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Portsmouth has a wealth of history and strong military connections, so it is not surprising to find a graveyard with so many interesting stories as Highland Road Cemetery. Amongst those interred are decorated servicemen and women from famous battles, as well as associates of Dickens and royalty.
Thomas Ellis Owen sold the land to the Burial Board for the first phase of the cemetery and when the original architect failed to produce plans, he designed his own and built the lodge, chapels and wall. It is thought that the lodge is a smaller version of his home, Dovercourt, and the Anglican chapel is a smaller version of St. Jude’s Church. His only child, Louisa Ann Byng, is buried here, as well as her first husband Reverend Thomas Richard Brownrigg. The only other cemetery designed and built by Ellis Owen is Ann’s Hill Cemetery in Gosport in 1854.
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History of graves at Highland Road cemetery
Below are some of the graves researched and listed by the Friends of Highland Road Cemetery, who welcome any supportive work, research or publicity about the cemetery.
For genealogical searches, contact the Portsmouth History Centre & Records Office at central library.
Buried in this cemetery are eight servicemen who received this highest award during Victoria’s reign. The first three were decorated at the first investiture by the Queen herself in Hyde Park, June 1857. This decoration outranks even the Order of the Garter; it is always awarded individually ‘For Valour’. Made from Russian cannon captured at the siege of Sebastopol, the medal itself is only of bronze.
Highland Road cemetery’s last recipient of the VC was Israel Harding d. 1917 – a gunner of HMS Alexander during the bombardment of the forts of Alexandria in 1882, his bravery earned him promotion to Chief Gunner and the presentation of the Victoria Cross in 1883.
Created by Queen Victoria in 1883 as the first order designed solely for ladies, it was to be conferred upon members of the nursing service for their gallantry in the field.