Left: Entrance to the Trafalgar Cemetery on Trafalgar Road, Gibraltar. Right: Entrance to the cemetery.

This military ceremony was consecrated in 1798, well before the Battle of Trafalgar, and only two of the men fatally wounded in the battle were actually buried here — most of the rest were buried at sea, and Nelson's body was repatriated to be buried in St Paul's Cathedral. Some of the other graves are of men who died as a result of the Battle of Algeciras (1801), and actions at sea off nearby Cadiz (1810) and Malaga (1812) in the Napoleonic wars. The majority, however, are of those who died in the three big yellow fever epidemics of the early nineteenth century.

Two views inside the cemetery.

The cemetery is well-kept, a pretty and peaceful last resting-place. Its present name may seem something of a misnomer, but it is far better than its original name (the Southport Ditch Cemetry), and an information placard inside it explains that there were various connections with Nelson. Foremost among these is the fact that HMS Victory, itself a regular visitor to the Rock, was towed into Rosia Bay on the southwest side of Gibraltar after the Battle of Trafalgar, with Nelson's body on board, prior to its repatriation. Nelson also had a good friend in Gibraltar, the wealthy Jewish merchant Aaron Cardoso who had helped to supply the British fleet. Nelson left him his Battle of the Nile victory medal.

Left: Headstone to Lieut. William Forster. Right: Tomb of Henry Edward Arthur Sheppard.

Lieut. Forster of H.M. S. Colossus was one of those men who did die of wounds received in the Battle of Trafalgar. More representative, however, was Henry Edward Arthur Sheppard, "Deputy Assistant Commissary General to the Forces," who died in 1813 in one of the epidemics that swept Gibraltar. Both were just twenty years old.

Text and photographs by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. Click on the images to enlarge them.

Created 17 January 2019