Portrait of Captain Matthew Flinders.

Petition started after remains of Donington explorer discovered

A campaign has been launched to bring the remains of one of Britain’s greatest explorers back to his home village of Donington.

Captain Matthew Flinders was the first person to lead the circumnavigation of Australia at the turn of the 19th century.

His grave had been lost, but last week a coffin with an inscription on it claiming it to be Captain Flinders was dug up by workers on the HS2 railway at Euston Station in London.

It has led to calls for the bones to be brought back to Donington where Captain Flinders was born on March 16, 1774.

A plaque marking the site of the building is on the corner of Market Place and Station Street.

Coming from a family of surgeons, he was educated at the Moor’s School and Cowley Grammar School in Donington before attending a school in Horbling.

Reading Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe inspired him to take up a naval career which included the first mapping of Australia as a continent.

He was captured by the French in 1803 who held him in Mauritius and by the time he returned to Britain in 1810 his health had deteriorated.

Captain Flinders spent the last years of his life preparing his book A Voyage to Terra Australis.

He died aged 40 the day after the book was published on July 18, 1814.

Donington has always remembered Captain Flinders and a statue of him was erected in the town on his birthday in 2006.

After the discovery of his body a petition has also been created calling for the remains to be interred in Lincolnshire.

Created by Adam Brookes, it already had over 200 signatures at the time of going to press.

It reads: HS2 Ltd say that his remains will be reinterred at a location yet to be announced, along with others from the same burial site.

“We call on HS2 Ltd to return Captain Flinders’ remains to his birthplace in Donington. This would be a fitting location and help to boost understanding of local history.

“Ed Fordham was among those who took to social media tweeting: “Move him home to Donington. Take him back to where he was born.”
However local people face competition – an opinion piece by the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia called for Captain Flinders’s remains to be taken there.

You can sign the petition to bring Captain Flinders’s remains back to Lincolnshire at https://www.change.org/p/hs2-ltd-return-the-remains-of-explorer-captain-matthew-flinders-to-lincolnshire

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