Since the publication of the Special Committee report into historical cases of non-commemoration on 22 April 2021, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) has actively taken steps to right those historic wrongs and establish a roadmap to deliver upon the committee’s ten recommendations.
You can read our first regular update and see a summary below of key milestones to date.
- CWGC has established and resourced a dedicated working group that will oversee and manage what will be an extensive programme of works over the next five years and beyond.
- An initial budget of £5.2 million has been allocated to the project from within CWGC’s existing resources (NB This does not include any additional monies that may be required for the construction of major new commemorative sites).
- Priority has been given to the search for those not commemorated – work that will have implications for the wider project.
- To date, 5,890 names of men predominantly from East Africa have been found in The National Archives and are in the process of being checked and accepted for commemoration.
- A newly revised Commemorations policy is now being used that provides greater flexibility for adjudicating these cases.
- Third-party memorials in Africa have been identified that include names not currently recorded by CWGC and we are progressing the legal steps necessary to partner with local stakeholders to secure their ongoing maintenance and care. These new names will be added to CWGC’s global casualty database.
- Partnerships in Africa, India and the United Kingdom are already delivering on the promise of engaging communities with the culture, heritage and stories of those not commemorated as well as the wider contribution of those who served.
We are under no illusions that the road will be long and challenging and that these are just the first steps in righting historic wrongs. But we are also confident that this is a promising start, that we are already making a difference, and that every name found is a small victory on the journey to remember ALL those who served and died in the World Wars.