ambon war cemetery




The town of Ambon, situated on Laitimor Peninsula on the southern shore of Ambon Bay, was severely damaged during the war, first by the Japanese who bombed it heavily in January 1942 and later by the Allied forces who attacked it in 1943 and 1944.

After the fall of Ambon in February 1942, a former Dutch army camp on the island was used to hold Australian, American and Dutch prisoners of war, captured during the invasion. The War Cemetery was constructed on the site of this camp (known as Tan Touy) after the war. The cemetery contains Australian soldiers who died during the Japanese invasion of Ambon and Timor, plus those who died in captivity in one of the many camps constructed by the Japanese on the Moluccas Islands, including many British prisoners who were transferred from Java to the islands in April 1943. Soon after the war, the remains of prisoners of war from Haruku and other camps on the island were removed to Ambon and in 1961, at the request of the Indonesian Government, the remains of 503 graves in Makassar War Cemetery on the island of Celebes were added to the cemetery.

The total number of graves in the cemetery is over 2,000. Of this total over half are Australians, of whom about 350 belonged to the 2/21st Australian Infantry Battalion. Most of the 800 British casualties belonged to the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force; nearly all the naval dead were originally buried at Makassar. The cemetery is laid out in a series of terraces approached by short flights of steps on the central axis. The Ambon Memorial, which is in the form of a shelter, stands on the first terrace. It commemorates over 450 Australian soldiers and airmen who died in the region of Celebes and the Molucca Islands and have no known grave. The Stone of Remembrance stands on the highest terrace in a wide expanse of lawn; the terrace below it contains most of the burials from Makassar. All the graves are marked with bronze plaques mounted on concrete pedestals and set in level turf. Tropical trees and shrubs are planted throughout the cemetery and around its boundaries. There are 1,959 Commonwealth burials of the 1939-1945 war here, 357 of these are unidentified. There are 186 Dutch burials here, 15 being unidentified, and 1 American Airman. The American airman was killed with 7 Australian airmen in July 1945; all were buried in a collective grave in Plot 28. The non-war grave is that of a seaman of the Merchant Navy, whose death was not due to war service. The cemetery was designed by Ralph Hobday.
  1. ZSU Lilya, Desmond Laurence

    SURNAME Lilya FORENAME Desmond Laurence UNIT A.I.F. RANK Sergeant NUMBER NX 48987 DATE OF DEATH 17th May 1945 AGE 21 GRAVESITE Ambon War Cemetery,Indonesia Coll.grave 11.C.1-15 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION foster-son of Mrs E.I.Borland,Heathcote,N.S.W.,Australia Op.Sunbaker -...
  2. ZSU Grimson, John Edward

    SURNAME Grimson FORENAME John Edward UNIT A.I.F. RANK Captain NUMBER NGX 0 DATE OF DEATH 22nd August 1944 AGE 36 GRAVESITE Ambon War Cemetery,Indonesia 19.D.11 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION son of Robert and Louise Summers Grimson husband of Vera...
  3. ZSU Gregg, Ernest Harry

    SURNAME Gregg FORENAME Ernest Harry UNIT A.I.F. RANK Sergeant NUMBER NX 7435 DATE OF DEATH 22nd August 1944 AGE 29 GRAVESITE Ambon War Cemetery,Indonesia 19.D.10 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION son of Harry and Mary Gregg husband of Una Victoria Gregg,Hall Street,Heddon...
  4. ZSU Gillies, Malcolm Vicars

    SURNAME Gillies FORENAME Malcolm Vicars UNIT A.I.F. RANK Lieutenant NUMBER NX 73953 DATE OF DEATH 27th May 1945 AGE 25 GRAVESITE Ambon War Cemetery,Indonesia 19.D.14 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION son of Dr Henry Vicars and Mearon Isabel Gillies,Eastwood,N.S.W.,Australia...
  5. ZSU Bosworth, George

    SURNAME Bosworth FORENAME George UNIT A.I.F. RANK Lieutenant NUMBER WX 16007 DATE OF DEATH 11th April 1945 AGE 27 GRAVESITE Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia 30.B.9 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION born 03.05.1917, Fremantle, Western Australia son of George and Hannah Louise Bosworth...
  6. ZSU Bell, Kenway Herbert

    SURNAME Bell FORENAME Kenway Herbert UNIT A.I.F. RANK Staff Sergeant NUMBER NX 115263 DATE OF DEATH 17th May 1945 AGE 23 GRAVESITE Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia Coll.grave 11.C.1-15 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION born 14.07.1921, Strathfield, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...