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Residents sent a strong message to Southwark Council this Armistice Day: Respect the service personnel and civilians killed in war and buried in our cemeteries - and stop burying and building over them.


Campaigners laid a wreath on Saturday 11th November, for all the military and civilian graves that Southwark is burying and building over in the Camberwell Cemeteries.


Insensitive Southwark is destroying the graves of the war dead laid to rest in peace - to sell off ‘new’ burial plots over them.


Unbelievably, this includes many Commonwealth War Graves - service personnel killed on active service during the two World Wars.


Campaigners laid a wreath at the CWGC war grave of Air Mechanic W. Norris, who died in 1916. Southwark Council has sold ‘new’ burial plots over Air Mechanic Norris' and other CWGC war graves. The CWGC were not informed or consulted. Nor were the families.


Southwark has no excuse – they have all grave locations. The War Memorial Screen Wall lists Norris and over 130 other service personnel scattered throughout the cemetery, with their grave numbers so Southwark knows where they all lie.


John Repsch read a poem for the fallen at the War Memorial - Taking a Stand - followed by a two-minute silence. Scots Guards Piper Paul Riley then played Amazing Grace and Flowers of the Forest - so relevant with hundreds of trees already felled and ten acres of woods still threatened by Southwark's chainsaws.


Acres of woods and trees are being cut down to get at these graves, military and civilian, to bury and build over them.


John Anderson of the Coldstream Guards Association read a commemoration to Private (Guardsman) William Stanlake VC, buried in the woods (pictured) and only recently rediscovered by the CGA. Stanlake’s is not a CWGC grave. But many CWGC WW1 and WW2 war graves are as yet 'unlocated' by Southwark Council – and at risk.


We walked through the cemetery to visit the CWGC war graves of the Unremembered buried and built over by Southwark Council, reading their names, families, regiments and date they died – but not forgotten.


Can Southwark Council explain how they have been burying over CWGC war graves?


We demand Southwark Council respect all military and civilian casualties – and all those buried here in the Camberwell Cemeteries – and leave them to rest in peace.


Special thanks to:

Piper Paul Riley, Scots Guards Association

John Anderson, Coldstream Guards Association

Jane Wildgoose of the Wildgoose Memorial Library

Cemetery historian and author Ruth Richardson

Kerry Hood, John Repsch and others.


More info: [email protected]

Sign the petition to save the Camberwell Cemeteries:    |    [email protected]    |    @southwarkwoods    |    Facebook Page Save Southwark Woods


2018 Armistice Day Wreath Laying -  

Camberwell Old Cemetery - 12 NOON 11th November 2018

8th November 2018


"Uproar of local people as Church of England supports mounding over and digging up local people's graves"

South London Press


"War graves lost as court gives council permission to bury civilians on top of WW1 soldiers"

Daily Telegraph


"London Councils Are Selling Private Burial Plots On Paupers' Graves."


Britain at War Magazine, July 2017 issue

Click to download Britain at War article

William Stanlake VC's grave, Camberwell Old Cemetery woods

Unremembered by Southwark Council - but remembered by the Coldstream Guards and Victoria Cross Association who located his grave, erected the new headstone and visit regularly to ensure he is still remembered.

Victoria Cross Association record of William Stanlake VC


Headstones from WW2 era on One Tree Hill Camberwell New Cemetery - toppled and since removed by Southwark Council to build a road over them to 124 burial plots

We laid a wreath for the Unremembered - including the CWGC war grave of Air Mechanic Norris, Royal Army Flying Corps, who died 1916, buried over by Southwark Council.

Above: Scots Guards Piper Paul Riley, John Anderson of the Coldstream Guards Association and Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries gather to commemorate the military and civilian victims of war buried here.

IMG_20171111_142736885 COC Air Mechanic Norris IMG_20171111_145121132_crop_688x459

John Anderson of the Coldstream Guards Association read a commemoration to Private Guardsman William Stanlake VC, awarded in the Crimea, but who died a pauper in Camberwell in 1904. His grave in the woods is one of tens of thousands buried beneath the trees.


‘Alternative’ Armistice Day Commemoration of the Unremembered

13th November 2017

Armistice Day - Remembrance Sunday



12 NOON 11-11-2018

Camberwell Old Cemetery Gates,

Forest Hill Road SE22 0RR


We will honour the service personnel whom Southwark Council is burying and building over in Camberwell Old Cemetery.


These are men and women who died on active service during World War I and were buried here amongst some other 48,000 dead who were buried up to 20 graves deep, row upon row, on a shifting, muddy hillside over 100’s of years.


Their graves are scheduled to be mounded over with dirt, crushed building rubble. New burial plots are to sold above them.


Their headstones, woods and trees are their memorials - and should be respected and protected, not destroyed to sell 'new' burial plots over their graves.


Let us know you are coming:

[email protected]

Or call 07886504221


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Photo:Nothing to see here. A thirty foot high pile of crushed building waste and soil cover war graves below and 48,000 other dead. Who could know where the graves are?

What a difference a year makes. Action by our campaign got Southwark and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to put up new markers in July 2018 on some war graves. They won't be able to mark all the graves and they can't ever know for sure where the war graves are.