Adelaide River War Memorial

22 March 2017

During the Second World War, Adelaide River was the headquarters of a large base and the Adelaide River War Cemetery was created especially for the burial of servicemen and women who died in this part of Australia. It was used by Australian General Hospitals 101, 107, 119, 121 and 129. After the war, the Army Graves Service moved graves from civil cemeteries, isolated sites and temporary military burial grounds, into the Adelaide River War Cemetery. These included Bagot Hospital Cemetery, Berrimah Hospital and War Cemetery, Daly Waters Civil Cemetery, Darwin Public Cemetery, Gove War Cemetery, Hughes Cemetery in Darwin, Katherine Civil and War Cemeteries, Larrimah War Cemetery, Milingimbi War Cemetery, Mt Isa War Cemetery in Queensland, where No 74 Camp Hospital once operated, South Goulburn Island Mission Cemetery and Truscott War Cemetery. Adelaide River War Cemetery was taken over by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in September 1947 and under a formal agreement with the Australian Government, is maintained by staff of the Office of Australian War Graves. The War Cemetery adjoins the Adelaide River Civil Cemetery, in which are buried 63 civilians, including nine Post Office workers who were killed on 19 February 1942, as a result of a direct hit on the Post Office by Japanese bombs. Thirty-one Aboriginal people are among the dead who lie in that part of the cemetery. The War Cemetery is situated in savannah country about 1km from the Stuart Highway, along a short bitumen road, which runs parallel to, and 100 metres from, the Adelaide River. Within the War Cemetery the graves are set in a grassed area with low growing shrubs dotted in regular patterns among the headstones. Beyond this, there are colourful garden beds and within the boundary fence is a screen of trees and shrubs. There are 434 burials, comprising 14 airmen of the Royal Air Force, 12 unidentified men of the British Merchant Navy, one soldier of the Canadian Army, 18 sailors, 181 soldiers and 201 airmen belonging to the Australian forces, and seven men of the Australian Merchant Navy. The Adelaide River War Cemetery was entered in the Register of the National Estate in 1984.

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