Stanley Military Cemetery & Hong Kong Memorial, Hong Kong Island

Stanley Military Cemetery is just beyond the town of Stanley in the southern part of Hong Kong Island on the Tai Tam Peninsula. The cemetery was set up shortly after Hong Kong became a British colony in the mid-19th century and therefore features some civilian and military graves from this period. Closed not long afterwards, the cemetery was reopened for burials during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong in World War II when Stanley jail and village served as a prisoner-of-war and civilian internment camp whose victims needed a place to be buried at.

After World War II, the cemetery was extended on its northern side by the Imperial War Graves Commission when graves were brought in from civilian burial grounds and isolated sites in the surrounding country. Nearly all casualties of the local defence forces, chiefly the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Force, and of the clandestine British Army Aid Group are buried in this cemetery. The British Army Aid Group was a military establishment which came into being early in 1942 to encourage and facilitate escapes, to assist escapees and to get information and medical supplies into the camps.

There are now 598 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery, which is still maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 175 of the burials are unidentified, but a number of special memorials commemorate casualties known to be buried among them. The names of the 96 civilian internees buried in this cemetery are recorded in volume seven of the Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour.

The cemetery at Stanley also contains the new Hong Kong Memorial, erected in 2006 as a complete remake of the original Hong Kong Memorial, also known as the Hong Kong Chinese War Memorial, which is located at the main entrance to the Botanical Gardens in central Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Memorial at Stanley does what the original one failed to do. It commemorates by name the 2,435 Chinese casualties of the two world wars who have no known grave – 941 of the First World War and 1,493 from the Second World War. In keeping with the spirit of the original monument, the one at Stanley incorporated its inscription, which dedicates it “IN THE MEMORY OF THE CHINESE WHO DIED LOYAL TO THE ALLIED CAUSE IN THE WARS OF 1914-1918 AND 1939-1945.”

There are also three special memorials to First World War casualties buried in cemeteries in Kowloon and Hong Kong, whose graves have since been lost.