Unveiled on 24 May 1923 by the then Governor Sir Edward Stubbs, the Cenotaph is the earliest memorial formally constructed in Hong Kong to commemorate the dead of the First World War.
The Cenotaph was initially inscribed with the words ‘The Glorious Dead’ and ‘1914-1918’, the years of the First World War. The years ‘1939-1945’ were added later to honour victims of the Second World War. In the 1980s, eight Chinese characters, ‘英魂不朽 浩氣長存’, meaning ‘May their martyred souls be immortal, and their noble spirits endure’, were carved on one side of the Cenotaph to match the inscription ‘The Glorious Dead’ and make it clear that the monument commemorates all who died in the wars, especially those who fell in the defence of Hong Kong. Commemorative activities are held by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and other relevant associations at the Cenotaph every year.
The Cenotaph was declared a monument in 2013.