The monuments in the old Burial Ground record Chelsea Pensioners who took part in famous battles, former Governors and other members of staff and their families – and famous figures from the Royal Hospital’s history.

The last Sunday in June was a significant date for the Royal Hospital. Almost every Sunday, between April and November the Governor’s Parade – reviewed by the Governor, the Quartermaster or the Royal Hospital’s doctor - is conducted by the duty officer appointed for the week.  For the first time the duty officer responsible was a woman...

Today marks 80 years following the bombing of the Royal Hospital’s Infirmary during the Second World War. The magnificent Infirmary, which once stood on the current site of the National Army Museum, was hit by a parachute bomb on 16 April 1941 – destroying most of the building and tragically ending the lives of 13 people.

From its extravagant beginnings as part of the estate of the 1st Earl of Ranelagh, Richard Jones (1641-1712), to its fashionable pleasure gardens and impressive rotunda, Ranelagh Gardens at the Royal Hospital Chelsea have boasted a long and fascinating history. 

Whether you have been lucky enough to visit our Great Hall in person, or have experienced its grandeur by watching our virtual tours, it's difficult not to be impressed by the imposing mural that adorns the back wall where Pensioners take their meals.

From delivering post, to guiding visitors around our historic site, the Chelsea Pensioners can choose to take on a number of different jobs while living at the Royal Hospital. One of the more unusual roles previously adopted by Pensioners was as a member of the Chelsea Patrol; a London garrison stationed between the Royal Hospital and St James’ Palace to deter against criminal activity and protect the city against the growing threat posed by the Jacobite movement.

Colin was 20 years old when he was deployed –the youngest in the observation post Party he served in. He still suffers from the frostbite he got while cut off by the Chinese.

Gerry Farmer, 1951 Royal Fusiliers, lost his friend Cpl Derby in the conflict. He was left with shrapnel in his spine and lifelong claustrophobia, after being trapped in a Jeep at the bottom of a river while trying to escape Chinese mortars.

Arthur Bisson, Royal Military Police, was demobbed in 1947, then called up again to go to Korea in 1950. He served there for eight months in total.

Alfred Mason, Durham Light Infantry (28 Commonwealth Brigade) remembers the conditions they were faced with during the conflict.

Pages

Royal Hospital Chelsea Newsletter

Stay up to date with what's going on at The Royal Hospital by signing up for our e‑newsletter.

News

View the archive

David Hinds - Self Portrait
Community, creativity and connection - Chelsea Pensioners and the Soldiers’ Arts Academy

The Soldiers’ Arts Academy links serving and veteran Army personnel and their families with professionals from the creative arts. Through a range of workshops, projects and productions they give participants the opportunity to discover new interests, recover from difficult experiences, transition into civilian life and even find new careers. 

Burial Grounds Thumb
Researching our old Burial Ground gives Chelsea Pensioners a new lease of life

The monuments in the old Burial Ground record Chelsea Pensioners who took part in famous battles, former Governors and other members of staff and their families – and famous figures from the Royal Hospital’s history.

Twitter

Follow @RHChelsea