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Charlton Cemetery in the Royal Borough of Greenwich


 This week we look at maritime and military memorials in Charlton Cemetery

Established in 1855 as a ‘Gentleman’s Cemetery'. Charlton largely retains its original Victorian layout. For a relatively small cemetery, Charlton has a high number of notable and unique memorials. Amongst those interred is Sir John Maryon-Wilson (1802-1876), who, as Lord of the Manor of Hampstead, helped to preserve Hampstead Heath for future generations. Curiously, the very fine Hampstead Cemetery – the data for which is also in the database – features a wide range of well known politicians and establishment figures, but obviously Maryon-Wilson had moved south of the river.

Perhaps the most striking monument belongs to Jemima Ayley (1825-1860), whose canopied memorial features an effigy lying above a vault which contained a table and chairs for visitors.

The tomb of Jemima Ayley
The graves of Royal Naval personnel and merchant seamen are unsurprising for a cemetery so near to the maritime hub of Greenwich. There are numerous graves associated with the Royal Docks, including a memorial to fifty-two who died of yellow fever aboard HMS Firebrand in 1861 The first Director of the National Maritime Museum, Sir Geoffrey Callender (died 1945), is buried here, as are Admiral Sir Watkin Pell (died 1869) who served with Lord Nelson, and Admiral George Perceval, 6th Earl of Egmont (died 1874), who was present at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. These are two of many connections to Lord Nelson in the Deceased Online database, including the burial record of his daughter, Horatia, which is featured in our post on Harrow cemetery records.

Memorial to Major General Orde Charles Wingate (1903-1944)
Like Greenwich Cemetery, there is a strong military presence at Charlton. There are memorials to personnel connected with the Royal Artillery at Woolwich. Major General Orde Charles Wingate D.S.O.  (26 February 1903- 24 March 1944) was a Royal Artillery officer who led the Burmese Chindits in ‘special military jungle operations’ in the Far East, before being killed in an aeroplane accident in India. Wingate was an extraordinary and, many say, eccentric military leader. Before the war, he headed the Jewish counter-guerillas in Palestine and carried out special duty in the Abyssinian campaign that restored Haile Selassie as Emperor. Wingate's body, along with those of his fellow crash victims, were exhumed and reburied at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, USA. A memorial stone to Wingate stands in Charlton Cemetery, and another memorial to him and the Chindits is located near the Ministry of Defence building on Victoria Embankment. In his obituary, The Times wrote, "By any measure Wingate was one of the thrilling figures of the war."

Section Officer Joan Marjorie Easton WAAF (1917-8 September 1943), who died while trying to rescue civilians from a crashed Stirling bomber in Cambridgeshire, is commemorated with a simple small stone. Her brother, Sergeant (Pilot) Eric John Easton of the RAF Volunteer Reserve was killed on 30 April 1941 and is buried nearby.


We'd  love to hear if you have a relative buried in Charlton Cemetery. Do leave a comment below or contact us via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Sources:
The Times (London, England), Saturday, Apr 01, 1944; pg. 8; Issue 49820. 
Darren Beach, London’s Cemeteries. (Metro Publications, 2006)

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