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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign the petition to save the Camberwell Cemeteries: you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-southwark-woods
www.SaveSouthwarkWoods.org.uk | email@example.com | @southwarkwoods | Facebook Page Save Southwark Woods
‘Alternative’ Armistice Day Commemoration of the Unremembered at Camberwell Old Cemetery
13th November 2017
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."
Britain at War Magazine, July 2017 issue
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.
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.
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.