Callous Southwark Council wants to sell ‘new’ burial plots over the graves of forty-eight First World War soldiers.
And the Church of England has said the Commonwealth War Graves Commission do not need to mark the poor soldiers’ graves - to avoid making them seem special and for 'practical purposes', that is, to allow cemeteries to bury on top of them.
Southwark Council has already felled two acres of woods and cleared over a hundred family memorials in Camberwell Old Cemetery for 700 ‘new’ burial plots over the dead.
Now Southwark Council intends to build roadways and mound over thousands of pauper’s graves for new burial plots - including the graves of forty-eight First World War soldiers.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s policy is to place a headstone on every World War soldier’s grave to commemorate their ultimate sacrifice for their country.
The Diocese of Southwark’s Consistory Court this month approved Southwark’s disrespectful destruction of the woods and graves.
But the Chancellor of the Consistory Court Philip Petchey has said Southwark may not need to mark the forty-eight soldiers’ graves:
“It occurred to me that in the present case it might be better for all 48 graves to remain unmarked both as reflecting the position at the time of burial and also as of now not seeking to make distinctions between the remains of those buried in the same area.” (Para 45)
In other words, no need to mark forty-eight First World War soldiers’ graves - because it might make them seem special.
Chancellor Petchey says “I was surprised to discover that there were as many as 48 unmarked war graves in Area Z. It occurred to me that this may have been the result of a deliberate choice on the part of the deceased (expressed before his death) or on the part of his relatives.”
Is Chancellor Petchey really trying to claim that all forty-eight unrelated soldiers might have individually expressed a wish to be buried without a headstone?
Petchey approved Southwark Council’s plan for at least 23 of these soldier’s graves to be left unmarked, “as there would be practical difficulties” (Para 30).
The Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries believe the ‘practical difficulties’ would be not being able to squeeze in as many ‘new’ burial plots and roadways over the soldiers’ graves as planned.
So Chancellor Petchey seems to be bending over backwards to help Southwark Council not have to mark First World War soldiers’ graves.
Marking the graves with appropriate CWGC headstones would also highlight that Southwark Council is selling ‘new’ plots not just over the dead but also over forty-eight soldiers’ Commonwealth War Graves.
FOCC today wrote to the CWGC to ask for the names of the First World War soldiers buried in Camberwell Old Cemetery, for CWGC’s policy on marking soldiers’ graves and what process cemetery owners are expected to follow.
And FOCC asked what communication CWGC has had with Southwark Council and the Diocese of Southwark regarding these soldiers’ graves?
The lack of respect for the nation’s heroes is just one of many reasons why Southwark’s burial project is not fit for purpose, must stop at once and a full enquiry into its future carried out.
The Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries are fighting to save the 100 acres of the Camberwell Cemeteries and their woods and graves and make them inner city Nature Reserves like Highgate and Nunhead Cemeteries.
For more information:
Contact Blanche Cameron
The Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries
The Save Southwark Woods campaign
www.SaveSouthwarkWoods.org.uk | firstname.lastname@example.org | @southwarkwoods | Facebook Page Save Southwark Woods
Above: Family headstones and memorials (now gone) and two acres of woods felled and chipped to sell graves over 48 First World War soldiers' graves - and 48,000 other poor.
Church of England Consistory Court Chancellor Philip Petchey tried to claim not necessary to even mark the WW1 soldiers' graves with headstones - in case it made them seem special!