The Cenotaph is a 33-foot high stone landmark located between Statue Square and the City Hall in Central, Hong Kong. It was constructed in 1923 to honor members of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force who died while serving Hong Kong in the two world wars. The memorial is a replica of the Cenotaph on Whitehall in London, United Kingdom. The Hong Kong Cenotaph was declared a historical monument under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance on November 2013.
The granite memorial is comprised of a broad base approached by six steps, which leads to a dais approached by three more steps. It was initially built to commemorate the casualties of the First World War. It bears the inscription, "The Glorious Dead" with the date, 1919, in Roman figures. Carved laurel wreaths serve as decorations.
The dates 1939–1945 were eventually added to The Cenotaph in remembrance of victims of the Second World War. Chinese characters 英魂不朽浩氣長存 which translates to "May their martyred souls be immortal, and their noble spirits endure" were added in the 1970s to commemorate those who lost their lives during the Japanese invasion.
During British rule, the Royal Naval Ensign, Union Jack and colonial flag of Hong Kong flew at the Cenotaph. After the handover, no flags are flown except on Remembrance Day, when the flags of Hong Kong, the People's Republic of China and Hong Kong Ex-Servicemens Association are present.
The Cenotaph is the venue of the observance of Remembrance Sunday in Hong Kong. The event is marked by a multi-faith memorial service organised by the Royal British Legion (HK & China Branch) and the Hong Kong Ex-Servicemens Association. Attendees include various Government officials, as well as representatives of various religions including the Anglican Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Buddhist community, the Taoist community, the Muslim community and the Sikh community.
The service includes the sounding of "Last Post," two minutes of silence, the sounding of "Reveille", the laying of wreaths, prayers, and ends with a recitation of the "Ode of Remembrance". The Hong Kong Police Force Pipe Band continues to perform their ceremonial duty at the service.
The memorial is one of the attractions of the Central and Western Heritage Trail, a Heritage Trail designed by the Antiquities and Monuments Office of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.