Beirut British Cemetery WWI

For years, I'd heard that there was a British war cemetery here in Beirut. Finally, the other day I went to see it.

I'm still kind of blown away by the landscaping. Actual grass, nicely hedged, newly planted flowers, not a weed in sight. It was completely serene, unexpectedly beautiful.

It was easy to find. The cemetery is clearly marked on most printed maps. It's also on Wikimapia--here's a screen shot:

You can see it in yellow. The cemetery is divided into two halves by the road. The north side of the cemetery is devoted to WWI. Here's the northern section as it looks from the gate at the street:

Shortly after I entered the cemetery, a caretaker approached me and asked if I had any questions. I almost never do--even though I knew nothing much about the cemetery. I complemented the landscaping that was obviously to his credit, and asked if photography was allowed. It was. He asked my nationality, and when I told him that I'm American he pointed to the one and only headstone in the whole place that belongs to one of my countrymen. This one:

I took many more pictures.  Tomorrow I'll share more of them from the other side--the WWII side.


  1. So glad you went there and went in. It is a big dose of history in one place.
    Strange, like you, it took me years until I entered our (British) War Cemetery. My posts are labeled "cemetery" if you want to compare.
    The Commonwealth War Graves Commission seems to be a very dedicated group. They really take care of their cemeteries.

    Your tombstone of the only American made me curious, why a missionary who died after the war should be buried there. Apparently he was helping Armenian refugees and he got pneumonia. ( http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=cipsi2&id=I01 )

    So many sad stories in war cemeteries.

  2. What an unexpected surprise. He knew the only American. And you photographed it.

  3. Thanks for the story of the American! I didn't even think to Google it, assuming his story would be too obscure to find online. I'll check the link.

  4. This is just fantastic. Thanks for sharing your discoveries with us Mary Ann.

  5. Thanks so much for this excellent piece of reporting Mary Ann. That is fascinating that there is one American there, who died quite a distance away in Syria. I wonder why they didn't bring him home to the US. I did see the place on the map while I was there, but didn't have time to get to it, so this is the next best thing. So much history out there !

    If you ever happen to be across the border in Damascus, not far outside of town on the road that goes toward Palmyra, there is a French cemetery in the desert there.

    The British cemetery here look very similar to the hundreds of British Commonwealth military cemeteries that dot northern France from WWI.

    What a sad waste of fine young men.

  6. As you may already be aware, I am a cemetery-tragic. I can wander for hours, and going to Passy Cemetery in Paris is first thing on my list for April.

    I thank Dina for the link as well, being heavily involved in family history right at this time.

  7. Mary Ann, what a beautiful setting. I agree with Julie, it's easy for me to wander in a cemetery. They are fascinating places, filled with loss, yet with a connection to our past and shared history. I really like the framing of your picture of the American headstone.

  8. You are right...you actually have more than one cross!

  9. Interesting and unexpected! Cemeteries seem to be great places for photography!

  10. I have found the war cemeteries to be extraordinarily beautiful too. I remember the first one I was was Bomana War Cemetery in Papua New Guinea. It was green and serene with big umbrella trees whereas the rest of the city around it was rough and dusty during the dry season. The soldiers are certainly treated with great respect.