Gaza War Cemetery

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Entrance to the Gaza War Cemetery.

The Commonwealth Gaza War Cemetery, often referred to as the British War Cemetery, is a cemetery administered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on the Salah al-Din Road in Gaza City's Tuffah district.[1] The cemetery is 1.5 km (1 mi) in size. The majority of burials at the cemetery are of Allied soldiers who lost their lives in World War I. Some 3,217 British and Commonwealth servicemen are buried in the cemetery; nearly 800 of the graves lack identification, and are inscribed "Soldier of the Great War, known unto God".[2] 234 graves of non-Commonwealth soldiers are also present in the cemetery.[2] A further 210 Commonwealth soldiers were interred in the cemetery following their death in World War II; the post-war period saw 30 more burials.[2]

Another Commonwealth cemetery in Gaza is located in Deir al-Balah.[3]

History[edit]

The cemetery had been completed by 1920, and has been tended by three men from the same family ever since.[2] For 45 years the cemetery was tended by Ibrahim Jeradeh, who was employed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.[2] Jeradeh's father was the cemetery's initial head gardener, and he himself was succeeded by his son.[2] Jeradeh was awarded an MBE in "grateful recognition of outstanding contribution to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission".[2] The MBE's accompanying certificate was signed by the Duke of Kent.[2]

Amongst the graves is that of Stanley Boughey (1896–1917), who received the Victoria Cross for action against the Ottoman Army at El Burff, Palestine.[4]

The cemetery has been struck by Israeli shells on two occasions in the 2010s.[2] An Israeli airstrike in 2006 led to £90,000 in compensation being paid to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission; in addition some 350 headstones needed repair following damage from Israeli shells in Operation Cast Lead.[2]

The British journalist and writer Mark Urban visited the cemetery in 2009 for BBC 2's Newsnight, and wrote an article for The Observer detailing his experiences there.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gaza War Cemetery at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Harriet Sherwood (18 August 2013). "Tending the war graves of Gaza City". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Deir El Balah War Cemetery". Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  4. ^ Stanley Henry Parry Boughey at Find a Grave
  5. ^ Urban, Mark (22 February 2009). "Battle still rages where my brave great-uncle fell in Gaza back in 1917". The Observer. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°30′44″N 34°28′55″E / 31.5121°N 34.4820°E / 31.5121; 34.4820