More than 130,000 servicemen and women of the First World War are buried or commemorated in the United Kingdom. There are 90,000 war graves dating from the conflict, the third highest number of known and marked Commonwealth war graves in the world, behind only France and Belgium. Others are named on memorials erected after the war's end to commemorate those with no known grave such as the Naval Memorials at Portsmouth, Plymouth, Chatham, and Tower Hill.

War Graves in the United Kingdom

War graves can be found all across the UK, partly reflecting the geographical spread of the thousands of hospitals and medical facilities and the fact that the principles that were established for burials overseas were relaxed when it came to those who died in Britain.

Some were buried in isolated graves in rural locations. Many lie within churchyards, often within family plots and some still under the markers that family or friends chose at the time. Many war graves can be found within the municipal cemeteries of larger towns and cities. Sometimes they are grouped into war graves plots but often they are scattered throughout cemetery grounds.

Medical Care

Many of the larger war graves plots around the UK reflect a particular local wartime history. The graves of sailors of the Royal and Merchant navies can often be found in coastal towns and ports such as Belfast. Some stately homes and estates such Cliveden in Berkshire were used for medical care and graves were made in their grounds. The municipal cemeteries of towns with important medical facilities have particularly large numbers of graves such as Bristol, Birmingham, Cambridge, Carlisle, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle and London.

Hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women came from the battlefields to Britain because they had been wounded, injured or struck down by sickness or disease. Official records show that more than 2.6 million cases were treated in the United Kingdom between 1914 and 1919 and fewer than 0.5 percent died. Many of those who did not survive were victims of the global influenza pandemic which swept through Europe between 1918 and 1920. In the months around the Armistice, influenza claimed the lives of up to 250,000 Britons.

Far from Home

Others buried in the UK died here while fighting the enemy. In the First World War, Britain came under attack from the air. Its coastal waters became a battleground and service personnel were killed in action or while defending the home front. Some died while stationed in base camps or training facilities or in accidents.

Many laid to rest here died far from home. The graves of service personnel from across the Commonwealth can be found all over the country, often in areas where hospitals or bases were established like Sutton Veny or Cannock Chase, but also near relatives still resident in the UK. The first member of a New Zealand unit to die in the UK passed away at a military hospital in Walton-on-Thames, but is buried in Kirkwall, Orkney.

Related Cemeteries & Memorials

Brookwood Military Cemetery

The largest war cemetery in the UK, this is the final resting place of more than 5,000 Commonwealth service personnel of the two world wars. More than 1,600 served in the First World War, most of whom died in hospitals in London and were buried at Brookwood after land was set aside for Commonwealth and American servicemen in 1917. French, Polish, Czech, Belgian, Italian and German burials are also found here.

Aldershot Military Cemetery

Soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Divisions based at Aldershot formed one third of the British Expeditionary Force sent to France in 1914. Nearly 700 service personnel were laid to rest here during the First World War, representing many regiments and several Commonwealth countries. The garrison's Cambridge Military Hospital became the first in the UK to receive battle casualties from the Western Front.

Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton

This memorial commemorates First World War servicemen and women of the land and air forces who were lost at sea. It bears nearly 1,900 names, including those of more than 600 South Africans of the Native Labour Corps who died when SS Mendi sank in the Channel in 1917. Alongside their names is that of Lord Kitchener, at the time Britain's most famous soldier, lost in HMS Hampshire off the Orkneys.