24 December 2017

Wintry scenes at CWGC sites

While the chance of a white Christmas is looking doubtful for many, the cold spell has created some beautiful wintry scenes. Here we have picked a selection of stunning winter shots taken by CWGC staff over the years.

Brookwood Military Cemetery


With nearly 8,000 graves, CWGC Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey is the largest war cemetery in the UK. In 2010 the cemetery was blanketed in deep snow and an intrepid cameraman braved the cold to take this beautiful picture for the Commission. 

Castiglione South African Cemetery


During the Second World War British and Commonwealth forces fought a hard campaign across Italy. By late 1944 the Germans had been pushed back to the Apennine Mountains in the north of Italy. CWGC Castiglione South African Cemetery was begun by the 6th South African Armored Division who held the line nearby throughout the winter of 1944.

This stunning cemetery overlooks the magnificent countryside of Bologna. Here the snow fall is often deep and heavy, and Commission staff often capture beautiful pictures of the site covered in snow.

Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery


In May 2008, six mass graves created by the Germans after the Battle of Fromelles in 1916 were discovered. A year later the bodies of 250 British and Australian soldiers were painstakingly recovered and reburied in the first new war cemetery built by the Commission since the 1960s, Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Cemetery.

The former Western Front in France and Belgium often sees heavy snow in winter, but this rarely stops people from visiting and commemorating the dead. These pictures were taken by Commission staff during the construction of the site in 2010.

Thiepval Memorial


The CWGC Thiepval Memorial is the largest Commonwealth war memorial in the world. It bears the names of more than 72,000 British and South African servicemen who have no known grave. The memorial is a focal point of remembrance and stands sentinel over the former Somme battlefields. 

In winter, bitter winds blast the memorial and CWGC maintenance staff based at Thiepval endure temperatures that often fall below freezing.

Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial


CWGC Tyne Cot Cemetery is the largest CWGC cemetery in the world. Buried here are nearly 12,000 servicemen, of whom almost three-quarters remain unidentified. There are more graves here than in any other CWGC cemetery in the world.

Today, Tyne Cot Cemetery is one of the most-visited locations on the Western Front, with more than 500,000 visitors estimated every year. In 2011, visitors enjoyed these snowy scenes.

Zehrensdorf Indian Cemetery


During the First World War the Germans built a prisoner of war camp just south of Berlin for servicemen of undivided India. More than 200 prisoners of war who died in the camp were laid to rest in Zehrensdorf cemetery by the Germans. From the end of the Second World War until the early 1990's, the land on which the cemetery is located was occupied by Russian forces who used it as a tank training ground. The cemetery was effectively destroyed, but following the re-unification of Germany in the 1990s the Commission began the restoration of the cemetery, and today, it is once again a fitting place of remembrance.

This snowy picture was taken by CWGC staff in February 2010.

La Clytte Military Cemetery


This cemetery is one of many built and maintained by the CWGC near the Belgian town of Ypres, where the British army fought throughout most of the First World War. Today, it is the final resting place of more than 1,000 service personnel.

The Commission’s Dirk Debleu captured the cemetery covered in snow in February 2016.

Durnbach War Cemetery


Durnbach War Cemetery is the final resting place of almost 3,000 service personnel. It was constructed after the end of the Second World War and those buried here are airmen shot down over southern Germany, or those who died as prisoners of war.

The snow is so deep in this picture that only the tops of the headstones can be seen.

Latest News

Visitors are invited to attend a special ceremony at Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol, to mark the completion of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) restoration work to preserve grave markers and memorials to the war dead.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is seeking to reunite the family of a First World War naval veteran with his medal after it was left at CWGC’s Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium.

The 100th anniversary of one of the lesser known events of the First World War will be commemorated this weekend (25 November) at a CWGC memorial in Mbala, Zambia.