CWGC Contacting Descendants of WWII Soldiers Killed in the Battle of Keren

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  • Asmara War Cemetery is located about 8 kilometres from the centre of Asmara. It is situated about 100 metres south of the main road from Asmara to the port of Massawa. It contains the grave of 270 Commonwealth servicemen of the 2nd World War.


The CWGC are working with the British Embassy in Eritrea to make contact with the descendants of servicemen who lost their lives in the Battle of Keren during World War 2.

In March 1941, Keren became the scene of the most decisive battle of the Second World War in East Africa, fought between Italian-led forces and British, Commonwealth, and Free French troops.

Keren was the last Italian stronghold in Eritrea. Guarding the entrance from the western plains to the Eritrean plateau, it formed a perfect defensive position. The only road passed through a deep gorge with precipitous and well-fortified mountains on either side.

In late March, after ten days of gruelling combat, Commonwealth soldiers succeeded in forcing their way through the seemingly impregnable Italian defences. Keren was taken on 27 March and the defeated Italian force retreated to Asmara, which fell to Commonwealth forces on April 1, 1941.

Keren War Cemetery contains the graves of some 440 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War, 35 of whom remain unidentified.

Asmara War Cemetery is the final resting place of over 270 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War, 14 of whom remain unidentified.

>> ALSO READ : World War II Memorial to the Dead Indian Soldiers in Eritrea Restored

Are you related to one of the casualties in either cemetery? If so, we’d love you to get in touch and share any personal stories, photos or other details you may have.

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