Caring for the war dead in the UK

How you can help us to remember the fallen

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is launching a new volunteer scheme in the UK. Eyes On, Hands On will harness the existing appetite to engage with our work and create a national network of volunteers to act as CWGC’s eyes and ears on the ground.

Some of the Eyes On, Hands On volunteers

Starting in the South-West and East Anglia we will equip the first teams of volunteers with the knowledge they need to give our UK staff regular updates on the condition of CWGC headstones in churchyards and burial grounds in their local area. This will allow us to create a live database, fed by regular information from people living nearby to these sites, in between our existing inspection and maintenance tours. Minor work such as trimming back vegetation and cleaning headstones with soft water and a brush will also be enabled.



News and updates

The Eyes On, Hands On volunteer scheme gives the UK public a unique opportunity to join us in remembering the war dead who are buried in their local area. Starting in England in the South-West and East Anglia the scheme will then roll out the rest of Great Britain by the end of 2020.

Meet some of the people who are joining us in our collective effort to never forget those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

UK volunteers needed to help tend war graves

17 June, 2019

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has today (Monday 17 June) launched a call for UK volunteers to help it continue to remember the war dead on home soil in its brand-new volunteering scheme – Eyes On, Hands On.


How does it work?

Eyes On, Hands On volunteers will each be responsible for a small number of sites containing war graves near to where they live. They will receive training on what to look for when visiting the sites and be encouraged to learn more about those who are buried in the area.

Each time they visit their local sites they will feedback accurate information about the condition of war graves. Damaged headstones or more specialist work will be picked up by CWGC staff but if volunteers notice small amounts of cleaning or trimming of vegetation is needed between staff inspections they will undertake these minor works themselves.

When does it start?

We are now accepting applications for the first two regions of South-West (Cornwall to Oxfordshire) and East (Lincolnshire to Essex). In 2020 we will appoint volunteer coordinators for the rest of Great Britain. Once they are in post people in all parts of England, Scotland and Wales will be welcome to sign up.

Who can take part?

Volunteers will work in pairs or groups to visit sites near where they live. These groups are likely to come from organisations such as Cadets, Scouts, Guides, Royal British Legion, Service Families Federations etc. Individuals are also welcome to participate and the Volunteer Coordinator will help link them to groups or clusters in their area.

Anyone under-18 wishing to take part will need to be accompanied by a parent, guardian or qualified supervisor. Further details available upon application.

How can I get involved?

Complete the application form by clicking on the link below and we will then contact you with details of training events in your area.

Click here to complete the form.

How can I find the war graves near me?

Wherever you live in the UK it’s likely there are war graves nearby. By entering your postcode on the following page you can see what sites are within a 10 mile radius.

When you visit a site with CWGC war graves you may see a variety of types of commemoration. As well as the white Portland stone we are known for you may find Commission headstones made of different stone types, such as slate or granite.

Our commitment in the UK also includes ensuring the names on 37,000 private memorials remain legible, as well as looking after a number of memorials and screen walls.

You can learn more about war graves in the UK here.

Support for Eyes On, Hands On

This project has been made possible thanks to a generous donation from Annington.

Annington logo