The grave of John Robert and Gertrude Pannell is in Surbiton Cemetery [Section IV, Grave 58]. John Robert Pannell was a distinguished engineering scientist who carried out research in airships at the National Physical Laboratory and during the flights of airships under development.   He was killed in the R38 airship disaster on 24 August 1921.  The cause of this disaster and the eventual abandonment in the UK of commercial airships is discussed in the paper.   Gertrude Pannell, a nurse by profession, was once the proprietor of Chiswick Nursing Home.  She died in 1927. Their gravestone is a granite monolith on which is carved an anchor which probably symbolises the steadfastness of their relationship and the hope that they would meet again after death.

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The Author

David A. Kennedy, PhD

About 20 years ago, I accompanied my late wife to some talks on the use of computers in historical research and began to help her with her genealogical studies. Later, I took part in a project, organised by the Centre for Local History Studies at Kingston University, to digitise the Enumerators’ Books for the Kingston Census of 1851-1891. This rekindled my interest in history, especially that of Kingston upon Thames, where I live. This website has been set up so that I can share my research findings, some based on digitised material, with others who may be interested in them.

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