Who we are

Introducing the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

We honour and care for the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the First and Second World Wars, ensuring they will never be forgotten. Funded by six Member Governments, our work began with building, and now maintaining, cemeteries at 23,000 locations all over the world.

Today, over a century after we first began, our work continues through our staff, supporters and volunteers who preserve our unique cultural, horticultural and architectural heritage and ensure that the stories of those who died are told.

Since our establishment, we have constructed 2,500 war cemeteries and plots, and we have erected headstones over more than a million burials at military and civil sites across the world. Individuals who have no known grave are commemorated by name on a Memorial to the Missing. The names and service details recorded in our archives were taken from official military sources, where they were available.

The founders of the IWGC were determined that on the battlefields of the Western Front, all men should be commemorated equally. But there were more distant places where that did not happen.

In 1923 the Colonial authorities in East Africa, the British Government and the Imperial War Graves Commission decided not to commemorate by name each one of the thousands – possibly hundreds of thousands - of men and women in the Carrier Corps who died provisioning the armies of the British Empire in Africa during the First World War. No-one knows exactly how many porters died, mostly of exhaustion, hunger and disease. They have no known graves, and their names have been lost. We deeply regret the decisions of the time which allowed this to happen.

Statues of black carriers, scouts and askaris were erected in Nairobi, Mombasa and Dar es Salaam in 1927 to pay tribute to their service. We know now that this is inadequate, and that each man’s name and place of rest should have been identified. It was not. With a Special Committee comprising experts and community interest groups, we are now working with specialist researchers to find all such gaps in our commemorations, and to recommend what can be done to restore their names to be remembered forever alongside all the other war dead of the British Empire.

Click here for a map showing the scale of our commitment

Read more about About our work
About our work

Learn about the role of the CWGC, including our customer charter, funding explanation and our strategic vision.

About our work
Read more about Our History
Our History

The story of the CWGC, from our beginnings during the First World War through to our position in the world today, over 100 years later.

Our History
Read more about Careers
Careers

The CWGC employs people all over the world. Find out about our open positions and apply to become part of our team.

Careers
Read more about Doing business with the Commission
Doing business with the Commission

Read our guidance on our procurement process and find out which opportunities are currently available.

Doing business with the Commission
Read more about Our Commissioners
Our Commissioners

Our Commissioners are appointed for a term of four years with the option of being extended for a further four years. Learn more about CWGC's Commissioners.

Our Commissioners
Read more about Senior Management Team
Senior Management Team

Our Senior Management Team oversee the strategic direction of the Commission. Meet the team.

Senior Management Team
Read more about CWGC Mobile apps
CWGC Mobile apps

Our free apps are designed to help you make the most of your trip to one of our sites, whether its researching the headstone in front of you, or deciding which of our sites to discover next.

CWGC Mobile apps
Read more about Our partners
Our partners

To help us continue with our work, we work closely with various organisations around the world - including our equivalent organisations in other member nations, educational organisation and charities.

Our partners