The island of Hong Kong fell to the Japanese on Christmas Day 1941 following a brief but intense period of fighting. Most of those buried in this cemetery were killed at this time, or died later as internees or prisoners of war during the Japanese occupation. The remains of those who died as prisoners in Formosa (now Taiwan) were brought to Hong Kong for burial at Sai Wan in 1946.
There are now 1,505 Commonwealth casualties of the Second World War buried or commemorated at Sai Wan War Cemetery. 444 of the burials are unidentified. There are special memorials to 16 Second World War casualties buried in Kowloon (Ho Man Tin) No 3 Muslim Cemetery, whose graves were lost. There are also 77 war graves of other nationalities from this period, the majority of them Dutch and 7 non-world war graves that the Commission maintains on behalf of the MoD.
The cemetery contains special memorials to 12 First World War casualties buried in Kowloon (Ta Sek Ku) Mohammedan Cemetery, whose graves have since been lost.
At the entrance to the cemetery stands the SAI WAN MEMORIAL bearing the names of more than 2,000 Commonwealth servicemen who died in the Battle of Hong Kong or subsequently in captivity and who have no known grave. Additional panels to the memorial form the SAI WAN CREMATION MEMORIAL, bearing the names of 144 Second World War casualties whose remains were cremated in accordance with their faith, and the SAI WAN (CHINA) MEMORIAL, commemorating 72 casualties of both wars whose graves in mainland China could not be maintained.
Both the cemetery and memorial were designed by Colin St Clair Oakes.
Sai Wan War Cemetery is in the north-east of the island of Hong Kong, in the Chai Wan area, about 11 kilometres from the centre of Victoria.
At the entrance to the cemetery on Cape Collinson Road stands the memorial to those who died in Hong Kong and have no known grave. From it the cemetery slopes down towards the sea. The original magnificent view towards the main land is now blocked by high rise buildings.
The easiest way to reach the cemetery is by the mass transit railway (MTR) Hong Kong line to Chai Wan Terminus.
From the Terminus one can either walk up to the cemetery following Chai Wan Road to the roundabout, turning west into Wan Tsui Road, then south east up Lin Shing Road which leads to Cape Collinson Road. The CWGC road direction sign is fixed to a wall facing down Lin Shing Road.
The Cape Collinson area has many cemeteries. Walking up this narrow one way traffic road, one will pass the Catholic Cemetery situated on the hillside to the left of the road, and the Hong Kong Military Cemetery on the right. Sai Wan War Cemetery is about half way up Cape Collinson Road and faces the Muslim and Buddhist cemeteries.
One can also get a taxi from Chai Wan Terminus and follow the same route. Alternatively one can board a public light bus, Route No. 16M, which runs from Chai Wan MTR Terminus to Stanley where the CWGC has another cemetery (Stanley Military Cemetery).
En route to Stanley the minibus will pass Sai Wan War Cemetery, stopping only on request.
The location or design of this site makes wheelchair access impossible. For further information regarding wheelchair access, please contact our Enquiries Section on telephone number 01628 507200.