Kranji War Cemetery | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Kranji War Cemetery

Singapore, Central, Singapore

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020

About Kranji War Cemetery

Kranji War Cemetery was founded as a hospital burial place during the Japanese occupation of Singapore in World War II.

History of Kranji War Cemetery

Before 1939, the Kranji area was a military camp and at the time of the Japanese invasion of Malaya, it was the site of a large ammunition magazine. On 8 February 1942, the Japanese crossed the Johore Straits in strength, landing at the mouth of the Kranji River within two miles of the place where the war cemetery now stands.

On the evening of 9 February, they launched an attack between the river and the causeway. During the next few days fierce fighting ensued, in many cases hand to hand, until their greatly superior numbers and air strength necessitated a withdrawal.

After the fall of the island, the Japanese established a prisoner of war camp at Kranji and eventually a hospital was organised nearby at Woodlands.

Kranji War Cemetery today

Following the war, the hospital burial place became a veterans’ cemetery and today Kranji War Cemetery in the northern Singapore region of Kranji is home to 4,458 marked graves.

These graves belong to the service men and women who fought for Singapore’s freedom in World War II, of which almost nine hundred are unidentified. Kranji War Cemetery is also home to 64 World War I graves, many of which were actually moved to Kranji War Cemetery at a later date. For example, three of the World War I memorials are for soldiers who were buried in Singapore and Saigon, but whose grave have never been found.

Kranji War Cemetery is also the resting place of some of Singapore’s presidents including its first two presidents, Inche Yusuf bin Ishak and Benjamin Henry Sheares. Kranji War Cemetery sits beside the Kranji War Memorial, dedicated to those who fought for Singapore in World War II.

Getting to Kranji War Cemetery

Kranji War Cemetery is 22 kilometres north of the city of Singapore, on the north side of Singapore Island overlooking the Straits of Johore. It is located just to the West of the Singapore-Johore road (Bukit Timah Expressway) on Woodlands Road, just to the south of the crossroads with Turf Club Avenue and Kranji Road. There is a short approach road from the main road.

The Cemetery is known locally as Kranji War Memorial and one must be sure of the address before boarding a taxi as most taxi drivers do not know the Cemetery. There are also bus stops on the main road facing the Cemetery. The Kranji MRT (train) terminal is a short distance from the Cemetery, approximately 10 to 15 minutes away by foot. A previous visitor has advised us that a small map of the route can be obtained from the MRT ticket office.

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