The Commemorations team ensures all 1.7 million Commonwealth war casualties are commemorated with dignity and honour.

Our records...

...collated after each of the world wars, relate to the burial and identification of casualties. They now form our casualty database and provide the essential information we need to commemorate each casualty correctly. We amend information and correct errors on a daily basis.

The discovery of human remains...

...in former battlefield areas still occurs. Although it is not usually possible to identity the casualty, if artefacts and historical information suggest a particular regiment/unit or a named individual, every effort is made by the military authorities to trace present day relatives and, where appropriate, carry out DNA testing. Whether identification is successful or not, the casualty is reburied in a CWGC cemetery close to where they were found and we mark their grave with a headstone.

Every effort was made to identify individuals...

...but occasionally new evidence is sent to us suggesting a name for an individual who was buried as an unknown casualty. We follow the principle that the war dead should, as far as possible, be allowed to rest in peace and not be disturbed. Therefore CWGC does not permit exhumations from the graves of Commonwealth war casualties for the purposes of identification. If the military authorities accept that the documentary evidence is clear and convincing, the grave will be rededicated with a new headstone bearing the name of the casualty.

A casualty may not have been commemorated...

...for many reasons. Where evidence confirms that the circumstances of their death meet the requirements set out in the Royal Charter, we will arrange for them to be commemorated.

The location of a grave...

...may not be known, even though we have a record of a casualty. Usually this is because the burial was arranged by the family rather than the military authorities. If we can locate the grave we will work with family and local organisations to arrange for commemoration at the site.

Changes in commemoration...

...may happen where we can no longer mark or maintain a grave because of local conditions. We will arrange for the casualty to be commemorated at an alternative location. If the circumstances change for the better and commemoration at the grave site can be restored, we will reverse the alternative commemoration arrangements.

Ordering replacement headstones and memorial panels...

...for those that have become weathered or worn is a constant task. For newly discovered or identified casualties we will arrange for a new headstone to be engraved with the service details of the casualty and, where family members have been traced, a personal inscription. Any previous commemorations on a Memorial to the Missing will be removed when the panel is next replaced.