William and Kate visit war cemetery

Times Series: The Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge pay their respects at the Kranji Commonwealth War Memorial in Singapore. (AP/Bryan van der Beek) The Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge pay their respects at the Kranji Commonwealth War Memorial in Singapore. (AP/Bryan van der Beek)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have made a moving visit to a Commonwealth war graves cemetery on their last engagement in Singapore.

The royal couple laid a wreath on behalf of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the Kranji Memorial, situated on a tranquil sun-bathed hill high above the bustling city.

Kate, dressed in a bespoke duck egg blue dress with a lace panel by Jenny Packham, carried a parasol as she and William walked through the rows of white graves, deep in thought.

The Duke and Duchess arrived to the sound of the Gurkha Contingent Pipers and were handed a beautiful wreath of red roses, white lilies and orchids with a message from William's grandmother, which read: "In Memory Of The Glorious Dead Elizabeth R and Philip."

They stepped forward and laid it upon the Singapore Memorial bearing the names of more than 24,000 Commonwealth casualties from the Second World War, before moving back and bowing their heads in tribute.

The couple then stood proudly as the Last Post was played by a lone bugler followed by a minute's silence.

Afterwards they were directed to the graves of the men from Z Special Unit, some of the most important in the cemetery which has 4,461 graves in all. The unit was captured during an heroic attempt to plant mines on the Japanese fleet in Singapore harbour, creeping up on the ships by canoe.

Tragically they were executed by their brutal captors just weeks before the end of the war on July 7 1945. Nine of the men whose graves William and Kate saw were Australian while one, Major RM Ingleton, who was just 26 when he was killed, was a Royal Marine.

Group Captain Clive Coombes, the British defence adviser in Singapore, said William was particularly keen to see Z Unit's graves and was well briefed on their heroics. He said: "Prince William was well aware of the force's heroics and was keen to see their resting place. He was very well briefed."

Before they left to fly to nearby Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia the couple signed a visitor's book.

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