This glossary contains details of words and phrases that may
appear in the various records which are available for download on
our website, or which are mentioned in the document explanation
Abandoned: Over the years, and due to
a number of reasons, various cemetery sites and individual graves
could no longer be maintained by the CWGC. We call these sites and
graves 'abandoned'. Usually, the abandonment occurred as the sites
were declared unmaintainable, possibly due to their physical
setting, or changes in the political situation in the country they
were located. While the site may have been abandoned, the CWGC's
responsibility to the individual war dead was maintained by
providing an alternative commemoration elsewhere.
Panels: These are special types of memorial panels, which
are included on some memorials to allow additional names to be
added and recorded. Names which had been missed from the original
memorial panels, for a variety of reasons, can be added to the
memorial on these addenda panels. These addenda panels act as a
temporary commemoration for the individuals concerned, who will
eventually be added to the main memorial panels as and when they
are replaced as part of regular maintenance and upkeep work.
Commemorated: This is where an individual is commemorated
at a different location to their actual place of burial. This is
usually due to reasons beyond the our control, where it is no
longer possible to mark or maintain the registered war grave and
where exhumation and reburial in a war cemetery or plot is
impossible or impracticable. Alternative commemorations can take
different forms, including special memorial headstones, screen
walls, or group memorials. These differ from the memorials to the
missing that the CWGC also maintains, which commemorate individuals
with no known graves.
Amendments: This refers to any
corrections made to the original data held by the CWGC in relation
to a particular casualty. Amendments have been made over the years
as new evidence has been supplied.
Army Graves Service: This was
the part of the British Army which was responsible for much of the
early work of exhumation, concentration and reburial of the war
dead from the First World War. The CWGC maintained close links with
the service, and received all the reports they produced concerning
graves and burial sites, which formed the basis for much of the
Concentrated: The Army Graves
Service moved burials from isolated and unmaintainable sites into
established war graves after the end of hostilities in 1918. This
process was referred to as concentration of remains, and was
undertaken to ensure that the CWGC's commitment to providing
commemoration to all of the Commonwealth war dead could be achieved
This refers to the process by which individuals were dug up after
burial. Sometimes this occurred to try to establish the identity of
the individual, but more often graves were exhumed as part of a
process undertaken during the initial construction of war
cemeteries, when individuals buried in smaller burial sites, or in
isolated graves, were brought together as part of a practical
process to help manage, care and maintain them in the future.
Foreign Nationals: This term
is used to refer to war dead from non-Commonwealth forces whose
graves or memorials are maintained by the CWGC.
Memorial Panels: While there is
a great deal of variety in the memorials maintained by the CWGC,
all of them include areas on which the names of the war dead are
engraved. These areas are made up of many individual stone panels,
which can be replaced as and when necessary without affecting the
core structure of the memorials themselves.
Personal Inscription: Where
an individual had a known grave and a CWGC headstone could be
erected, and if contact with the next-of-kin could be established,
the relatives of the deceased were invited to have a personal
inscription included on the headstone. These inscriptions were
limited to no more than four lines of text, each containing no more
than 25 letters, although some examples exist of slightly longer
inscriptions. They are located towards the base of the headstones,
and are recorded on the verification forms and headstone
Walls: A type of memorial for Commonwealth war dead, they
are predominantly used to record the names of individuals who have
a known grave, but where it is either not possible to erect a CWGC
headstone, or the exact location of the grave is no longer
Service Authorities: Refers
to the military authorities of the various Commonwealth forces who
were responsible for providing the CWGC with the basic details of
the war dead, along with next-of-kin information.
Map: The British Army produced a series of maps for the
theatres of war its forces were active during the First World War.
They are commonly referred to as trench maps, and are characterised
by the use of a British Imperial grid system (measured in yards)
superimposed on metric system maps (measured in metres). The grid
references which may be shown in some of our records relate to the
British Army's GSGS (Geographical Section, General Staff) map
series which is now held by the Imperial War Museum, and usually
identify a square measuring 100 m by 100 m.
Cemetery: Term used for a cemetery which has been
specifically created for providing a final resting place for
military dead of a conflict. During and after the First World War
the CWGC was responsible for creating a number of war cemeteries in
the area where Commonwealth Forces had been active. These
cemeteries were generally established through a gift of land from
the countries in which the sites were situated.
Certain documents used by the CWGC contain abbreviated words and
phrases. Below is a selection of the most commonly found
abbreviations and their meaning, grouped according to document
Graves Registration Reports (GRRs) - these
contain a number of abbreviations concerning the type of grave that
was being registered:-
C.- Common Grave (no exclusive right of burial
granted and which may be or has been used for other burials)
D.G.R.E.- Directorate of Graves Registration
and Enquiries, a British Army department under Fabian Ware,
responsible for preserving records of burials and providing the
means for graves to be marked and identified. Much of the DGRE's
work and records formed the basis for the CWGC's efforts to record
and maintain war graves in perpetuity.
F.P.N.I.- Family Permanent Memorial without
Inscription to the individual
M.- Military Grave (rights of exclusive burial
acquired by military authorities)
M.P.- Military Permanent Memorial
M.W.- Military Wooden Memorial
P.P.- Private Permanent Memorial
Pp.- Pauper Grave
Pr.- Private Grave (rights of exclusive burial
acquired by private individual)
P.W.- Private Wooden Memorial
Burial Returns - these contain a wide range of
abbreviations and phrases connected with the process of exhumation
and identification of war dead.
FF- Coffin used for burial
GRU- Graves Registration Unit, responsible for
recording details of graves and burials of war dead
WGR1/….. - War Graves Report 1. Form used to
apply for relocating war graves (normally into a war cemetery).
G.S. Tunic / Uniform / Khaki / Clothing etc. -
British Army Uniform (G.S. stands for General Service)
Stripes / Chevrons- Used on military uniform to
indicate various ranks.
Titles / Numerals- Usually refer to metal
badges or 'shoulder titles' attached at the shoulders of military
uniforms to signify the regiment or unit concerned. For example,
the Royal Engineers wore R.E. shoulder titles on their uniforms to
signify they were Royal Engineers.
Badge- A metal badge worn in the cap of various
military units, to signify the regiment concerned.
Disc- Identity Disc, worn by military personnel
and containing personal information such as the name and service
number of the individual as a means of identification
C.R.- Comprehensive Report, another name for a
Graves Registration Report.
U.B.S., U.C.S., U.A.S., etc. - stands for
Unknown British Soldier / Unknown Canadian Solider / Unknown
Australian Soldier etc.
G.B. List- Lists of graves provided from German
sources. Please note that these lists are not held by the
Various documents - a number of abbreviations occur throughout
these records, and the most common ones are described below
E.- Cross Erected, used to show that a grave
had been marked.
G.R.U.'d- used to show that a grave had been
registered by a Graves Registration Unit
XY/…….., EF/……., etc. - these are
old file references referring to internal documents used by the
CWGC. Most of these files were destroyed during the Second World