Nairobi Graveyards That Would Draw Tourists

All the cemeteries across more than 100 countries look alike, with the only difference being the trees grown.

A section of the well landscaped Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery along Ngong Road. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

IN SUMMARY

  • Nairobi War Cemetery along Ngong Road is sandwiched between the Ngong Forest Sanctuary and Dagoretti’s furniture makers, towards the leafy suburb of Karen.
  • The sharply-manicured green lawns and beautiful flowers next to each grave welcome visitors to the cemetery.
  • The cemetery is one of the 1.75 million World War graves, spread throughout the world.

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About 13 kilometres from the Nairobi Central Business District lies a graveyard rich in history, yet few people pay a visit to see where 1,942 documented heroes from the World War II silently lie.

Nairobi War Cemetery along Ngong Road is sandwiched between the Ngong Forest Sanctuary and Dagoretti’s furniture makers, towards the leafy suburb of Karen.

The sharply-manicured green lawns and beautiful flowers next to each grave welcome visitors to the cemetery.

The cemetery is one of the 1.75 million World War graves, spread throughout the world.

All the cemeteries across more than 100 countries look alike, with the only difference being the trees grown.

It is home to combatants who lost their lives fighting from diverse nations, joined under the Allied-forces led by Britain against Berlin-Tokyo-Rome axis led by Germany.

The Nairobi cemetery was opened in 1941 and it is one of the few homes to the 1.7 million soldiers who died during the two wars that drew alliances across the world’s seven continents. Albert Edward, a Lieutenant Colonel with King’s African Rifles who died at 68 years is the oldest while Arthur Lundstrom, David Philip, Donovan Bertram and Dennis Charles all who perished at 18 years are the youngest in the graveyard.

A veteran soldier watches as children read during the memorial service of soldiers who died during the World Wars. The ceremony was conducted in Nairobi in 2012. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

They are among the 1808 British soldiers at the Ngong Road graveyard, thousands of miles from their home country.

South Africa has 131 soldiers, while Australia, Canada and New Zealand all have one while no Kenyan soldier is buried there.

“It’s one of life’s mysteries, I’m afraid, and one I wish I could solve. Had there been any who died locally, then I’m sure they would have been buried within the cemetery,” Jackie Withers, the co-ordinator, Africa and Asia Pacific office told BDLife.

Highest number

Army soldiers make up the highest number with 1960 graves, followed by Air-Force with 63 while Navy has 12 combatants.

Acelam Adoch, a private officer with the East African Army ordnance Company in Kenya was the last casualty from the war to be buried at the Ngong Road cemetery following his death on December 23, 1947.

The cemetery’s maintenance is funded by the British, Australian, Canadian, Indian and South African governments, ensuring a serene and green environment all year round.

jmutua@ke.nationmedia.com

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