Lest We Forget
Taiping War Cemetery, Malaysia
Taiping is a town in Perak State, about 97 kilometres south-east of Penang in the north- west of Malaysia. It can be reached by motorway either from Penang or from Ipoh, capital city of the state. Both Penang and Ipoh have airports. The cemetery is 2 kilometres from the town, past the open park on the road to the waterfall and swimming pool. Locally known as Perkuburan Peperangan Taiping; the Cemetery is on the Jalan Bukit Larut (Bukit Larut Road).
At the time of the Japanese invasion of Malaya, Taiping was on the British line of retreat down the west coast. Its normal garrison of one Indian Infantry Battalion had been augmented, a casualty reception station organised, arrangements made with the civilian authorities for the provision of 500 beds for military patients, and 20 Combined General Hospital (Indian Army) had been posted there. During the fighting the Indian 6th and 15th Brigades used Taiping as a rest and re-fitment centre for a few days; and, as the withdrawal southwards developed, numerous Indian Army medical units worked there for short periods before each in turn had to move towards Singapore with the fighting forces. Taiping War Cemetery was created by the Army after the defeat of Japan for the reception of graves brought from the battlefields, from numerous temporary burial grounds, and from village and other civil cemeteries where permanent maintenance would not be possible. There are separate entrances to the two parts, the plots of Christian graves lying on the south-eastern side of the road and the Muslim and Gurkha graves on the opposite side. In the Muslim and Gurkha section the Stone of Remembrance stands in front of a high bank which forms the north-western boundary. The two small shelters in the cemetery have been constructed of local stone, and a low stone wall flanks the road on each side. There are now 12, 1914-1918 unidentied war casualties buried in this site and over 850, 1939-1945 war casualties commemorated in this site, more than 500 of whom are unidentified.
[Extract taken from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website]
A searchable database of Taiping War Cemetery graves is available to find individual graves within the cemetery, many of these included photographs.
Two interesting newspaper reports, undated and without the newspaper reference but from the time show the thoughts of those building the Taiping Cemetery (thanks to Mollie Deeming for these).