It is a remarkable fact that two veterans of the Crimean War of the mid 1850s were buried in Manly Cemetery. Charles Dalton, who was a survivor of the “Gallant Six Hundred” at Balaclava commemorated in Tennyson’s poem, was a Senior Sergeant in the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars. He served in the Crimea and Turkey, at Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman and Sebastopol; and in India at the siege of Kotah, and the capture of Gwalior, Powrie, Sindwah and Koonayr. This fine photograph of him is in the collection of the Australian War Memorial.
He had nine children, all but one of whom were born at Government House, Sydney, where Charles was in charge of the Governor’s escort. After the attempted shooting of the Duke of Edinburgh at Clontarf in 1868, Charles Dalton slept in the same room as the two Princes who were then visiting Government House, Sydney, to guard them from harm. The second Dalton child, born in 1868, was baptised Ernestina by permission of the Duke of Edinburgh who stood as the child's godfather.
Charles Dalton died at Balgowlah in 1891, and his head-stone at plot B.129 in Manly Cemetery is well preserved. His widow, Jessie, and the children lived at their cottage, called Gwalior after one of his old battles in India, located at the corner of Condamine Street and Sydney Road. This corner property was subdivided and sold in 1921.
Also interred at Manly Cemetery was another veteran of the Crimean War, Jesse Button, a gravedigger and labourer, formerly sexton at St Luke’s Church, Liverpool, who died at Manly Vale on 9 August 1891. Like Dalton, he too fought at the battles of Alma and Inkerman. It was said that on one occasion he had had a narrow escape when the buckle of his stock was shot off by a bullet which killed the man standing next to him.
He was buried in plot B.488 of Manly Cemetery, and as he had been sexton at the cemetery, there was no fee charged for the plot. His wife Elizabeth died in December 1900 and was buried in the same (unmarked) plot on 1 January 1901.
At one time several streets in Manly were named after Crimean War locations: Sebastopol Street (which became part of Sydney Road), Inkerman Road (a proposed street in the vicinity of what became Quinton Road), and Raglan Street, which is still so-named – constant reminders to the two soldiers of their fighting past.
Labels: Charles Dalton, Crimean War, Jesse Button, Manly Cemetery