Discover Your Local Heritage this Remembrance

An item from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Welcome to the CWGC’s latest newsletter.

As we approach a Remembrance Sunday like no other, we want to encourage you to discover the World War heritage on your doorstep this autumn. The CWGC maintains cemeteries and memorials at over 23,000 locations in more than 150 countries around the world, so at a time when large events might be cancelled and travel might not be possible, we want you to take this time to learn more about your local history and rediscover war graves near you.
Across Great Britain, we commemorate over 300,000 servicemen and women who died during the World Wars. For almost all based here this means there are likely war graves nearby – perhaps in your local cemetery or churchyard. It’s time to rediscover and remember these individuals.

Using our brand new Our War Graves, Your History digital platform, we have provided you with the information to learn about Our Work Across Great Britain, find cemeteries and memorials near you and plan a visit with our interactive Explore Great Britain map, and find out what’s happening near you on our dedicated events page.

The tools we are creating through this campaign are available for anyone to use, anywhere in the world, and we look forward to expanding our activities into new areas soon. While the Our War Graves, Your History digital resource does not currently include our sites in Northern Ireland or the rest of the world, you can use our Find Cemeteries and Memorials search to discover our sites of remembrance near you, and use #ShareYourTribute to share your visit on social media.

Five Fascinating Facts to get you started
There is so much to explore, learn and discover. To get you started, here are five fascinating facts about our work in Great Britain. Click on the images below to learn more.

War Graves Near You

We commemorate 300,000 service personnel at more than 12,000 locations across Great Britain. During both world wars, if a service person died in Great Britain, their family could choose where they would be laid to rest. Many preferred to have their loved one buried locally so they could visit regularly. Today, this means there is a good chance you might find war graves in a cemetery or churchyard near you.

Design by Competition

Our cemeteries and memorials are masterpieces of artistic and architectural design, but not all were created by architects employed by the Commission. After the Second World War, we ran a competition asking ex-service personnel to submit their deigns for the Liverpool, Lowestoft and Lee-On-Solent Naval Memorials. The winning designs were selected from hundreds of entries.

Far From Home

During both world wars, soldiers, sailors and airmen came from across the Commonwealth to fight. The graves of service personnel of Australian, Indian, Canadian, South African and New Zealand forces can be found across Great Britain, often near camps where they were based or close to hospitals established to care for them. Although they are far from home, the CWGC ensures they are not forgotten.

Former Foes

You might be surprised to learn that there are thousands of German service personnel buried across Great Britain. Many died of illness as prisoners of war, others were shot down from aircraft overhead, and some were recovered from British beaches, their bodies washed ashore after their ships went down.  Their graves are the responsibility of the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, or German Peoples’ War Graves Association, and we work in partnership with them to maintain the graves of German personnel across Great Britain.

On the Front Line

Our staff care for war graves and memorials across Great Britain, and their work is vital to ensuring that the fallen are never forgotten. For Chris Hawes, our Regional Manager for the East and East Central Regions, one of the outstanding moments of his 30-year career with us was meeting the elderly son of an Australian soldier in Scotton Cemetery. Chris had cared for the graves here for many years, and was able to accompany the gentleman who had travelled from Australia specially to visit the grave of his father for the first time.

Learn More about our work in Great Britain
Copyright © 2020 Commonwealth War Graves Commission, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
2 Marlow Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 7DX

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