Burma War Graves ‘Has Enormous Power To Engage’


Taukkyan War cemetery is located in Burma along the highway linking Rangoon. 6,426 soldiers of commonwealth who died in either of the two world wars are buried in there.

There are many cemeteries found in 153 different countries, they are about 23,000 in number. Each grave bears the name of the victim of the war .Commonwealth War Commission (CWGC) maintains all the cemeteries in these countries.

The graves and memorials are the only reminder left of the wars. They have enormous power to make someone reflects back and realize the sacrifices our ancestors made.

The gravestones that lines in the field of Northern France are known but poignant cemeteries can be found in any country where battle happened such as Libya, Turkey and Thailand. Mostly they are found in desert, mountains, under the snow and even some are lined with the palm trees.

Cemeteries are legacy left of the pledge made during the world wars. When a soldier fell in the war he was buried their but his location was always recorded. Many are the time when the guns fell silent that bodies of the fallen soldiers were collected and taken to a central cemetery where they would be buried in each other sides.

Before the world wars the soldiers who made sacrifices their countries were not remembered in any way, but after the wars it changed and now cemeteries and monuments are used to remember them.

Apart from the 6,426 marked graves at Taukkyan there is a memorial wall which has 27,000 names of people who died during the battle in Burma and their grave were not known.

According to sky news report, Mr. Francis said that every cemetery is maintained and they have employed 1,300 workers. They face some challenges like insecurity in countries like Syria Iraq and Libya. Also some graves are located in island and other involves dangerous journey across Libya.

CWGC signed 13,000 agreements before it could be given the mandate to maintain all the cemeteries. This is because the commonwealth servicemen and women who died are buried in 13,000 different locations. It is funded by grants from commonwealth member governments.

One of the graves headstone in Burma, Taukkyan cemetery
One of the graves headstone in Burma, Taukkyan cemetery

They are now renovating and giving the grave the modern taste but ensuring they maintain the fabric upon which the war is remembered. 22,000 headstones are replaced and about 19,000 headstones re-engraved every year.

The commission created a website which contain interactive database that allows people to search for their relative who might be buried in the cemeteries.

If people really knew about the graves and learn about the history they posses then they would accept and join hands with the commission to maintain the graves which may have been abandoned to nature.

Many people visit the Taukkyan grave every day, some of them volunteer to help clean the compound but they really don’t know the history behind the graves.

Steve Khalif

Steve Khalif is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE