Saturday, September 15, 2007

The British Cemetery 1808

In 1798, a dangerous conspiracy was hatched against Goa. The soon to be French emperor, Napoleon, and his Indian ally, Tipu Sultan, decided to open up the western seaboard of India to French troops so that they could jointly attack the British. Goa was seen as the perfect place from which to stage a march. The reported passage of a French fleet, through the Suez Canal in 1799, comprised of 26 ships and 14 frigates, caused panic in British India. Within days all of Goa was occupied by British troops. They would remain until 1813 - the date at which Napoleon ceased to be a serious threat. Strangely, they hardly left a trace behind. The only exception is the small cemetery near the old Cabo fort in Dona Paula which was used to bury British troops and then for the few families, who stayed behind mostly working on the railways, linking Goa to the rest of India. There are 47, generally well preserved, tombs. The first burial took place in 1808 with the last one occurring as late as 1912. At least one grave is of a young child by the name of 'Sophie' who died soon after her second birthday. The most unusual grave is that of Thomas J. Kennedy, an American born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, in 1840, and who somehow, ended up in Goa. where he died in 1905. A typical inscription on one of the graves reads:
Sacred to the Memory of
Captain James Graham
of the 7th Regt, Bombay N.I.
who died on Board of the Lady East
off Veegarlas on his passage to
England on the 11th April A.O. 1829
Aged 44 years

No comments:

Post a Comment

Google Analytics