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Royal Victoria Hospital & Military Cemetery at Netley
If you would like to donate to help with the running costs of this site, please feel free to do so, thank you.
The postcode for the park is SO31 5DQ
This is a website dedicated to the soldiers and civilians that are buried in Netley Military Cemetery and also the history of the Royal Victoria Hospital in which most of them were treated but later, sadly died. I will be uploading more photos and information about this wonderful place soon. If you have any stories or information about anyone buried here, please get in touch and maybe I can add it to this website for everyone to read.
Many of the headstones are no longer readable which sadly, is the story of a lot of cemeteries. Families no longer have the time to visit or don't know the whereabouts of their departed relatives. If anyone has a query about the cemetery or the people laid to rest here, please ask me - I might be able to help. I have photo's of all the graves (I think!) and am hoping to research as many as I can for people who maybe cannot do it for themselves or live too far away. I feel that not enough is known about the people buried here and I hope to do my bit to change that. This is a really special place and it would be a good thing to have more known about it.
Please get in touch if you have any relatives buried here. I would like to make the information available to everyone.
I hope you use my information for your research, but please double check just in case I have made a mistake - please correct me if I get it wrong! Also, a link to my site or a credit for my research would be very much appreciated.
A Soldiers Last Thoughts by Peter Clarke. Revised 2/11/2020
My wounds are many yet the pain has gone.
I feel cold and lonely in this muddy Somme.
I've never been a religious man but it's time for me to pray
and ask God to let me stay alive and see another day.
The night seemed endless and the pain relentless,
my mind consumed with fear,
This stupid war, these tools of death, what am I doing here?
At last the night is over and again I see the dawn,
the daylights more than welcome and the sun feels nice and warm.
I have memories of my Mother her loving voice I miss
telling bedtime stories of Rupert Bear, I miss her goodnight kiss.
I wish that she could save me but she’s so far away
maybe we’ll be reunited if this is my last day.
Oh my Lancashire where brass bands play and people say"How do"
on May day when the children dance and men drink a pint or two.
A butterfly lands upon me. What are you doing here?
On my face she rests and drinks the moisture from my tear.
Fly away my friend to England, to my garden and my home,
take my love to my wife and children, don’t tell them I’m alone.
Cannon fire and crying men drown my weak attempt to speak.
A kind word is all I long for in this place so cold and bleak.
There’s a soldier close beside me a childish look upon his face,
he whispered please help me before he left this place.
Soon I will follow him my life and war be over.
Please don’t forget us in fields of buttercups and clover,
Where songbirds sing and rabbits play,
and field mice hide in bales of hay,
Where lovers stroll down lanes in freedom,
Remember us United Kingdom.
Thank you Peter for sharing your poem.
"In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae from internetarchive.org
This is such an interesting story so I decided to add it here.
On one of Queen Victoria's many visits, she met Sgt. Dobson who was wounded in the Crimea and decided to help him by giving him a job at Hampton Court Palace where he could charge visitors a penny to visit the maze and keep the cash. He was known as "Lucky Dobson". Please continue reading here https://www.netley-military-cemetery.co.uk/passing-through-convalescents/dobson-william-sgt/?logout=1
Elizabeth wrote "Triumphant Over Pain" a small, descriptive wonderful book about her time working at Netley hospital. Buckle Elizabeth Braithwaite Turner
I found this on fb (21st november 2021) and just had to share it.
Ross says: "A year in the life of a simple soldier who fought for our country at the end of
World War I - John William Murphy.
Every day and some, with history and relevant facts in the comments.... So scroll to the beginning when the journey began 8 February 1918.
Page compiled and edited by his Grandson Ross Murphy and Great grandson Sean Murphy"
John leaves New Zealand in February 1918. This diary shows where he goes during the war and what happens to him. He arrives at Netley hospital in October and sends many postcards back to his wife and son. What happens to him? You will have to read the blog.
The best way to do this is to click on A Soldier's Diary. When the page loads up, scroll right down to the bottom of the page. It takes a long time but you will reach the begining of the diary at the bottom.
Below are two postcards from John to his wife whilst he was at Netley.
Peter Sedgley posted this lovely photo on Facebook in April 2021 and allowed me to share it, he says:
This photograph was taken at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, during the First World War. The lady in black on the left is my paternal grandmother, who would go and sing to the wounded troops. Her husband, George, is sat next to her. My grandfather was the foreman painter with Red Funnel Steamers. Three of their four children are in the photograph. On the left is Don, who became a well known Southampton policeman and amateur cricketer. During the blitz he was a well loved sergeant at Central and ended his career as an inspector at Bitterne. The girl in the centre is my Aunt Daisy, who was the landlady of the "Docks Tavern" in Canute Rd, until it was bombed. She then became landlady of the "Bullington Cross Inn", near Sutton Scotney. The child on the right is my father, Harold, who spent the war as a fireman in Southampton.
I asked him the name of his Grandmother and he replied:
My grandmother's name was Daisy Sedgley (nee Waterman) a name she shared with her daughter. The family lived in the St Mary's area of Southampton. Except for my family I know of no other names. in the photograph. My grandmother regularly went to the hospital to entertain the unfortunate troops with her singing. I cannot ascertain whether her singing made the patients feel better or worse.
Thank you Peter, I'm sure they loved her singing!!
There are 493 burials of ladies and under 18's in the cemetery. Many ladies lived in the hospital or surrounding area and were wives of the soldiers. A few died in childbirth along with their babies.
This is the grave of Ivy Argent age 7 who died in 1905. "A sad fatality occured at the Royal Victoria Hospital about noon today. A child named Ivy Argent, daughter of Staff Sergeant Argent, R.A.M.C. was playing near the boiler house,
B- square, when she fell from the railings onto the pavement beneath, a distance of about twelve feet. She fell upon her head, and has since succumbed to her injuries"
Southern Echo 2nd January 1905
Please click on the RVH Military Cemetery tab on the left hand side of this page then Childrens Burials for more.
Here is a link to a speech given in 1887 at the prize giving day at the hospital for the army medical school students:
The Army Medical School : an address delivered at Netley Hospital at the distribution of prizes on July 29, 1887 : Acland, Henry Wentworth, Sir, 1815-1900 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
This link is for the Report made about the area before the hospital was built:
Would you like to know what things were in the museum in Netley Hospital??
Catalogue of articles contained in the Museum of Military Surgery attached to the Army Medical School at Netley : Army Medical School (Great Britain). Museum of Military Surgery : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
More to see on the 1864 - 1900 Early Life at the Hospital tab on the side bar.
This postcard is one that I found on ebay recently.The original is in sepia but I have used a site which "colorizes" photos.
On the reverse side there is written: "This photo of Nurse as Dutch Girl. She is one of the Rays of Sunshine who tend us fellows here at the B.R.C. (British Red Cross) The other one is now in France and used to be in our hut."
The nursing staff used to dress up and put on shows to entertain the patients.
There are no names given sadly.
The Foundation Stone is back!!
A time capsule will be buried under the foundation stone which will be placed as near to the original spot where Queen Victoria first saw it back in 1857.
On the 12th November 2018 Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex formally opened the Royal Victoria Chapel.
Her Royal Highness signed a document which will go into the time capsule with some other items, then unveiled a plaque after a tour of the Chapel and a chat with the volunteers and staff.
A memorable day!!!
An Ongoing Mystery!!
This postcard was found in the walls of Hatley Castle. After looking up the name Lena in the Red Cross archives, given the date, a possible match could be Lena Alice Lawrence.
Read more about this mystery here:
Caroline Barney posted this on Southampton and Hampshire over the Years facebook page on February 1st and has shared it with me for which I thank her very much.
This family photo belongs to my lifelong friend and she has given me permission to post it.
This is Priscilla Stanley a Gypsy lady done up in her posh hat selling flowers to a very smartly uniformed nurse at the hospital in late Victorian times.
Priscilla is my friends Great Great Grandmother and she was the only person allowed a Hawkers Licence to sell flowers at the hospital.
This photo is very important because some or most of the soldiers would not get visitors so either the hospital would pay for flowers or the patients would pay for them themselves.
Flowers were considered a great benefit to health back then too.
Do any of you football fans know that Bertie Mee was a physiotherapist at Netley hospital at the beginning of WW2?? Mee Bertie
Here's an interesting post from Simon May about the drains in front of D Wing. Thank you Simon for letting me share from Hamble River & It's Villages Facebook Page.
Simon says: It connects op to an outfall next to the woodland in front of the D wing. We were up there a while ago and there is a pair of massive steel doors in the ground which open into a fairly deep chamber, ill guess a bout 40/50ft deep and they had an industrial pump pumping water out. I'm guessing it was a sewage holder which was emptied on an outgoing tide. Photo taken about 2009.
There are some photos on the Netley Film Footage tab (on the left) taken in 1994 of the "Hampshire Remembers D-Day" event when Prince Philip paid us a visit. If you recognize anyone, please could you let me know.
Here are photos showing the tiles from the swimming pool that used to be in the main hospital. Thanks to Paul Del-A-More. December 2016.
A photo showing the fire and smoke damage which took place in the hospital 10 years before it's demolition. From the Westender Magazine which is written by the West End Local History Society. www.westendlhs.co.uk