A ‘lost’ recipient of the Victoria Cross has been discovered in an unmarked grave in Tower Hamlets.
Volunteers at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park in Mile End uncovered the grave when they were clearing away an area of undergrowth in November. After investigating its identification number, they were surprised to discover that it belonged to Major John Buckley VC.
“The grave has always been known to be within the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park but no one knew where,” said Gary Stapleton, Chairman of the Victoria Cross Trust.
“The vast majority of Victoria Cross graves in the UK are located and, where possible, marked. To find one like this is quite rare.”
John Buckley was born in Cheshire in 1813 and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his part in defending an ammunition storehouse in Delhi in 1857. He died a poor man at the age of 63 in Poplar and was buried in common ground as a result.
“Major Buckley was an extraordinary man and a professional soldier who endured great personal loss while carrying out his duty. As his family had all been killed in India, there was no one to care for him or to pay for a headstone,” explained Stapleton.
The Victoria Cross Trust, a charity that looks after gravesites of Victoria Cross holders not otherwise covered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, has launched a campaign to raise money for a headstone.