this unit you will:
how to use the CWGC Debt of Honour Register
Assess the value
of the above database compared with photographs
as valuable sources of historical information
research trails to find out about Commonwealth
citizens who died for their countries.
memorial, real lives and deaths
1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth
forces died in the two World Wars. One of the
services provided by the Commonwealth War Graves
Commission is to keep records and registers containing
basic information about all those who lost their
lives. On their main website they have a search
facility so that you can enter a name, and other
known details, then, in seconds, you will see
all the commemorative information that is held
on the Debt of Honour Register. Look at the examples
to see what you can learn from the information
held on this database.
Look at the photographs carefully. Consider when
and why they may have been taken. Can you say
from which Commonwealth nation the servicemen
come and which war the photos show? Are they natural
photos or were they staged? Write down as much
information as you can about the people pictured
in each photo. Now go back through your list and
say and what can definitely be learned from a
photograph. How much of your information is pure
You are now going to compare photographic memories
with factual records.
Debt of Honour Register
The Debt of Honour Register supplies us with
historical facts, from which we can go on to draw
further conclusions. The photographs give us a
different type of information. Each source has
a place in putting together a complete picture
of someone. It’s important to be aware of
what you can’t find out from sources of
evidence as well as what you can. There is certainly
information that you will not be able to find
out from either source, which may need further
- The photographs and the database information
might cause you to respond in different ways.
How do you feel when you see one of the photographs?
Is it the same feeling you experience when reading
a Debt of Honour Register entry?
- If you wanted to explore the life of a particular
person leading up to his or her wartime death,
what more would you need to find out? Using
the information you already have, note where
further research might be possible. Where might
you look to find out more information?
you shall find
Now it’s your turn to use the Debt
of Honour Register.
Go to the Commonwealth War Graves
Commission website at www.cwgc.org
You will see the search facility on
the front page. For help on how to
use the Debt of Honour Register click
here and print off the
Choose a name. At this stage it’s
not important which name you use.
You could put in your own surname
and initials, and very often something
will come up that matches your request.
If you put in too many details there
is less chance of finding someone.
The search results may list several
pages of names.
Select a name, then print out
the Debt of Honour Register entry
that corresponds to your choice.
Now, using the examples already
studied for reference, write a profile
of your chosen person, including everything
that you can report from the information
given to you and the conclusions that
you can draw.