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World War Memorials and Cemeteries, Pune

World War Memorials and Cemeteries of Pune

A compilation of World War Memorials and Cemeteries in Pune

Also see: World War I (WWI) Posts

Over a million Indian soldiers served the British Army during the First World War (WWI), which was initially known as the Great War of 1914 – 18. Over 70,000 died fighting in different war theatres spread across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

World War Memorials and Cemeteries of Pune

World War Memorials and Cemeteries of Pune
Left: Pune World War I Memorial, Top right: Maratha War Memorial and Bottom right: Kirkee War Cemetery

Today numerous memorials and plaques dot the entire landscape of the sub-continent in memory of the fallen Indian soldiers who died fighting for the King of another country in far-off lands.

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Pune, the cantonment town in Maharashtra, houses two such memorials along with a cemetery housing several WWI & II graves.

  • Maratha War Memorial
  • World War I Memorial
  • Kirkee Cemetery

Maratha War Memorial: Maratha War Memorial is a memorial dedicated to the “Men of Maharashtra” who died in WWI. The memorial is housed on a triangular traffic island located at the busy intersection of Moledina Road and Dr Coyaji Road. The memorial dates back to 1921 and the foundation stone was laid by Prince of Wales, Edward VIII. Initially, it was located near Shaniwar Wada, but in 1931 it was moved to the more prominent present-day location.

Maratha War Memorial, Pune

Maratha War Memorial, Pune

The stone-built memorial is topped with a dome and has inscriptions on all four sides, out of which two are in English. The one at the front is in English. It mentions that the memorial is erected in memory of the men of Maharashtra who died in the war of 1914 – 18.

It also mentions that the memorial was erected by officers and men of their regiment along with princes, rulers and people of their race. It ends with the famous war saying “Their name liveth for evermore.” The second English inscription is a list of the regiment represented by the Marathi soldiers during WWI. The other two inscriptions are in Marathi and are translations of the English one.

Plaques of the Maratha War Memorial

Plaques of the Maratha War Memorial

A small inscription at the lower part of the memorial mentions that it was designed by the architects Acott, Bhuta, and Carpenter and was executed by contractor Krishnaji Ramakrishna and Co. The foundation plaque lies on the floor in front of the memorial.

The triangular traffic island housing the memorial has three cannons at the three corners. Interestingly the cannons outdate the memorial and were captured by the British from the Marathas. One of the cannons have an inscription with the name of Aurangzeb. Historians believe that it was originally a Mughal cannon initially captured by the Marathas.

World War I Memorial, Pune

World War I Memorial, Pune

Pune World War I Memorial: This too is located on Moledina Road near the railway station. Also designed by architects Acott, Bhuta, and Carpenter this obelisk-styled memorial dates back to 1922.

It towers to a height of 50 feet but recently the roads surrounding the memorial had been elevated and the memorial has lost its dominating look.

Here also the base has four inscriptions on four sides. Two are in English and the other two are Maratha translations. It also has the inscription of “Their name liveth for evermore” along with an emblem of two crossed swords and a shield. It does not contain the name of the regiments.

The second plaque mentions that the memorial is dedicated to the soldiers, irrespective of cast and creed, of Poona (now Pune) town and district who went to the Great War 1914 – 19.

Thus it has a more universal nature than its previous counterpart. It is dedicated to the fallen Maratha and non-Maratha soldiers of World War I representing the Poona (now Pune) district.

Plaques of the World War I Memorial

Plaques of the World War I Memorial

Kirkee Cemetery: Although both the WWI memorials are located in the heart of the city but they are often overlooked by passersby. On the other hand, the Kirkee War cemetery is located far from centre of the city but the huge well-maintained cemetery can never be overlooked. At the entrance, a plaque at the ground level mentions Kirke War Cemetery 1939 – 1945.

Kirkee Cemetery, Pune

Kirkee Cemetery, Pune

It is basically a WWII cemetery located in the Khadki (previously Kirkee) locality of Pune. It is WWII cemetery maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and contains 1668 WWII Commonwealth graves.

Kirkee Cemetery, Pune

Kirkee Cemetery, Pune

The cemetery is well maintained and beautifully laid out with the Cross of Sacrifice at the far end. Cross of Sacrifice is a cross with short horizontal arms and is part of any CWGC cemetery with 40 or more graves.

Incidentally, the Kirkee also has a WWI connection. In 1962 bodies of 629 First World War servicemen were brought to the cemetery from Sewri Cemetery, Bombay (now Mumbai) and reburied in the Kirkee Cemetery.

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  1. hitesh mahato
    August 10, 2022 at 10:16 PM

    Lovely post Rangan. Regular reader here. Love your posts. Keep them coming.

    • August 10, 2022 at 10:24 PM

      Thanks. In recent times blog posts have become a bit irregular, writing more for My Kolkata online portal of The Telegraph

  2. August 24, 2022 at 2:20 AM

    Such great writing about historical events.
    Sir even in Manipur and Nagaland you will find graves from WW-II. Which is also too awesome.
    I was enlightened to see the photos and blog yours. Great one keep going.

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