Around 1.5 kilometres from the Indian Oil Centre, on the way to Pengaree Tea Estate, 200 war heroes lie in their graves in the Digboi War Cemetery. According to data published on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, the cemetery now contains 197 Commonwealth and three non-Commonwealth (one Italian, one American and one Belgian) burials of the Second World War.
Built and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the cemetery was shifted to its present location after 1950. During the Second World, Assam was an operational area of the Burma Campaign. Digboi, being on the road to Ledo, was on the lines of communication. Hence, a military hospital was established in Digboi for the purpose of treating injured soldiers. The Digboi war cemetery was initially started for burials from the hospital and by the end of the war in 1945, the cemetery contained 70 burials. Later, the Army Graves Service brought in further graves from burial grounds in Panitola, Jorhat, Tinsukia, Ledo and Margherita, as maintenance had become a major issue in those areas. One grave was also brought from the US Military Cemetery at Shingvuoiyang in Burma.
Originally, the cemetery was located near the hospital on a small spur rising sharply from the main road but after the 1950 earthquake, cracks started to appear in the graves; subsequent heavy rainfall and landslides further worsened the condition. As a result, the cemetery had to be shifted to the present site.
The cemetery is a historical place where many visitors come to pay their homage to the brave soldiers.
Digboi War Cemetery is open every day between 8 am to 5 pm (during summer) and 08 am to 4 pm (during winter).
Photo courtesy: Partha Buragohain