Stone of Remembrance

'Their name liveth forevermore'

These words are carved into the Stones of Remembrance that lie at great Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) war cemeteries and other significant sites across the world. They capture one of the key purposes of commemoration – to forever remember our war dead. The author, Rudyard Kipling, who had lost his eldest son in WW1 and later became involved with CWGC, chose this fitting phrase. He took it from the Book of Ecclesiasticus in the Bible.

The Stone of Remembrance is a simply-edged slab suggestive of a sarcophagus, set at the top of three steps. Non-denominational and universal in its design, it is a monument to represent those of all faiths and of none. Its design was based on complex geometry from the Parthenon. All Stones of Remembrance are 3.5 m long and 1.5 m high.

Sir Edwin Lutyens, one of the original CWGC architects, who also fought in WW1 designed the Stone of Remembrance.

Stones of Remembrance denote a war cemetery with over 1 000 burials. Sydney War Cemetery is an exception to this. While it is Australia's largest war cemetery, it has only 734 graves, yet still has a Stone of Remembrance, the only one at a war cemetery in Australia. This particular Stone was destined for Ambon War Cemetery in Indonesia but difficulties in transporting it led to its remaining in Sydney.

Stones of Remembrance can be found outside war cemeteries. The Australian War Memorial in Canberra has its own Stone of Remembrance which plays an integral role in many commemorative events.

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Sydney War Cemetery Tobruk War Cemetery, Libya Anzac Day at the Stone of Remembrance at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Sydney War Cemetery Tobruk War Cemetery, Libya Anzac Day at the Stone of Remembrance at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra