Today sees the launch of our new campaign inviting you to discover the people in your local area who died in the two World Wars. The campaign is launching ahead of War Graves Week (21- 28 May), our first national awareness week.
From the 17 May, homeowners across the country will receive First World War postcards through their letter boxes as part of War Graves Week activities. The postcards feature stories of 24 casualties, all of whom are buried or commemorated in the local areas where they once lived. They have been carefully chosen so that local residents can visit their graves for War Graves Week.
War Graves Week is aimed at encouraging communities to come together and discover the World War heritage on their doorstep – learning about the stories of those who we commemorate in the UK and the skills, dedication and expertise of our staff who work to keep their memory alive.
For War Graves Week, we have launched a special postcode search function for our online war dead database at www.cwgc.org/wargravesweek presenting an opportunity for people of all ages to welcome the memory of these men and women back to the streets where they lived.
The postcode search contains the records for more than 400,000 World War personnel, whose CWGC war dead record includes a publicly listed address in the UK.
Entering a postcode reveals the nearest street in which a war casualty was from – displaying the records in Google Street View and creating an immediate and personal, local connection to the past. Users can click through to learn more about the individuals, and download, print and display a commemorative tribute in their windows for War Graves Week.
Although the war graves and memorials that bear the names of the fallen can be found in almost every town and city across the country, very few people are aware that the stories of those who fell in the World Wars live on in their local communities.
Claire Horton CBE, Director General of the CWGC said:
“I am delighted to announce the Commission’s first ever War Graves Week. Remembrance Day and anniversaries will always have a place in our work, but War Graves Week is an opportunity for communities to connect with their local heritage in a different way; when the days are longer, when the plants are in bloom, and our cemeteries can be seen in a completely different light. We want people to see that work in action and make a local discovery.
Many people already know about their family’s links to the World Wars, but all of us have somewhere we call home today, and those places have their own stories too. By simply entering your postcode on our website you can take the first step towards making a new connection
We want people to share the stories they find and download a tribute for the men and women from their communities and display it in their window for War Graves Week. Behind every name on a war grave or memorial is a human story, just waiting to be discovered and War Graves Week is the perfect opportunity to do just that”
From 21 to 28 May our teams across the country will hold skilled demonstrations, cemetery tours, online and socially distanced events as well as engaging with schools from around the country, showcasing the stories of just some of the 300,000 men and women commemorated in the UK.
Chiara Dow, Deputy Head at Pirbright Village Primary School said:
“We’re very pleased to take part in the CWGC’s first ever War Graves Week. We are very much looking forward to spending time at Brookwood Military Cemetery. It is a great initiative.
As a primary school with large numbers of children from families currently serving in the armed forces, we know how important these links are to our children & community and value the opportunity to encourage discussion and have meaningful & memorable learning experiences led by the CWGC”.