A MEMORIAL was held to honour the servicemen whose bodies were excavated in Gosport.
Over five years, a team of archaeologists from Cranfield University dug up 47 skeletons from the paddock area of Haslar Hospital and the results were shown on Channel 4’s Time Team last May.
The remains were buried in a full military ceremony and a service took place at the Chapel of St Luke’s in the grounds of Haslar Hospital yesterday.
The Royal Haslar Hospital has been in private hands since November 2009, and the owners have worked with the Cranfield forensics team and Haslar Heritage Group to organise the reburial.
The emotional and moving service celebrated the lives of the 10,000 or so servicemen buried in the Paddock and was conducted by the Rev Ted Goodyer.
During the service, a new oak cross was presented and blessed to mark the event and to mark the beginning of a new future for the hospital.
Hyms were sung and prayers were read out to a congregation which filled the small church, including senior naval officers.
Commander Dmitry Bogachev, the Russian Naval Attaché, also attended due to the number of Russian naval personnel buried in the paddock.
Eric Birbeck, of the Haslar Heritage Group, said: ‘Today is a memorial service for all who died in Haslar from 1753 onwards and especially those who are buried in the hospital grounds.
‘These are people who have served their country in all campaigns.
‘From my point of view and those of my colleagues, we feel that we have played our part.
‘We wish to ensure people that at all times they were treated with total respect, as they always are. The team were a very professional group.’
Councillor Peter Edgar, added: ‘It was a very moving occasion. Although it was controversial I think it has been a very worthwhile exercise.’