105th anniversary of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Today is the 105th anniversary of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
With the staggering loss of life, six Commonwealth nations came together to honour and care for all the men and women of their nations who died in the First World War.
These countries were:
On the 21st May 1917, a Royal Charter established the Imperial War Graves Commission, now known as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The task that lay ahead of the Commission was daunting and complex. No template for such work existed, no system or approach to the identification, burial and commemoration of the dead on such a scale had ever been undertaken by a single organisation. Everything we now take for granted, every part of establishing commemoration had to be worked out, debated, costed and agreed to by each of the Commission’s member nations.
In the 105 years since, the Commission has established 2,500 war cemeteries and plots, erected headstones over graves and where the remains are missing, and inscribed the names of the dead on permanent memorials . More than a million burials are now commemorated at military and civil sites in more than 150 countries and territories.
In Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, the Commission’s work is carried out by the Office of Australian War Graves within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Through this, we commemorate more than 102,000 Australians who died in service to their nation in the wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations to which our nation has been committed.
They were ordinary people whose service was undertaken in extraordinary times.
Take the time as part of War Graves Week to visit your closest war or general cemetery. You can find a list of war cemeteries at https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/…/war-cemeteries-within…