Highgate’s Heroes: Pt. 2

In today’s post I am revisiting London’s famous Highgate Cemetery; well-known around the world for its overgrown graves and rather eerie Gothic allure. Less famous, however, are Highgate’s numerous war graves, and it is these graves that I put my attention to. Highgate has a surprising 316 graves registered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Although I tried, I was certainly unable to locate them all; so until I can return to Highgate and continue my photographic quest, I hope the photos in this post and Pt. 1 are a good start.

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Lieutenant T.A. Prior of the London Rifle Brigade, died 1921

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Gunner O. Bowyer of the Royal Field Artillery, died 1918

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Sergeant C.T.L. Clement of the Royal Air Force, died 1944

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Private S. Kemp of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, died 1918

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Corporal H.A. Taylor of the Canadian Infantry, died 1919

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Private P.S. Jackson of King Edward’s Horse, died 1917; and his brother, Ronald Singleton Jackson, died 1918

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Corporal Walter Percy Scott of the Royal Air Force, died 1920

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Aircraftman 2nd Class F.E. Sorgatz of the Royal Air Force, died 1944

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Cadet R.E.D. Bedford of the Officers Training Corps, died 1916

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Sergeant W.J. Parry of the Machine Gun Corps, died 1919

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Lance-bombardier R.M. Jones of the Royal Artillery, died 1943

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Private Manley Frederic Ashwin of the Artist’s Rifles, died 1918

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Sergeant H.T.A. Walters of the Royal Air Force, died 1943

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Lieutenant-Colonel C.E. Earle of the Cheshire Regiment, died 1917

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Lieutenant B. Conan-Davies of the York and Lancaster Regiment, died 1918

Highgate feels like a forgotten place– it’s so quiet and isolated under the leafy boughs and strains of ivy that have taken over the cemetery. But perhaps that silence and isolation symbolises the rest that the soldiers buried here deserve, after their courageous service and the violent, horrific experiences they surely had. And I hope that these posts have helped to ensure that they are remembered.

Highgate’s Heroes: Pt. 1

There must be thousands and thousands of cemeteries across the world; but the most famous one is probably Highgate Cemetery in London. A Victorian creation, Highgate is a burial ground very different from any other. When I think of a cemetery, I think of ordered crosses in row upon row; or carved headstones laid out on a manicured lawn. Highgate’s aesthetic is completely different, because it is (on the east side at least) essentially a cemetery built in a wood.

I would highly recommend visiting Highgate when in London. It was a very different and restful experience for me– nice to get out of the city’s hustle and bustle and instead take awhile in this cemetery full of London citizens to reflect on life and history. My mum and I visited the cemetery just to see the unearthly wildness of it, but my visit became focused on something altogether different. After only a few moments inside the grounds, I spied the first war grave.

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Commonwealth war graves are usually marked by a simple headstone of Portland stone. These headstones have an especially resolute look to them in the untamed environs of Highgate.

I hadn’t even expected there to be war graves at Highgate– I guess I thought that war graves are more of a military base or overseas thing. However, I immediately resolved to try to find all that exist at Highgate. Highgate has a very forgotten feel to it, being all overgrown and shaded– and war graves are one thing that I believe must never be forgotten.

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Bombardier S.A. Ball of the Royal Field Artillery, died 1918

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Lieutenant A.H. Boney of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, died 1919

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Sergeant R.C. Custance of the Royal Air Force, died 1943

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Sergeant R.O. Ford of the Australian Field Artillery, died 1919

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Private F.E.B. Buck of the Australian Infantry, died 1919

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Sergeant Major G.A. Mote, DCM of the Canadian Infantry, died 1917

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Lieutenant A.C.M. Gordon of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, died 1917

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Private D.T. Cross of the Hampshire Regiment, died 1919

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Battery Sergeant Major F. Hill-Jones of the Royal Field Artillery, died 1916

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Second Lieutenant D.H. Weedon of the Northumberland Fusiliers, died 1917

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Volunteer F.F. Burgoyne of the Home Guard, died 1940

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Sergeant R.L. Aiken of the Royal Air Force, died 1941

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I appreciated the Biblical epitaph on this headstone, sourced from John 15:13. True of all the brave men interred at Highgate, they laid down their lives that we might live.