Hong Kong Cemetery [????- ]

Submitted by David on Sat, 05/23/2009 - 10:22
Current condition
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(If you're looking for details of graves and burials in this cemetery, please visit the page http://gwulo.com/node/8746 for details.)

On Wednesday I paid a visit to the Hong Kong Cemetery in Happy Valley. If you're interested in Hong Kong's history, it's well worth a wander around.

Though it can get frustrating walking past gravestones. Often all you get is a person's name and age, when you really want to know who they were, and what were they doing in Hong Kong. If only the dead could talk...

Well, on Wednesday they did! I was very lucky to make the visit in the company of Patricia Lim, the local historian who wrote the 'Discovering Hong Kong' books. Her recent project has been to research the stories behind the people who are buried in this cemetery. Did you know...

  • There's an Alsatian dog buried in one of the graves?
  • Or that the person who was to have been Hong Kong's second governor is buried here?
  • Or that one line of graves marks the crew of a plane that crashed in 1946, believed to have been sabotaged to prevent one of the passengers from giving evidence against Japanese accused of War Crimes?
  • Or another line of graves holds the crew of a Royal Navy ship that was shot by the Chinese during the cold war?

These are just a  few of the tales I heard - in a one hour stroll, I got to hear story after story. Fortunately, the results of Patricia's research will be appearing as her next book. I'll look forward to making a second visit, with a copy of the book in hand.

Visiting the cemetery:

  • It is open to the public, from dawn til dusk, see http://www.fehd.gov.hk/english/cc/introduction.html
  • There is an office near the entrance, but you don't need to register - you can just wander around the cemetery.
  • Remember to go covered up, and take mosquito-repellant. I didn't, and got the bites to show for it!
  • The entrance is from Wong Nai Chung Road, under the flyover:

View Larger Map


Photos that show this Place


If you go into the office to the left of the Cemetery entrance, they have a rather tattered folder containing typed and hand-written records of hundreds of burials and grave locations, apparently compiled over some time. Initially they ask you to give a specific name and fill out a form, etc, but if you're polite and ask nicely they'll let you have a look through it. Incredibly, this info doesn't seem to have been digitized, and when I asked the assistant why not, he said no-one had time.

Dare I ask? Yes I dare! I would love to know if my grandfather and grandmother's grave is still there, or my aunt they all had the surname Tellis. I was told that their graves have been recycled!! That is the have been dug up and new "tenants" installed! Is this true?

The only database I know of regarding graves in Happy Valley is held by Christine Thomas. (twiglet.thomas2@tiscali.co.uk)

I believe she built it up while serving in the HK Police. She will tell you if she has a record of the name and then charge you for details if you want them/

I have no connection with the lady but she has helped me in the past.

Good luck.


Some (they say 13%) of the graves in this cemetery can be checked via www.findagrave.com.

Greg, sorry, no sign of any Tellis names at that site. Modern burials are only for a certain number of years, then the graves get dug up. But I thought the old graves were permanent. Some were dug up when the Aberdeen Tunnel was built (it cuts through some of the cemetery land), but they were relocated to other parts of the cemetery.

Adam, thanks for that tip. I dutifully filled in the form when I visited looking for the Olson graves, but didn't realise it's possible to ask to see the originals.

Regards, David

Greg,   I have checked my HK cemetery database for you but have found no trace of the surname Tellis.  If one of your relatives was Clara Antonia Tellis then you will find the coroners report on her 1974/75 death at the HK Public Record Office.  Also if Augustine or Augustino were relatives then I think there may be a possibility that the family were Catholics.  If that is the case you will need to be looking for their graves in one of the Catholic cemeteries and not in the Hong Kong Cemetery.  My project only covered the former Colonial Cemetery (now the Hong Kong Cemetery) - unfortunately I did not have time in my 20 years in HK to cover the Catholic cemeteries as well.  I hope this may be of some help to you. Christine

My great-uncle Henry DUNBAR died on 1 November 1901; he was in the Royal Welch Fusiliers and was involved in fighting the Boxer Rebellion. I believe he is buried in China and wonder whether anyone can tell me if he is buried in any of the Hong Kong Cemeteries?  He was a Catholic, so if there is a separate Catholic cemetery he may be there.  Any information would be very greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance


This thread starts with mention of a book that Ms Patricia Lim was writing about the cemetery. I've just noticed that the book, Forgotten Souls: A Social History of the Hong Kong Cemetery, has now been published.

I'm also very interested to read that Patricia's work includes compiling a full database of the cemetery's graves:

This book follows on from the mapping and recording of the about 10,000 graves that make up the Hong Kong Cemetery for a database which will be held in the archives of the Hong Kong Memory Project and the Royal Asiatic Society among other places.

The book itself is a heavyweight at 624 pages, but it's not clear if it includes a listing of all the graves or not. I'm also interested to know where the database can be accessed online.

I'll send an email to Patricia to ask, but if you find the answer first, please let us know in the comments below.

Regards, David

PS Read more about the book at the HKU Press website: Description & Author, and Index of Contents.


Thank you so much for that information.  I note the records are not available on-line but at least I know who to contact now.

Many thanks


Here's Patricia's reply:

I was not able to include the data base with the book but you will be able to access it through the Royal Asiatic Society who have a copy and plan to put it on their website with a link. The HK Records Office and the Cemetery office near Happy Valley Cemetery will also have copies by the end of April when I get back to HK and have time to distribute them.

This should be a very useful book, and I can already picture it on my reference shelf next to my Norton-Kyshe and Eitel volumes. Much will depend on the quality of the index, of course, with a book of this nature. As far as I'm aware HKUP requires its authors to compile their own indexes rather than commissioning a professional indexer, which can be a downfall as indexing is a very specialised profession. I look forward to buying it very soon.

buried at the bottom of a government heritage paper is the following:

* Hong Kong Cemetery. .. has been included in the list of new items for consideration of the need for grading by the AAB having regard to an assessment of its heritage value by the Expert Panel.

So if we're lucky it might be restored some time soon. Incidentally the paper mentions three graves of revolutionary figures in the cemetery associated with Sun Yat Sen


When the cemetery walk was about to take place on 14 January 2012, I thought I would add a comment about the CEW & Co mark on many of the gravestones. C.E. Warren & Co. (1901-1941) was founded in Hong Kong by my grandfather, Charles Warren. It is less well known for its 30-year production of monumental masonry than for tile manufacturing, building and sanitary engineering. Thanks to Patricia Lim’s publication on the Gwulo site of all the inscriptions in the Protestant cemetery, resulting from the research for her book, Forgotten Souls, (HKUP 2011), I have counted 90 graves in the cemetery, bearing the CEW trademark of the company – 70 within the lifetime of Charles Warren up till 1923, and 20 during the subsequent tenure of his son, Leslie Warren.

Mark of C.E. Warren & Co. Monumental masons. Photo © William Fell 2011

The first gravestone erected in this cemetery by C.E. Warren & Co., dated 1905 is for a Eurasian, Kathleen Kew (02/05/17). Kathleen, if not Eurasian herself, had married into the high-achieving, high-earning Eurasian Kew family, who lived in the mid-Levels and mixed freely with Europeans. (Lim, pp. 519-21). (Years later, Kathleen’s widower, C.H.W. Kew, and other Kews figure in The Straits Times, (3 September 1926, p. 3), for being stripped of their jewellery and watches by pirates, who boarded their boat during an all-night fishing party.) 

The final grave in the Protestant cemetery with the CEW trademark is dated 1935 and erected for the Scottish engineer, William Murray Stratton (18/04/11). He was chief engineer of the Railway, who, during the 1925-6 anti-foreign boycott in Canton, personally drove an engine crammed with European women and children to Hong Kong, with some women swinging from the footplates (Lim p. 482). 

I have not found specific addresses for the C.E. Warren yards devoted to monumental masonry, although the expanding tile and hardware shops are recorded as moving to Bowrington in 1910.

Charles Warren himself, who was baptised a Catholic in 1900, is buried in St Michael's Cemetery in plot no. 4379.

Hello, after years of research, help of cousins visiting Hong Kong, and wonderful friends in the Library of the Hong Kong Supreme Court, we finally found the final resting place of our cousin Dorinda Sara JONES (née LEE, aka Dora) [1865-1900] in Hong Kong Cemetery in plot 18   /08/08. I wish I had found your website earlier to save a lot of time.  I have joined the Gwulo website and added a simple history of Dora in your searchable people. 

When I first came to the site, there was a search I could do of the people in Hong Kong Cemetery and it gave me about 5 Jones names but Dora was not there.  I got the feeling I had to somehow get her name there so people researching could find her.  Do you know where this searchable site can be found and not just in the overall search of Gwulo?  Thanks for your efforts on this website and I can only hope this leads to finding Dora's living relatives around the world. Susan

I had the opportunity to visit the inside of the Chapel at Hong Kong Cemetery today (within the formerly called Protestant Cemetary)  The building was built in 1845 (at the same time as the surrounding cemetary) and was designed by the Surveyor General's Office; it is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, western building in Hong Kong today.  It is a small cruciform-shaped single-story pitched roof building in the Tudor Revival Style, with coped buttresses, flat-pointed Gothic arched windows and doors, gable-end walls and sqaure-shaped label mouldings, a Chinese tile roof, and rendered plaster exterior walls with some granite detials.  The building is a listed Grade 1 building in Hong Kong.  The Chapel was originally used for funeral services, but since burials no longer take place in this cemetery, the Chapel is not longer used.  The interior floor is a beautiful black and white marble square checker board pattern.

i have recently narrowed down my great grandfather died between 1889 ang 1891 in hong kong his name was horatio john dinnen would anyone have any info for me please

Stephen, can you remind us what evidence you have that Horatio John Dinnen died in Hong Kong? I seem to remember that both David and Christine Thomas suggested that he probably left Hong Kong after his temporary stint as a Sanitary Engineer. Perhaps you have since found traces of him that I have forgotten - or new ones.

Thanks Patricia and Gwulo for great effort on recording inscriptions in the Hong Kong Cemetery. Most of them are beautifully recorded. However, It is a pity that some of them are not readable due to stone weathering, or the information in the stone is not sufficient enough to identify the deceased, thus losing their last trace in the world.

Therefore, I tried to restore the identities of those who were buried in those graves by viewing the burial records in Family Search and Find a Grave database.

Here’s the findings.



# 11828

From the record, it is confirmed that the grave belonged to Piari Ram, an Indian who died on 9 April 1970, aged 66.


# 11834 (should be 11836?) 

It’s likely that the grave number is 11836 instead of 11834 because the grave 11834 is located in section 12. 

From the record, it is confirmed that the grave belonged to an unknown male who died on 7 July 1970, aged approximately 25.

Burial Record of Ram and Unknown
Burial Record of Ram and Unknown, by selkirk


In memory / of / my darling baby / 11th July 1974 / aged 14 Months. / Thy will be done#4109

Grabbing the grave number and viewing the record, it is confirmed that the grave belonged to Frank Myddleton, who died on 11 July 1874.

Burial Record of Frank myddleton
Burial Record of Frank myddleton, by selkirk


A. VIZINS / Aged 62 years.#11987?

The burial record showed A. Vizins as Aleksander Vizins, a seaman.

From the newspaper clip on 31 March 1973 reporting a tank collision accident, Vizins is one of the victims. Also the burial record showed that he died a few days after, on the 4 April 1973 and buried in 28 May 1973, in grave #11902.


In / fond memory / of / our beloved little / NEE-NEE / Born April 21 1913 / Died October 8th 1915.#8117

“Nee-Nee” perhaps is a lovely nickname for the baby.

Checking the baptism record and death register from the St John Cathedral, we can know that the grave belonged to Hugh Ernest Richard Gay Cumming who died on 8 October 1915 and was buried the day after. It is further confirmed through viewing the burial records, showing that little Cumming is buried in grave #8117. (Hope it answers Ms Cumming’s question.)


illegible Born Poland----?# 11626

From the burial record the grave belonged to Stanislava Pisarsky who died on 16 April 1964 aged 68

Burial Record of Pisarsky
Burial Record of Pisarsky, by selkirk


#4019 (8019?)

From the burial record the grave belonged to Heinrich Meyer (which Patricia had nicely recorded), who died 24 March 1873 aged 23.

Burial Record of Heinrich Meyer
Burial Record of Heinrich Meyer, by selkirk


Russian text. Mar. 1968.

Since the deceased is a Russian, I tried to find Russians who died in 1968. From the burial record the grave belonged to Mihail Zoubreeff who died on 17 May 1968 (same as the death date “17 май 1968” marked in the gravestone), aged 60.

Burial Record of Zoubreeff
Burial Record of Zoubreeff, by selkirk


FRASER [written on front curb] #8887 CEW & Co

As the grave number is available, from the burial record the grave belonged to Gladys Maude Fraser who died 21 July 1921.

Gladys is the first wife of Defense Secretary John Alexander Fraser.

Burial Record of Gladys Maude Fraser
Burial Record of Gladys Maude Fraser, by selkirk



Fraser's wedding
Fraser's wedding, by selkirk


Our MARION/1955

From the burial record the grave belonged to Marion Glynis Churcher, who died 31 January  1955, aged 6 weeks.

Burial Record of Marion Churcher
Burial Record of Marion Churcher, by selkirk


In / memory of / ROSIE / who passed away on 23.4.1954 / aged 8 months.

From the burial record the grave belonged to Rosemary Chant who died on 23 April 1954, aged 8 Months

Burial Record of Rosemary Chant
Burial Record of Rosemary Chant, by selkirk


Darling KIM / June 1934.

From the burial record the grave belonged to little girl Kim Aileen Shannon aged 18 months.

Since I can't find a record matching the girl’s name and section in 1934 records, I turned my eyes to years with similar numbers. And then I find that the record showing little Kim died on 7 June 1954.

Burial Record of Kim Shannon
Burial Record of Kim Shannon, by selkirk


CEW #8873

As we know the grave number, from the record, the corresponding grave should belong to Elizabeth Kirkwood who died on 15 March 1926

Burial Record of Elizabeth Kirkwood
Burial Record of Elizabeth Kirkwood, by selkirk



As we know the grave number, from the record, the corresponding grave should belong to the marine engineer Charles Christian who died on 11 January 1939 aged 58. However, his remains were moved to the ossuary due to the Aberdeen Tunnel Construction.

Burial Record of Charles Christian
Burial Record of Charles Christian, by selkirk



As we know the grave number from the record, the corresponding grave should belong to Walter Blakey, who died on 21 July 1926.

Burial Record of Walter Blakey
Burial Record of Walter Blakey, by selkirk


Sapper Irving Stangfield illegible

Irving Stangfield died on 12 May 1939 aged 26

Burial Record of Irving Stainfield
Burial Record of Irving Stainfield, by selkirk


Sacred to the memory of / No. 871596 / Gunner Arthur Sutton illegible

Arthur Sutton died on 12 November 1938 aged 20

Burial Record of Arthur Sutton
Burial Record of Arthur Sutton, by selkirk


Joseph Paul Aalbus / Sept 1908 - [?] / Memory - illegible

Joseph Paul Aalbue died on 24 August 1939 aged 30. He was a missionary and the principal of American School in Kikungshan, Henan. 


illegible, Name, Birdseye? 

The grave belongs to Sarah M. Birdseye who died 21 January 1863.

 Burial Record of Sarah Birdseye
Burial Record of Sarah Birdseye, by selkirk


Sacred / to / George Samuel / illegible# 3311

The grave is belonged to a baby boy George Samuel Baker who died on 10 July 1866 aged 10 months

Burial Record of George Baker
Burial Record of George Baker, by selkirk


Sacred / to the memory / of / George Wilkins / illegible .. died 1867 ? / aged 58 years# 3448

Since the grave number is accurate, we can see that George Wilkins was died on 4 April 1867 aged 58

Burial Record of George Wilkins
Burial Record of George Wilkins, by selkirk


L. V. L. B. M.# 7265 # 7602

From the record we can see that the grave #7602 belonged to Lizzie Belle Mills (nee Vanstone) who died on 9 January 1909. She was the daughter of Mason James Vanstone.

However the identity of the deceased in Grave 7265 is yet to be confirmed.

Burial Record of Lizzie Belle Mills
Burial Record of Lizzie Belle Mills , by selkirk


Aibup illegible / Koko N..e.. uru / 19-7-1926 2-12-1928

As we can see in the entry in “find a grave”, the phrase Koko N..e.. uru (Koko ni Nemuru) means “Sleep here”. Here sleeps a little girl named Tokiko Torii who died 8 December 1928 aged 3. She was buried two days after her death. 

Burial Record of Torii Tokiko
Burial Record of Torii Tokiko, by selkirk


In the memory / illegible / born 6 July 1847 / died 8 June 1874 illegible# 5100

Since we have the death date and the grave number, from the record we can see that the grave belonged to Herbert T. Hare died 3 June 1874. Since he died in 1874, the grave number should be no.4100.

burial Record of Herbert T Hare
burial Record of Herbert T Hare, by selkirk


Sacred / colour sergt. C Cox / illegible

From the find the grave entry, we can know C Cox referred to Charles Cox who died on 12 July 1866


H Hansen / 28-2-1900# 6718

From the find the grave entry, we can know that H Hansen referred to Harold Hansen who died on 28 February 1900


A. Grothe / 10.9.1902 / 6519

From the find the grave entry, we can know that A. Grothe referred to Albert Grothe who died on 10 September 1902.


My mother, Freda Adams who died January 31, 1947 is buried in the cemetery and her name is recorded above.  The interesting  thing is that my name also appears on her headstone.  After her death my father decided to return to England and then in 1949 he and I emigrated to the US. I have never returned to Hong Kong but my son, Freda's grandson has visited the gravesite.  Freda as was my father, Leonard Adams were Salvation Army officers although at the time of her death my father worked for the Hong Kong colonial government as a refugee relief manager.