Sai Wan War Memorial and Cemetery, Hong Kong Island
Sai Wan War Cemetery lies in the north-east of Hong Kong Island, in the Chai Wan area and is the principal cemetery of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Hong Kong. As such it forms part of a large network of war cemeteries the Commission erected globally after the First and Second World Wars in former theatres of war where British and Empire soldiers had fought, died or gone missing in action. As the British government had decided not to repatriate its fallen soldiers after both world wars, these cemeteries served and continue to serve as destinations for pilgrimages by former comrades and family members of the fallen.
Most of those buried in this cemetery were killed during the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong in 1941 or died later as internees or prisoners-of-war locally or in various places in Japanese-occupied Asia. The remains of those who died as prisoners in Formosa (now Taiwan) were brought to Hong Kong for burial at Sai Wan in 1946.
There are now 1,505 Commonwealth casualties of the Second World War buried or commemorated at Sai Wan War Cemetery. 444 of the burials are unidentified. There are special memorials to 16 Second World War casualties buried in Kowloon (Ho Man Tin) No 3 Muslim Cemetery, whose graves were lost. There are also 77 war graves of other nationalities from this period, the majority of them Dutch and 7 non-world war graves that the Commission maintains on behalf of the British Ministry of Defence.
The cemetery contains special memorials to 12 First World War casualties buried in Kowloon (Ta Sek Ku) Mohammedan Cemetery, whose graves have since been lost.
At the entrance to the cemetery stands the Sai Wan Memorial bearing the names of more than 2,000 Commonwealth servicemen who died in the Battle of Hong Kong or subsequently in captivity and who have no known grave. Additional panels to the memorial form the Sai Wan Cremation Memorial, bearing the names of 144 Second World War casualties whose remains were cremated in accordance with their faith, and the Sai Wan (China) Memorial, commemorating 72 casualties of both wars whose graves in mainland China could not be maintained.
Both the cemetery and memorial were designed by Colin St Clair Oakes. The memorial was unveiled by Governor Alexander Grantham on the 20th February 1955.
Source: Daniel Schumacher