Netley Military Cemetery Part Four – Death at Home & Distant Engagements

A short distance from the Great War Non-Conformist plot we visited last post, and as we make our way towards the Officers’ plot (next post), these scattered graves on the hillside are among the earlier, late-19th Century, turn of the 20th Century, burials made here. 

And it would be remiss of us if we failed to pay our respects at a few of these graves, so, on the left in the previous shot, the inscription on this headstone reads ‘Sacred to the memory of Frederick Thomas Shobridge, Corporal, R.A.M. Corps, who fell asleep 17th March 1900, aged 38 years. Erected by his widow, Officers, W. & N.C.Os. and men of the R.A.M. Corps stationed at Netley.’  There are men buried here, such as this corporal, who were among the staff working at the hospital,…

…and others, such as the man buried beneath the headstone closest to the camera,…

…who died of sickness or wounds sustained in overseas campaigns; ‘Sergt. J. W. Warne, Gren. Gds. the dearly beloved husband of E. A. Warne who died at the R. V. Hospital Netley on the 12th June 1902 of disease contracted while in South Africa in his 32nd year.’  There are a number of Second Boer War casualties buried here, this man among them,…

…probably this man; ‘In loving memory of Sergt. T. H. Thomas, South Wales Borderers, the beloved husband of Margaret Thomas, died 14th May 1901 aged 29 years.’,…


…and certainly this man; ‘In memory of Private W. Crooks 4th West Yorkshire Regiment. Died 16th July 1902, from wounds received in action at Outspanfontein, S. Africa aged 21 years. Erected by the N.C.O’s, and men of his company.’

South Africa Survivors; Second Boer War amputees at Netley, 1900.  The two Boer Wars took place between 16th December 1880 & 23rd March 1881, and 11th October 1899 & 31st May 1902.

Wounded soldiers returned from the Second Boer War relaxing on the hospital pier.  And talking of the pier, the following was printed in The People on 16th September 1900; ‘Close to Netley Hospital there is a pier which makes a pleasant promenade for the convalescents. But, according to a local paper, a part of this pier has become insecure, so the authorities have put up the following notice, for the sake of convalescents who are being patched up. “Patients”, says the notice, “are not allowed on this pier while undergoing repairs”.’

I cannot find figures for the number of men treated at Netley during the Second Boer War between October 1899 & May 1902, but, as an example, on 16th May 1900, Queen Victoria made one of a number of trips to Netley, on that occasion personally visiting over 600 men (223 wounded and 380 sick), all casualties evacuated home from South Africa.

‘To the memory of the late Private J. Norman, 2nd Battn. Somerset L. I. Died at Netley December 22 1902 aged 22 years.’

The grave of Catherine Martha O’Dell, wife of Sergeant S. G. O’Dell, 4th Manchester Regiment, who died on 19th June 1901 aged 24.

‘In loving memory of Frank Frankish. Sergeant 1st Shropshire Regt. Died December 28th 1883. Shortly after his return from the Egyptian Campaign. Aged 29 years.’

Wounded men at Netley on their return from the Tirah (Khyber Pass) Campaign on the Indian frontier, 1897-98.  The two Gordon Highlanders on the right may have suffered their injuries during the successful attempt to storm the Dargai Heights on 20th Oct 1897.  Although they only lost three men killed, thirty five were wounded (two of whom earned Victoria Crosses), and maybe these men were among them.

‘To the memory of the late Private E. Woodcock, 7th Hussars, died at Netley November 15th 1892. Aged 27 years.’

‘In memory of Private H. Haworth, Medical Staff Corps, who was accidentally drowned in the Southampton Water on the 10th June 1895 aged 23 years.’

‘In affectionate remembrance of George Lamont Hobbs, Major 45th Regiment, who died at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, four days after his return from India, May 29th 1871. Aged 41 years.’

These have been just a few of the earlier, marked, graves to be found in this cemetery; if you wander up the hill there are many more, but time precludes us from visiting.  And be aware that although this shot shows just a few marked burials, there are so many more men buried on this hillside, and elsewhere in the cemetery, who lie in unmarked graves.  Next, the Officers’ plot.

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2 Responses to Netley Military Cemetery Part Four – Death at Home & Distant Engagements

  1. Nick Kilner says:

    Another interesting plot. The grave of Frank Frankish caught my attention. In part due to the Masonic symbol carved into the headstone, but also because it’s an unusual name. The Franks or Frankish, as you’re no doubt aware, were a Germanic empire during the early Middle Ages who gained control of large swathes of Western Europe following the collapse of the Roman empire. So calling someone Frank Frankish is like calling them Germanic Germanic, and that’s just odd. I bet he got some stick at school over that one.

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