Jotmans Lane Cemetery South Benfleet

The burial site of many 1953 flood victims

Jotmans Lane Cemetery
Courtesy of Geoffrey Gillion

We have been asked many times where are the victims of the flood buried? Well the answer is some, but I do not yet know if all, are buried in Jotmans Lane Cemetery, South Benfleet. This is a council cemetery and it seems many were buried in communal graves scattered around the cemetery. I know where some are and I am currently finding out how many and where the graves in this cemetery are. Only a few have family memorials located on or near the graves.

I believe no public memorial to these victims has ever been put up in the cemetery. Why not??

I am taking the opportunity of the 60th Anniversary to start a campaign with the Canvey Community Archive to rectify this if at all possible.

Update: I can now confirm that 23 victims of the flood were buried in the cemetery at Jotmans. Joan Liddiard and I checked the records today and visited the cemetery to see where a plaque could be placed.  We will be talking to the Council to see what our next step needs to be.

Your comments would be appreciated.

Comments about this page

  • I totally agree Janet, The victims of the floods should have a memorial in the cemetery as they could not be buried on Canvey, perhaps Stibbards could be approached as they handled all the internments with a view to cooperation.

    By Mike Brown (28/01/2013)
  • Thanks Mike that might be an idea as we dealt with them when we did the Mather Headstone refurbishment. They were very helpful and very generous.

    By Janet Penn (28/01/2013)
  • It does seem wrong that there is no memorial. Will support any campaign you propose. Will you be at the service on Friday?? Maybe you could raise the issue at an approprite moment?

    By Cheri Arlenghi (28/01/2013)
  • Thanks for the support Cheri but I do not think that would be appropriate. It will be a day of remembrance not a day to start a campaign.

    By Janet Penn (28/01/2013)
  • Well done, Janet, for trying to rectify this matter. You seem to be working tirelessly on the flood archive.

    By Eddie Evans (07/02/2013)
  • Absolutely, there should be something,

    By Elaine Butters (25/09/2013)
  • My mother and brother died in the Floods and are commemorated on the memorial at the library on Canvey but I’ve never known what happened to their bodies. Any information yet on who was buried here?

    By Chris Starling (29/09/2013)
  • We do not have that information as yet. You can contact the authorities yourself. They will let you know.

    By Janet Penn (29/09/2013)
  • Thanks for your swift answer. As I do not live in the UK could you tell me which authorities? Sorry to be a nuisance. My father and I got out with nothing – not even a photo of my mother – so I have, when in the UK tried to follow up such leads.

    By Chris Starling (29/09/2013)
  • Barleylands Depot Billericay Parks & Street Care Phone 01268 294907 We do not know the name of the person I am afraid. If you find out anything please let us know. We are hoping to get there later this year to check the records ourselves.

    By Janet Penn (29/09/2013)
  • Chris if you can tell us what happened to your family we would love to know. Please write something that your father told you and put it on the archive so your families story is recorded.

    By Janet Penn (29/09/2013)
  • Janet – I have written, as you asked, what my father told of that night and submitted it. Thanks you for the follow-up info on Jotmans Lane – I am pursuing that and will record here what I find out.

    By Chris Starling (30/09/2013)
  • Chris thanks. I shall be publishing your family story later tonight. Very moving

    By Janet Penn (30/09/2013)
  • Just to let you know that the Barleylands Depot Billericay Parks & Street Care could not have been more helpful or efficient. They are, frankly, quite wonderful. It seems that my father purchased a private grave there for them and they were able to tell me which plot. The wonderful woman is finding out where exactly in the cemetery that plot is located. Thank you so much for your help.

    By Chris Starling (30/09/2013)
  • Let me know the details and i will take a photo for you

    By Janet Penn (30/09/2013)
  • That would be so kind. My father died in the ’70’s and there was nothing to indicate the grave’s existence so I doubt it will be in a good state. I cannot begin to think where he got the money for the plot, so I doubt that he could afford a headstone, but the last couple of days have been so full of surprises that anything is possible. I shall certainly go there when I am next in the UK. It is a step closer . . .

    By Chris Starling (30/09/2013)
  • I will still be able to find the plot Chris which is the important thing

    By Janet Penn (30/09/2013)
  • I fly out of the country on Wednesday and have been trying to find my brother and grandmother who also died in the floods of 53. Janet your page has been most informative and reading Chris comments was really good to see that he will be able to find the plot. My brother was Ian Nelson and grandmother Alice Davidson I went to the cemetery only last week trying to find where victims of the flood were buried and came away disappointed I went to Saint Nicholas church on the island to see if they could help but got no joy. Finding your page I have now been able to get the plot number (295) and was wondering if you were able to give me an idea where this is in the cemetery as I would like to try and get there before I fly back to New Zealand. Thanks Dawn Burns .

    By Dawn Burns (30/09/2013)
  • What I have so far is Plot 3 Grave 332. The kind woman at Barleylands will let me know whereabouts that is by email. I will forward the details to you then. Again thank you and the people who put this site together. 60 years is a long time to wait to discover the grave of one’s mother and brother.

    By Christopher Starling (01/10/2013)
  • Hi Dawn you must be one of Marees sisters. Maree is a friend of mine and we were able to find Ian and Alices grave a couple of years ago. It is not easy to find I am afraid as there is no marker. If you enter from the East gate follow path forward and the grave is to your left. If you had more time i could have shown you. I have a map somewhere but i am about to go out.

    By Janet Penn (01/10/2013)
  • Hi Chris. Thanks for that. Not sure if that is enough. I will have a look on the map i have. Unfortunately the map only covers part of the cemetery. I will get back to you.

    By Janet Penn (01/10/2013)
  • Hi Janet Thank you for the information I looked at all the unmarked graves thinking that possibly one of those was there’s. I will try and see if I have time to see it before we leave tomorrow. Would you be able to email me a copy of the map you have if that is not to much trouble when you have time. Regards Dawn

    By Dawn Burns (01/10/2013)
  • You might be able to pick it out if you look at the picture of Maree standing next to the grave. ( I will see if I can find the map but might not be in time. I am currently not on my computer.

    By Janet Penn (01/10/2013)
  • Chris I have found the map and can see where your family grave is. I will get over there shortly when it is not raining and take a picture for you.

    Dawn I am sending you the map.

    By Janet Penn (01/10/2013)
  • Chris I did not publish your last comment as the issue has been resolved. Dawn already knows the detail of her family grave and I have sent her a map.

    By Janet Penn (01/10/2013)
  • We have an appointment to see the records tomorrow so we will know for sure how many and which victims were buried at Jotmans. We will keep you all posted.

    By Janet Penn (02/10/2013)
  • I can now confirm there are 23 possibly 24 victims of the flood buried at Jotmans. We have seen where we would like to put a plaque and will now be talking to the Council to see what we need to do next.

    By Janet Penn (03/10/2013)
  • It was fabulous to see a plaque has now been put up just wish we could have been there at the ceremony. Hopefully we will get over again next year and get to see it. Thanks for all your hard work Janet. Regards Dawn

    By Dawn Burns (13/02/2014)
  • I remember the night of 31 January 1953 well. I lived at 5 Jotmans Lane and my bedroom window overlooked the cemetry so was interested to find out that a number of those lost at Canvey Island were buried there. My parents accommodated some survivors of that night in their home in Jotmans Lane but I do not recall their name.

    By Andrew McDonald (20/10/2015)
  • Hi Andrew, On Sun 1st Feb 1953 myself, sister Jenny, brother Chris and dog, Patch were dropped off at the home of the Knowles family who I guess were near (if not next-door) neighbours of yours as they lived on the left hand side of Jotmans near top. Mrs Knowles (Auntie Connie) was a lifelong friend of my Mum’s. They had a son called David and a daughter, Valda. However by the Sunday evening we were shipped off to Finchley but my Mum, Dad and youngest brother Trevor and Mum’s Dad Gpa Porteous all stayed for 3 wks at Jotmans. I was only 10 and don’t know any further details but with so many people in a small bungalow is it a possibilty that some of my family were accommodated by your parents? Regards, Graham Stevens.

    By Graham Stevens (20/10/2015)
  • Oops, sorry I’m afraid I’ve made a mistake. Where the family stayed was in Appleton Ave just around the corner but still in sight of the Jotmans Cemetery.

    By Graham Stevens (24/10/2015)

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