KOHIMA WAR CEMETERY
KOHIMA WAR CEMETERY
- Identified Casualties:
Kohima, the capital city of Nagaland state, is some 200 kilometres from the Indo-Burmese border (now known as the Indo-Myanmar border).
Kohima is best reached by air from Calcutta to Dimapur or from Delhi to Dimapur via Gauhati in Assam State and then by a winding road up the mountains. Kohima is 74 kilometres from Dimapur. It can also be reached by road from Gauhati - a long and difficult journey.
Kohima War Cemetery is situated on the left of the Imphal-Diampur road (Highway 39) close to the centre of the town.
The cemetery is completely terraced with terrace levels ranging from 3 - 5 metres high, which makes wheelchair access to this site impossible.
Visitors to Kohima War Cemetery in north-east India should be aware that an area on the western side of the cemetery behind the cremation memorial is cordoned off. This does not prevent access to any of the graves in the cemetery but is designed to restrict access to the service area where there has been some land slippage. Land movement is not uncommon in the hilly area around Kohima and the CWGC is working with the Indian government (a member country of the CWGC) to ensure that remedial steps are taken to stabilise the hillside and prevent further slippage.
The Cemetery is only open to the public while staff are on duty, and is normally closed on Sundays. The residential Group Supervisor's bungalow is situated on the roadside by the service entrance a short distance left of the main entrance, and the register of the graves is usually kept at his bungalow.
The Japanese advance into India was halted at Kohima in April 1944 and Garrison Hill, a long wooded spur on a high ridge west of the village, was the scene of perhaps the most bitter fighting of the whole Burma campaign when a small Commonwealth force held out against repeated attacks by a Japanese Division. The fiercest hand to hand fighting took place in the garden of the Deputy Commissioner's bungalow, around the tennis court, but the heaviest casualties on both sides occurred after relieving forces reached the Garrison and the Japanese were driven off the ridge, so re-opening the road to Imphal.
KOHIMA WAR CEMETERY lies on the battle ground of Garrison Hill. No trace remains of the bungalow, which was destroyed in the fighting, but white concrete lines mark and preserve permanently the historic tennis court.
The cemetery now contains 1,420 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.
At the highest point in the cemetery stands the KOHIMA CREMATION MEMORIAL commemorating 917 Hindu and Sikh soldiers whose remains were cremated in accordance with their faith.
At the lower end of the cemetery, near the entrance, is a memorial to the 2nd Division. It bears the inscription;- "When you go home Tell them of us and say, For your tomorrow, We gave our today."
The cemetery also contains a memorial to the 2nd Battalion, the Dorsetshire Regiment and a number of other regimental memorials have been erected on and near Garrison Hill.