Memorials of War in Kenya


Discover Memorials of War in Kenya

Memorials of War in Kenya

Quote About Memorial of War

“Growing up, I always had a soldier mentality. As a kid I wanted to be a soldier, a fighter pilot, a covert agent, professions that require a great deal of bravery and risk and putting oneself in grave danger in order to complete the mission. Even though I did not become all those things, and unless my predisposition, in its youngest years, already had me leaning towards them, the interest that was there still shaped my philosophies. To this day I honor risk and sacrifice for the good of others – my views on life and love are heavily influenced by this.” – C. J


14. Nairobi South Cemetery

Nairobi South Cemetery. Image courtesy of Traces of War

Nairobi South Cemetery is found 3 kms south-east of the city centre on Uhuru Highway leading from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Nairobi CBD. On the way from the airport the cemetery is situated directly beside the road on the left, adjacent to the Bunyala roundabout. This is the first roundabout after the Nyayo National Stadium. The road leading to the cemetery entrance is marked by a CWGC direction sign. “During the First World War, Nairobi area was the headquarters of the King’s African Rifles and became the main hospital centre for the East African campaign. Nairobi South Cemetery has 155 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, mostly in one section, interspersed by civilian graves. There are also two burials of the Second World War. The cemetery also contains the Nairobi British and Indian Memorial, which is a screen wall which commemorates British and Indian officers and men who lost their lives in the East African campaign before the advance to the Rufiji in January 1917” – CWG

15. Nairobi War Cemetery

Nairobi War Cemetery

Adjacent the entrance to Ngong Race Course and within the precincts of Ngong Forest Sanctuary, this is the largest war memorial in Kenya, containing 1,952 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 11 of which are unidentified. There are also 76 non-war burials and one French grave. Within the cemetery is the East African Memorial commemorating men of the land forces who lost their lives in the advance from the south into Italian Somaliland and Ethiopia and during the occupation of those territories, and who have no known grave. Along with them are honoured those who died during operations in Madagascar in 1942 and who have no known grave. Besides those who died in these efforts, many men who were lost in the sinking of the troopship ‘Khedive Ismail’ en route to Ceylon on 12 February 1944 are commemorated here; they include a great part of the 301st Field Regiment, East African Artillery. The cemetery also contains Nairobi Memorial commemorating 477 men of the United Kingdom, South African, and East African Forces who died in the non-operational zones of Kenya whilst in training, or on lines of communication or garrison duty, and whose graves could not be located or are so situated as to be unmaintainable. Besides the original burials, numerous graves were transferred to this cemetery from African civil cemeteries and temporary army burial grounds at Garissa, Gelib, Kinangop, Marsabit, Mega and other inaccessible places. During WW2, Nairobi was the center of the East African Force and the base for the conquest of Jubaland and Italian Somaliland, the liberation of British Somaliland and the sweep north-westwards to open Addis Ababa for the return of the Emperor. It was also a hospital centre; No.87 British General Hospital arrived in June 1943 and was still there in December 1945, while No.150 British General Hospital was there for a period in 1943. The war cemetery was opened in 1941 by the military authorities. Nairobi Cemetery is open daily, between 06:00 and 18:00.

16. Nairobi African Memorial

Nairobi African Memorial

Nairobi African Memorial stands alongside Kenyatta Avenue, within Nairobi CBD, commemorating East African soldiers and carriers who died during the First World War. It is one of three memorials – alongside that in Mombasa and in Dar es Salaam – erected to commemorate East African soldiers and carriers who died during the First World War. Over 34,000 East African soldiers and over 600,000 dedicated porters and carriers served with British Empire forces throughout the war campaigns against Germany’s colonial forces in East Africa during the First World War. “One of the earliest actions of the First World War took place off the coast of German East Africa (GEA) on August 8th, 1914, when the British cruiser HMS Astraea bombarded a German wireless station. The territory, today mainland Tanzania, was Germany’s largest colony in Africa”. The memorial commemorates over 50,000 who died. It takes the form of three bronze figures each representing those who served during the war; a scout of the intelligence corps, a soldier of the King’s Africans Rifles and a member of the Carrier Corps. The African Memorial was unveiled on May 20, 1928, by Her Highness Princess Marie Louise in presence of British officials and tribal chiefs.

17. Forest Road Cemetery

Forest Road Cemetery. Image Courtesy of EA Memorials

Forest Road Cemetery is a large civil cemetery about 3 kms to the north of the city centre, just off the main road to Thika (A2 Nairobi-Isiolo-Moyale Road). It is situated nearby the foot bridge at the Pangani end of Forest Road. The main war graves plot will be situated at the bottom end of the cemetery access road, and there are other scattered war graves within the cemetery. It contains a total of 78 identified casualties from the First and Second World Wars. The Nairobi (Forest Road) War Cemetery is open every day between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm.

18. Nairobi (Kariokor) Cemetery

Nairobi (Kariokor) Cemetery

Nairobi (Kariokor) Cemetery is located in the Kariokor district of Nairobi about 2 kilometres north-east of the city centre. The cemetery is on Kinyanini Street, which is directly across Kariokor Market, and approximately 250 ms past the Central Division District Commissioners offices. The cemetery entrance, which is set back on the right side of the road, is indicated by a CWGC direction sign.

19. Gilgil War Cemetery

Gilgil War Cemetery near Gilgil Towm. Image Courtesy of Daniel Achini

Found in the small but growing town of Gilgil, about 120 kms from Nairobi, on the A104 Road to Nakuru, Gilgil War Cemetery contains 224 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War. There is also one First World War burial and 31 non war graves. On entering Gilgil Town take the turning right at the Petrol Station and drive for 2 kms. Take the dirt track left at the Railway Crossing and the Cemetery is 400 metres down on the left. The cemetery is signposted from the centre of the town and it’s open Monday-Friday 06:00-18:00. Outside these hours the cemetery’s kept locked with a coded padlock under the care of CWGC.

20. North Nakuru Cemetery

North Nakuru Cemetery. Image Courtesy of Traces of War

The Nakuru North Cemetery is situated just outside the main Nakuru Town, nearby Nakuru War Memorial Hospital and the ASK Nakuru Showground. Just before entering Nakuru Town (if approaching from Nairobi) and about 500 ms ahead of the first roundabout, take the right turn into B4 Nakuru-Sigor Road indicated by the direction sign just before the railway bridge. This road curves around behind railway housing until it reaches the cemetery. The entrance to the large civil cemetery is indicated by a direction sign, and the war graves will be found mostly within, or close to, the two main burial plots on the southern side of the cemetery. Most of the First World War burials in Nakuru North Cemetery date from November 1918 and were made from the convalescent camps at Nakuru. “During the Second World War there was a Royal Air Force Flying Training School at Nakuru and various camps and establishments in and near the town. These included an OCTU at Njoro and another at Londiani. The cemetery now contains 27 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 45 from the Second World War. There are also two non-war burials found in the cemetery”. Nakuru North Cemetery is open daily between 06:00 and 18:00.

21. Nyeri War Memorial

Nyeri War Memorial. Image Courtesy of Traces of War

Just 8 kms from Marua Junction along the A2 Kiganjo-Nanyuki-Isiolo Road on the right hand side – as indicated by the directional sign – sits the Nyeri War Cemetery. Sometimes known as Kiganjo War Memorial owing to its location in Kiganjo and abutting with Kagumo High School, “it holds 368 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the Second World War. Four of the burials are unidentified and one soldier is commemorated by a special memorial. Kiganjo Cemetery also contains two non-war burials and one French war grave. Nine Italian graves have since been removed” – CWGC. After the Second World War, three major general hospitals were built at Nyeri but only two were used; one by the military authorities and the other for the Italian refugees and prisoners of war held in the area. The burials at Nyeri War Cemetery were made from these three hospitals. It is open – Monday to Friday – between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm.

22. Nyeri Civil Cemetery

Nyeri Civil Cemetery. Image Courtesy of Safari Now

Passing Game Rock and the turnoff to Le Pristine it is a short 8 kms drive to Nyeri Town going past Nyeri Primary (the old days top of the tree education giant) and the turnoff to Mweiga-Nyahururu Road before wandering over the valley crossed by Chania River over which, at the brow, is the town. Noticeable as you enter Nyeri Town is the wicket gate to Robert Baden-Powell Cemetery at Nyeri Civil Cemetery. This site contains agency maintained non-war graves plus the graves of Lord Baden Powell and his wife, Lady Olive Baden Powell. It has no Commonwealth war graves. The site was declared a National Monument on 9th March 2001, in company with, St. Peter’s Anglican Church found next door, St. Cuthbert’s PCEA Church found across the road, Nyeri Old Clock Tower set 300 ms away and White Rhino Hotel found 500 ms away – making this one the great concentrations of National Monuments in one area. Furthermore, Nyeri Provincial Police Headquarters on Baden Powell Road, Nyeri Club and Africa Retailers (Osman Allu Shop) gazetted as National Monuments all lie within a radius of only 1 km. Nyeri Civil Cemetery is open daily between 6 am and 6 pm.

23. Maktau Railway Station and Cemetery

Maktau Railway Station and Cemetery

Of the 35 cataloged battlefields sites in Taita Taveta which enshrine the fierce battles between British and German forces during World War One, the Maktau Railway Station and Cemetery are perhaps the best maintained. As alluded to earlier (Salaita Hill), the German’s paramount agenda was to keep the British Forces occupied so as not to send any idle troops to other areas of conflict like to Mesopotamia and Dardenelles.  On a lesser extent, the German were bent on destroying the new railway that was a key lifeline for the British. So, the British set up base at Maktau in preparation to attack the Germans, who had fortified the Salaita Hill. At Maktau, a small British mounted force was ambushed and suppressed on September 4th, 1915. This got things going on the setting up of a fortified camp at Maktau manned by 200,000 askaris, reinforcement depot and a clearing hospital. The Maktau Cemetery was used from March, 1915, to May, 1916, and this contains 16 graves, including 1 unidentified. It is situated on the south side of the Voi-Moshi railway line and via A23 Voi-Mwatate-Taveta Road.

24. Voi Cemetery

Voi Cemetery

Voi is reached by turning off the main highway and following the minor road to Voi Town. The Voi War Cemetery is 400 metres east of the railway station and there is a CGWC sign opposite the entrance. The cemetery is surrounded by a green metal pale fence and is set back a small distance from the main road. Voi became a hospital centre early in 1916. In the period August 1915 to December 1917, 100 burials were made in the cemetery and after the Armistice, a further 37 graves were brought in from Bura Military Cemetery (14 graves of the 2nd Loyal North Lancs, 29 September 1915), Maktau Military Cemetery (17 graves, largely 3 September 1915) and Tsavo Military Cemetery (six graves). The origin of the Voi Cemetery can be traced back to the burial of a civilian engineer (Mr. O’Hara) in 1899, who was killed by one of the famous ‘Man-eaters of Tsavo’. It now contains 137 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, one of which is unidentified. The Commission also has responsibility for six non-war burials.

25. Kitale War Memorial

Kitale War Memorial

The Kitale War Cemetery is situated on the western outskirts of the town along Kitale-Endebess-Suam Road, and is somewhat difficult to find. If coming from Eldoret follow the road through town past the railway station, then turn off left to take the rough road that runs parallel to the main road (used as a market) as far as the north-western quarter of town. At the very end of this rough road turn left at the direction sign and follow the very rough track about 2 kms to the war cemetery. As one of the salient townships in the northern part of Kenya, Kitale was an epicentre for many colonial operations. During the 1939-1945 War there were several small military units near Kitale, and also a military hospital. The cemetery contains the graves of 60 East African soldiers who died during the 1939-’45 War. The cemetery is open Monday-Friday, between 06:00 and 18:00.

26. Eldoret War Cemetery

Eldoret War Cemetery

The Eldoret War Cemetery lies about 3 kms to the north-east of the town centre along C51 Eldoret-Iten Road, taking a right turn at the traffic lights on entering the town. The narrow track leading to the cemetery is set on the left side of the road, about 250 metres past the Eldoret prison. It contains five Commonwealth burials of the Second World War and one French war grave. It is open everyday.

27. Wajir War Cemetery

The small Wajir War Cemetery containing only two graves is a pale shadow of the far-reaching history of wars witnessed in Wajir. It contains one of the two graves that was brought in during 1929 from Rhamu, 318 kms further North. The cemetery is attached to a Government station (formerly known as Archer’s Post) set close to the boundary of Italian Somaliland (Somalia). It is open daily


Memorials of War in Kenya