Kuala Lumpur Civil Cemetery, Cheras Road

Commonwealth War Graves at Kuala Lumpur Cheras Road Civil Cemetery

I’ve been spending a lot of time in cemeteries lately.

I’ve volunteered to assist The War Graves Photographic Project which, in association with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), aims to photograph the graves or memorials of every military casualty since WWI. In this way, family members who are unable to visit the graves of their loved ones due to the location can at least obtain a photo.

It’s an immense task as you can imagine. So far over 1.7 million named graves and memorials have been recorded.

Here in Malaysia, there are more than 6,500 graves in over 30 locations which are under the care of, or are known to, the CWGC.  Most of these are from WWII and from the Malaya Emergency period. The list also includes police casualties and dependents of military personnel. Some are in dedicated CWGC cemeteries such as those at Taiping and Labuan while others are in civil cemeteries. My involvement is to locate and photograph those graves in Malaysia which have not already been covered.

You might consider this a rather morbid pastime (and it is unpaid) but I think it is worthwhile. As well as providing a photographic record, this work helps to correct errors or misspellings in the Ministry of Defence’s lists which might otherwise prevent genealogists from tracing their relatives.

The Kuala Lumpur cemetery at Cheras Road is a civil one but the CWGC graves are in separate section which you can see in the background of the photo below (behind the hedge).

The CWGC section is in the background.

The CWGC graves are well maintained by Bangladeshi gardeners. Mr Faisal here is seen plucking a weed from the immaculate lawn.

Mr Faisal tending the grass at KL Cheras Road Civil Cemetery

Buried here are British, Indian, Gurkha, Australian, New Zealand, East African and Malaysian soldiers, sailors, airmen, police, civilians and dependants.

Iban Tracker

The Sarawak Rangers were a small force of Iban trackers whose jungle skills were employed to seek out Communist terrorists during the Emergency. General Sir Gerald Templer, the Commander-in-Chief at the time, described the Ibans as the world’s best jungle trackers.

P8082473

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66 Responses to Kuala Lumpur Civil Cemetery, Cheras Road

  1. Dr David Caldicott says:

    Do you happen to know if there is a guide to Cheras cemetery, to locate a specific plot? I have a great great uncle buried there- Henry Otto Kennedy- who was involved in the rubber industry for the first quarter of the century, and I would love to pay my respects…

    • Thank you for your inquiry. There is a guide to the Commonwealth War Graves but I am not sure if there is any location map for the civilian graves. I hope so because it is a huge cemetery. I have to go back there again soon and I shall try to find out and I’ll let you know. I’ll also keep an eye out for your great great uncle’s grave. Do you know if he was a Catholic as they are buried in a separate section?

      • David Caldicott says:

        Thanks a million for that! I’m pretty sure he was a Protestant- he was the master of the Klang Freemason Lodge!

  2. I am sending you an email today regarding your relative’s grave. Please let me know if you do not receive it.

  3. Katie Taylor says:

    I am searching for the grave of Bridget Taylor (my sister) who died as a baby while my father was serving in Malaya. She died I think in 1946 o 1947. My family are Roman Catholic.
    Thank you.
    Katie Taylor

  4. Katie,
    I have sent you an email today regarding your sister’s grave. Please check your inbox.

  5. Katie Taylor says:

    Thank you so much for helping. I am struggling to find her and am looking in Burma without success.

  6. Peter Ward says:

    I stumbled upon your website while looking for a photograph of the grave of my mother’s first husband, who was also my half-sister’s father. I was astonished to find the photograph is actually on your main website page for the relevant cemetery ! Thank you so much for enabling me to complete my “quest” (albeit in an accidental and bizarre way!). You should be in no doubt as to the enormous value of your hard work, as it brings great comfort to relatives who would otherwise never see the final resting place of their loved one. Very well done and thank you again.

    • Hello Peter,
      Thank you for your kind comments. I’m delighted my fortuitous choice of photograph was exactly what you were looking for. If you are referring to the grave of Private Harrington, I chose that photo because Northamptonshire is my family’s home in UK. Regards, David.

      • Peter Ward says:

        Hello David,
        Thank you for your reply. I was indeed referring to Private Harrington. His name was James (known as Jim). He was from the East London/ Essex area, so I am not sure how he came to be in the Northamptonshire Regiment. My own branch of the family originally came from the South East London/ Kent area, but coincidentally I moved to Northampton in 1981 and have lived in the county ever since (small world!). I understand there is a museum exhibit for the regiment in Abington Park Museum, so I may find out more items of interest there and possibly even some photographs,
        All the best, Peter.

      • Interesting. The Royal Anglian Regiment Museum at Duxford might be another source. Good luck. David

  7. Darryl Swan says:

    Cheras Road Cemetery KL Malaysia is where my sister Alison H Swan is buried,died 24 June 1963 1 day old.
    My parents never got any birth or death certificate for her. Father in British Army REME.

    I trying to find out if the Church of St Martins St Luke’s Hospital Kinrara KL is still there, it’s where my sister died.
    No Malaysian registration for my sister or in the UK. Hope to find Army records at National Achieves in Kew.
    The Kinrara hospital is my only hope.
    Many thanks
    Darryl Swan

  8. Geoff Buxton says:

    Good afternoon,
    I am trying to find the grave of my wifes sister who died shortly after her birth in Malaya in the late 50’s – early 60’s. My Sister-in-law was born in Malaya in 1958, my wife was born in 1962, and somewhere in between was her sister that died.
    Her name is Janet Wright, he father was SSM Thomas Liddle Wright of the 13/18 Hussars, and her mother was Marjarie Wright, W/O SSM Wright.
    Have you any advice as to where I can start a search? My wife and her older sister both think that Janet is buried in Kuala Lumpur. The family was Anglican.

  9. Jim Vaughan says:

    Hi David – I will be visiting KL in December, to try and find my cousin’s grave. His name was James Chalmers, and he was buried at Cheras Rd on 3rd October 1950, having been shot at the Kinrara rubber estate, Selangor on the same day. That’s all the information I have so far. I’ve been unable to contact the cemetery direct, and would appreciate any help or advice. Perhaps just going there and asking would be as good as anything else? Thanks – best wishes, Jim Vaughan

    • Hi Jim,
      I have seen your cousin’s grave in September 2012 and I took a photo which I’ll send you by email.
      If I remember correctly,the grave is located in an area close to the Commonwealth War Graves section. If you stand facing the entrance to the CWG section, the area I am talking about is off to your left side.
      Best Wishes
      David

  10. Vernon Smith says:

    Dear David,
    Would you have a photo of George Beck’s grave please?
    George was a fellow national service soldier, serving in the R.E.M.E L.A.D attached to the 1st Kings Dragoon Guards, based at Paroi Camp on the outskirts of Seremban.
    George died about three months after I left Malaya to go to the U.K for my demob.
    I have a L.A.D group photo taken some months earlier, which included George.
    Many thanks for any help you can offer,
    Vernon.

    Buried at Cheras Road Christian Cemetery Kuala Lumpur.
    Beck.G. Cfn. Army No: 23217121. Died 17.4.57. Row 23. Grave1212.

    • Dear Vernon,
      I didn’t take a photo of George Beck’s grave because another volunteer with The War Graves Photographic Project had already taken a photo.
      If you contact the project co-ordinator Steve Rogers he should be able to provide you with the photo. His email is:steve@twgpp.org
      If for any reason he is unable to find it I’d be happy to go along to the cemetery and take a fresh photo.
      Regards
      David

      • Vernon Smith says:

        Thank you! David,
        I have emailed Steve, and I will contact you again when I have some news.
        Many thanks again, Vernon.

  11. Vernon Smith says:

    Dear David,
    Steve has emailed me a photo of George Beck’s grave stone.
    I send you many thanks for your help in this matter and my best wishes to you and your family.
    Vernon.

  12. Dear Vernon,
    Thanks, that’s great. Best wishes to you too.
    David

  13. john hay says:

    Dear David,
    Not sure whether this is the right way to contact you. Am deeply impressed by what you are doing for others here. I am searching for the grave of an uncle Ernest Littleton Hay who was killed in a KL flying club Tiger Moth 9 May 1939, almost certainly in Cheras. He & two brothers lived in Malaya. One brother escaped Feb15, 1942, one brother was captured & died on the railway. The family was too shocked to go back after the war. We have a photo of the grave & references in the ?Straits Times. Any suggestions about what to do?
    Many thanks for your work, whatever you can or cant do on this question.
    John Hay

  14. Kuek says:

    My parents are both buried in this cemetry. However when my mother died the caretaker did not put a cover of cement or tombstone or photo n left her bured in unmarked soiled plot next to my father. His was damaged n broken cement over his grave.
    I wanted to contact the caretaker to complain but there was no staff around to ask only the worker with a spade for money to clean up the plot.
    Also I want to reserve a plot next to my parents but how do I find out as no information who is in charge their office contact etc.
    very frustrating as I have a week to organise this problem before I leave Malaysia permanently

  15. Derek O'Hagan says:

    My mother died is 1961 while my father was serving in Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately I. Have little information on where she is buried but I feel that Cheras Road could be an option. I am intending to visit KL in June of this year and would finally like to pay my respects. Her name was Janet Scott and my father Michael O’Hagan. My mother was 25 at the time and myself and two brothers were very young and were flown back to the UK shortly after my mothers death.

    Could you let me know if there is any record of my mother being buried at Cheras Road please.

    Regards

    Derek O’Hagan

    • Derek O'Hagan says:

      Apologies, here married name was O’Hagan. I gave here maiden name by mistake.

      • Dear Derek,
        Your mother’s grave is indeed located in KL Cheras Road Cemetery. She is buried in the Commonwealth War Graves section in Row 34 Grave 1291. The gravestone is inscribed simply ‘Janet G O’Hagan 15 July 1961’. I took a photo of the grave a few years ago which I will email to your hotmail address. Your mother’s name is recorded on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s database for KL Cheras Road Cemetery where she is recorded as ‘Civilian’. You should have no difficulty in locating your mother’s grave when you visit KL In June but if you need any assistance feel free to let me know.
        Regards
        David

  16. Derek O'Hagan says:

    David

    Thank you so much for helping me locate my mothers grave. I will be visiting KL in June and look forward to finally paying my respects.

    Thanks again

    Derek

    • David says:

      Hi David-
      A few years ago, you were kind enough to look into a relative’s grave at Cheras Road, alas with no success. Given your clear familiarity with the cemetery, I wonder if you have any tips for registries and alternative sources of information. There was some suggestion back in 2012 that all of the burial records were going to be digitized. Do you happen to know if there is a site where one can access this information?

      • Hi David,
        Yes I remember looking for your relative’s grave. I’m not sure if anything came of the suggestion to digitize the cemetery records. I’m off on holiday tonight for a while but will try to contact the city council when I come back, however I’m not overly optimistic. Regards David.

      • Hi David,
        I’m pleased to let you know that I have found your great great Uncle Henry’s grave. I’ll send you an email with photos and location.
        Regards
        David

      • David Caldicott says:

        Dear David-
        You are a scholar and a gentleman. I can’t begin to tell you what finding Henry’s grave means to our family, especially our elders. We had rather given up hope of ever finding his final resting place, and now we will be able to make our trip to pay our respects. He played a very important role in our family, funding the return of 2 nephews from an orphanage in Canada and a life of certain destitution.
        Perhaps I could buy you a pint when I’m next in KL?
        Many, many thanks again-
        Dr David Caldicott

      • Thanks David, a pint would be most welcome when you are next in KL.
        Best wishes, David

  17. Margaret Goldthorp says:

    I would love to find the grave of my great uncle, Joss Wood Goldthorp, 1880 to 1919 who died in Kuala Lumpur and who was originally buried in the Venning Road cemetery. I understand these graves have been relocated, possibly to Cheras Road. He was in the Malayan civil service. I am not able to go to Malaya to search myself. Is there any way you could help?

    • Dear Ms.Goldthorp,

      I would be happy to try to find your great uncle’s grave next time I visit Cheras Road cemetery (hopefully within the coming fortnight). I read The Straits Times newspaper article dated 6th October 1919 concerning his burial and I see he was stationed in Raub as District Officer at the time of his death. You can see a few photos of heritage buildings in Raub which Joss would have recognised on my Malaysia Traveller website: http://www.malaysia-traveller.com/raub-heritage-trail.html
      I’ll let you know if I have any luck in finding his grave.
      Regards David

  18. Margaret Goldthorp says:

    Dear David,
    Thank you very much, and thanks also for the link to the photos of Raub. If you do find his grave, could you possibly email me a photo of it?
    Regards, Margaret

  19. Dear Margaret,
    I visited the cemetery today. After a fruitless search of graves I managed to find an official to speak to. He informed me that when the Venning Road cemetery was redeveloped, the graves there were exhumed and the remains were reburied in a single mass grave at Cheras Road. He showed me the site of this grave which is marked only by a rather undignified metal sign which has faded and is almost illegible. The official told me that there is no list of the people whose remains are buried here. I will send you photos of the grave site.
    Regards
    David

  20. Margaret Goldthorp says:

    Dear David,

    I have sent you a fuller reply by email, but thanks again for your efforts, which are very much appreciated.
    Margaret

  21. Olive B says:

    hi David,
    i have a plan to visit Cheras war cemetery on the first week of June. I would like to visiting Gurney’s grave. How to get there from KL sentral? thx

    • Hi Olive,

      The best way to get to Cheras Road Cemetery from KL Sentral is by taxi. Ask the driver for Tanah Perkuburan Kristian Cheras. If you need any help in locating Gurney’s grave I would be happy to show you. Regards
      David

      • Olive B says:

        well noted David
        would be great company by an expert than😉

        i will contact you as soon as I got my fix schedule

        thx

  22. Kah Hoe Cheng says:

    Hi David,

    I am working on a directory of organizations that work with refugees in Malaysia. I see that you have a very established networks in different fields. Do you happen to know any other funeral service or cemetery that is for refugees who pass away in Malaysia?

    It would be a great help if I can provide this information to the people in need.

    • Hi Kah Hoe Cheng,

      I’m afraid I have no information on this subject. Perhaps one of those organisations that work with refugees in Malaysia, such as UNHCR, might have the answer you are looking for.
      Regards
      David

      • Kah Hoe Cheng says:

        Hi David,

        Thank you so much! I will definitely look up on that.
        Have a good evening.

  23. Evelyn Campbell says:

    Hi David,

    I am trying to locate my grandfather’s grave and I believe he is buried in the Catholic section of the Cheras Christian Cemetery (is this also known as the KL Civil Cemetery, Cheras Road)? My grandfather’s name is Arthur Bertram Joseph and he died in 1951. There is an acknowledgement in the June 6, 1951 issue of the Straits Times, where the family thanks everyone for their help with his funeral, but I have never found an obituary. His middle name is misspelled in the acknowledgement (Butram rather than the correct Bertram). He was born in Penang in 1891.

    Any help or suggestions is deeply appreciated. I live in the US and can’t hop in a cab and explore (and I love exploring cemeteries).

    Thank you so much for your help!
    Evelyn

    • Hi Evelyn,

      Thank you for contacting me. I will go along to the Cheras Road Cemetery in the next few days and try to find your grandfather’s grave. Yes, this is also known as the KL Civil Cemetery. I tried to search for the Straits Times acknowledgement online but could not locate it. Is it possible to email me a copy? I’ll send you my email address.

      David

      • Hi Evelyn,

        I’m pleased to let you know that I have located your grandfather’s grave. His name is correctly spelt on the headstone. I’m emailing you photos today.

        Regards
        David

  24. Chong Lee Yoong says:

    Hi David
    I have located my grandmother’s grave and her name is Lim Kim Thye in Cheras Christian cementery. I want to know whether the office has her date of birth and date of death record.
    Regards
    Chong Lee Yoong

    • Hi Lee Yoong,

      Thanks for contacting me and I’m glad you managed to find your grandmother’s grave. Regarding the birth and death dates, it is perhaps best to call DBKL’s contact at Cheras Road to find an answer to your question. Their contact no. is 03-9131 6429.

      Regards
      David

  25. Shirlene Paterson says:

    Hello David,
    Well done on your dedicated work to this project so far and thank you!

    I am interested to know if there is a web link to a photo of the headstone of my uncle.
    RICHARDS N L (W N) Private, 625776, Malaya – Army 1NZRegt, 30 Jan 1963, Cheras Rd
    Cemetery, Kuala Lumpur.
    Your help would be appreciated.
    Kindest Regards
    Shirlene

    • Hello Shirlene,

      Thank you for contacting me. A photo of your uncle’s grave was taken by another volunteer with The War Graves Photographic Project some years ago.
      If you contact the project co-ordinator Steve Rogers he should be able to provide you with the photo. His email is:steve@twgpp.org
      If for any reason he is unable to find it I’d be happy to go along to the cemetery and take a fresh photo.
      Regards
      David

  26. ANSQUER says:

    Hello,
    I am trying to locate my mother’s uncle Léon DIFFON( born in France – Bangor village 1918- died 27 Jan.1985 in Kuala Lumpur). He was a catholic priest in Kuala Lumpur from 1945 till 1985. He is very likely buried in the catholic section of Cheras Christian Cemetery. My mother just died a few days ago in Belle-Ile (France). On this occasion I found documents on this uncle in her papers. I would be pleased to have a photograph of his grave (this place is so far from us). Hope someone can eventually get back to me with information.
    Thanks very much.
    Best Regards.
    Nelly ANSQUER – DIFFON

    • Hello Nelly,
      Thank you for contacting me. Condolences for the loss of your mother.
      I will go along to the Cheras Christian Cemetery in the next week or two and try to locate the grave of your great-uncle.
      I will let you know how I get on.
      Best Regards
      David

      • Hello again Nelly,
        Good news! I have located the grave.
        At first I thought I would have to postpone my search because the grass has grown very long over most of the cemetery and there have been an unusually high number of encounters with poisonous snakes lately due to the exceptionally dry weather. This makes searching for graves rather dangerous. But fortunately the graves of priests have their own section where the grass is cut short and I was lucky to find it there.
        I am today sending you the photos to your gmail address. Please acknowledge receipt.
        Best Regards
        David

  27. james hogg says:

    Hi David, Any possibility of a photo of EA19284 WO Peterson MANDANDI Row 22 Grave 1172 please? Thank you in advance. Jim

    • Hi Jim, I’m travelling at the moment but will look into this by the weekend. David

      • Hi Jim, the name Peterson with the same row and grave number appears on my list with the description ‘service dependant’ so I presume Mandandi was his wife or child. I believe a photo of this grave was taken by another volunteer with The War Graves Photographic Project some years ago.
        If you contact the project co-ordinator Steve Rogers he should be able to provide you with the photo. His email is:steve@twgpp.org
        If for any reason he is unable to find it I’d be happy to go along to the cemetery and take a fresh photo.
        Regards
        David

      • Jim says:

        Hi David. It makes sense now. WO is ‘Wife Of’ RC Peterson – found the reference on the TWGPP website. Thanks for your help – no photo required. Jim

  28. tarmin says:

    – hi david. i have some photography project going on that i need to get into this cemetery.do i need to get some kind of permission to enter or it is open at all time?

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