Old Christian Cemetery, Abbottabad
The Old Christian Cemetery, Abbottabad (also known as the OCC, or the Gora Qabristan White-people's cemetery), is a cemetery situated in Abbottabad town, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North-West frontier Province), Pakistan. It dates from British colonial times.
The cemetery was established in 1853 when James Abbott (Indian Army officer) founded Abbottabad town itself and for long, it remained the main Christian cemetery in the town and for the nearby Galyat hill tracts and was later attached to St. Luke's Church, Abbottabad when it was completed in 1864. The cemetery contains many interesting old graves and memorials. Most of these have Frontier military campaigns' connections and significance for military historians, including the graves or tombs of Major Hugh Rees James, Major Leigh Richmond Battye and Colonel A W Crookshank, as well as others. The Rev. Henry Fisher Corbyn, of the Bengal Ecclesiastical Establishment, who spent long years here as Vicar, and who had previously served in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and established a 'charitable home' there at Ross Island (Andaman) is also buried here. Also buried here is Lady Julia Helen Palmer (née Aylmer; died 1896) first wife of General Sir Arthur Power Palmer, a former Commander-in-Chief, India.
Since Partition and Independence of Pakistan in 1947, the Old Christian Cemetery has suffered considerable neglect, due to various financial constraints upon the Church of Pakistan and maybe around 70-80 of the older graves dating back prior to 1947, still survive and can be properly verified. It is interesting to note that a family of Muslim caretakers lives within the precincts of the cemetery, who have been traditional caretakers of the site since circa 1902-1903, prior to which time two retired Gurkha soldiers of the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles used to tend to it, from around the 1870s onwards.
- British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia
- Families in British India Society
- Indian Military Historical Society
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- Tarin,O & Najumddin, S, 'Five Early Military Graves at the Old Christian Cemetery, Abbottabad, 1853-1888' in The Kipling Journal, UK, Vol. 84, No.339, December 2010, pp.35-52; ISSN 0023-1738
- Tarin & Najumddin, p. 38
- Although some few scattered graves are to be still found in several places in the district
- Tarin & Najumddin, pp. 38-39
- Irving, M & de Rhe-Philipe, Inscriptions on Christian Tombs and Monuments in the Punjab, the North-West Frontier Province, Kashmir and Afghanistan, Orig. 1910-1912, 2 Parts; Reprint Aldershot, UK: Naval & Military Press, 2009, Part I, p.17
- Irving & de Rhe-Philipe, Part II, p.19
- Irving & de Rhe-Philipe, Part II, p.183
- Irving & de Rhe-Philipe, Part II, pp. 21-22
- For detailed list of tombs see Abbottabad, in Cemeteries List on main FIBIS UK Database http://new.fibis.org/frontis/bin/index.php Retrieved on 15th April 2012
- 'Corbyn's Cove' there is also named after him. See George Weber Pioneer Biographies of the British Period to 1947, np, nd, Appendix A
- FIBIS Cemeteries List, aa
- Tarin & Najumddin, p.46
- Whereas local church records show more than 300 burials between 1853 and 1947
- Old church records, St. Luke's Church, Abbottabad