৩১শে মে ২০২৩ খ্রিস্টাব্দ | ১৭ই জ্যৈষ্ঠ ১৪৩০ বঙ্গাব্দ
প্রকাশিত: ১২:৫০ পূর্বাহ্ণ, মার্চ ১৫, ২০২৩
By Sangram Datta.
The 100-year-old “Denston Cemetery” in Srimangal is located inside the James Finlay Tea Company’s Denston Tea Garden,
a long way from Srimangal. Silent all around, it is the tomb of James Finnell’s British planters and their families. Finlay Tea Company has been maintaining it for hundreds of years.
After the establishment of a tea garden at Malinicherra in Sylhet in 1854, the British started commercial tea cultivation in Srimangal in 1804. Tea planters come here from as far away as Britain. The British and their wives, sons and relatives who died at that time were laid to rest in Denston Cemetery. There are 46 British graves in this cemetery located in the middle of the evergreen tea garden surrounded by hills.
According to James Finlay Tea Company, the first to be buried in this cemetery in the James Denston Tea Garden was a British citizen named Robert Roybeli. At the age of 36, he died on August 30, 1855 in the Denston Tea Garden.
The children William John and David Sahabi died in June 1897 and are buried here. Mary Elizabeth Peter, wife of George William Peter, died on May 16, 1918, and was laid to rest here. George William Peter also passed away on October 2, 1919, one year after his wife’s death. He was buried next to his wife’s grave in the same grave in the same stone tomb in the silence of Denston Cemetery.
Ramsanter died in July 1897 on his way home by ship. FDB-U Allan drowned in April 1902. The bodies of the two were not found. To commemorate the occasion, their friends built two iconic graves at Denston Cemetery. Edward Wallace died on January 20, 1919 at the Dargaon Tea Garden in Srimangal. This was his 25th birthday. Hunt, a British citizen who contracted cholera in early 1936, is also lying in the cemetery.
During the World War of 1939, an American aircraft crashed while taking off or landing from Shamsernagar Airport in Kamalganj Upazila of Moulvibazar District at Udnachara Tea Garden in Srimangal. The bodies of the two pilots killed in the crash were buried at Denston Cemetery, after which the US military removed the bodies of the two pilots from the graves and took them home.
On December 13, 1936, Peter Tate, son of 35-year-old Gilbert Henriette, visited Srimangal to see his father’s tomb. According to the last wishes of Gilbert Henry’s wife, after his death, the ashes of the body were left at the feet of his beloved husband with tears in his eyes. In the middle of the evergreen tea garden surrounded by hills of natural beauty, this Denston Cemetery of Srimangal, which is reminiscent of centuries, has witnessed the times.