Habbaniya War Cemetery - Burial Layout / Identification
The interactive table shown below the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery layout is a representation of the Habbaniya War Cemetery. The table contains the names and grave location for each of the 290 burials. By clicking on a name, a current image of the corresponding headstone will be displayed, the complete image database compiled from hundreds of photographs taken at the cemetery by various staff members of the Australian Embassy in Baghdad during 2023. The background image shows what the cemetery looked like in the mid nineteen-hundreds, taken from the memorial looking north towards the Cross of Sacrifice and the Cemetery Gatehouse and main entrance.
Note: When the full restoration of the Habbaniya War Cemetery by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission took place in 2018 / 2019, in an oversight, no replacement headstone was made for a Norwegian sailor Oskar Magnus Kristiansen (the only Norwegian to be buried in Iraq during WW2) and his almost illegible headstone was discarded, leaving an unmarked plot in Plot 6 Row C Grave 1. Oscar Kristiansen was the First Mate on board the M.T. Bralanta when he received 1st and 2nd degree burns in an on-board explosion and died of his injuries at RAF Habbaniya on the 26th March 1945. I have informed the CWGC of the situation (Jan 2024) and a discussion has already taken place with the Norwegian Department of Cultural Heritage and it has been agreed that the CWGC will make a replacement headstone on behalf of the Norwegian Government and transport it to Habbaniya for installation when next maintenance of the cemetery is carried out. In the meantime, I have linked a photograph of Kristiansen's old faded headstone to his name in the table below as well as a 'corrected' image that reflects what was originally carved on his headstone. RIP
Habbaniya War Cemetery - Valletta VW832 Crash Burials
On the morning of the 17th April 1957, a Royal Air Force transport Vickers Valetta of 114 Squadron (Serial No: VW832) took off from Aqaba in South Jordan with 3 crew members and 24 military personnel on board (18 from the 10th Hussars, 5 from the REMEs and 1 from the Army Catering Corps). Its destination was RAF Habbaniya. What was later determined as being structural failure due to extreme turbulence, after five minutes airborne, its left wing separated from the fuselage and the aircraft fell from the sky, crashing in a fireball, with everyone on board killed. The twenty-seven bodies were transported to RAF Habbaniya where they were buried in a mass grave side by side in surname alphabetic order, occupying an area previously allocated for seven graves (Grave 1 to Grave 7) in Row B of Plot 5. As can be seen from the photographs of Plot 5, the twenty-seven headstones are erected in a straight line, almost touching. The names are listed below, with links to individual headstone photographs.