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Local Community engage with CWGC Gaza War Cemetery

04 March 2016

The cemeteries, burial plots and memorials under the care of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission can be found in some 154 countries across the world.

Each location has its own remarkable story to tell, and perhaps nowhere is this more true, than at CWGC Gaza War Cemetery.

Located approximately 65 kilometres south-west of Tel Aviv, the cemetery is the final resting place of over 3,000 Commonwealth casualties of the First World War, and over 200 of the Second World War.

In April 1915, Gaza was bombarded by French warships. At the end of March 1917, it was attacked and surrounded by the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in what became known as the First Battle of Gaza. Some of the earliest burials in the cemetery were made by the troops that captured the city.

Gaza Gardener

Further burials were made after the second and third battles of Gaza, in April and November 1917, and many more were brought to the cemetery from the surrounding battlefields after the armistice.

During the Second World War, Gaza functioned as an Australian hospital base, and was also home to the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) Headquarters. A Royal Air Force aerodrome was also situated in the city.

Descendants of those commemorated in Gaza War Cemetery may think of it as a remote and unvisited location - but this is far from the case. The cemetery forms a vibrant part of the city and is embraced by people from across the community.

Gaza students gather

Images taken today show local university students visiting the cemetery for a lecture on its history.

It is also visited by many schools, community groups, and members of the public.

The cemetery is cared for by a team of dedicated CWGC gardeners who maintain our sites across the Gaza Strip. Some of these men are now the second or third generation of their family to work for the CWGC.

Gaza Cemetery gardeners get to work

In February 2012, the team received the CWGC President's award for their physical and moral courage in exceptionally difficult conditions and their unwavering commitment to the work of the Commission.

Find out more about this unique location here.

All images are credited to Ibrahim Esam Jaradah

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