Twenty years ago, I happened across a military cemetery in Aldershot – a town then known as the home of the British Army. It was full of fascinating characters whose remains were buried there. Opening another dusty box today, I found this photograph that I had taken of the grave of a military balloonatic [I tend to describe early balloonists thus as they must have been mad to take such flights!]
The sword draped cross marks the grave of Lt Caulfield of the Royal Engineers who lost his life while on duty in the Military Balloon ‘Thrasher’. A guide to the cemetery notes:
Lieutenant William Caulfield, Royal Engineers. Killed along with fellow Officer, Lt Martin-Leake RAMC, whilst demonstrating to King Edward VII and Prince Fushimi of Japan, military balloon ‘Thrasher’, on 25 May 1907 at Aldershot. The balloon headed SW and was last seen close to Abbotsbury, Nr Weymouth only 40 feet from the ground. One of the balloonists shouted to a nearby farmer to catch the trail rope, unfortunately he failed to do so and the two men were never seen again. The next day the trawler ‘Skylark’ picked up a tangled mess of cordage and fabric – all that remained of the ‘Thrasher’.
If they were never seen again, why the grave? Perhaps someone out there knows the reason? It would be nice to hear why.
2nd Lieutenant George Henry Grimshaw RAF died while engaging in sham aerial combat at Montrose on 8 July 1918. He and another pilot died when their aircraft collided. [Macclesfield Cemetery, Cheshire]
A Cornet on the grave of Frederick A Clarke, Band Master of the 7th Battalion The Cheshire Regiment [Macclesfield Cemetery]
Henry Poole Grimshaw died November 17, 1857 aged 5 weeks – Fleetwood Cemetery, Lancashire:
Elizabeth and Harry Pennington died in 1891 and 1892 aged 5 months and 2 years 5 months respectively. They are buried in Hindley Cemetery, Wigan:
In 2014, I visited Birkdale Roman Catholic Cemetery on the edge of Southport.Looking through my images recently, I hadn’t realised the significance of one particular memorial until now. It mentioned Daniel Henry Shee – Late Pontifical Zouaves 1867-1870 and Superintent of Birkdale Farm Reformatory School 1877 – 1909. Capt Shee was a Knight of Pius & Papal war hero. The story of the Papal Zouves is one of great heroism by a multinational force of Catholic volunteers [shades of the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War]. The organisation’s history is detailed HERE
The school, which became an Approved School in 1933, had a troubled beginning and it was Capt Shee’s arrival that saw much improvement in its operation made. A very useful history of the school can be read HERE
A transcription of the staff members and the ‘scholars under detention’ is available HERE
Recumbent alabaster effigies of Sir Richard and Lady Shereburne. He died 1597. All Hallows, Great Mitton:
Memorial to Richard Francis Shireburn who died in1702 aged almost 9 yrs. Sculptor – William Stanton. The centrepiece depicts Richard contemplating a skull and bony fingers protruding from the ground – All Hallows, Great Mitton, Lancashire:
A tiny window at Bolton Abbey’s Priory Church depicts the northern saint Cuthbert to whom, with St Mary, Mother of Jesus, the Priory is dedicated. The window was a gift from a nineteenth century steward of the Duke of Devonshire and shows Cuthbert as Bishop of Lindisfarne, cradling in his arms the severed head of his fellow saint, Oswald, a Christian King whose skull is possibly the one found during excavation of Cuthbert’s grave in Durham Cathedral.
One of the windows in the Priory Church at Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire is quite gruesome. It depicts three scenes of martyrdom. These represent St Stephen (the first Christian Martyr) being stoned for his faith, St Polycarp of Smyrna being burned at the stake and St Ignatius of Antioch being thrown to the lions by the Roman Emperor Trajan.