|SIMS VC, CITY OF LONDON CEMETERY
It's not often graveyards welcome all comers but City of London Cemetery, are very forward thinking and really encourage people to visit the cemetery and organise Heritage Tours which take place on a monthly basis, usually at 10am and 2pm on a Sunday and take around 3 hours. The cemetery has nearly 150 historic graves and people often visit to view the graves of some of the famous and notorious. We have within our grounds the final resting places of Dame Anna Neagle, two of the victims of Jack the Ripper, and two recipients of the Victoria Cross.
"Many people tend to think of cemeteries as sad places that you need to visit only when someone dies, or on anniversaries to place flowers on a grave. We are far more than that however. Cemeteries are an important part of the community and should be looked on more as a community facility. Yes we bury and cremate the deceased, but we are also very much here for the living.
The City of London Cemetery contains 200 acres of beautifully maintained grounds that can give immense satisfaction to the bereaved and indeed all visitors to our grounds."
David McCarthy (we thank him for supplying the information and image)
Our connection to the cemetery is a member of a sept of Clan Fraser, a John Joseph Sims VC, a very brave man who died in tragic poverty. John Joseph Sims VC was born in Bloomsbury in Central London in the year of 1835. He joined the Border Regiment (originally known as the 1st Battalion, 34th Regiment) and was posted to the Crimea. He won his VC when he was only 19 years old, for action at the Siege of Sebastopol: For having, on 18th June 1855, after the Regiment had retired into the trenches from the assault on the Redan, gone out into the open ground under a heavy fire in broad
daylight and brought in wounded soldiers from outside the trenches'. John was one of those present at the very first investiture of the Victoria Cross on 26th June 1857 in Hyde Park. At this event Queen Victoria herself presented the newly struck Cross to John and 61 others.
John died at the early age of 46 from tuberculosis on 6th December 1881 at the Union Workhouse, Thaives Inn, City of London, and was buried in the City of London Cemetery in a common grave. Sadly, the location of John's VC is unknown, as it has never been sold or auctioned and is not known to be held privately. A Heritage plaque on John's grave in April of 2003 thereby marking the grave of a very brave young man for the first time in over 120 years. John's grave forms part of City of London Cemetery Heritage Tours, and is also featured in their Heritage Brochure. At least they let people of today know of his heroic actions of so long ago.
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