King Tom Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery in Freetown, Sierra Leone


The cemetery entrance.

Perched on the edge of the King Tom peninsula (named for the Temne subchief who ruled the area when British settlers arrived) of Freetown is a small cemetery dedicated to the British Commonwealth soldiers and sailors who died in Sierra Leone during World War I and II. 

The cemetery contains over 200 burials, including British soldiers along with 24 other nationalities, including Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, and South African soldiers. A memorial at the gate remembers 35 war dead buried elsewhere in Sierra Leone.

Although far from the European front lines, Sierra Leone played an important part in both world wars. During WWI, the Royal West African Frontier Force led a campaign against German forces in then-Togoland, leading to their surrender. During WWII, Freetown’s strategic location as a port helped protect the sea routes to the Middle East, India, and Australasia.

Although the bulk of these forces, and many of the casualties, were comprised of Sierra Leoneans, this cemetery does not commemorate those deaths. They were originally commemorated on a memorial that stands outside the Sierra Leone Treasury building.

A book of remembrance housed in the Sierra Leone National Museum commemorates those dead until they may be more permanently memorialized in the future. Still, the cemetery stands as a testament to the world-spanning nature of both wars, and the sacrifices made around the globe.



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