Country of origin- Singapore
Total number of known casualties- 3702
Period of the casualties- World War I and II
GPS location- Longitude 103.758 and Latitude 1.41957
The cemetery lies 22km away in the north direction from Singapore City and has the Straits of Johore overlooking it. The east of the cemetery has the Bukit Timah Expressway near Woodlands Road. On the north, there are Turf Club Avenue sharing crossroads with Kranji road. There’s also a small approach from the main road. The local people know the cemetery by the name of Kranji Memorial. It’s a must to tell taxi drivers about the cemetery before getting in, as most of them don’t know about it. You can find many bus stops right in front of the cemetery. The train station is only at a walking distance of 12 to 15 mins, making it the closest approach to the cemetery. It has been commonly suggested to keep a small map procurable from the MRT ticket counter.
Time and way to visit
The Cemetery remains open from 07:30-18:30 every day. It has been built on the hilltop at an average height of around 4m from ground level. You can reach the cemetery by climbing 3 sets of steps. Generally, visitors find no problem reaching the place. However, you may reach out to our offices in the Asia Pacific area and Africa for additional assistance. You can write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +441628634221. The head gardener would be notified to help you with the visit from there.
Historical overview of the site
The Kranji land was a military camp in the pre-1939 times. During the invasion of Malaya land by Japan, the land was used for storing ammunition. The Bay of Kanji River was successfully crossed by the Japanese on 8th February 1942. They landed within two miles of the current location of the cemetery. An attack was launched on 9 February at the Kanji River and the point of cause. After being in a fierce battle for the next few days, the Japanese army’s bravest soldiers gave up finally and decided to leave the land alone.
A camp was established at the River Kranji right after the fall of the island, leading to an organized hospital on the River. A smaller cemetery which was later started by the prisoners at the River became a permanent one by the Grave Services of the Military. It was made clear by the military that the larger cemetery of Changi couldn’t be touched. Later, Changi became the new site for a war camp. Till the time being, Australian Infantry Forces made a huge hospital at Changi for help. Large numbers of graves from the Buona Vista Military Cemetery were transferred to Kranji in 1946. All the graves of the Second World War from the island, including the ones from the French Saigon military cemetery of the Indo-china war were shifted to Kranji as well. This was done as other sites were not safe enough to be maintained properly.
Graves of both the World Wars were being brought from Bidadari Christian Cemetery in Singapore which was also marked unsafe for maintenance.
The Second World War led to the burial of all the 4,461 casualties at the KRANJI WAR CEMETERY. More than 850 unidentified bodies were buried on this spot. In 1942, all the 69 servicemen killed by the Japanese were given a collective burial at The Chinese Memorial. It was also marked in Plot 44 in history.
There were three casualties, including burials of First World War soldiers being buried in the civil cemetery of Saigon and Singapore. They weren’t to spot the graves of those soldiers.
The Kranji War Cemetery also holds the Singapore Memorial on its premises. This memorial commemorates over 24000 Commonwealth martyrs from both air and land forces. A lot of these martyrs are unidentified and the least known about them comes from the cemetery’s records of their capture or missing date. Martyrs of the land forces died in the Malaya campaigns, Indonesia campaigns, Burma-Thailand rail construction, during hostage transfer through the sea, and other times. The air force martyrs are considered dead during the Eastern and Southern Asia operations along with surrounding oceans and seas.
On the west of the Singapore Memorial is the Singapore Memorial (Unmaintainable graves). This spot is the commemoration ground for over 250 martyrs of the Malaya and Singapore campaigns. These were the identified graves that suffered from a lack of maintenance. They could also not be relocated to any proper war cemetery due to religious foundations.
Right behind the Singapore Memorial stands the Singapore Cremation Memorial. This place is the commemoration ground of around 800 martyrs. Most of these soldiers belonged to the Indian forces and they were buried as per their traditional rites and customs.
On the east of the Singapore Memorial, there is the Singapore Civil Hospital Grave Memorial. At the end of the War of Singapore, hundreds of soldiers and civilians were wounded and taken hostage by the Japanese. These people were brought to this hospital for treatment. However, the deaths among them over capacitated the graveyard. Now, a previously dug water tank in pre-war times was used for the burial. Over 400 commonwealth soldiers and civilians were buried here.
A lot of people died in the war whose identification was not possible individually. Thus, it was decided to let the graves remain undisturbed. They were properly covered and blessed by the Bishop from Singapore. A cross was erected on the memorial spot by military personnel to honor the martyrs. The Grave Memorial of Singapore Civil hospital holds the commemoration of these 107 Commonwealth fatalities.
The architect of this cemetery along with the Singapore Memorial was Colin St. Clair Oakes.
There is the Kranji Military Cemetery close to the Kranji War Cemetery. The former is a site of importance, not related to World War, with 1422 graves. It was built in 1975 to become the new home of soldiers and their clans that had been previously buried in the Ulu Pandan and Pasir Panjang cemeteries.