During the two world wars, the United Kingdom became an island fortress used for training troops and launching land, sea and air operations around the globe. There are more than 170,000 Commonwealth war graves in the United Kingdom, many being those of servicemen and women killed on active service, or who later succumbed to wounds. Others died in training accidents, or because of sickness or disease. The graves, many of them privately owned and marked by private memorials, will be found in more than 12,000 cemeteries and churchyards.
Glasgow was one of the ports of embarkation for the British Expeditionary Force in 1914 and several military hospitals opened in the city during the First World War, including the 3rd and 4th Scottish General (1,200 beds each), and the Merryflats War Hospital (500 beds). Battalions of a number of Scottish regiments had their headquarters at Glasgow during both wars, most notably the Highland Light Infantry. The Clydeside shipyards were targeted by German bombers during the Blitz, and Glasgow suffered a particularly ferocious attack on the night of 13/14 March 1941 when many civilians and servicemen were killed.
Glasgow (St Kentigern's) Roman Catholic Cemetery contains 134 scattered burials of the First World War; a small screen wall commemorates those servicemen buried in graves that are not marked by headstones. Most of the 186 Second World War burials are also scattered, but there is a small service group in the centre of the cemetery.
The cemetery also contains 11 war graves of other nationalities and one non-war service burial, that of a New Zealand veteran.