Aldershot Military Cemetery

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The Mortuary Chapel of Aldershot Military Cemetery

Aldershot Military Cemetery, is a burial ground for military personnel, or ex-military personnel. It is located in Aldershot Military Town, Hampshire. The Cemetery is also open for the interment of wives and families of all ranks, and for some civilians who have spent their life with the army.

The Cemetery lies between Thorn Hill and Peaked Hill, and is bordered to the south by Ordnance Road. Entrance from Gallwey Road, near where the old time-gun stood.

It is unlike any other military cemetery in the United Kingdom, for not only is it set on hills and small valleys in natural surrounds, but here, at rest, lie fighting men of nine nations, who have served and died in Aldershot. There are 690 First World War graves in the cemetery; the earliest bears the date 5 August 1914, and the latest 11 August 1921. Many of these graves are in plot AF. The 129 Second World War graves are in groups in various plots, the largest group in plot A containing 86 graves [1]

Early history[edit]

The Cemetery was first enclosed in 1856, and although a number of soldiers were buried on the site prior to that year, soldiers and their families were interred in the churchyard of the village parish church of St Michel's prior to then.

In 1870 the cemetery became the responsibility of the senior Royal Engineers Officer in "The Camp." The Protestant portion of the cemetery was consecrated by Samuel Wilberforce, the then Bishop of Winchester, on 1 November 1870.

The Mortuary Chapel was built in 1879 on newly acquired ground that had previously been used as a signal post. It replaced a wooden chapel built lower down the slope at the time the cemetery was first opened.

Present day[edit]

The graves are set in beautifully tended steep rolling grounds of 15 acres (6.1 ha), traversed by many tarmacadam paths. The area is well wooded with oaks, pines, firs and chestnut trees, interspersed with yew topiary and rhododendrons.

Some parts are of bracken and heather, that are typical of the Aldershot countryside nearby, and possibly this was how this land was in the days before "The Camp" was built and before the cemetery was opened in 1865. The graves themselves are mostly set amid the fine textured close-cut turf, the cemetery being bordered as a whole, by holly hedging. The most western part of the grounds, where some of the earliest headstones are to be found, has been intentionally allowed to become overgrown. The loftier parts of the ground offer pleasant views of the Surrey heathlands, that form some of the nearby Army training grounds.

Here, in surroundings familiar during their soldiering days, are the graves of the fighting men of all ranks and many nations, who have served, lived and died in Aldershot. Some of service personnel having died in the nearby Cambridge Military Hospital, from wounds or disease contracted while on active service overseas.

Notable graves[edit]

View of Aldershot Military Cemetery
  • Samuel Franklin Cody, the early pioneer of manned flight, and often said (incorrectly) to be the only civilian grave in the cemetery
  • Field Marshal Sir Henry Evelyn Wood VC GCB GCMG. Recipient of the Victoria Cross, awarded for his part in putting down the Sinwaho & Sindhora Indian Mutiny of 19 October 1858
  • The headstone of Major William Davidson Bissett VC, recipient of the Victoria Cross in the latter part of the First World War. He was cremated in Pentrebychan Crematorium, Wrexham.
  • General Mervyn Butler KCB CBE DSO MC, former Commander-in-Chief of Strategic Command of the British Army.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°15′19″N 0°44′49″W / 51.25528°N 0.74694°W / 51.25528; -0.74694