- What’s On
The British Army of the East first arrived in Turkey during April 1854 and the earliest surviving tombstone in the cemetery at Haidar Pasha is that of Lieutenant W.L. Macnish, 93rd Highlanders, who was drowned in a flash flood on the 19th of May. Nearly five and a half thousand British Army servicemen were buried there during the next two years, principally in unmarked graves. Nearly one hundred grave markers were recorded in an inventory made during the summer of 1856, and of these about ninety have survived into the 21st century in remarkably good condition, together with several moved from other cemeteries and the imposing obelisk erected in 1858 to a design by Baron Carlo Marochetti (1805–1867). The location of the tombstones of twenty-four individuals – 14 surgeons, 5 support staff, and 5 nurses – will be identified with the aid of photographs taken in June 2012.
On 25 May 1862, Francis Bedford took a photograph of the cemetery during a visit made by the Prince of Wales. The quality of the image in the Royal Collection is remarkable and it is possible to identify about forty tombstones. Fourteen are of those in the medical service and nine have been selected for more detailed consideration. Incidentally, the graves of some 450 Commonwealth casualties of both World Wars are located in the cemetery together with civilian burials, the first of which took place in the 1860s. Since 1925 the property has been in the care of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Dr Mike Hinton’s fascination with the Crimean campaign kindled during the 1990s when he discovered that one of his 2x great grandfathers served throughout the war. When he turned to the topic he was a Reader in Veterinary Public Health and his principal research interest was infectious diseases. Clearly, such a disease shaped the course of the campaign. The contents of the thesis for a second PhD degree under Professor Andrew Lambert at King’s College London then formed the basis of a book published in 2019 titled Victory over Disease: Resolving the Medical Crisis in the Crimean War, 1854–1856. He has published over 60 articles on various aspects of the Crimean War and his personal research now concentrates more on the family relationships of participants and the memorials, surviving or otherwise, to their memory in churches, cemeteries and public places.