Family history: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

This year is the 100th anniversary of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, set up under Royal Charter in 1917 as the Imperial War Graves Commission. It commemorates 1.7 million people who died in two world wars, administers cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations in 154 countries.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission


If you are tracing a relative who died in the First or Second World War, or seeking further information about medals, awards or casualty details, this is an excellent website to explore. As part of the 2017 centenary, the website is to be improved with even more information.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission


It is never too late to change the records, if your family history research reveals an error or omission. In once case, a serviceman who died 99 years ago recently received a CWGC headstone at a churchyard in Hampshire. Driver Thomas Dawson [above] died on September 10, 1918 but because the CWGC was never informed of his death, Thomas never received a Commission headstone. His case was brought to the attention of the CWGC by his family and Thomas’s grand-daughter Kay Davidge was present at the installation of the headstone.

The CWCG’s Instagram page is a useful source of wartime photographs which may add background detail to your research.

This post is inspired by an article in the January 2017 issue of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ magazine. More details here.

If you want to read more about family history research, try these articles:-
Finding bastardy records online
Using the British Newspaper Archives
Surname research

Commonwealth War Graves CommissionWorld War Two is my research focus at the moment as I am in the planning stage for my next novel, Sweet Joy. Third in the ‘Rose Haldane: Identity Detective’ series which started with Ignoring Gravity, Sweet Joy tells the story of a wartime love affair.

‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Buy now

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
War graves: where to look @CWGC #familyhistory via @SandraDanby