Commonwealth War Cemetery

Commonwealth War Cemetery information

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Lonely Planet review

About 1km east of the War Museum is the Commonwealth War Cemetery. It’s a haunting place where more than 7000 tombstones stand in regimented rows. Soldiers from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, France, Greece, South Africa, East and West Africa, Malaysia and India who fought for the Allied cause lie here. As you enter, a separate memorial commemorating the Australian contingent is to your right; look here for a small plaque with a relief map giving an insightful overview of the key battlefield locations. The memorial is supposedly visitable outside of regular hours via a key left outside the gate, but this may not be reliable.

The cemetery itself was a rear area during the fighting; the front line ran from nearby the Italian memorial and wound its way 65km south to the Qattara Depression. If you spend time in town, you may field offers of desert excursions to visit key battle sites, such as Ruweisat ridge or Alam el Halfa. Aside from the fact that millions of landmines were planted during the fighting and no one seems to know how many remain, officially you must obtain approval from the Egyptian military to access the battlefield. It’s a controlled area and if you’re caught without permission you risk serious trouble; what’s more, if anything goes wrong in the desert you will not be able to rely on authorities for assistance.