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THE KOHIMA MEMORIAL

THE KOHIMA MEMORIAL has one of the most moving epitaphs ever used on any memorial.  The Seaforths and Camerons were both at Kohima and the nearby battle of Imphal during the Burma Campaign of the 14th (The Forgotten) Army.

The Memorial itself consists of a large monolith of Naga stone such as is used to mark the graves of dead Nagas. The stone is set upright on a dressed stone pedestal, the overall height being 15 feet. A small cross is carved at the top of the monolith and below this a bronze panel is inset.

The panel bears the inscription

"When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, 
For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"

The words are attributed to John Maxwell Edmonds (1875 -1958), an  English Classicist, who had put them together among a collection of 12 epitaphs for World War One, in 1916.

According to the Burma Star Association the words were used for the Kohima Memorial as a suggestion by Major John Etty-Leal, the GSO II of the 2nd Division, another classical scholar.

The verse is thought to have been inspired by the Greek lyric poet Simonides of Ceos (556-468 BC) who wrote after the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC:

"Go tell the Spartans, thou that passesth by,
That faithful to their precepts here we lie."

Special to www.historicalmilitaria.com – 18 October 2004

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