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War Memorials

Rangoon War Memorial, Burma


Rangoon War Memorial.
Accession Number: KO2913/24


Dedication of the Rangoon War Memorial 9th February 1958.
Accession Number: KO2490/659


Dedication of the Rangoon War Memorial 9th February 1958.
Accession Number: KO2490/660


Dedication of the Rangoon War Memorial 9th February 1958.
Accession Number: KO2490/661

The Rangoon Memorial - Unveiling

The Rangoon Memorial, built by the Imperial War Graves Commission in the Taukkyan War Cemetery, near Rangoon, was unveiled by General Sir Francis Festing GCB KBE DSO, Commander in Chief, Far East Land Forces, on Sunday 9th February, 1958, in the presence of representatives of the Forces in which the men whose names the Memorial bears were serving.

The Memorial commemorates twenty-seven thousand men of the Land Forces of the Commonwealth who perished during the campaign in Burma and Assam and whose resting place is known only to God. Their comrades, who are buried in the War Cemeteries at Taukkyan and Rangoon or whose remains were cremated, are commemorated by individual memorials on the graves or on a separate memorial in the Taukkyan War Cemetery recording the names of those cremated.

“It is hoped that a sound recording of the Ceremony will be made and broadcast by the BBC on the Home Service and that short films of the Ceremony will be shown on the television programmes for the benefit of those who are not able to be present themselves.”

The Rangoon Memorial commemorates by name 27,000 officers and men of the Commonwealth Land Forces who perished during the campaign in Burma and Assam and to whom the fortune of War denied the rites of burial or cremation customary to their faith.

The Rangoon Memorial - Description

The Memorial, which has been built by the Imperial War Graves Commission to the design of Mr H J Brown, ARIBA, stands in the Taukkyan War Cemetery about 20 miles north of Rangoon.

The Memorial takes the form of two long open garden courts flanked by covered walks and joined in the middle by an open rotunda. The names of the fallen are carved on the broad faces of the rectangular piers on the inner sides of the covered walks. As the Memorial is composed largely of colonnades it is ‘transparent’ and the green lawns of the Cemetery can be seen through the colonnades as well as the planting in the garden courts themselves. On a frieze inside the rotunda are inscribed in English these words:-

1939-1945
HERE ARE RECORDED
THE NAMES OF TWENTY-SEVEN THOUSAND SOLDIERS OF MANY RACES
UNITED IN SERVICE TO THE BRITISH CROWN
WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN BURMA AND ASSAM
BUT TO WHOM THE FORTUNE OF WAR DENIED
THE CUSTOMARY RITES ACCORDED TO THEIR COMRADES IN DEATH.

An additional inscription THEY DIED FOR ALL FREE MEN is also engraved on the rotunda in English, Burmese, Hindi, Urdu and Gurmukhi.

6,400 of the comrades of the men in whose honour the Rangoon Memorial has been built are commemorated on individual memorials on the graves in the War Cemetery in which it stands. These graves are largely those concentrated from the battlefield cemeteries at Akyab, Mandalay, Meiktaila and Sahamaw and recovered more recently from the jungle by the Army Graves Service.

The names of a further 1,049 officers and men of the Undivided Indian Army whose remains were cremated, are recorded on their own memorial in the Cemetery beneath these words:-

IN HONOUR OF THESE OFFICERS AND MEN
WHO DIED IN BATTLE
AND WHOSE MORTAL REMAINS WERE COMMITTED TO FIRE


From Imperial War Graves Commission letter dated 10th December 1957, sent to a relative of a soldier buried in the cemetery.
Accession Number: KO2913/23
 

Only a proportion of our collections are on display at anyone time.  Certain items are on loan for display in other institutions.  An appointment is required to consult any of our collections which are held in store.

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