Sunday, November 18, 2007

Trafalgar Cemetery

Walking past the cemetery the other day, I noticed two of the tombstones had poppy wreaths.

Although the name of the cemetery commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, only two of those who are buried here actually died of wounds suffered during the battle (Lieut. William Forster of the Royal Marine corps of H.M.S. Mars and Lieut. Thomas Norman of H.M.S Colossus - grave numbers 121 and 101). Most of those who died at Trafalgar were buried at sea, and Lord Nelson's body was transported to London for a state funeral. Wounded seamen were brought to Gibraltar, and those who died later of their wounds were buried just to the north of Charles V Wall, on the opposite side of Trafalgar Cemetery; a small plaque was recently placed there to commemorate the site.

Many of the tombstones in the cemetery commemorate the dead of three terrible yellow fever epidemics in 1804, 1813 and 1814. Also buried here are victims of other sea battles of the Napoleonic Wars - the battle of Algeciras (1801) and actions off Cadiz (1810) and Malaga (1812).

As I wrote about both Trafalgar Day and Armistice Day in Gibraltar, I thought I should add this brief postscript.

The cemetery is a very tranquil green spot, quiet and peaceful, and just outside the city walls.

I thought it was strangely touching that the two graves of men who died at the Battle of Trafalgar still receive a tribute more than 200 years later.

Captain Thomas Norman

Lieut William Forster

Source for quote: Gibraltar Heritage Trust although please note the inscription on the grave refers to Captain Thomas Norman and not Lieut Norman.

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