WW1 – Memorial Graves & Headstones in Beckenham Cemetery

Introduction

On 4th August 1914 Britain declared war on Germany. The war ended after 4 years, 3 months and 7 days, on 11th November 1919

The Beckenham War Memorial was unveiled on 30th July 1921. It lists the names of 711 who died.

Additionally, there were many other memorials in stone, ceramics, metal, timber, metal and other materials in Beckenham’s churches, churchyards, schools , sports clubs and some businesses.

In November 1999, Paul Rason’s superbly illustrated account of all the WW1 war memorials in Beckenham was published by Bromley Council. Paul’s account identified the names of 1044 fallen. However this figure included the duplication of many of names on the Beckenham War Memorial.

In Beckenham Cemetery in Elmers End the names of 130 fallen may be found. Please see the table here.

The first two columns tell the reader if the names are recognised on the Comonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) plot either on the Screen Wall (30) or on individual Head Stones (34).

The third column gives the names of a further 66 names in graves in other parts of the cemetery.

The fourth column advises that 24 of those buried in the cemetery are identified on the Beckenham War Memorial.

51 further graves are shown in columns five and six: 6 had been discovered several years ago by local man, Peter Wiseman and the remaining 45 Ellen Barbet with help in cutting back undergrowth and cleaning by her late husband Ron.

On December 4th, 2013 Ellen wrote: “We explored the area which we had not been able to access before, nearest to the cemetery railings and the tram platform. The whole area is deep in fallen leaves just now, covering the ground. We made slow progress, feeling our way as we went, because it was difficult to detect bits of gravestones and kerbs and we could easily have twisted an ankle.”

I accompanied Helen on several occasions on her mid-winter searches. Torrential rain had left the paths through the cemetery with quite treacherous mud or flooding, similar to the images of soldier in muddy trenches that many people visualise when they think of the First World War.

Cliff Watkins