On Monday 11th February 2019 at 12 noon a Public Meeting was held at STATERI’S ( Peratata ) to inform those interested on the current situation with regard to the British Cemetery in Argostoli.
Malcolm Pugh (MP) explained, that with a friend of his, he had established what he believed to be the current legal aspects of the cemetery. He did warn everyone, however, that they should be fully aware that owing to the possibilities of potential agreements, settlements or contracts the legal aspects may be of secondary importance to the reality of the situation.
The cemetery as depicted by the Land Registry in Argostoli comprises of three parts.
The first part is roughly two thirds of the original cemetery area and occupies the Northern end of the plot. The Greek Land Registry when created in its current form in 2006 in the absence of any recorded title declared the “Municipality of Kefalonia “ as the registered owner. There is a caveat in so much as within a time scale of 14 years of publication of the notice ( in this case 2010 ) this claim to ownership can be disputed. If the Br. Gov’t wishes to dispute the claim it must be done by 2024. At this point John Saunders ( JS ) stated that he believed the claim had to be made by 2000. MP stated that the initial registration took place on 20/12/2010.
The second part consists of a bungalow and garden and is currently for sale. The owner purchased the property on the 17th July 1984 from a Regina Malians whom inherited the property from her husband who died on the 13th January 1963.His previous relations were given the property by the Br. Gov’t in gratitude for their work as guardians of the cemetery. Legal counsel believe there is documentary evidence supporting this claim. Unless the Br. Gov’t can dispute the facts relating to this gift then nothing can be done as far as ownership is concerned. It does, however, raise the question as to what became of the human remains that were buried in that part of the cemetery.
Finally to the third part situated in the SW corner of the cemetery. In 1934 “The Temple of Prokopata” (Agia Kiriaki) sold 9734 sqr metres of land to The Forestry Department, and 1200 sqr metres of this corner of the cemetery is part of that 9734 sqr metres. The Br. Gov’t, having maintained the area of the cemetery for much more than 20 years, cannot challenge the Greek Gov’ts Title to this plot.
MP then explained that all the evidence he had gathered plus the minutes of all the Public Meetings and various other comments had been passed to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) who in turn had passed it onto the Legal Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FO). As a result he explained that he had been duly informed, hence the reason for the meeting, that the Br. Cemetery in Argostoli remains closed to any new burials and that the CWGC has been instructed to continue the maintenance of the site. MP further stated that he had been in formed that the Municipality of Argostoli is fully aware of the situation and is therefore prepared to offer a piece of land for the burial of British Citizens should they require it.
JS stated that he still believed he had the right to be buried in the Br. Cemetery and that he had used the services of an Ombudsman to verify his documentation and his view. JS said that the Ombudsman was due to report back to him within the next two weeks.
Roy Harrison (RH) made a passionate plea that all ex-pats come together and take up the task of establishing a dedicated British Cemetery that could be available on a permanent basis.
MP stated that in the fullness of time the situation with regard to the Br. Cemetery would be resolved. He felt that he had brought the research project to an end and that there was nothing further he could accomplish. In bringing the meeting to a close he was publicly thanked for his efforts.
Source- Update from post by Malcolm Pugh in the FB Group for Kefalonia British Cemetery