British War Cemetery – Trincomalee


The Trincomalee War Cemetery is a British war cemetery located along the Trincomalee-Nilaveli Road. It can be both a tremendous and sobering experience to take a tour through the cemetery areas. The pristine landscapes here provide a stark difference to the loss and grief that has been laid to rest here.
The cemetery itself was built in 1948 following the conclusion of the Second World War. It is one of six Commonwealth war cemeteries that have been made here in Sri Lanka. You’ll find a total of 303 graves here at the Trincomalee War Cemetery – all of which belong to soldiers of the British Empire that lost their lives fighting against the tyranny of the Axis powers in World War II. Soldiers of varying stations were laid to rest here. This included heroic members of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy. Owned by the Commonwealth War Games Commission, it is maintained by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence.

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Trincomalee during World War II

Trincomalee played a vital role in World War II. The town was a strategic naval base for the Allied forces, and the British Army used it as a base of operations for their operations in the region. Japanese bombers frequently attacked the town, and the local population faced numerous hardships during the war.

Establishment of British War Cemetery Trincomalee

The British War Cemetery Trincomalee was established in 1942 as a burial ground for British soldiers who died in Sri Lanka during World War II. The cemetery was built on a picturesque site overlooking the Trincomalee harbour. The site was chosen for its natural beauty and proximity to the town's military base.

Design and layout of the cemetery

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission designed the cemetery to maintain war graves and memorials worldwide. The cemetery's design reflects the simplicity and austerity of the time. The cemetery's white headstones are arranged in neat rows and surrounded by well-manicured lawns. The cemetery is home to over 400 graves of British soldiers who lost their lives during the war.

Significance of the cemetery

The British War Cemetery Trincomalee is significant because it represents the sacrifices made by soldiers during World War II. The cemetery symbolises the enduring friendship between Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom. It serves as a reminder of the human cost of war and the importance of peace.

Commemoration events

The British War Cemetery Trincomalee is the site of many commemoration events. Every year, on Remembrance Day, a ceremony is held at the cemetery to honour the soldiers who lost their lives during World War II. The ceremony is attended by British and Sri Lankan dignitaries and members of the public.

Restoration efforts

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintains the British War Cemetery Trincomalee. Over the years, the Commission has undertaken several restoration projects to ensure the cemetery remains pristine. In addition, the Commission works closely with local authorities to maintain the cemetery's grounds and ensure it remains a place of quiet contemplation and reflection.

Visiting the cemetery

Visitors are welcome to visit the British War Cemetery Trincomalee and pay their respects to the soldiers who lost their lives during World War II. The cemetery is open to the public every day of the week, and admission is free. However, visitors must dress respectfully and observe a solemn demeanour inside the cemetery grounds.

The cemetery's caretakers have provided detailed information about its history, design, and significance on site so visitors can learn more about the cemetery and its place in Sri Lanka's history. Visitors can also take a moment to read the headstone inscriptions, which provide information about the soldiers buried in the cemetery.

If you plan on visiting the cemetery, it is recommended to bring water, sunscreen, and a hat, as the cemetery is located in a sunny and warm climate. Additionally, visitors should be mindful of the cemetery's rules and regulations, which include no smoking or picnicking on the grounds.


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