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The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is a completely free resource. It helps you to find out about the lives and deaths of people who died during the two world wars, caring for memorials and cemeteries in over 23,000 locations around the globe.
The amount and quality of the information available on CWCG.org is great. You can easily perform a detailed search for a person, based on information such as their name, dates serving, regiment, country and more. This search can be as specific or general as you like (depending on how much you already know about someone). You can then read a list of possible profiles, and explore those which seem most likely.
Each profile contains the person’s name, rank, service number, date of death, age, regiment and service, panel reference, plus information on where their grave or memorial is. You can also see additional information, such as their parents and siblings.
The site allows you to access and download their documents for free. This often includes all the information we’ve stated above, plus a photo of the plot they’re buried in, or the memorial they’re commemorated at. You can also find out more about each memorial or graveyard, including visiting information, plans and emergency notices.
If you can’t find the person you’re looking for, you can read tips on how to find a casualty or cemetery. Experts are also on hand and may be able to offer real support in helping you to locate a person lost during wartime. You can request photographs and additional information which could be of great value, potentially at no charge.
If this weren’t enough, CWGC also offers some great resources for teachers and students, as well as researchers. The Learning provides Primary and Secondary (or High) school activities, plus a virtual cemetery. You can find out plenty of facts about the two world wars, including what life was like for soldiers and people on the home fronts.
A variety of publications are discussed on the website, and you can sign up for a free newsletter which keeps you up to date on new projects and events. CWGC.org also has an online calendar of events, so you can check if something is running near you. If you wish to visit a cemetery alone or with a group, you can also look into this through the site. A new, free, War Graves app allows you to search for war graves in any of the 23,000 locations monitored by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Although this site doesn’t offer everything (there are no family tree builders, and information outside of its expertise is lacking), it does a great job at fulfilling its aims. If you’re hoping to locate a war grave, find out about someone who’s fallen in wartime, or want to explore articles concerned with the two world wars (with a particular focus on the Commonwealth countries), this will be an invaluable resource. What’s more, it’s completely free! As such, there are few reasons not to check out the site, particularly if your research is going to benefit from the information, expertise and documents they provide.
Click on the button below to check out CWGC.com for yourself...