Saturday, 27 August 2016

I have been to ... Charlton Cemetery

Yesterday Sue and I paid one of our periodic visits to a local cemetery. In this case we chose Charlton Cemetery, which was originally created as what was termed a 'Gentleman's Cemetery' by Charlton Burial Board. It was created on eight acres of land that had been part of the estate of Sir Thomas Maryon-Wilson.

The cemetery has two chapels; a Church of England one that is built in the style of an Early English church ...

... and a Roman Catholic one.

The cemetery almost doubled in size during the twentieth century when a further seven acres was added.

Because the cemetery contains a number of Commonwealth War Graves, it has a war memorial near the entrance.

True to its original purpose, the cemetery does contain a number of graves and memorials of prominent men and women. They include:
  • Peter Barlow (1776 – 1862): An English mathematician and physicist. He served as assistant mathematics master at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and produced what became known as BARLOW'S TABLES which gives squares, cubes, square roots, cube roots, and reciprocals of all integer numbers from 1 to 10,000. He also worked with optician George Dollond to develop achromatic lens, and received the Royal Society’s Copley Medal for his work on correcting the deviation in ship compasses caused by the presence of iron in the hull.
  • William Henry Barlow (1812 – 1902): One of Peter Barlow’s two sons. He became a renowned the civil engineer and amongst his achievements was the completion of d Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge. In the aftermath of the Tay Bridge Disaster he served on the commission which investigated the causes and he helped to design the replacement bridge.
  • Sir Geoffrey Callender (1875 – 1946): He was an important English naval historian, having served as a Head of the History Departments at the Royal Naval College, Osborne and Dartmouth Royal Naval College before becoming the first Professor of History at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. He was also the Society for Nautical Research's honorary secretary and treasurer from 1920 onwards, was a leading member of the group that campaigned to save HMS Victory for the nation and to set up a national maritime museum. He became the first director of the National Maritime Museum when it opened in 1937, and remained in post until his death in 1946.
  • George Cooper (1844 –1909): He was a London County Council councillor for Bermondsey and later the Liberal Member of Parliament for Bermondsey. He supported the extension of the franchise to women and helped to develop the famous People’s Budget.
  • William Clark Cowie (1849 – 1910): A Scottish engineer, mariner, and businessman who helped establish British North Borneo. He later served as Chairman of the British North Borneo Company.
  • Sir William Cunningham Dalyell of the Binns, 7th Baronet (1784 – 1865): He was wounded over sixteen times in various actions during the Napoleonic Wars and was a prisoner of war in France from 1805 until 1813. He later served as Captain of Greenwich Hospital.
  • Lieutenant General Sir William George Shedden Dobbie, GCMG, KCB, DSO (1879 – 1964): A veteran of the Second Boer War as well as the First and Second World Wars, he was the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Malta during the siege.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Hastings Lascelles, DSO, MID, Legion d’Honneur: His grave had fallen into disrepair and was recently given a new grave marker.

  • Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Walter Milward, CB (d 1875): Inventor of a lightweight steel cannon. He was an ADC to Queen Victoria and served as Superintendent of the Royal Laboratory, Woolwich, for nearly five years.

  • General Sir Charles Edward Nairne (1836 – 1899): He was commissioned into the Bengal Artillery in 1855 and took part in the suppression of the Indian Mutiny in 1857. He served as a Horse Battery Commander during the Second Afghan War from 1878 to 1880, and two years later he took part in the Anglo-Egyptian War and commanded the Artillery at the Battle of Tel el-Kebir. After having served as Inspector-General of Artillery in India, he was appointed Commander of a District in Bengal in 1892 and the following year he became Commander-in-Chief of the Bombay Army. He served as acting Commander-in-Chief, India, from March to November 1898.
  • Admiral Sir Watkin Owen Pell (1788 – 1869): He had an active naval career from 1799 to 1841, and served for a time under Lord Nelson. He later became a Superintendent of Dockyards (1841 to 1845) and a Commissioner of Greenwich Hospital
  • Admiral George James Perceval, 6th Earl of Egmont (1794 – 1874): He was a midshipman aboard HMS Orion at the Battle of Trafalgar (aged 11) and commanded HMS Infernal at the Bombardment of Algiers in 1816. He was also the nephew of Spencer Perceval, the only British Prime Minister to have been assassinated.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Victor Henry Sylvester Scratchley, DSO, OBE
  • Sir John Maryon–Wilson (1802 – 1876): A land owner and early conservationist, he was instrumental in the preservation of Hampstead Heath from development. (His family had the manorial rights over the land until 1940.)
  • Rachel Orde Wingate (1901 – 1953): She was an English linguist and missionary to Xinjiang in Western China, where she served with the Swedish Missionary Society.
  • Major General Orde Wingate, DSO and two bars (1903 – 1944): Nephew of Sir Reginald Wingate, an army general who had been Governor-General of the Sudan between 1899 and 1916 and High Commissioner of Egypt from 1917 to 1919, He was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1923, and transferred to the Sudan Defence Force in 1927. He returned to the UK in 1933, and served there until 1936, when he went to Palestine to become an intelligence officer. By 1938 he had organised the Special Night Squads to counter increasing levels of Arab sabotage. He returned to the UK in 1939, and when the Second World War broke out he was in command of an anti-aircraft unit. He went back to the Sudan in late 1940, where he helped to raise and lead Gideon Force, a guerrilla force composed of British, Sudanese and Ethiopian soldiers. Gideon Force helped to defeat the Italians in Ethiopia and East Africa. It was this success that eventually led to him creating a jungle long-range penetration unit in Burma, the famous 'Chindits'. He was killed in an air crash in Burma and his body is buried at Arlington Cemetery, Washington, U.S.A.
  • Memorial to the fifty two men and boys who died of Yellow Fever aboard HMS Firebrand in July 1861.


  1. That's a very interesting post. Was Rachel Orde Wingate a sister of the Major General and did they have associations with South East London do you know, Bob?

    1. Nobby,

      I should have made it clear that Rachel was Orde Wingate's sister.

      The name Orde (which was Rachel's middle name) came into the family when the Wingates married into the Orde-Browne family. Both families were members of the same evangelical Christian Brethren, which had a major meeting place in Woolwich. Incidentally, the Wingates and Orde-Brownes were all related by marriage to the Dobbie family, who were also Brethren!

      All the best,


  2. A fascinating post, and as is the way of these things(with me anyway!), prompted an enjoyable hour looking for more information on Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Hastings Lascelles... any idea what the MID stands for? He was a Welshman any idea why he was buried here and not in Wales??

    1. Steve-the-Wargamer,

      I'm glad that you enjoyed this blog entry. It certainly gave me the opportunity to do some interesting research as well.

      Lieutenant Colonel Lascelles served during the Second Boer War and First World War, and died of pneumonia after contracting influenza. (I assume that he died in the Royal Herbert Hospital, which was located at the bottom of Shooters Hill, Woolwich.)

      MID is an abbreviation for 'Mentioned in Despatches', and would indicate that he must have done something meritorious.

      All the best,


  3. Charlton Cemetery certainly has a History. Fascinating Individuals through time with very different and colourful Life-Stories. Thankyou for Posting Bob. Regards. KEV.

    1. Kev,

      Because Greenwich, Woolwich and the surrounding area has so many links with the military, armaments manufacture, the arts and sciences, and royalty, the local cemeteries are full of the graves of interesting people.

      All the best,



Thank you for leaving a comment. Please note that any comments that are spam or contain phishing messages or that come from Google Accounts that are 'Unknown' will be deleted.