Aldershot Military Cemetery Part Five

Immediately behind the Cross of Sacrifice, at the top of the hill of headstones we explored last post, is Plot AA. 

And here’s my tatty cemetery plan once more, showing you Plot AA, and indeed Plot AH, which we shall explore in the second half of this post, among the highlighted sections.

Plot AA contains primarily Great War Canadian casualties,…

…the earliest of which are to be found at the far right of the front row,…

…with these two Canadian privates, on the left, Private W. J. Haverstock, 17th (Reserve) Bn. Canadian Infantry, who died on 18th February 1917, and on the right, Private William George Foxton, 156th Bn. Canadian Infantry, who died from meningitis on 4th February 1917 aged 22.

The row continues with burials from March & April,…

…and at the end of the row, September 1917.

The left side of the plot contains mainly Second World War burials, although some, including the grave nearest the camera on the left, that of a Royal Army Dental Corps major who died in 1953, are later.

These three Polish servicemen died in 1947 (there’s another a couple of rows back),…

…and these three British lieutenant colonels died within a few months of each other in 1946.

Back among the Great War Canadian headstones, these two privates among the final burials from 1917,…

…the men buried in the remaining Canadian rows…

…mainly from 1918.

Beyond the second of the two rows pictured here are a few more post-Second World War headstones,…

…including this man; The Chestnut Troop were so-called because their horses were exclusively chestnut in colour.

The final row of Canadian burials includes men who died in 1919, the first of whom, second from the camera, was only sixteen, enlisted under an alias, and, although born in Canada, may well have been American.  If anyone fancies researching Arthur Laverne Laing, who served in the Canadian Overseas Railway Construction Depot as Private B. Morgan, and who died of meningitis on 2nd May 1919, well, be my guest.

The final two rows in the plot are a mixture of New Zealand…

…and South African burials,…

…all Great War casualties, their names listed on the GRRF below.  The headstones beyond the path are again all post-World War II.

Moving on to Plot AH, this is one of those plots that you suspect will be of interest just by looking at it.  And as it turned out, one of the graves, in fact the grave, above all others that I wanted to find in this cemetery, is to be found here.

That brown monstrosity…

…isn’t it,…

…although, to be fair, you might consider the kneeling soldier as somewhat of a redeeming feature.

The man buried here is a lieutenant of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada who died in Aldershot in 1910.

This cross marks the grave of Lieutenant William Talbot McLintock Caulfield, Royal Engineers, who, along with Lieutenant Theodore Edward Martin-Leake, was drowned at sea off the Dorset coast on 28th May 1907.  A newspaper report recorded, ‘They went ‘up’ in the balloon from Aldershot on Tuesday the 28th June in the presence of the King and Prince Fushimi of Japan. A Mr House, the landlord of the Coach and Horses, at Winterborne Abbas had seen the balloon going over the village shortly before 8 o’clock. It was only 40 feet from the ground and had a rope trailing, the two Officers shouted to him to catch the rope which he failed to do so. They said they were making for Bridport but were warned they were not far from the sea. A Mr Tolman a farmer also saw them and again was unable to grab the rope. House and Tolman continued to chase it but failed. The balloon continued to head towards Bridehead very close to the ground. A carpenter named Samson saw them, and again they asked him how close was it to Bridport. Samson said the balloon was almost touching the ground and they could easily have slid down the rope. They were then seen to throw out ballast in order to clear one of the small hills. They were also heard talking as the balloon went over Little Bredy. The final moments of their plight is not known apart from two men of West Bexington Farm saw the balloon splash into the water but quickly rose again, it was thought the Officers may have jumped into the sea at this point. The balloon was recovered by the Brixham fishing boat Skylark, and returned to the factory in Aldershot.’

Caulfield’s body would be recovered from the sea on 24th June 1907 and buried here, Martin-Leake’s body being recovered a few days later and buried at Thorpe-le-Soken in Essex.  His elder brother, Arthur, would later become famous as Surgeon-Captain Arthur Martin-Leake V.C. & Bar, MC, Royal Army Medical Corps, the recipient of, to this day, one of only three bars ever awarded to a holder of the Victoria Cross*. He already had one, awarded in 1902 during the South African campaign, at the time of his brothers’ death.

*The likelihood of a fourth is, I would suggest, infinitesimal.

The ‘Thrasher’, with Caulfield & Theodore Martin-Leake on board, begins its fateful flight.

The grave of Lieutenant Reginald Archibald Cammell, Royal Engineers Army Air Battalion, killed while flying ‘in the execution of his duty’ on 17th September 1911, aged 26.

The R.E. Air Battalion, for your information, was established in April 1911 with the intention of creating a group of air experts to advise the Army should it adopt the new science of flight.

The grave of Captain Keith Lucas of the Hampshire Aircraft Park, killed on 5th October 1916 while flying a B.E.2c which collided with another BE2c, flown by Second Lieutenant Geoffrey Plateras Lawson Jacques of the Central Flying School, who was also killed, and is buried in the local cemetery at Loughton in Essex.

The grave of James Cordon, although not that one.  Second Lieutenant Henry James Cordon, Wiltshire Regiment, died of wounds on 17th October 1916, aged 23.

And then there’s this man and this grave, and, with due respect, of all the men buried in this cemetery, it was Lieutenant General Samuel Holt Lomax whose grave I wished to visit the most.  In one way, Lomax was the ultimate ‘Château General’, but not for the reasons that the detractors would have you believe.

On 31st October 1914, with the First Battle of Ypres at its height and a German breakthrough still thought possible, the commanders of the British 1st & 2nd Divisions, Lieutenant-General Sir Samuel Lomax & Major-General Sir Charles Monro, arranged a meeting at Hooge Château, less than two miles behind the front lines.  An eye witness recalled that the approach to the château was packed with cars, a sure sign to the Germans on the ridges to the east that something of interest was taking place.  At around 1.30 p.m. the first shell landed in the château’s gardens; many within rushed to the window to see the damage, seemingly unaware of the danger.  Monro used the interruption to leave the room for a discussion with his Chief of Staff, and it probably saved his life.  The second shell burst just outside the window, sending blast and jagged shards of metal tearing through the room and the men within it.  One, maybe two, more shells hit the château, but the second shell had done the damage.

Monro, standing in the doorway, was concussed but otherwise unhurt.  One lieutenant colonel, one colonel, two majors and three captains would die at the time or very soon after, and a number were wounded, including Lomax, who was evacuated, eventually to England, where he would die of his injuries, after receiving palliative care in a London nursing home for the best part of five months, on 10th April 1915 aged 59.

Lomax’s name appears last on this GRRF.

Beyond Lomax’s grave in the foreground, on the far right of this shot,…

…the pair of wings at the base of this memorial is entirely appropriate, as this cross marks the grave…

…of Edward Teshmaker Busk, a scientist and engineer who pioneered early aircraft design at the Royal Aircraft Factory and who designed the first inherently stable aeroplane (above, Busk at the controls of one of his experimental R.E.1s).

The inscription reads, ‘The designer of the first full sized efficient inherently stable aeroplane. He lost his life in the service of his country while doing experimental work in the air over Laffan’s Plain* on November 5 1914 aged 28 years.’

*Laffan’s Plain was a Royal Aircraft Factory airfield and is still part of Farnborough Aerodrome, just to the north of Aldershot.

Busk was killed on the afternoon of 5th November 1914 when his B.E.2 caught fire at a height of around 1,000 feet, after which it glided down to earth, incinerating its pilot in the process.

I have no idea of the identity of the man buried here, but I like the sword.

Which leaves us with one final plot with Great War burials to inspect, back down at the bottom of the hill,…

…where this cluster of graves awaits us.

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2 Responses to Aldershot Military Cemetery Part Five

  1. Liz Tobin says:

    Thank you for your very thorough exploration of this part of the cemetery . I will follow up on all the Canadian casualties from WWI in due course.
    One of the men who already has a detailed set of records is William George Foxton Davis, who died from spinal meningitis within a a few months of arriving in England. has all the details of his treatment and death on 4th February 1917. has a number of links to remembrance in the U.K. and Canada but is missing a photo of the grave marker.
    I will send a link to your page to with an additional reference to your photo of the grave marker.
    Nearly every recruit sailed from Halifax , and on December 6, 1917 there were a series of explosions in the harbour with a devastating loss of civilians and military personnel. More about that in a later link .

    • Magicfingers says:

      Thanks Liz. Appreciated. Should you require any higher resolution shots – I have to reduce the picture sizes to publish them – then just let me know. Oh, and I have watched many a documentary about the Halifax disaster, one quite recently (good old YouTube). The 2020 Beirut explosion perhaps gave us some sort of idea what it may have been like. Maybe.

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