Dracula detour reveals Gosport marine’s final resting place

The Commonwealth War Graves' cemetery in Bucharest PPP-150629-134815001
The Commonwealth War Graves' cemetery in Bucharest PPP-150629-134815001
Two clerks on duty in James Taylors offices in Old Portsmouth. 			 (Robert James collection)

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Philip Wharmby was on his way to see Dracula’s grave when his tour guide thought that, as a Brit, he would be interested in a little detour.

He was on holiday in Romania a few weeks ago when that guide decided a stop at the Bucharest Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery.

Private E Mendham's grave in Romania PPP-150629-134839001

Private E Mendham's grave in Romania PPP-150629-134839001

Philip, from Bury, Greater Manchester, says: ‘I was on a tour to see the place where Vlad Drakul was supposed to be buried when the guide took us to the cemetery.

‘Mostly the graves were of RAF personnel shot down when attacking the oil refineries at Ploesti, but there were a few other graves of naval personnel from HMS Mersey dating from early 1919. As I am reasonably local to Merseyside I photographed all these graves.’

When he got home he looked up the names on the commission’s website and researched HMS Mersey.

He adds: ‘She was a river monitor with a crew of about 30. In late 1918 to early 1919 she was patrolling the River Danube when Romania was absorbing territory it had taken from Russia at the end of the First World War. The graves were probably of servicemen who had died of influenza as HMS Mersey was never in action.’

None of the dead sailors had any connection with Merseyside, but Private E Mendham, of the Royal Marines Light Infantry, according to the website, had children and parents George and Emma Mendham at 26 Lavinia Road, Gosport.

Philip wonders if readers can shed further light on Pte Mendham and if there are any relatives out there, he would be happy to pass on his pictures.