Muslim Graveyard near to Shah Jahan Mosque received 19 burials of Indian Army soldiers in WW1 and a further five during WW2. It was the first burial ground built in UK
Muslim Graveyard- This is the first Burial Ground for Muslims built in 1915 for Indian soldiers who lost their lives in service to this country (England) during the Great War. Indian army soldiers who died in 1st World War were buried at the same place with Hindu and Sikh soldiers at Patcham, Netley and Brockenhurst not following to the Muslim religious customs. War Office chosen Woking as burial place as it had the only mosque in Britain at that time
Muslim Graveyard was built on Horsell Common near to the Shah Jahan Mosque. It was designed by architect T.H. Winney and built by a local firm, Ashby and Horner Ltd. Its arches, minarets and domed gateway reflect the architectural style of the nearby mosque. Completed in 1917, the burial ground received 19 burials of Indian Army soldiers and a further five during WW2.
By the 1960s the cemetery was suffering vandalism due to its isolated location. The decision was taken in 1968 to remove the bodies to the Military Cemetery in Brookwood Cemetery.
Now this Grade II listed building, the Burial Ground is an overlooked memorial to the Indian Army soldiers, and in need of conservation. It is in the care of Horsell Common Preservation Society. In 2014 Secretary of State for Culture Sajid Javid has welcomed the restoration of a Burial Ground for First World War Muslim soldiers in Woking. “Over one million troops from pre-partition India fought as members of the British Armed Forces in the First World War, many of them Muslim. Now standing as a symbol of those lost, and an early and important part of British Muslim history, the restoration of the Muslim Burial Ground to its former glory is particularly poignant in the year we remember the outbreak of the First World War. “
A copper gilded finial with 12 petals was carefully placed on top of the entrance Chattri at Woking’s Muslim Burial Ground, marking the completion of the first phase of major restoration work.
The Muslim Burial Ground is located on the south east corner of Horsell Common. East of Monument Road, Monument Bridge, take the main footpath north after about 100 metres the site can be seen through the trees on the right.
Contact: Horsell Common Preservation Society, PO Box 53 Woking GU21 4YU. Estate Manager – Mobile: 07860 712503
Visit the Woking Council website to know more about it. You can also visit other religious places in London
Source: Tina Cockett, Victory News Magazine, English Heritage & Sikh Museum