Clarification regarding unmarked soldiers’ graves in Camberwell cemeteries

1 June 2017

The names of all war casualties buried in all cemeteries (including Southwark’s) are publicly available on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website at http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead.aspx

48 unmarked soldiers’ graves are located within the Area Z site, which is being developed to provide burial plots for families in Southwark.

We know where they are and we remain absolutely committed to honouring all war graves, and will not bury over them in any circumstances. We have an open and ongoing relationship with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and we continue to work with CWGC at every stage in the planning process for Area Z and will keep this area under constant review to ensure we honor all war graves appropriately.

We plan to commemorate these unmarked graves either by marking with a Commonwealth War Grave headstone, or by adding their names to the existing War Memorials within the cemetery. Any method of commemoration will be consulted on and agreed with the CWGC prior to going ahead.

The CWGC have released a statement on their website about working with us as we remodel the site for greatly needed new burial plots: http://www.cwgc.org/news-events/news/2017/5/commonwealth-war-graves-commission-statement-regarding-planned-works-at-camberwell-old-cemetery.aspx

Burial plots were created at Woodvale on land that contained previous burials by raising the levels in this area with new soil, which is normal practice in cemeteries. There are no records of war graves in this location.

At the time of the planning application five unmarked war graves had been located within Area Z by detailed research through hand-written records, some 100 years old. Since then and to ensure a more reliable future process is in place, the records have been digitised to improve access and accuracy. As a result and also through liaison with the CWGC we are pleased to have identified further unmarked war graves within the Area Z site, so they can be given the respect they deserve.

A number of the unmarked war graves are located within the site but outside of the new burial area i.e. within nature conservation areas and so marking them would be very difficult. We continue to work in partnership with CWGC seeking to commemorate as many war graves as possible.

Page last updated: 01 June 2017