Monday, June 13, 2016

Reading Old Cemetery

On our guided walk yesterday one of our cemetery followers told me about Reading Old Cemetery and now that is top of my list of places to visit.

Measuring eleven and a half acres the cemetery is the same size as Radnor Street and an aerial view reveals it is also a very similar shape. It is bounded on two sides by the busy London and Wokingham Roads and even has a junction named after it - Cemetery Junction.

Reading Old Cemetery

Radnor Street Cemetery

There is a magnificent Grade II listed memorial to young pilot Bernard Laurence Hiett, a record breaking motor cyclist who lost his life during a race at Brooklands in 1930 aged 21.

In Radnor Street Cemetery we have our own local hero, Battle of Britain pilot Sqd. Ldr. Harold Morley Starr who was gunned down as he bailed out of his Hurricane on August 31, 1940.

Bernard Laurence Hiett

Sqd. Ldr. Harold Morley Starr

There are 18,327 burials in Reading Old Cemetery while Radnor Street Cemetery contains 33,000. Reading cemetery is also a Commonwealth War Graves cemetery with more than 200 war graves and a Cross of Sacrifice Memorial. There are 106 war graves in Radnor Street Cemetery.

Cross of Sacrifice at Reading Old Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice at Radnor Street Cemetery
Reading Old Cemetery boasts a family of Muntjac deer while we have our own cete (or clan) of cemetery badgers.

For more about the history of the cemetery visit the website and see what they have planned to commemorate the Battle of the Somme.

We will be commemorating the Swindon men who served during the Great War at our Swindon Heritage History Day on July 10 with local military historian Mark Sutton.

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