University of Portsmouth's History Blog

Tombfinders: Working with the Napoleonic past

As part of the Working with the Past Module, four second year undergraduates from the University of Portsmouth’s BA History program (Izzy Turtle, Emily Harris, Damiana Kun and Rebekah Money) have been working with the Napoleonic & Revolutionary War Graves Charity (NRWGC) on a dedicated project to locate Napoleonic era veterans, locating and assessing their graves, and working to restore them. Founded in 2021, the NRWGC (UK Registered Charity No 1196849) was founded by Zach White to honour the memory of veterans of all nationalities who served between 1775 and 1815. The charity does this by locating veteran’s long forgotten graves, cleaning and restoring them where appropriate, and reburying disinterred veterans so that they can have the dignity of a final resting place.

Highland Road Cemetery, Portsmouth

Highland Road Cemetery, Portsmouth

In this podcast launched on Sunday 5 May 2024, project members talk about their recent efforts to find the graves of Napoleonic veterans across Portsmouth, and their experiences of cleaning graves. The students travelled to the Hampshire County Archive in Winchester, before narrowing down their search to Highland Road Cemetery, spending hours tracking down and assessing graves in the cemetery, and the rolling their sleeves up and cleaning one of the graves – that of Major General Dwyer, of the Royal Marines Light Infantry. Their research also saw them request and receive access to St Ann’s Church, on the Portsmouth Dockyard Naval Base, as they went searching for a little-known memorial to Admiral Maitland – the man who arrested Napoleon.

To find out more about the efforts of the NRWGC, and the support their work, go to www.nrwgc.com

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