11 December 2005

Taiping War Cemetery

There are so many places that you can visit when you arrive at the Taiping Lake Garden. There's the Malaysia's Best Public Toilet, where I have mentioned it the other days, Maxwell Hill, the Taiping Zoo and Night Safari (I wonder who goes there at night) and the War Cemetery.
[ All the photos for the places mentioned (except for the zoo) are available at my photoblog]

The War Cemetery is located just before the entrance to Maxwell Hill. I stopped by for a while there for some photo shot and just to a look at the place. What I like about the place is that it is very well maintained. The grass, the tombstones and monuments were so well kept as if they were only done up yesterday. Just a bit of history of the war cemetery.

At the time of the Japanese invasion of Malaya, Taiping was on the British line of retreat down the west coast. Its normal garrison of one Indian Infantry Battalion had been augmented, a casualty reception station organised, arrangements made with the civilian authorities for the provision of 500 beds for military patients, and 20 Combined General Hospital (Indian Army) had been posted there.

During the fighting the Indian 6th and 15th Brigades used Taiping as a rest and re-fitment centre for a few days; and, as the withdrawal southwards developed, numerous Indian Army medical units worked there for short periods before each in turn had to move towards Singapore with the fighting forces.

Taiping War Cemetery was created by the Army after the defeat of Japan for the reception of graves brought from the battlefields, from numerous temporary burial grounds, and from village and other civil cemeteries where permanent maintenance would not be possible.

There are separate entrances to the two parts, the plots of Christian graves lying on the south-eastern side of the road and the Muslim and Gurkha graves on the opposite side. In the Muslim and Gurkha section the Stone of Remembrance stands in front of a high bank which forms the north-western boundary.

The two small shelters in the cemetery have been constructed of local stone, and a low stone wall flanks the road on each side. There are now over 850, 1939-1945 war casualties commemorated in this site, more than 500 of whom are unidentified.

I also managed to get hold of the site plan of the War Cemetery.

One more good lesson learned from my trip to Taiping. I am still gathering facts on Taiping Prison and Maxwell Hill where I will post them up very soon.


erika tan said...

hi! am doing some research on taiping and came across your cemetery plans...did you ever manage to find plans for the jail? or further facts? i'm fascinated by the idea that along with a railroad, a mail, they also built a museum all within a few years of each other!

Chan Kok Kuen said...

Sorry I do not have any information of the plan. I found the image of the plan via a search using Google.