Forgotten Names Recalled: The Singapore Cenotaph Project

14/02/14
Where do we begin when looking for clues about the men on the cenotaph? The first stop is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission -- cwgc.org. This is the organisation that maintains Kranji War Cemetery in Singapore as well as hundreds of others around the world. Its records are a tremendous resource for all researchers into the men who served in the British and Commonwealth forces. Choose a name from the cenotaph and try it out. Or use a famous name.

I did a search on Rudyard Kipling's son John (known as 'Jack'). Here's the result  As you can see there are lots of useful details that will help continue the search: his unit and regiment, date he died, age and, in some cases, the names and address of his parents. Lt John Kipling You'll see that there is a grave identification for Jack Kipling. For over 80 years he had no known grave and in 1992 the CWGC said they had identified his remains. Controversy arose in 1998 when this was challenged in a book that argued the CWGC was wrong [link no longer available]. The role of Jack was played by Daniel Radcliffe (aka Harry Potter) in the television play My Boy Jack.  I always mention this point at the cenotaph when I do the Literary Tour of Singapore. Rudyard Kipling visited Singapore a few times and sorry to say, he didn't like it much.

The search for unusual names, such as Achurch the first name on the cenotaph, should be relatively easy compared to more common names such as Campbell. However some names are not listed, which poses a challenge for the researcher. And that's another blog post.
Rosemary Lim