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Remembrance Sunday Service at the CWGC Dar es Salaam War Cemetery, Tanzania

14 November 2016

A Remembrance Sunday service took place on 13 November at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) in Dar es Salaam War Cemetery, commemorating all members of the Commonwealth forces who died during both world wars, but particularly in this centenary year, those who perished in the East Africa Campaign.

The service also commemorated those servicemen of the German forces who died in Tanzania during the First World War.

The service was attended by CWGC Director General Mrs Victoria Wallace, who earlier this week unveiled a new CWGC Memorial in Tanga, Tanzania commemorating almost 400 Indian and British soldiers who died during the First World War in Tanzania. She was joined by representatives from across the diplomatic community, including the British High Commissioner to Tanzania, Her Excellency Sarah Cooke and His Excellency Mr Egon Kochanke, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Tanzania.

Representatives of the Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faiths were all present along with local dignitaries.

CWGC Director General Mrs Victoria Wallace, said: "It is a particular privilege to represent the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at the Remembrance Sunday service in Dar es Salaam, as we mark the centenary of the East Africa campaign, one of the bloodiest and most protracted fronts of the First World War.

“It is gratifying to see representation from so many Commonwealth governments, as well as the Germans, all of whose countries lost so many men and women during the fighting. Having not visited the cemeteries in Tanzania for over 20 years, it is wonderful to see how well cared-for they remain, and such great numbers coming out to remember the fallen."

Mrs Wallace also plans to visit CWGC graves at Upanga Road (also known as Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road) and Kinondoni cemeteries.

At the outbreak of the First World War Tanzania was the core of German East Africa. From the invasion of April 1915 until the German surrender in November 1918, Commonwealth forces fought a protracted and difficult campaign against a relatively small but highly skilled German force under the command of General von Lettow-Vorbeck.

The CWGC Dar es Salaam War Cemetery was created in 1968 when the 660 First World War graves at Dar es Salaam (Ocean Road) Cemetery had to be moved to facilitate the construction of a new road. During the early 1970s, a further 1,000 graves were brought into this site from cemeteries all over Tanzania, where maintenance could no longer be assured.

The Dar es Salaam War Cemetery now contains 1,770 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 67 of them unidentified, and 34 from the Second World War. The 112 war graves of other nationalities, the majority of them Belgian and German, all date from the First World War.

The cemetery also contains the Dar es Salaam Hindu Cremation Memorial, which commemorates 14 Indian servicemen whose remains were cremated in accordance with their faith.

The Dar es Salaam British and Indian Memorial, which stands within Dar es Salaam War Cemetery, commemorates by name more than 1,500 officers and men who died in East Africa during and after January 1917 (the advance to the Rufiji river) who have no known grave. The memorial was moved from a site elsewhere in the township and re-sited in Memorial Garden A. The earlier casualties are commemorated by a similar memorial at Nairobi, Kenya.