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.
Addenda 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.
Alternatively 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.
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 CWGC's records.
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 and maintained.
Exhumed: 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.
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 schedules.
Screen 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 known.
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.
Trench 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.
War 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 types.
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 Commission.
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
HLG/…., SL/……., 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 War.