Lost for generations, the grave of Dr Alexander Gray has been rediscovered in India more than 200 years after his death.
The Elgin surgeon funded the Moray hospital that bears his name from his vast fortune following his death in 1807.
Without any children, the location of his final resting place became lost to time despite his legacy continuing thousands of miles away in his hometown.
Surgeon’s connection inspires search for grave of Dr Gray
Now surgeon Dr Sandip Haldar, who began working at Dr Gray’s in November last year, has led a search to locate the grave after learning it was likely in his own Kolkata hometown.
Inspired by the hospital’s “majestic” architecture, the 54-year-old began learning more about his fellow surgeon and was stunned to learn his final days were in Asia after being appointed to the East India Company.
And after securing the help of a friend’s 15-year-old son in Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, the grave has been located in the city’s South Park Road cemetery – home to about 2,000 tombs from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Dr Haldar said: “I think they were quite interested in it because it was a bit like exploration and detective work.
“After a few phone calls with some colonial era and cemetery experts he located the cemetery and after a few hours gets the catalogue of the graves and manages to track it down.
“He called me from there and showed me it on the video, it was amazing.
“I’ve been wanting to go home for some time, I’m hoping to be able to go visit my daughter in April, so it would be nice to visit it myself.”
Legacy of Dr Gray has helped generations
Dr Gray left £20,000 in his legacy when he died, the equivalent of nearly £2million today, to fund the construction of a new hospital in his Elgin hometown.
He had moved to India in 1783 after previously serving as a surgeon in the navy and army.
He died at the age of 53 after marrying while he was in Asia, but the couple separated some time before his death without any children.
News of the rediscovery of the grave of Dr Gray has thrilled campaigners at the Friends of Dr Gray’s, who had feared his final resting place had been left unmarked.
Today the prominent tomb continues to stand tall among others after 214 years, despite some damage to the stonework.
Dr Haldar said: “It’s quite sentimental for everyone at the hospital, the Friends of Dr Gray’s have done some fantastic work raising money to restore the clock.
“The hospital is right at the centre of the town and it’s very much part of everyone, whether through work or visits they’ve had.
“This has also been very sentimental for me because of the connection I have with Dr Gray as a surgeon and he went to Kolkata.”