Commonwealth War Cemetery
Lest We Forget
During World War II, the city of Kandy hosted the Headquarters of the South East Asian Command and was a key location for the war effort. The graveyard that used to be known as the Pitakande Military Cemetery was taken over by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as a permanent war cemetery, and it is now the final resting place of soldiers of the British Empire killed during the war. This British military cemetery includes: 107 British soldiers; 35 East African soldiers; 26 Sri Lankan soldiers; 23 Indian soldiers; 6 Canadian soldiers; 3 Italian soldiers; and 1 French soldier. Of these, more than 75% served the army, with the rest belonging to the Air Force, Navy and National Fire Service.
Location and Special Services
The Commonwealth War Cemetery (also called the Kandy War Cemetery) lies around 1.5 kilometres away from the entrance to the Royal Botanical Garden, and it is still maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The cemetery includes a special memorial that remembers a naval officer that was known to be buried at its grounds, but whose grave was never properly located.
The cemetery is wheelchair accessible via the main entrance, and is officially open every day between 7AM and 4PM. The area is a very serene location to visit, and its upkeep is well maintained. For history buffs looking for further exploration, the British Garrison Cemetery behind the Temple of the Tooth Relic is an older cemetery that was used for British nationals between 1817 and 1873, and is attached to a small museum.