25 May 2017
COMMONWEALTH WAR GRAVES COMMISSION STATEMENT REGARDING PLANNED WORKS AT CAMBERWELL OLD CEMETERY
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) has agreed with the London Borough of Southwark that: no war graves will be disturbed during the planned works at Camberwell Old Cemetery, that no burials will take place above the war graves and that we will be able to mark graves which were previously inaccessible.
We only have responsibility for the war graves and these have all been identified and will not be affected by the works.
We follow a similar process at other sites where the war graves are exempt from any reuse scheme.
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AREA Z - UNDERHILL ROAD - CAMBERWELL OLD CEMETERY
Southwark is building over at least 37 Commonwealth War Graves in just this one area. Southwark has not told relatives, let alone consulted them, and only contacted the CWGC late in 2015 once the development was well under way. Roadways, terraces and 'new' burial plots will obliterate the war dead buried here.
Southwark's Area Z planning application misled the public over the number of war graves to be developed over - claiming only 5. Now the Council admits it is in fact at least 37. And Southwark has no intention of commemorating many of them with CWGC headstone. Each red circle on the plan below is a war grave.
Southwark is burying and building over CWGC war graves and civilian war casualties in Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries 19 October 2017
Camberwell Old Cemetery War Memorial
The War Memorial lists the 131 WW1 War Graves scattered around Camberwell Old Cemetery. Southwark Council knew about these - and that the CWGC also had their locations and relatives' contact details. Yet they have been burying on these men and women, and continue to build on these men and women. We ask them to stop.
Email the CWGC and demand they ask Southwark Council to respect the war dead in the Camberwell Cemeteries.
Report Southwark's destruction to the Press
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Camberwell Old Cemetery 'The Island' burial area:
Since at least 2003, Southwark has been selling new burial plots over thousands of common graves - including WW1 service personnel, killed in active service
Area F/F1 Woodvale, Camberwell Old Cemetery:
In 2013, Southwark developed a 'new' burial area along the southern boundary of the cemetery along Woodvale - including developing over two CWGC war graves without consulting or even alerting the Commission or relatives.
Area Z, Camberwell Old Cemetery, at least 37 CWGC WW1 and WW2 service personnel's War Graves being built over:
Southwark is building terraces, roads and embankments on two acres of graves to sell 700 'new' burial plots over 48,000 existing graves - including at least 37 WW1 and WW2 War Graves.
Ten acres of graves are under imminent threat in Camberwell Old Cemetery and more in Camberwell New Cemetery.
Southwark intends to cut down the woods and scrape away the headstones to sell burial plots over thousands more graves - including MORE CWGC War Graves.
AREA D1 One Tree Hill, Camberwell New Cemetery
WHAT THE PRESS SAYS
"Uproar of local people as Church of England supports mounding over and digging up local people's graves"
"War graves lost as court gives council permission to bury civilians on top of WW1 soldiers"
"London Councils Are Selling Private Burial Plots On Paupers' Graves."
Southwark Council is in the midst of the largest grave re-use and mounding project in the nation - and has been for years.
They are burying and building over CWGC War Graves and civilian casualties. Plans show WW1 and WW2 War Graves under new burial areas from 2007 and possibly earlier.
The War Memorial lists 131 WW1 War Graves scattered in Camberwell Old Cemetery - Graves which Southwark is obliterating when they should be remembering.
As well as CWGC War Graves, 48,000 other people are also in graves in Area Z - including William Uden, Military Medal recipient (pictured) and many from the WW2 era and later.
Graves being destroyed to create 'new' burial plots in Area Z.
Photo above: Diggers above war graves in Camberwell Old Cemetery.
Above: Burial plots above war graves, each red circle is a war grave.
Southwark destroying memorials throughout their cemeteries to make 'new' burial plots. There is a CWGC war grave in this area, possibly under these memorials, and also the graves of those who died at home during WW2 from enemy action.
Southwark Council remembers the deaths of those who died in the V1 and V2 rocket attacks - even as they are destroying their graves
Above: Cllr Ian Wingfield and the grave of Albert Bowskill, Killed in Enemy Action died 2nd March 1944. His grave is in the path of a new roadway or in the area where WW2 era graves are scheduled to be dug up to create 'new' graves.
TIME LINE OF DISRESPECT FOR FOR WAR GRAVES
Calling the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
What is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission doing?
The CWGC state 'We only have responsibility for the war graves and these have all been identified and will not be affected by the works.'
Headstones, including those of war graves, are being removed, and probably crushed. The plans call for roads and embankments above many of the graves, and it is improbable that the Council will free enough area above the war graves so that no war grave is actually buried over. And what of their families; graves? And what of the civilians' graves?
The Council claim that remains of the dead will not be 'disturbed' and the CWGC accept their claim. The area above the graves will be scraped clean of memorials and these memorial dumped or crushed. The CWGC have not responded to the Friends concerns, let alone our questions.