OAP finds VC hero John Buckley’s grave while tidying up Tower Hamlets cemetery
A pensioner helping to tidy up an overgrown cemetery in London’s East End has discovered the pauper’s grave of an Army major who won the Victoria Cross more than 150 years ago.
The unmarked grave of Major John Buckley was found by Doreen Kendall at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park in Mile End.
Doreen, from Bethnal Green’s Cranbrooke Estate, was working with her daughter Dianne and the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park to clear an area ready for landscaping when she located the grave of Major Buckley, who won his VC during the Indian Mutiny in 1857.
Ken Greenway, environment officer for the Friends organisation, told the Advertiser: “We’ve known for 20 years that Major Buckley’s grave was somewhere here—but didn’t know exactly where. Doreen found it after linking burial records with Army archives.
“The grave was unmarked because Buckley had returned from India and was living in poverty and obscurity in Poplar when he died.”
You may also want to watch:
Major Buckley won his VC in the British East India Company for destroying an ammo dump in Delhi on May 11, 1857. He was one of nine men defending the storehouse for five hours against mutineers and blew up the ammunition when the wall was being scaled and hope of rescue was gone. Six defenders and hundreds of rebels were killed in the explosion. Buckley and two others survived. He was wounded, then captured by the rebels—but escaped.
Victoria Cross Trust chairman Gary Stapleton said: “Major Buckley endured great personal loss while carrying out his duty. His wife and children had been killed by the mutineers on the same day. To find his unmarked grave is quite rare.”
- 1 Police officer sacked after criminal conviction
- 2 Man who stabbed teen at Crossharbour station found guilty of murder
- 3 Road and rail round-up: Steer clear of these disruptions next week
- 4 Man in 30s dies after Isle of Dogs stabbing
- 5 East London's 10 prettiest streets to visit
- 6 Three places to go pumpkin picking near east London
- 7 Police patrols to increase after fatal Isle of Dogs stabbing
- 8 Concern growing for man last seen at Bow Road station
- 9 Jailed: Tower Hamlets man who tried to rape another man
- 10 Sadiq Khan warns of flood threat in east London from climate emergency
Buckley died at 63 and was buried at Mile End in common ground in July, 1876.
Now the trust has started a �5,000 fundraising campaign to erect a headstone at the cemetery and lay a path, with a possible blue plaque at the site where Buckley lived with his third wife Sara at 213 East India Dock Road, Poplar.
His VC is displayed at the Royal Logistic Corps Museum at Camberley, Surrey, while the home of 9 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, Buckley Barracks in Wiltshire, and the official residence of the Bicester Garrison commander, Buckley House, are both named after him.