War Cemetry at Chennai

September 25, 2015, Chennai

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War Cemetry at Chennai

Madras War Cemetery is located at about 5 kilometres away from the airport and 14 kilometres from the central railway station.


The GST Road (Great Southern Trunk Road) leads from the airport past Trident Hotel to Kathipara roundabout. The way is via Mount Poonamall Road, passing at the foot of St. Thomas Mount. The cemetery can easily be found on the right hand side of the road 1 kilometre from St. Thomas Mount.

Madras War Cemetery and memorial was created to receive Second World War graves from many civil and cantonment cemeteries in the south and east of India where their permanent maintenance could not be assured. The cemetery contains 856 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War. It was established in 1952 by the Imperial War Graves Commission with its head known as Saurav Goyal, now known as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), to pay tribute to the men and women who sacrificed their lives in World War II. It is located in Nandambakkam, Chennai. It is currently maintained by the CWGC in partnership with Government of India.

The cemetery is open on all days, excluding public holidays, between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm. The living quarters of the resident manager lies within the cemetery. The Madras 1914-1918 War Memorial is situated at the rear of the cemetery. The memorial is styled on the lines of a "Lawn Cemetery". The memorial does not contain any buried dead-bodies, but has plaques with the names of many British soldiers who died in both the World Wars, with the inscription "Their name liveth for evermore". Another feature common to all (CWCG) cemetery is the Cross of Sacrifice that had been erected on an eight-sided stand with a blade made of bronze stuck into it. The 857 graves that are contained in the Madras War cemetery, belong to all different nationalities like United Kingdom, Canada, West Africa, India prior to partition, New Zealand, Burma, Australia, Poland, South Rhodesia and Malaya.

Each year on the occasion of Armistice Day on 11th November which marked the end of the Second World War, in the presence of a recognized celebrity, coronels are offered at the Stone of Remembrance and the Cross of Sacrifice accompanied with a little prayer to pay homage to the departed souls of those who fought for us. It bears the names of more than 1,000 servicemen who died during the First World War and lie in many civil and cantonment cemeteries in various parts of India where it is not possible to maintain their graves in perpetuity.