We hope you will find some of the facts and
statistics relating to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
interesting and useful.
- The Commission was founded by Sir Fabian Ware and
officially established by Royal Charter on 21 May 1917 as the
Imperial War Graves Commission. It was renamed the
Commonwealth War Graves Commission in 1960.
- The Commission commemorates those who died during
the First and Second World Wars in service or of causes
attributable to service. The designated war years
First World War
4 August 1914 to 31
3 September 1939 to 31
- The Commission cares for the graves and memorials
of almost 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died in
the two world wars. These include the graves of more than 935,000
identified casualties and almost 212,000 unidentified individuals.
The names of almost 760,000 people can be found on memorials to the
- We also commemorate more than 67,000 Commonwealth
civilians who died as a result of enemy action during the Second
World War. Their names are listed on a roll of honour, housed near
St George's Chapel in Westminster Abbey, London.
- In addition to commemorating the Commonwealth
forces, we maintain 40,000 war graves of
other nationalities and more than 25,000
non-war military and civilian graves on a repayment
- The Commission maintains graves and memorials at
some 23,000 locations in over 150 countries
- The largest of the Commission's memorials to the
missing, is the Thiepval Memorial in France, standing at over 45
metres high and carrying the names of over 72,000 casualties from
the Battle of the Somme.
- The largest Commission cemetery in the world is
Tyne Cot in Belgium. It holds almost 12,000 graves of which
more than 8,300 are unknowns.
- Our smallest cemetery is Ocracoke Island
(British) Cemetery, North Carolina with just 4
- The highest cemeteries are on the Asiago Plateau in
Italy at 4000 feet (1120 metres). There are five including
Granezza and Boscon British Cemeteries.
- The first Commission memorial to be unveiled was
the Menin Gate in Ieper in July 1927.
- The last Commission cemetery and memorial to be
unveiled after the Second World War was Ambon in June 1967 but new
memorials are still being built today.
- Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery in
France is the newest Commission cemetery - dedicated in
- Of the 23,000 cemeteries and burial plots over half
are to be found in the United Kingdom.