Thursday, 3 September 2009

A Balloonist's Grave

Twenty years ago, I happened across a military cemetery in Aldershot - a town then known as the home of the British Army. It was full of fascinating characters whose remains were buried there. Opening another dusty box today, I found this photograph that I had taken of the grave of a military balloonatic [I tend to describe early baloonists thus as they must have been mad to take such flights!

The sword draped cross marks the grave of Lt Caulfield of the Royal Engineers who lost his life while on duty in the Military Baloon 'Thrasher'. A guide to the cemetery notes:

Lieutenant William Caulfeild, Royal Engineers. Killed along with fellow Officer, Lt Martin-Leake RAMC, whilst demonstrating to King Edward VII and Prince Fushimi of Japan, military balloon ‘Thrasher’, on 25 May 1907 at Aldershot. The balloon headed SW and was last seen close to Abbotsbury, Nr Weymouth only 40 feet from the ground. One of the balloonists shouted to a nearby farmer to catch the trail rope, unfortunately he failed to do so and the two men were never seen again. The next day the trawler ‘Skylark’ picked up a tangled mess of cordage and fabric – all that remained of the ‘Thrasher’.

If they were never seen again, why the grave? Perhaps someone out there knows the reason? It would be nice to hear why


@eloh said...

This is different. Brings to mind a WWII incident with a military blimp...two people on board...and found just drifting around with the doors radio control was ever lost but no message ever the coast of California I think.

Chris said...

wow. very interesting..

Owen said...

Hi Laurie, I'd missed this one, I have to remember to check all blogs more often, and not just Creating Pictures... but time is short and there are so many blogs... reminds me of a cartoon picture of a dog gazing wistfully at a line of fire hydrants receding into the distance...

Hope all is well with you... decline offers to ride in balloons !

Nishant said...

very interesting!

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Welcome to the Graveyard Detective

An illustrated look at the World of Graveyards and Cemeteries. There are many Stories behind the Stones that Stand in them. Who knows what we might find?


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