The Cemeteries of South Georgia

A record of cemeteries and burial sites, and the people who lie on the island.

South Georgia

The Island of South Georgia lies at the Southern extreme of the South Atlantic Ocean, on the edge of the cold Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica. 600 miles from the nearest land, the Falkland Islands, it was the scene of remote seal and whale hunting over the past three centuries. Many died in these harsh industries and were buried on the island, far from home. The hunting has stopped but the men still lie buried here.

This website is for the families and friends of these men, who may never have the opportunity to visit the graves, but who can at least see some pictures.

The Cemeteries

The main cemeteries are at the abandoned whaling stations of Leith, Stromness, Husvik, Grytviken, Prince Olav Harbour, and Ocean Harbour. There are undoubtedly unmarked graves in other sites on the island. There is also a known grave site at Godthul (rediscovered in 2006/7).

Some graves have no markers, so we do not know who is buried there. In other cases, records exist for a person, but we do not know where he is buried.

This website allows the graves to be examined in two ways, either by looking up information on a person or by looking a particular grave. To look for a particular name, select List of All Names from the menu. To find a particular grave, select the cemetery from the main menu, and when the page for that cemetery is displayed, select the option to explore that particular cemetery. You can then  click on the image for a particular grave and see what we know about it.

Other Information

This website was written by Pat Lurcock in 2004 and rewritten in 2010/11/12. The background pattern is based on a photograph of the granite on one of the Stromness graves.

Any further information on the individuals would be received with interest. Please email me via the Send us a message page.

All pictures ┬ęP.M. Lurcock unless otherwise stated.

There are a number of burial sites on South Georgia. Some are Cemeteries with a number of well-documented graves, whilst others may have just one known grave, or even less known about them.

The List of All Names includes:

  • people in graves, either specific ones or unidentified
  • people lost or buried at sea
  • people who died in South Georgia and whose bodies were repatriated
  • graves whose occupants are unknown

There are a number of memorials on South Georgia to people who have died but who are not buried on the island. This section includes the memorials, and where a memorial commemorates more than one person, the names are listed too.

The cemeteries were maintained by the whalers whilst the stations were operating. Subsequently, some maintenence was undertaken by the British Antarctic Survey and the military garrisons stationed on the island. Since the early 1990s the South Georgia Museum Trust, and then the South Georgia Heritage Trust, has maintained the Grytviken Cemetery.

Other visitors have occasionally carried out maintenence.

Pat and Sarah Lurcock spent the southern summer of 1998/99 tidying up the cemeteries at Leith, Stromness and Husvik.

smaint01 jmaint01

A number of men were lost at sea. Some were lost when ships sank, others died on board and were buried at sea, and others disappeared whilst at sea.

burialatsea

Photo of a burial at sea courtesy of Shetland Museum

Information about people whose ashes were scattered in South Georgia.

More information about the cemeteries and people who died and were buried here can be found in a number of places.

The Register of Deaths was started by magistrate J Innes Wilson, with the first entry in 1910. The first two entries are copies of entries on separate forms, which are both pasted into the book at the beginning. There are 195 entries, the last being made  in 1962.

The book itself is in the Falkland Islands, and the pictures here are of a photocopy that was made in 2010 by the Falkland Islands Registrar, John Rowland.

The Husvik Grave Book was discovered in the station office at Husvik in the 1970's by British Antarctic Survey personnel. Bob Headland made a copy of the information in it before entrusting it to the Scott Polar Research Institute library for safekeeping. The pages here are from digital photographs of a copy that was made at SPRI and is held in the South Georgia Museum.