Time Team dig skeletons will be reburied

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THE MP for Gosport has been promised that the reburial of skeletons of sailors will take place later this year.

Cranfield University in Bedfordshire carried out the dig in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Haslar in Gosport where the unmarked graves dated back to 1755.

The university had permission from the MoD to excavate in the area to allow forensic archaeology and anthropology students to gain valuable work experience.

A documentary called Nelson's Hospital: A Time Team Special was televised by Channel 4 in May, who observed the excavation.

But many people complained to The News because the 29 bodies are laid out on tables at the University of Cranfield waiting to be reburied.

Now Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport, has been promised by the university and Defence Estates (DE) Historic Environment team, that a date for a proper navy reburial for all the remains will be given to her next week.

The university and DE will work together to organise the reburials and the university will pay for them.

Mrs Dinenage said she is pleased the matter will finally be resolved: 'It's got to be done as quickly as possible. This programme was filmed last summer. These bodies have been left unburied for over a year.

'They do have to carry this out in as respectful a way as possible. These are very old bodies but they are human remains and they need to be respected in the way that they deserve.'

Eric Birbeck, of the Haslar Heritage Group, who helped organise the dig, said: 'I welcome any decision for reburial.

'There is a need for us to discuss as a complete group a way in which we are going to achieve this.

'But it's very important that having served their country, these people are put back into the ground with due reverence.'

A university spokesman added: 'The MoD has always intended to rebury any disturbed skeletons. The intention is to give them a proper navy burial later this year.'