THE granddaughter of a soldier who died in the First World War
is demanding that his derelict grave in a churchyard is
The soldier, Private Walter Perry, was wounded and died of
septicaemia in 1915. He was buried beside his grandparents at St
Mary's, Bletchley, his home town, in Buckinghamshire.
Over the years, however, the graves fell into decay, and at
least 60 years ago a brick shed was built over part of them. Today,
the soldier's headstone (left) is surrounded by bottles
and other rubbish, and, Private Perry's granddaughter, Ann Dallas,
says, even human excrement.
told the newspaper Milton Keynes Citizen: "'It would
be wonderful if, during this WW1 centenary year, the shed could be
demolished and my grandfather could be brought out of this horrible
dark place and into the light once again. It's a dark, dank, and
horrible building that obviously attracts the wrong kind of people.
To me, it is painful beyond belief that my grandfather's grave
should be treated this way.
"I believe it is a criminal offence to desecrate a war grave. He
fought for our country, and his grave has been treated with no
Mrs Dallas, who is 72, and lives in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, said
that both her grandmother and mother had tried unsuccessfully to
have the grave restored. "'My family had lived in Bletchley since
the 16th century, and there are seven relatives buried in that
area. But my grandmother had to be buried miles away because the
shed took up her plot. Every time my mother and I tried to do
something about this, we got the brush-off."
She has now offered to pay for the shed's demolition, and
re-landscaping and future maintenance of the grave. "I just don't
want to be the third generation of my family not to see this
resolved," she said.
An Oxford diocesan spokeswoman said that the diocese had been
unaware of the apparent history of the grave until Mrs Dallas
emailed the Bishop of Buckingham, Dr Alan Wilson, and he contacted
her the same day. The Bishop has also contacted the Commonwealth
War Graves Commission, and Milton Keynes Council, and it is hoped
that the shed will be demolished in the near future.