Aldershot Military Cemetery Part Six

Our tour of Aldershot Military Cemetery ends here in Plot AG, at the bottom of the hill that we have explored in some detail over the previous two posts. 

There are five, or is it six, rows of burials here, some of the graves with CWGC headstones, and some without.  The CWGC headstone closest to the camera on the right…

…marks the grave of Lieutenant & Quartermaster William Frederick Watterton, R.A.M.C., who died on 1st January 1917 aged 48, and next to him,…

…is the grave of Flight Lieutenant Philip Evans, who enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers in 1915, serving in France from November 1915 before gaining a commission as a second lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps in September 1916.  He qualified as a pilot on the last day of December 1916, and died just three weeks later on 24th January 1917, the Court of Inquiry finding that it was an accident; ‘Nose dived from 400 feet. Machine in good condition before flight. Court of Inquiry was of the view that the machine was damaged owing to a nose dive from a height of about 400 feet, and destroyed when on the ground by fire.’  Flying from Farnborough Airfield, just to the north of Aldershot, his R.E.8 spun into the ground and caught fire.  Evans, still only nineteen, was incinerated.

One of a number of nurses buried in this plot,…

…although the only one with two headstones,…

…Nurse Rosamund Curteis, V.A.D., died of influenza on 14th November 1918 aged 48.

The grave of Nurse Moyra O’Brien, Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service,…

…who died from cerebro-spinal fever (an often fatal type of meningitis) on the 21st February 1917, aged 35, the same day that she was admitted to hospital.

Sub-Lieutenant T. L. C. Robison M.C., R.N.V.R., Royal Naval Division, who died on 28th February 1919 aged 30.  And in case you think it odd that a naval officer should have received a Military Cross (albeit curiously positioned on the headstone), don’t forget that the Royal Naval Division fought as infantry on the Western Front during the Great War.

The grave of Lieutenant David Keith Finnimore, Royal Engineers, who ‘died of disease contracted on active service with the 3rd Division in Flanders, March 1915 to Oct. 1916’ on 10th May 1917, aged 21.

Left to right; Captain & Quartermaster A. G. Murphy, General List and Royal Flying Corps, who died on 14th June 1917, Lieutenant Michael Patrick O’Brien, Royal Army Medical Corps, who died on 23rd September 1917, and Captain Herbert Henry Thompson, Army Pay Department, Mentioned in Despatches, who died on 2nd January 1918 aged 33.

Lieutenant Harry Jones, 4th Bn. London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers), Mentioned in Despatches, who was accidentally killed while instructing troops in bombing tactics on 15th May 1918 aged 42, and next to him,…

…this is the grave of a Great War Royal Air Force ace.  Lieutenant Henry Arthur Richard Biziou D.F.C. had served with the Yorkshire Regiment on Gallipoli, in Egypt and in France before joining the Royal Flying Corps in late 1916.  On 6th May 1918, over Gheluvelt in Flanders, he scored his first aerial victory, and during a seven-day period in September 1918 he claimed five victories over the Somme, ending the war as a temporary captain with eight victories – all in Sopwith Dolphins.

He received a Distinguished Flying Cross for which the citation reads, ‘A most successful leader of marked gallantry. During recent operations he has destroyed four enemy aeroplanes and driven down one out of control; two of these he accounted for in one engagement on September 15th with a number of Fokker biplanes. In addition he has driven down a hostile balloon’.

Henry Biziou died on 14th July 1919 when his S.E.5a was in a mid-air collision with an Avro 504k over Farnborough.  He was still only 22.

The grave of Nurse Dorothy Pearson Twist, Canadian Military V.A.D. (pictured below; born in Liverpool, she had emigrated to Victoria in Canada in 1912), who served at Frensham Hill Military Hospital (inset below right), and who died there of pneumonia on 26th September 1918, aged 33.

Another V.A.D. nurse, Dorothy Jeanette Squire had served for just over a year before she died on 22nd October 1918 aged 29.

The grave of Captain & Quartermaster Francis Joseph Way M.C., Army Service Corps, who died on 25th October 1918.  Way and his wife lived in Aldershot, hence his private headstone here in the military cemetery.

Mechanic Driver Winifryde Mary Grace Smith-Sligo had originally volunteered with the Women’s Legion, the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the country, before she was attached to the Army Service Corps as a mechanic and driver.

She died on 7th November 1918 (according to her headstone) of pneumonia, aged just 18.

Two burials from 1925 at the edge of the plot, the smaller of the two a child of only three days,…

…and beyond, the Great War headstones of Plot AF that we visited in Part Four.

The graves of Lieutenant John Archibald Weston, Adjutant, 1st Bn. Royal Fusiliers, who died on 23rd May 1920 aged 24 having, according to his headstone, served throughout the war,…

…and Lieutenant Colonel Robert Shelton D.S.O., R.A.S.C., who died on 1st December 1921 aged 37,…

…and in general the remaining burials further up the slope are all from the 1920s, and I shall only be showing you a few of them.

The grave of Captain Charles Bland R.A.V.C., who died in 1923 aged 69, and further down the headstone, the name of his nephew, Rifleman George Herbert Clark, 2nd Bn. Rifle Brigade, who was killed in action in France on 25th April 1918, his body lost, his name today to be found on the panels of the Pozières Memorial.

Evening Telegraph, Thursday 24th March 1927: ‘COLONEL FOUND SHOT. MAID’S DISCOVERY AT ALDERSHOT. The discovery was made late last night of the body of Lieut.-Col. Douglas Hervey Talbot, D.S.O., M.C., in his rooms at Warbury House, in the East Cavalry Barracks, Aldershot. For the past few months Col. Talbot has commanded the 17/21st Lancers now stationed at the barracks. He appeared to be in his customary health and demeanour yesterday, and was alone in the house with the exception of the servants, his wife having gone on a visit to friends and his daughter being at school. A servant discovered the tragedy on entering the library during the evening. No report was heard, but when she went into the library she saw the colonel lying on the floor near a desk at which he had apparently been sitting and writing. There was a pool of blood on the carpet, and he had a shot wound in the head. A revolver was near by. A doctor was summoned, but the colonel was beyond his attentions. Colonel Talbot was 44 years of age.’

Evening News, Saturday 26th March 1927: ‘COLONEL’S SUICIDE. SEQUEL TO WORRY OVER MONEY MATTERS. A verdict of “Suicide while of unsound mind” was recorded yesterday by the Aldershot Coroner at the inquest on Col. Douglas Hervey Talbot, D.S.O., M.C.  Lieut.-Col. Talbot, who was in command of the 17th-21st Lancers, was found shot in the library of his house in East Cavalry Barracks. It was stated that he had been worrying over the financial affairs of his father, who died recently.’  His father, Arthur Hervey Talbot, had died on 13th March 1927, just ten days earlier.

The final group of graves, as we leave the plot, are neither Great War nor Second World War, the four men buried here all killed on the same day in 1922.

This is the tomb of Lieutenant Ronald Alexander Hendy, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who died on 26th April 1922.  Part of the inscription reads, ‘Treacherously captured and killed while on active service at Macroom in Ireland April 26 1922’.

Commissioned into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in August 1916, Hendy was seriously wounded in the right arm by a bomb explosion in France in March 1917 and evacuated to England, where his arm was, I think, amputated, and where he spent the remainder of the war.  Posted to GHQ Ireland in late 1920, and appointed Intelligence Officer, 17th Infantry Brigade HQ, on the evening of 26th April 1922, Hendy, along with two fellow officers and their driver, were stopped and kidnapped by the IRA on their way from Ballincollig Barracks to Macroom, County Cork.

All four men were taken to Kilgobnet, a few miles west of Macroom, where they were executed as spies on 29th April,…

…and all four are now buried here, this the grave of twenty seven year old Lieutenant Robert Henderson M.C., The Green Howards,…

…this the identical cross of Lieutenant George Rolland Atkinson Dove, Hampshire Regiment, aged 23,…

…and this the grave of their (Catholic, by the way) driver,…

…’In loving memory of Joseph R. Brooks, Driver, Royal Army Service Corps. Born Oct 2nd 1899. Died April 26th 1922.’

Although both British & IRA versions of what occurred were basically in agreement, the British maintained that the four men were on a fishing trip, refusing to admit that they were on intelligence duties, the matter eventually resting…

…when Austin Chamberlain was forced to admit in the House of Commons that they were indeed intelligence officers.  It’s also worth remembering that Michael Collins had signed the Truce with the British Government on behalf of the IRA in December 1921, the murders taking place during the hiatus that preceded the Irish Civil War which officially broke out in June 1922.  Make of that what you will.  Did I mention that there was a dog in the car along with the three British officers.  They shot him too.

And that, folks, is just about that.  There are many other areas of the cemetery, as you’ve seen from the cemetery plan, to explore should you ever visit, but we’ve covered the Great War burials, and many others besides, and I think we’ve covered them well enough.  I’ll introduce Roy, the third of my companions on the day, in the centre of this shot, to you another time, maybe – an ex-soldier, suffice to say that he has experiences that I can only write about……

Next, as we leave the cemetery, we shall be returning to an area in France familiar to readers of this website, but not so much to the general pilgrim, as we pay a final visit, over four posts, to French Flanders.

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2 Responses to Aldershot Military Cemetery Part Six

  1. Daisy in Melbourne Australia says:

    Hello Magicfingers,

    A truly wonderful journey around Aldershot Military Cemetery. Enjoyed every post particularly the interesting stories of some of the burials.

    Is there a cemetery volunteer group who stand up the fallen headstones? They make a a sad place look much more sad…

    Cheers, Daisy in Melbourne.

    • Magicfingers says:

      Hello Daisy. Good to hear from you, as always. Glad you enjoyed this one; it is, after all, the Home of the British Army. There is/was a volunteer group and Roy, one of my companions, is/was a member. I’ll have a word next time I see him but generally in many British cemeteries and churchyards fallen crosses and headstones are not put back up; health & safety rules. Or should that be health and safety Rules!

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