For a spot of history, check out the Rangoon War Cemetery just south of Yangon’s Inya Lake
To read about my visit to Rangoon War Cemetery, visit the blog here: The Immaculate Rangoon War Cemetery
For all the high-resolution photos from The Rangoon War Cemetery: Click Here
Entrance Fee: Free for locals and foreigners
Visiting Hours: Daily from 7:00 to 17:00
Location: Down Pyay Road near the roundabout with U Wisara Road
Myanmar (formerly Burma) served as a major theater during World War II and not many outside of the United Kingdom truly know the history of what occurred during the war. A good place for interested tourists and travelers to begin is down a nondescript alley off of Pyay Road towards the roundabout with U Wizara Road. The Rangoon War Cemetery is a football-field size stretch of perfectly-maintained grass located in the heart of the city. The cemetery serves as the final resting place for 1,381 Commonwealth servicemen with 86 of the burials unidentified. Memorials are in place to recognize the 60 casualties whose graves could not be located and markers with ‘buried near this spot’ written on the memorial plaques.
The Rangoon War Cemetery is maintained by a caretaker who lives on-site. Supported by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the cemetery features a ‘standard’ Cross of Sacrifice and a Stone of Remembrance, the latter of which is engraved with the timeless words “Their Name Liveth for Evermore.” A major operation dubbed “Operation Longcloth” performed by the legendary British unit “The Chindits” is memorialized here and at several other sites around Yangon.
This land upon which the cemetery sits was first used as a burial ground immediately following the recapture of Rangoon (now commonly referred to as Yangon) in May 1945. The Army Graves Service moved in graves from several burial sites from around Rangoon including those of prisoners of war who perished in the Rangoon Jail during the war. In 1948, graves of 36 Commonwealth servicemen who died during the First World War were moved here, 35 of whom were located at the Rangoon Cantonment Cemetery and one from Rangoon (Pazundaung) Town Cemetery.
The Chindits’ Operation Longcloth summarized quickly was a behind enemy lines’ operation in which the mixed British-Indian forced landed in the north of Burma and launched attack and raid on the Japanese troops attempting to make their way to India.
“From a Chindit perspective Rangoon War Cemetery plays an important part in the story of the men who became prisoners of war in 1943 and 1944. Of the 230 plus men from Operation Longcloth who became POW’s, 138 of them would eventually be buried in Rangoon War Cemetery, the numbers for 1944 make for better reading, with only a handful of men perishing in Rangoon Jail from the 35 captured. Most of these were men from the 1st Battalion, King’s Liverpool Regiment whose gliders had crash landed in the jungle, having failed to reach the Chindit landing area nicknamed ‘Broadway’ in March 1944.” – Chindits Longcloth 1943
For the full list of those interred at the Rangoon War Cemetery: Click Here