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 happened 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.
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.
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.VC, Hugh Shaw. VC, William Temple. VC, Henry James Raby. VC. CB, Hugh Stewart Cochrane. VC, William NW Hewett. VC, Israel Harding. VC, William 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 © 2013-2021. Retrospectively created 12/05/2017. With special thanks to Geoff Watts and Kevin Brazier.