck in 1941

The most famous Battle of Jutland VC recipient was Boy 1st Class Jack Travers Cornwell, aka “Jutland Jack”.  

John Travers Cornwell, Boy 1st Class (RN) was born on 8 January 1900, at Leyton. When the First World War broke out his father promptly joined the Army, and Jack joined the Royal Navy. He went through preliminary training at Devonport from 27 July 1915 and became a Boy 1st Class on the light cruiser HMS Chester for active service in Admiral David Beatty’s 1st Battlecruiser Squadron.

A few months after Jack Cornwell joined his ship, Admiral Beatty came to grips with the German High Seas Fleet near Jutland on 31 May 1916; he was mortally wounded in action, and died two days later in Grimsby hospital. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross [London Gazette, 15 September 1916]:

“Mortally wounded early in the action, Boy, First Class, John Travers Cornwell remained standing alone at a most exposed post, quietly awaiting orders, until the end of the action, with the gun’s crew dead and wounded around him. His age was under sixteen and half years.”

The Times’ History of the War records that Cornwell “had been brought ashore, he had died at Grimsby of his wounds, and through one of the stupid blunders which are inseparable from officialdom he had been buried in what was no better than a pauper’s grave. No sooner was the truth known of the lad’s last hours of life and the manner of his death than public opinion demanded a befitting reinternment. Accordingly the body was exhumed, and there was an impressive funeral in Manor Park Cemetery. A picture of the boy, standing by his gun, with Admiral Sir David Beatty’s report of the incident, occupies a position of honour in more than 12,000 schools.”

On 23 March 1917, a large company witnessed at the Mansion House the presentation to the Board of Admiralty of Mr. Frank O. Salisbury’s picture, ‘John Cornwell, V.C., on H.M.S. Chester.’ Sir Edward Carson, the First Lord, received the picture and paid a high tribute to the dead lad’s courage and example. “I ask people who grumble if they ever heard the story of John Travers Cornwell… I feel that this boy, who died at the post of duty, sends this message… to the people of the Empire: ‘Obey your orders, cling to your post, don’t grumble, stick it out”.

The 5.5″ gun from HMS Chester that Jack Cornwell had manned during the Battle of Jutland is on display at the Imperial War Museum.

 

A lot has been written about the mistakes made at Jutland by those in command, but so little has been written about those who manned the magazines or who operated the engines or who fed the crew. When I was young there was a quizz programme on Springbok Radio, and I recall that one of the contestants was being quizzed on the Battle of Jutland. At the time I thought that he was incredibly knowledgable about the battle, but that it was not really a subject that somebody like myself would ever understand. I still do not understand it.

The Battle of the Somme was famous for the carnage that was inflicted during the campaign, but at sea it was a different story altogether. Once the ships had passed and the wreckage was dispersed there was nothing left to see, it was as if nothing had ever happened, but those who were there will tell you that it was a battle like none seen before, or since, and those who were in it would never forget it.

© DRW 2016-2017. Created 30/05/2016. Most of the information on this page comes from the Royal British Legion Information Pack on the battle of Jutland. I have also used links to Wikipedia and of course Victoriacrossonline  

 

Updated: 15/12/2016 — 07:21

We all sall to Walsall

Walsall, I had never heard of it until I moved to Staffordshire, and with some time on my hands, and a bus that goes there quite frequently, I decided it was time to go looking around. The bus travels through Burntwood, Chasetown, Brownhills and then to Walsall. It was a long journey, punctuated by frequent stops and a dustbin truck that kept on stopping in front of us. But, eventually….
 
The first thing I saw from the bus that made my eyes water was the “Council House”, it is a spectacular building, and impossible to photograph as a whole because of its size and because you cannot get far back enough from it. I believe it is known locally as “the Candle”
  
However, I did not start my exploration from there. My exploration really started at “The Crossing at St Paul’s” which is a former church that has been re-invented into a yuppie/trendy/coffee shop type place so beloved of yuppies and cellphone clutching fashionistas. I really intended coming back to this building as the day passed as I did not get decent exterior images. That never happened.
 
I did not know what to expect it would look like after its re-invention, but it is spectacular inside, and parts of the old church have been incorporated into the structure, and a small chapel still exists inside of it. It is really very pretty inside, but I just wonder how much was lost when they did it. You can bet the graveyard is now paved over.
  
My initial planning had centered around finding the Cenotaph in the city, and anything else after that was a bonus. One of the plaques in the church mentioned an “Alabaster First World War Memorial by Messrs R Bridgeman…” that had been relocated to the Council House, and that sounded like something to look into while I orientated myself in the city.
 
I first stopped to have a look at the Library, which stands in the block next to the Council House. It too is a beautiful piece of work, and while I did not see a lot of the interior, I was really impressed by what I did see.
 
The statue outside is that of Ordinary Seaman: John Henry Carless VC, and he is one of three Victoria Cross Holders from the city. (John Henry Carless, James Thompson and Charles George Bonner)
 
There is also a strange statue of a Hippopotamus, and frankly I don’t know the connection. It is however the sort of statue kids would enjoy, although I do suspect there is an ambulance chaser lawyer watching with binoculars to see if anybody gets injured by falling over it.

I asked at the Council House about the alabaster memorial and one of the staff members took me to see it, and it is spectacular. In fact it is one of four war memorials in the building that I know of (and it turns out there are three VC plaques that I did not know about). 

 
A bit further from the memorial there is a large hall with a magnificent pipe organ with two large matching paintings by Frank O. Salisbury on either side of it it. They were commissioned by Joseph Leckie “to commemorate the never to be forgotten valour of the South Staffordshire Regiments in the Great War 1914 – 1918” and were completed in 1920. One shows “the First South Staffordshires attacking the Hohenzollern Redoubt”, the other “the 5th South Staffords storming the St. Quentin Canal at Bellingtise Sept 29th 1918”.
Images merged and tilted slightly

Images merged and tilted slightly

The walls of the hall are also festooned with 12 bronze name plaques of men from the borough of Walsall that died in both World Wars, and post war conflicts. 
 

 

It is a beautiful space, although the boxing ring was only temporary as it was going to be used for a function.

 
I came away dazed at what I had just seen here, it is such a pity that spaces like this are probably never seen by the inhabitants of the city, and I am sure very few are even aware of the memorials that this building holds.
 
I managed to attract the attention of an elderly borough warden and asked him about the cenotaph and any cemeteries nearby, and he told me that there was an old cemetery up in Queen Street, and it was more or less in the direction that I was going to be going if I wanted to see the cenotaph. 
 
The town was also having Market Day, although like many of the markets it has become a place to sell cellphone accessories, cheap and nasty clothing, e-cigarettes, ugly shoes and dodgy luggage. Oddly enough I have seen almost identical rubbish in markets in Salisbury, Basingstoke and Burntwood. They may even be the same people selling it! 
 
The market space had two statues that interested me, the first was kind of odd, and reminded me of an Afro hairdo gone mad.
  

and the other was a statue to Dorothy Wyndlow Pattison,

Fondly known as “Sister Dora”, it turns out she is somewhat of a legend in this city and the industries that surrounded it. Her death must have left the city just that much more poorer. More about Sister Dora may be found at Victorianweb

 
I got distracted by a church spire in the distance, so headed up in that direction, passing the Guildhall on the way. This building was in use from 1867 till 1907 when the Council House was built.
 
Unfortunately the sun was behind the church I was approaching so photography was not great. Called  St Matthews, it sits atop a hill overlooking the city below. The graveyard still exists, although it is probably much smaller than it used to be, and it is quite a large church. I won’t say when the church was built, only that a church has existed on this site for roughly 700 years. My image is taken from the West of the church and you can see the 1927 built Lychgate.
 
The inside of the church was very pretty, and had the two levels that I have been seeing in the Midlands since I arrived. It also had a magnificent ceiling and strangely enough no matter how hard I tried I could not get the camera to photograph the one end of the church. It could be the combination of the bright light from the windows that was fooling it, or the deep contrast just exasperated the camera.
 
Outside the church there is another War Memorial, and it is placed in a circular alcove on the steep stairs leading to the church. It was an odd place for a memorial, but it does make sense given how the church dominates the city below.
 
Now to find my Cenotaph. 
 
I headed in what was supposedly the right direction. I had one problem though;. I could find the cemetery and then possibly have to double back along the path I was heading, or I could try reach the cenotaph and from there go to the cemetery. Whichever route I took I was probably still going to have a long walk. I was however stuck along the road that I had chosen and headed towards the Cenotaph area (or where I thought it was), and that brought me to another church perched on a hill, it was called St Marys the Mount Roman Catholic Church, and the entrance was on the opposite side of where I was at that moment! 
 
Built in 1825, it seems somewhat of a featureless church, and frankly the graveyard was much nicer than the church was. The small arched object built into the wall is another war memorial for members of the parish who died during the war, and John Carless VC is mentioned on this memorial.
 
The nice thing about finding this church was that it put me on the right track for the cenotaph, and I was soon seeing what I was looking for in the distance. How did I miss seeing it?

 
Situated on a traffic island in the centre of a roundabout, it shares many similarities with Cenotaphs in London, Southampton, Hong Kong and Johannesburg and it was erected in 1921, Over 2000 men from Walsall were killed in fighting during the First World War. The Cenotaph is located on the site of a bomb which was dropped by Zeppelin ‘L 21’  killing the town’s mayoress, and two others on 31 January 1916.

 

Behind the cenotaph is another of those wonderful old buildings that I kept on bumping into. Unfortunately I just could not get a photograph of the building without a bus in front of it!

 
The building seems to be the Science and Art Institute,  but there is an inscription above that which reads: “This building was erected by public subscription in 1887, to commemorate the jubilee year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. in 1897 a sum of £2500 was raised by public subscription to a district nursing institution to provide free nurses for the poor in commemoration of Her Majestys  glorious reign of 60 years. William Smith. Mayor. 22 June 1897.” It is a very pretty building, but I have no idea what it is used for now. 

My cemetery was about to happen after this, and I located it reasonably easy. The problem was that it was a disappointment. I was hoping for more of a cemetery and less of a park, but I had to bear in mind that it was very possible that the place was full and there just weren’t too many headstones. Unfortunately the few headstones that there were just looked out of place, and many were in a very poor condition.

Sister Dora is buried in the cemetery, and has a reasonably plain headstone.
 
And while there is a plaque for James Thompson VC, I was unable to find a grave, and do not know whether there is one with a legible headstone. (On May 21st I made a trip to Ryecroft Cemetery which serves Walsall and it was a much better experience.) 

Suitable satisfied, I decided to pick up the canal that was next to the cemetery and follow it back to the town. The canal system still exists in the Midlands but so far I was not seeing any narrow boats. Unfortunately, with the rise of the truck the canals declined and are probably very little used now. 

 
The canal ends up in the centre of the yuppie pads that always seem to spring up in old buildings, or close to water features and the wharf where the canal terminated was no exception.
  
I was close to town now and time was marching.

I was beginning to tire, so headed to the bus station, which I could not find, although I did find the cenotaph and the market again.
 
I had really wanted to explore the Victorian Arcade if possible, but did not get that done.
 
But overall though this town had a lot of really nice architecture.

 
This building had the most exquisite carvings on it, and I just had to take a photograph of them. It is such a pity that often this artwork is high up and people don’t ever see it.
 
 

 
And then I was on my way home. When I had come here the bus had passed a large statue of a miner, possibly in Brownhills and I was hoping to get a better pic of it too.

 
That is probably the best I can do out of a moving bus. It is a sobering statue though, most of this area was coal country and while the coal mines have gone, the communities were built by the mines and those who worked in them. The legacy I saw this morning was partly attributable to the coal mines, and the work of Sister Dora was as a result of it too.
 
© DRW 2015-2017. Created 24/04/2015. Some images replaced 13/05/2015, all images migrated 30/04/2016. 
Updated: 15/12/2016 — 19:33

Visiting Brookwood

When I was in London I discovered Brookwood, or should I say, I read about it in my trusty London cemetery guide. For some odd reason I was under the impression that it was East of London, so never really made any concerted attempt to find the place. Technically though, this could be where my maternal great grandparents are buried and as a result I am not quite done with the place yet. 
 
However, on my return from South Africa, the train from Woking went past Brookwood Station! and suddenly I had a reason to go there. The easiest way is to catch the train to Basingstoke and from there a local to Brookwood. Or do it all from Woking. The weather has been reasonably good so I decided that this was my next destination for the 14th of June.
 
I hit the trains early and the first snag was the flooded subway at Brookwood Station. The water was over the knees and frankly for a country that prides itself on being ‘ealf ‘n safety” crazy this situation was a joke. Not only were there no warning signs, but the water just kept on coming. Ugh. My destination was through that water, so I had to “roll up me troosers and head across t’ bay”.
 
  
The station opens up right into the Cemetery. There is no real transition between station and cem. You end up slap bang in the middle of it.  Actually you come out very close to the extensive military cemetery, and that was where my exploration started.
 
Brookwood Military Cemetery
 
This extensive cemetery has 5072 identified casualties buried in it. It is a vast space, with rows of regular white headstones. It is the biggest Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery I have ever seen . 
 
I will be honest, I did not really know where to start. I had no real specific graves to photograph, so was really free to do my own thing. I was drawn to a number of separate plots, all dedicated to various nationalities servicemen/women. It was quite a sobering experience to see this mix of nations that all came together with common purpose. I believe that photography in the cemetery is not allowed without a permit, but hopefully this is not true in military cemetery.
 
The map of Brookwood Military Cem I got from a booklet that I found at the one office. As you can see there are many aspects to this cemetery, and I know I never got to see them all.
  
The Monument to the Missing is particularly poignant, commemorating 3438 men and women of the Commonwealth land forces. who died during the Second World War. 
 
I am sorry I never spent more time here, but the weather was varying between grim and gray and I did not know how much time I really had. Of special interest are members of the Special Operations Executive who are mentioned on this memorial, as well as men who perished in the ill fated Dieppe and Norwegian campaigns.
 
The cemetery is also home to the Brookwood American Cemetery, with its beautiful chapel and well manicured lawns. It too is an awe inspiring place, with 468 Military Burials, and an additional 563 missing listed in the chapel walls. Sadly the chapel was closed so I was not able to get any pics of the interior.
  
This is the first American Military Cemetery that I have seen, and it is a beautiful Place of Remembrance.
 
Returning to the CWGC plot I finally found my countrymen who lost their lives in the Great War. They have a small corner of their own, and I photographed the whole plot. There are 148 South Africans from WW1 buried in this small corner of foreign fields.
  
This is just one of those headstones, and I felt a certain pride in them, Springboks from far away who now rest in this small part of England. 
  
Time was catching me, and my extended visit to the Military Cemetery was eating into it. Believe it or not, I actually had some sort of time table based on available trains to and from Brookwood. It was time to find the rest of the cem, but that meant I had to go through yet another vast military burial area. Brookwood has two Crosses of Sacrifice and two Stones of Remembrance, and the former is not the smaller version that I see in some of the cems.
 
The big problem facing me now was, How do I get out of here and into the cemetery?
 
I wasted quite a bit of time trying to work out when the cemetery was. Unfortunately the lack of a decent map really was a problem (note to self: get map!!) and eventually, I was considering that just maybe I was not getting to where I should be, fortunately I bumped into a fellow explorer who set me on the right path and shortly afterwards I hit Brookwood Cemetery proper. 
 
The Cemetery was opened in 1854 by a private company as a place to bury the ever increasing population of London who were in need of a burial place. It is the largest cemetery in the UK, and one of the largest in Europe. Although I suspect the military cemetery would cut into its total acreage of 500 acres. It is now in private hands, having suffered the same fate as the Victorian Garden Cemeteries that are so much a part of the London Cemetery “scene”. 
 
At one point is had two dedicated railway stations that were linked into Waterloo Station (now that would have been very useful). although only one station survives. 
 
If anything it looks a lot like the smaller borough cems I saw in Camberwell or Lewisham, there are a number of mausoleums, and the ever present angels, but the cem isn’t that strange conglomeration of graves like I saw in Highgate East or Kensall Green. There is almost an uncompleted look about it. I took a random direction and walked as close to the edge of the cem as I could get. There was no real way to know where I was, the lack of a suitable map was a problem, and I know that next time I am going to be better prepared. 
 
I do know one thing though, even if I knew my Morris relatives were buried here, there is almost no chance of actually finding them without a guide or exact co-ordinates.
 
I really just headed off randomly, because there was no real specific purpose in my being here. Ideally I wanted to head down to where the office was, or even the chapels, but I was no longer in the mood and decided to start heading in the direction of the station. All around me were these huge trees and ironically some had huge signs “no dogs allowed in the cemetery”. I could just picture a dog looking wistfully at some of those trees and thinking “I would love to use that tree as a toilet!”
 
The one thing I did get from the cemetery was a sense of space, although given the size of it, I wonder how full it was. I have read that there are in excess of 250 000 buried here, which may be less than we have at Avalon Cemetery in Johannesburg. (Avalon is 430 Acres and has over 300 000 people buried in it). As usual you never really consider that where there is no headstone there may be a grave, its a common misconception, and one which sometimes needs a bit of thinking about to gain the correct perspective.
 
And then I was off to the station. I must return here another day, there is much to find, but I want to put in an enquiry to see whether I have family in the cemetery. It will be very interesting if I do. 
 
But that’s another trip for another day. Brookwood was in the bag.

I returned to Brookwood in December 2014 and it was an interesting visit that gave me somewhat of a better picture of the cemetery. I also got to investigate the railway a bit better, and seem to have it more settled in my mind now.

 
 
© DRW 2014-2017. Created 14 June 2014. Images recreated 17/04/2016
 
Updated: 13/12/2016 — 20:13

Revisiting Brompton.

When I first went to Brompton Cemetery on 25 March I had returned unimpressed. So much so that I kept trying to work out why. I do expect the weather had something to do with because the cemetery was not really memorable at all. There was only one thing to do and that was return, this time on a day that theoretically could have a hint of sunlight. I also had the opportunity to try to find some of the VC recipient graves I had not found before. Don’t get me wrong though, the 6th of April was not as warm as it promised.
 
 
 
The nice thing about Brompton though is that it is reasonably linear, so finding things isn’t all that impossible, however the legibility of the headstones is problematic.  There are quite a few mausoleums and impressive statues too, so they are always first in my mind. In spite of two visits to this cemetery I was not able to find the reported statue of two children in their Sunday best. A myth? or me not looking properly? (Apparently it does exist, but I just didn’t find it)
  
 
The Chapel is an impressive structure, one that would not look out of place in London’s business district. Leading off of the chapel are the two pillared structures that don’t really seem to serve any function, except for being the roof of the crypt. They are really magnificent structures, and in a remarkably good condition, unlike the similar structure that I saw in Kensal Green.
  
 
There seem to be 3 gates per side leading into the crypt underneath, and through the doors I could see coffins in shelves. I was surprised because I would have thought that the Victorians would have been somewhat more circumspect about having coffins in view through a door. However,  I was looking at something that was over 100 years old, and circumstances may have changed. 
  
 
There are a number of “celebrities” and famous people buried here, including Samuel Cunard, Emmeline Pankhurst, Richard Tauber and a few that are “before my time”. It was probably a very fashionable cemetery to be buried in during its heyday. Considering that it opened in 1840, it really has a wide selection of everybody in English Society. 
 
 
Military monument wise, apart from the 12 VC graves, there is also a Chelsea Pensioners plot and Memorial.
 
And an extensive Brigade of Guards Memorial which has been used since 1854.
 
  
What I did like was that the cemetery was obviously a much appreciated recreation space for the local community, and on the day I was there a large number of families were taking a walk through this Royal Park and enjoying the atmosphere of it. It is really quite a nice tidy cemetery, although parts of it are reminiscent of the vegetative chaos of Nunhead.
  
 
Brompton had redeemed itself considerably, and I was about ready to head off home. A last look around before I left and my whole outlook had changed. The weather had definitely contributed to my second opinion, but I also expect I was able to view it with a different eye. There are over 200.000 burials registered here, some being relatively recent too, and yet it doesn’t feel too cluttered or chaotic.  
 
   
And, there are some really nice angels and headstones too, even the pigeons and squirrels seem quite content to mooch off passing visitors. And, there is the obligatory sleepy lion. 
  
 
Strange, it is the third lion I have seen in the “magnificent seven” garden cemeteries of London.
The catacombs are to be found underneath the collonades and they have wonderful steel gates on them that can show a glimpse of what lies within.
 
 
 
It is a strange thing to see, however we must not look at a place like Brompton, or any of those vast Victorian cemeteries through the eye of a 2016 viewer, but rather through the eyes of the Victorians, and then we may understand.
 
Brompton is the only public cemetery to remain under government control and is now managed by the Royal Parks Agency.
 
 
There  are a number of Victoria Cross holders buried inside it’s walls,  the most famous being that of Sub-Lieut Reginald Alexander Warneford VC.
 
 
And that concluded my second Brompton visit, and I was glad that I took the trip out there with so few days left in London.  
 

 Random Images from my 2nd visit.

 

DRW © 2013-2017. Images redone 29/02/2016. Additional images added 01/01/2017
Updated: 02/02/2017 — 20:52

St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, Kensal Green 2013

Use the arrow to return to Kensal Green
 
St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery

I do not have many images from here, but it was definitely a fantastic place, I just wish I had had the time to explore it more. Unfortunately a snow storm hit the cem just as I arrived at it and I had to abandon my photography session. I never did get back here again. I did however return in June 2016 and did a blogpost about it. It is quite odd to compare the two sets of images. 

The Belgian Soldiers Memorial (First World War)

The Belgian Soldiers Memorial (First World War)

The first thing that caught my roving eye was the beautiful Belgian Soldiers Memorial which also seemed more worthy of being in a public place than in a cemetery.
The snow was starting to become problematic as I was struggling to keep my lens dry and search for a VC grave too. But I had to admit defeat and decided that I would grab more pics and then head out of there.

   
   
   
   
I now had five of the Magnificent Seven under my belt, and only two days to go before I leave for Southampton….. I hoped that one day I would be able to see West Norwood and Tower Hamlets, and that actually happened but nearly two years after this visit. I always regretted never getting back to Kensal Green in better weather. My experience was really ruined by those grey skies and snow flurries. But that is the thing with grave hunting, sometimes you have to get the shot because tomorrow may be too late.

Kensal Green is managed by the General Cemetery Company since its inception  in 1830 and they still have offices by the main gate. It is still very much a working cemetery, and there was a service happening during my visit. The Friends of Kensal Green run tours of the cemetery on a regular basis. 

 
© DRW 2013-2017. Images recreated and links repaired 29/03/2016. Spilt off from original Kensal Green 2013 page
Updated: 01/02/2017 — 07:48

Kensal Green (2013).

Before I head off to Southampton I really wanted to squeeze in one more of the Magnificent Seven Cemeteries in London, at first I was going try for West Norwood, as it theoretically wasn’t too far from where I live, but then decided at the last minute  to try for Kensal Green. The wonderful weather I had had in Abney Park was not going to continue and even snow was forecast! This visit meant I had to change to the Bakerloo Line at Elephant and Castle and climb off at Kensal Green. In 2016 I revisited Kensall Green and I have replaced 2 of the photographs in this post.
A bit of an odd train change at the station before really confused me, but fortunately I arrived more or less intact. I did not use the main gate, but rather the gate next to St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery which was next door.
Kensal Green was the first commercial London cemetery to open in 1833 and was designed by George Frederick Carden. My first impression was of mausoleums all along the paths, and fortunately that did change as I went along, but they just kept getting grander and grander all the time. 
I do suspect that I hit paydirt when I came across this particular one with its Sphinx guardians, and extra ornamentation.
 

While hunting VC graves I returned to this mausoleum and discovered a very nice sculpt of a drovers hat with gloves in front of it. The tomb belongs to Andrew Ducrow, a British Circus Performer. What does something like this cost? £3000 apparently (and that was in 1837). 

Spirit of Ecstasy. (Thea Cannonero Altieri, born 21/06/1910, 29/10/2000)

Spirit of Ecstasy. (Thea Cannonero Altieri, born 21/06/1910, 29/10/2000)

In the meantime I continued on my way until I reached a large building which is the Anglican Chapel, and from what I have read the crypt is underneath this building.

On either wing of the building were magnificent statues, the one pictured being for Georgina Clementson. Apparently she was the daughter of John Graham Lough, who sculpted this memorial.

The other is the really magnificent Robert William Sievier (1794-1865) Memorial. It is a magnificent piece, much more suited to a museum than faded chapel in a cemetery.
 

Continuing my exploration I finally arrived at the main gate, (which I had not used), it is an impressive building on its own, but it does pale into insignificance when compared to some of the mausoleums inside the cemetery.

I also came across the Dissenters Chapel which was also very impressive, and it is the first Nonconformist Chapel to be built in a public cemetery.

Then it was time to turn around and start searching for the Victoria Cross recipient graves, of which there are  15 in Kensal Green. The problem here is that the graves are not always that legible, and the weather was really starting to become a problem, as soft sleet was occasionally falling. My route took me back along the road I had come, pausing every now and then to check a section off on my list. The selection of graves beyond the pathway was less impressive memorialwise, and some were really beautiful. 

Image from 2016

Image from 2016

 

The image of the horse and rider is in a very poor condition, and it is now scheduled for restoration. The records show that Alfred Cooke was interred in the tomb in 1854, and it is a grade II listed monument. 
Walking through a cemetery like this is always difficult because of the variety of ornamentation and headstones that may be all around, and every now and then there is a splash of colour.

 

Of course there are the angels and cherubs and strange statues, my personal favourite in any cemetery. Kensal Green has a lot that I had not seen before, but again there are just so many…

The child statue on the right I just had to find again, and I did in 2016, and she was just as I rememebered her. 

The VC search was not going well either,  there were just so many distractions all around me, and at some point I considered giving up the search altogether. One of the graves took me to what must have been some sort of gallery/collonades where they had wall memorials on display. It was not in a good condition and signs warned of unstable structures.  

The plaques that lined the walls before are now mostly broken off, and the interior of this pillared building has an apocalyptic feel about it.

Generally I do not hunt down celebrity graves unless they are of interest to me, and I was fortunate to encounter two graves of famous people. The first was one of Britains finest engineers. He was responsible for so many feats of engineering and shipbuilding that he is legendary. I have seen quite a few odds and ends that Isambard Kingdom Brunel created, and this grave really is special to me.

Image from 2016

Image from 2016

 

Surprise number two was the grave of Jean Francois Cravelet Blondin (aka Charles Blondin), the man who crossed Niagara Gorge on a tightrope. In fact the list of “rich and famous” for this cemetery is a formidable one, but I did not have access to the list so may or may not have photographed some of the graves on the list. The Victoria Cross graves mean more to me than some of the graves of the rich and famous (and titled), and many of these are simple headstones, often missed amongst the ostentation of some of these creations.

 
There is a microcosm of British Victorian Society buried in Kensal Green, and it must have really been something to see the elaborate Victorian funerals that must have taken place. Make no mistake, the Victorians had death down to a fine art, and woe betide those who did not adhere to those unwritten rules.
And in death you had to show the world a public face (or effigy, or something equally grandiose). Today many of these memorials are “listed buildings”.

Yet the cemetery is not only mausoleums and grand headstones, there are also section where the only ornamentation is a simple gravestone.

Time was marching though, and the weather was still not on my side, If anything it was becoming increasingly more unpleasant. My VC tally stood at 6 and I was not getting anywhere. I had to start preparing to go home. First, I had to pause at the Commonwealth War Graves Memorial to pay my respects. Strangely enough I had not seen too many CWGC headstones in the cemetery, and I found the Cross of Sacrifice purely by accident, 

And with that I had to close off Kensal Green, I still had to stop next door at St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, but given how the sleet was turning to snow I expected that I would not be able to spend much time there at all.  Use the arrow below to access the St Mary’s page

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Random Images

© DRW 2013-2017. Images recreated and links repaired 29/03/2016, St Mary’s split off 01/02/2017
Updated: 01/02/2017 — 07:48

Abney Park Cemetery

In my quest to photograph as many of the Magnificent Seven Cemeteries in London I visited Abney Park Trust Cemetery in Stoke Newington. Like Highgate and Nunhead this is a Victorian garden cemetery that became redundant when there was no more profit to be made. Entry is via a set of impressive gates with an Egyptian motif and faux hieroglyphics.
Unusually the sun was shining during my visit so these images are almost too bright to be real. As expected of a cemetery that has fallen on hard times, Abney Park has lots of “graves in the bush” but is really a mix of individual graves and general imagery.
There is also the almost obligatory chapel, although this particular one is not in too good a condition and has been fenced off. 
Again I ask the question, what did these cemeteries look like when they were in daily use? a chapel like this must have cost a pretty penny to erect, and it ends up abandoned? 
 
There is also a Commonwealth War Graves Cross of Sacrifice although I did not see many CWGC headstones. The CWGC lists there being 258 Commonwealth burials of the 1914-1918 war and a further 113 of the 1939-1945 war. The cemetery also has a the grave of John Freeman VC  in it.  And, from what I read, there is a crypt underneath this memorial. 
 
The headstones are about what is to be expected in a cemetery from this era; a mixed bag of flat headstones, angels, columns and monoliths. There was only one small mausoleum, which wasn’t too ostentatious either.
 
 
If anything Abney Park is almost a “poorer” relative when compared to the grandeur of  Highgate West, but it does not detract from the beauty of this faded lady. Parts of it are almost interchangeable with Nunhead, Highgate, and Camberwell Old Cemetery.
There are the rich and famous here too, the most prominent being the founders of the Salvation Army; William and Catherine Booth. 
 
There is also the famous Bostock Lion, which is almost a twin of the Wombwell Lion in Highgate West. 
And of course a reminder that policing can be a very dangerous job. The headstone of Constable William Frederick Tyler, is replete with a replica of his uniform.
 
And, there is a sober reminder that not even civilians are safe during a war. A small memorial remembers locals that were killed during the bombing of London.
 
Abney Park is a pretty cemetery, it is nice to walk around, and was not drowning in mud, although I suspect it could be quite wet at times. The vegetation is controlled and it was an enjoyable morning. If anything I rate this cemetery over Brompton, possibly because it  was like visiting a long lost and tired relative.
According to my book, it was abandoned over 25 years ago and then purchased by the London Borough of Hackney. Today it is more of an urban forest and wildlife preserve, and long may it grace us with its presence.
 

Random images

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Updated: 16/01/2017 — 20:41
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