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Southwark has been redeveloping their cemeteries for years without first checking for soldiers’ war graves or even contacting the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


In total disrespect for our nation’s heroes, Southwark began ground clearance in preparation for new burial plots and access roads in Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries without first knowing the locations of at least 131 First and Second World War soldiers’ graves.


Southwark only contacted the CWGC late in 2016, a year after giving themselves planning permission and perhaps ten years or more after they first formulated their plans to mound over and dig up the dead.


The CWGC immediately informed them that in one development area - Area Z of the Old Cemetery - there were 48 First and Second World War soldiers' graves, not the six that Southwark falsely listed on their planning application to themselves.


Southwark had already brought in the heavy machinery for a layout which almost guaranteed that at least some of the other 42 graves would be buried on top of or have access roads driven over them.


The CWGC is still requesting to meet with Southwark as recently as this March 2017 to dscuss the Council’s layout, FOI emails show.


This is as the worst comes to light - the CWGC has only just discovered Southwark is intending to drive an access road over two WW1 soldiers' Commonwealth War Graves.


The FOI reveals that the CWGC is now fighting a rearguard action to defend the graves that Southwark’s plans dishonour.


There are at least 291 Commonwealth War Graves of soldiers from the First and Second World Wars in Camberwell Old Cemetery. The names of 160 located soldiers’ graves are carved in stone on the War Memorial Screen Wall. There are at least 131 though whose graves are currently unlocated.


Why did Southwark Council not contact the CWGC when they first knew they would be developing over graves?


And what of Areas F and F1 where Southwark developed over in 2013 and has been selling burial plots and burying over tens of thousands of graves ever since? Are war heroes lying beneath these ‘new’ graves?


Southwark Council and leader Peter John are demonstrating a total disregard for war soldiers, their graves, families, regiments and the public - preventing even basic respect for the fallen and their ultimate sacrifice for this country.


Southwark must stop its horrific burial development immediately.



Email text from CWGC to Southwark Council about development over soldiers’ CWGC war graves, 27th March 2017, with names redacted:


From: ]

Sent: Monday, March 27, 2017 12:11 PM

To: Cc: ; )

Subject: Camberwell Cemeteries - War Graves


Hi , hope are well.


Camberwell New Cemetery – D1


can confirm that the war grave is 7189 (as opposed to 7289) which Harrison and Associates have marked on the plans which sent to .


Please can confirm that this grave will not be disturbed by the works? It would appear that the burial is adjacent to a pathway.


would like to mark this grave at the burial location with a standard pattern Commission headstone, please can confirm that this would be possible?


Camberwell Old Cemetery – Area Z


note from conversation that plans for the site are beginning to progress, however suggested a meeting in the late Summer / Autumn to discuss the layout of the new area.


note that grave 25680 lies directly under a new pathway on the plans which sent to dated 14.11.16, as does 25626. Would it be possible to adjust this layout so that these two burials are not built upon and made inaccessible?


would welcome a meeting, sooner rather than later, with and Harrison Design Development to discuss this and to confirm which war graves will be marked in the new layout, before plans are finalised.


are also receiving quite of lot of social media interest and press enquiries in relation to these cemeteries, which is being dealt with media teams. Please let know if need any more information on this.


look forward to hearing from .

Kind regards,

Legal Executive

Commonwealth War Graves Commission


Southwark didn't check for First World War soldiers' graves before starting massive cemetery redevelopment, FOI reveals

12th May 2017    |    [email protected]    |    @southwarkwoods    |    Facebook Page Save Southwark Woods


Their Name Liveth For Evermore:

Camberwell Old Cemetery War Memorial where the names of World War One soldiers buried in the cemetery are inscribed. The locations of 160 graves are known. 131 WW1 missing soldiers are buried in unknown locations somewhere in the cemetery

Below: Area Z where two acres of woods were clear-felled over tens of thousands of graves including 48 WW1 soldiers' graves, for more 'new' burial plots, and roads to access them.


Bottom: Are war soldiers lying buried beneath 'new' burial plots developed in 2013 in Areas F/F1 Woodvale in Camberwell Old Cemetery? Memorials cleared to mound over thousands of graves.