Trafalgar Cemetery

Walking past the cemetery the other day, I noticed two of the tombstones had poppy wreaths.

Although the name of the cemetery commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, only two of those who are buried here actually died of wounds suffered during the battle (Lieut. William Forster of the Royal Marine corps of H.M.S. Mars and Lieut. Thomas Norman of H.M.S Colossus – grave numbers 121 and 101). Most of those who died at Trafalgar were buried at sea, and Lord Nelson’s body was transported to London for a state funeral. Wounded seamen were brought to Gibraltar, and those who died later of their wounds were buried just to the north of Charles V Wall, on the opposite side of Trafalgar Cemetery; a small plaque was recently placed there to commemorate the site.

Many of the tombstones in the cemetery commemorate the dead of three terrible yellow fever epidemics in 1804, 1813 and 1814. Also buried here are victims of other sea battles of the Napoleonic Wars – the battle of Algeciras (1801) and actions off Cadiz (1810) and Malaga (1812).

As I wrote about both Trafalgar Day and Armistice Day in Gibraltar, I thought I should add this brief postscript.

The cemetery is a very tranquil green spot, quiet and peaceful, and just outside the city walls.

I thought it was strangely touching that the two graves of men who died at the Battle of Trafalgar still receive a tribute more than 200 years later.

Captain Thomas Norman

Lieut William Forster

Source for quote: Gibraltar Heritage Trust although please note the inscription on the grave refers to Captain Thomas Norman and not Lieut Norman.

8 comments on “Trafalgar Cemetery

  1. “(Lieut. William Forster of the Royal Marine corps of H.M.S. Mars and Lieut. Thomas Norman of H.M.S Colossus – grave numbers 121 and 101)” Quote from the Gibraltar Heritage Trust.
    The names and assignments are switched – Capt. Norman was the Marine and Lt. Forster belonged to HMS Colossus. I have read Lt. Forster’s marker in person; interest peaked by Patrick O’Brian’s literary masterpieces.


    • Thank you for that. My Gib Heritage Trust link has disappeared anyway, so I need to sort that out.

      That inaccuracy wouldn’t surprise me though, it’s a bit like the inscription on the old doorway of the tax office through the arch which apparently is totally erroneous.

      I’ll confess to total ignorance of P O’B so hopefully I can rectify that one if the Gib library has any in next time I visit.


    • Thank you for offering this information. I’ve noticed it myself as William Forster was a member of my Greatgrandmother’s family.


  2. Acting Lieutenant William Forster’s uncle also fought at Trafalgar: (Sir) Edward Berry Captain of the Agamemnon


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