Monday, June 22, 2009

Cheras Road War Grave



Cheras Road Civil Cemetery contains two Commonwealth War Graves maintained cemeteries within it plus the grave of Sir Henry Gurney the High Commissioner for Federated Malaya from 1948 until he was assassinated in 1951.

The Cemetery is situated south of Kuala Lumpur, to the left of Cheras Highway toll gates. Entry can be can be from one of several directions but normally it is found that it can be reached by turning left into Jalan Kuari immediately after the toll gates, approximately 4 miles from central Kuala Lumpur. Crossing the car park, follow the top left hand lane to the end, thus reaching the Commonwealth Cemetery gate. The Commonwealth Cemetery is enclosed by a fence planted with climbers and hedges and backs onto the new highway. Our visit found us leave the highway just after a petrol service station onto a short track which then arrived at a divided junction, we turned left, keeping the highway to our right, and about 100m along the track the cemetery could be seen above us.

At the time of the Japanese invasion of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur was the headquarters of the 3rd Indian Corps. Early in 1941 part of the recently raised 8th Division of the Australian Infantry Force was assigned to Malaya, a territory of strategic importance to Australia. The headquarters divisional staff arrived on February 18th in advance of the main force, which numbered some 6,000 men, and the divisional headquarters and attached units were posted at Kuala Lumpur. As the Japanese moved successfully down the peninsula a temporary prisoner-of-war camp was established at Pudu jail, to which United Kingdom and Commonwealth serviceman were taken before being sent to Changi Camp on Singapore island. Some of them died, of wounds or sickness, while in this camp and were buried in the Cheras Road Cemetery.

There are 137 Commonwealth burials of the 1939-1945 war here. In addition, there are over 600 non world war burials of servicemen and dependants here, 5 being unidentified children of Gurkha soldiers, mainly from the Malayan emergency

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