Woking Muslim Mission, England, 1913–1968

Woking Muslim Mission and the First World War

Inaugural Commemoration Service at the Muslim Burial Ground, Horsell Common, Woking
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Inaugural Commemoration Service at the
Muslim Burial Ground, Horsell Common, Woking,
16 July 2017

During 1914-1915 several hundred thousand Muslim soldiers from areas now in Pakistan were among the more than one million Indian soldiers deployed by Britain in France and Belgium in the First World War against Germany (known also as the Great War). Indians who were wounded were in some cases brought to England for treatment in military hospitals. For Muslim soldiers who died here, their funeral and burial arrangements were discussed by the government with the Imam of the Mosque at Woking, Maulana Sadr-ud-Din. As a result, the site at Horsell Common, near the Mosque, was selected as the burial ground. (For details see these links on our website: Burials and Eid-ul-Fitr, August 1915.)

In 1969, due to vandalism, all the bodies were moved to Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey, where some Muslim soldiers had been buried both before and after the Horsell site was established. The Horsell site, with its domed entrance, fell into disrepair for decades. Recently it has been restored as the “Muslim Burial Ground Peace Garden”, opened by Prince Edward in November 2015 (see this link).

On 16 July 2017 the Inaugural Commemoration Service was held to mark the anniversary of the first burial, at Horsell Muslim burial ground, Woking, Surrey, of a Muslim soldier of the British Indian army on 16 July 1915. It was organized by Woking Borough Council (the local government authority) and the British armed forces. Among those attending was a Lahore Ahmadiyya group of eleven persons, including the Website Administrator of this website Dr Zahid Aziz.

The programme for the Commemoration is given in a booklet produced by Woking Borough Council (see link).



The following are video recordings of some of the speeches at this function:

(You can also download these recordings by right-clicking and selecting Save As.)

Some photographs of the occasion

The public going towards the domed entrance to the Peace Garden

The public and a detachment of soldiers lining up inside the Peace Garden

Soldiers lined up, and red wreaths on ground on the right

Dignitaries, including an Imam, ready to address the gathering

Military representative making speech (Imam and Christian clergyman on right)

Imam making speech

Wreath laying

By armed forces representative

By Woking Borough Council official

By Pakistan High Commission (embassy) Naval Attaché

Lokking at the wreaths

The Imam and Christian clergyman praying at the memorial

Memorial, with names of the buried soldiers inscribed, at which wreaths were laid


Wreaths from the British Legion and the Woking Mosque


Wreaths from the Pakistan High Commission and the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey


Wreaths from the Bangladesh High Commission and the MP for Woking


Wreaths from the High Sheriff of Surrey and an Army Brigade


Wreaths by relatives of two of the buried soldiers (Sikandar Khan and Youssif Ali)

Scenes at the refreshment tents

Our group, representing the UK Lahore Ahmadiyya community and this Website (www.wokingmuslim.org)

This website is created and published by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam Lahore (U.K.), Wembley, London,
the successor of the Woking Muslim Mission.