Ellen Hannay Story

Lance Sergeant Robert Bell Hannay was killed in action on 14th April 1944 during the 2nd Division’s advance to Kohima to relieve the besieged garrison there. He was with the 1st Queens Own Cameron Highlanders and was just 30 years old.

He left behind his wife Ellen Hannay, who never remarried.  She had joined the Women’s Voluntary Service and volunteered for the Far East to be near her husband.  In his book “The Trees Are All Young On Garrison Hill”, Gordon Graham described how on the day the war ended, Ellen was close enough to Kohima to walk all night to her husband’s grave, where she knelt when dawn broke.

Over the rest of her life Ellen Hannay revisited the Kohima War Cemetery at least 8 times and when she passed away in 2010, her nephew gained permission from the Indian & British governments and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for her ashes to be laid to rest in the grave of her husband.

After travelling to Kohima in with a party from the Royal British Legion, he finally reunited the remains of his Aunt Ellen with those of her beloved husband in the grave which has held him since 1944.