Woking Muslim Burial Ground and Peace Garden, historic war cemetery in Surrey, UK. Domed archway over the entrance to the garden.
Contributor:Gillian Pullinger / Alamy Stock Photo
File size:51.8 MB (2.5 MB Compressed download)
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Dimensions:5210 x 3473 px | 44.1 x 29.4 cm | 17.4 x 11.6 inches | 300dpi
Date taken:26 September 2019
Location:Woking, Surrey, England, UK
Woking’s Muslim Burial Ground is a reminder of the significant contribution made by some three million Indian service personnel who fought alongside the Allied troops during the First and Second World Wars. It was built during the First World War as the only designated place of burial for Muslim soldiers who had died at the temporary Indian Army Hospital in Brighton Pavilion and elsewhere along the south coast. Those who died received burial rites according to their religion. There were special crematoria at Patcham (Sussex), Netley and Brockenhurst (Hampshire) for Hindu and Sikh soldiers, while Muslim soldiers were buried. However, rumours spread that Muslim soldiers were not receiving burial according to their religious customs. These were dispelled once the War Office commissioned a special burial ground at Woking, chosen for its close proximity to Britain’s only purpose-built mosque at that time. This unique Grade II listed site is situated among pine trees, tucked away on the south east corner of Horsell Common. Designed by architect T H Winney and built by local Woking firm, Ashby and Horner Ltd, it is bounded by ornate brick walls and has a domed archway entrance and minaret, reflecting the design of the nearby Shah Jahan Mosque. The site was completed in 1917 with 19 bodies being received from Brighton during the First World War but a total of 27 with subsequent burials from the Second World War. In 1921, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission took over the upkeep of the site. All the graves faced east according to Islamic custom. With later burials taking place at Brookwood Cemetery the Horsell site fell out of use. During the 1960s the site was vandalised and the bodies were removed to the Military Cemetery section at Brookwood. During the summer of 2013, works to restore the unique Grade II listed Muslim Burial Ground to its former glory and create a garden of peace and remembrance commenced. It was opened by HRH The Earl of Wessex on 12 November 2015.