War Cemetery in Kohima, Nagaland

“When you go home, tell them of us and say; for your tomorrow, we gave our today”

At first look, the war cemetery looks like a perfectly manicured garden. It’s only when you see the graves with such heart-rending messages that you realise the sorrow the families of these young men buried here must have gone through.

The Battle of Kohima and Imphal

In the hope of preventing an attack on Burma, the Japanese troops struck the British army in Kohima, Nagaland and in Imphal, Mizoram to tear down the supply bases. In a hand-to-hand combat, the Commonwealth forces were able to secure their position and forced the Japanese to withdraw. This win was a major climacteric for the Allies of World War II and it was referred to as Stalingrad of the East”

Designed by Colin St. Claire Oakes, Kohima War Cemetery is a memorial which lies on the battle ground of Garrison Hill. Dedicated to soldiers of the 2nd British division of the Allied Forces who lost their lives at Kohima in the Second World War. The cemetery contains a total of 1420 Commonwealth burials in addition to 917 Indian soldiers – Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs who were cremated as per their faith.

Messages on the graves

“Too far away your grave to see but not too far to remember thee” – Captain E.A. Davies of The Dorsetshire Regiment

“After life`s fitful fever. He sleeps well” – Captain M.A. Morice of The Dorsetshire Regiment

“Forever in our hearts. Ma.Pa. Lew and Mill. Mourned by all who knew him” – Private J.Kruyer of the Royal Berkshire Regt.

“Love is like a bridge that spans the spaces that divide. Devoted wife Nell” – Flight Sergeant J.E. Brandon of Royal Air Force

“Only my aching heart know how much I miss you. Until we meet again. – Gunner N.M.Draper of Royal Artillery

It’s heart-wrenching to think of these soldiers who are buried here, far away from their home country in a foreign land with nobody to visit them. All these lonely graves have are the roses to give them company.

10 thoughts on “War Cemetery in Kohima, Nagaland

  1. I imagine that this was an emotional and sombre experience for you. I always struggle to grasp the magnitude of wars until I can see concrete evidence in front of me, like you can find in this war cemetery. It is so important to remember conflict and to not repeat mistakes in the future.

  2. I always find a strange sort of peace walking through memorials, graveyards and cemeteries. I cannot explain why, maybe because they’re set in such lovely manicured gardens or such beautiful epitaphs. I can imagine visiting the one you’ve described above also must’ve been quite an experience !

  3. As an Indian, I wasn’t aware that the war of Kohima was referred to as the Stalingrad of the East! The sacrifice of Allied Forces seems supreme but what really touched me were the messages on the grave. They depicted the pride in laying down lives in fulfilling their responsibilities yet they had a tinge of sadness! Thanks for sharing this post.

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