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Signs going up at 3,000 UK sites

25 July 2012

Most people know about the war cemeteries abroad - in France and Belgium, in the desert and in the far east.

Less widely known are the 300,000 commemorations here at home - in every corner of the United Kingdom.

To try to put that right - so that people know about the war graves in their neighbourhood - the CWGC has begun a project to put up signs identifying the sites containing war graves.

The Commission is seeking permission from local authorities to erect three thousand signs - and this will cover only a fraction of the sites. Altogether there are war graves at 12,300 sites in the UK.

A second phase of the plan will involve seeking permissions from church authorities. So far there's been a positive response for hundreds of sites and the work of erecting the signs, from Edinburgh to Enfield, has begun. More than 150 signs have already been erected, with permissions granted for 130 more and permissions pending for a further eighty.

The man leading the project is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's  UK Operations Supervisor, Andrew Crompton. He says it's a massive task just seeking all the necessary permissions, but the project is now picking up speed, and good progress has been made in the London area, so that Olympics visitors could be among the first to benefit from the new signs.

The Director of the Commission's UK Area, Barry Murphy, said: "We are keen to raise awareness of these burials and to remind people that they do not necessarily need to go to France or Belgium to visit war graves. Since nearly every town and village has war graves within its own local cemetery or churchyard, they can be found almost on your own doorstep."