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Annual Report 2014 - 2015


The Commonwealth War Graves Commission President


The High Commissioner for Canada His Excellency Mr GORDON CAMPBELL


The High Commissioner for Australia His Excellency The Hon ALEXANDER DOWNER AC

Vice Chairman

The High Commissioner for New Zealand His Excellency The Rt Hon Sir LOCKWOOD SMITH KNZM PhD

The Secretary of State for Defence in the United Kingdom The Rt Hon MICHAEL FALLON MP

Air Chief Marshal Sir JOE FRENCH KCB CBE


The High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa His Excellency OBED MLABA The High Commissioner for the Republic of India His Excellency RANJAN MATHAI



Director General and Secretary Mrs VICTORIA WALLACE LLB (Hons)

Contents The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is required by its Charter to produce an annual report of its proceedings, with a duly certified statement of the finances of the Commission. The Charter also requires the report to be submitted to Her Majesty The Queen. In addition, copies are sent to the Governments represented on the Commission.

Director General’s Report



The Global Task 7 The Annual Report 9 The Commission’s Finances


War Graves and Memorials in the Commission’s Care


Trustees, Principal Officers, Offices and Agencies of the Commission


Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery and Memorial, Netherlands

Director General’s Report

Introduction from Mrs Victoria Wallace, Director General It is a great pleasure to introduce my first annual report for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, having taken up my post in October 2014. Before noting the extraordinary work that has taken place over the last year, I would like first to pay tribute to my predecessor, Alan PatemanJones for his service to the CWGC, and to Brian Davidson MBE, who stepped up before his retirement to act as Director General during the interregnum. They left the

Director General,Victoria Wallace, and Derek Cheung, Manager China, at Sai Wan War Cemetery in Hong Kong.

organisation in very good shape, having started a major programme of modernisation and change, making us much more nimble, efficient and outward looking. I have the extraordinary privilege of having taken over at the helm of the CWGC at a time when the world has woken up to commemoration, in particular for the centenary of the First World War. London was gripped by poppy fever, and record numbers of people in Australia and New Zealand applied for the chance to attend the Gallipoli centenary commemorations, or thronged to the Indian army’s Manekshaw conference centre in New Delhi to see their Great War exhibition, it has been very gratifying to see the CWGC so involved in the delivery of many events. The interest and support of the Commissioners, and in particular of the Vice Chairman in covering the extensive patch, is deeply appreciated.

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, visits the CWGC exhibition at the Manekshaw conference centre, New Delhi.

The CWGC has worked in a characteristically modest and selfeffacing way, and has hidden its light for decades, seeing itself only as the custodian of the cemeteries, rather than as the driving force in commemoration. As we have become more central to the commemorative activities of our

Director General Victoria Wallace and Director of Operations Barry Murphy with staff at Madras War Cemetery, Chennai, India.

member states, it is clear that our value is being recognised, and our engagement as a delivery partner valued. It was wonderful to be acknowledged with two awards last year; a Sun Military Award, in appreciation of our work, and a History Today special award for our contribution to public history.

competence development. Any of which is available through our intranet, The Hub. The roll-out of our values (of respect, communication, excellence, teamwork, professionalism and commitment) to all staff – having been developed through a Commission-wide consultation programme – has helped create a sense of belonging

United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron with staff at The Sun Military Awards

and cohesion, with a common sense of purpose. We want the Commission to be a positive place to work, now and in the future. With regular team briefings, regional management conferences and a participatory approach to developing our business and strategic planning, we believe all our team members should have a clear understanding

Any effective organisation depends on the goodwill and dedication of its teams. We are fortunate in having over 1,200 staff worldwide, ably supported by a range of contractors, many of whom have worked with us for decades. We have been investing in management and leadership training at all levels, as well as technical

Border maintenance at Delhi War Cemetery, India

of what we are trying to achieve, wherever they work. Our challenge for the next few years is to ensure we develop the skills of the teams around the world to rise to the opportunities of a new century of operation, in a climate which has its share of difficulties. Conflict and instability, particularly in the Middle East and in Africa can limit our capacity to manage the cemeteries, and certainly reduces

Vice ViChairman Vice Chairman Sir Joe French unveils a visitor information panel with local school children at Yokohama War Cemetery, Japan.

access. We are also feeling the effects of time as our structures and memorials age; we are approaching a point when our structures require a different approach to their maintenance, to ensure their long term survival, both as monuments to the dead, and as extraordinary pieces of 20th century architecture and design. We have made major strides in the headstone replacement programme, but there is still more to do. And climate change means

we need to review our position on irrigation, and how we protect ourselves from the impact of extreme weather. All our teams are united in the pride they take in their work, and the sense of privilege they feel to be able to care for the fallen of the two World Wars. As I see written in so many of our visitors’ books around the world, we will remember them. Victoria Wallace

Remembrance Sunday at Karachi War Cemetery, Pakistan

The Global Task

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission was established by the Royal Charter of 21 May 1917, the provisions of which were amended and extended by a Supplemental Charter of 8 June 1964. In accordance with its Royal Charter, the task of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is to commemorate the Commonwealth war dead of the two World Wars by:

making fit provision in perpetuity for their graves and memorials; and maintaining records of the dead.

The cost is shared by the member governments – Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom – in proportions based upon the number of their graves. Most of the war cemeteries and memorials are maintained by the Commission’s own staff, although a number of governments carry out care and maintenance on the Commission’s behalf. The care of the war graves in civil cemeteries and churchyards is mostly entrusted to local authorities and contractors.


The Commission’s work is guided by fundamental principles:

specifically to commemorate those of all faiths and none.

each of the dead should be commemorated by name on the headstone or by an inscription on a memorial the headstones and memorials should be permanent the headstones should be uniform there should be no distinction made on account of military or civil rank, race or creed.

Those who have no known grave, whose graves are inaccessible, or whose remains were cremated, are commemorated on memorials.

The headstones are 813mm in height, engraved with the national emblem or the service or regimental badge, followed by the rank, name, unit, date of death, age and, usually, a religious emblem. In many cases, at the foot of the headstone there is an inscription chosen by relatives. In some cemeteries, where there is a risk of earth movement, stone or bronze plaques on low pedestals are used instead. Climate permitting, the headstones stand in narrow planted borders, in a setting of lawn, trees and shrubs. Two monuments are common to the cemeteries: the Cross of Sacrifice, and, in the larger cemeteries, the Stone of Remembrance – designed

The Commission’s work is protected by a series of international agreements which recognise it as the authority responsible for the care of graves and memorials. The signatory governments, together with the governments of many other countries, have acquired the land occupied by the cemeteries and have generously granted its perpetual use to the Commission. In presenting this report, the Commission expresses its gratitude for the practical assistance and support it has received from its member governments and their departments of state, other national and local governments, diplomatic representatives, veterans’ organisations, other official and unofficial bodies and private individuals all over the world. Without this support, the widely acclaimed standards set and maintained throughout the Commission’s history would not have been possible.

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium

The Annual Report

Commonwealth War Graves Commission 2014 - 2015 With the centenary of the First World War underway, and major commemorative milestones for the Second World War also falling during the period, the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has come into sharp focus over the past year. Our cemeteries and memorials around the globe have hosted national and personal acts of remembrance. Visitor numbers, both physically to our sites and virtually to our website, are at an all-time high. While new initiatives, like the launch of our first smartphone App and First and Second World War archives online, are making use of digital technologies to reach out to ever wider audiences. And yet, the core work of the organisation – the maintenance of the records, cemeteries and memorials – goes on, made possible by the support of our governments and the dedication of our staff. This year’s report will highlight that work, touch upon the major commemorations that have taken place and look at how the Commission is building on this solid foundation to ensure there is an ongoing commitment to remembrance of the dead of two World Wars for the next 100 years. Arezzo War Cemetery, Italy


India Remembers - 2015

In March, the Commission urged the public to remember the contribution and sacrifice made by Indian servicemen and women on the centenary of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle (10 – 13 March 2015). Indian Army units began arriving in France in September 1914, and went on to fight in some of the bloodiest battles of the first year of the war. In March 1915, the first major British offensive of the First World War took place at Neuve Chapelle – with the Indian Corps making up half of the Commonwealth fighting force. Over the course of the First World War, India sent over 140,000 men to the Western Front. They came from the


length and breadth of undivided India: from the Punjab, Garwahl, the Frontiers, Bengal, Madras, Burma, and from neighbouring Nepal, and represented a wide range of religious, linguistic, and ethnic cultures. Of the combatants, over 8,600 were killed and as many as 50,000 were wounded. More than 4,000 of these men are commemorated on the Neuve Chapelle Memorial in northern France, while worldwide we commemorate 74,000 Indian servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives during the conflict. To commemorate the centenary, events took place throughout the year at the Neuve Chapelle Memorial and within India. In March, the Director General laid a wreath at The Delhi Gate with The President of India and representatives of the Diplomatic Corps. In April, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra

Modi, visited the memorial and praised the dedication of India’s First World War soldiers saying: “Our soldiers who fought in foreign lands in the Great War have won the admiration of the world for dedication, loyalty, courage and sacrifice. I salute them.” Writing in the visitor book he added: “I would like to express my gratitude to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for the excellent care and maintenance of this monument dedicated to Indian soldiers.” Over the year, the Commission also took part in a series of conferences and exhibitions in India. With growing interest, it is hoped that more people will come to appreciate the contribution and sacrifice made by the Indian sub-continent during the two World Wars.

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, at the Neuve-Chapelle Memorial, France and (centre right) visiting the CWGC exhibition in Delhi

Gallipoli 100 - A Global Commemoration In April, attention shifted to the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign. Perhaps more than any other anniversary, excepting Remembrance Day itself, the date of the Allied landings at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 – known as ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand – is a truly global day of commemoration. Our team of 16 on the Peninsula, see a dramatic change of pace when the usually quiet countryside is suddenly filled with pilgrims from around the world each April, but never more so than in 2015. They worked tirelessly with the Ministry of Tourism to ensure all events were coordinated, and the many recce parties from the UK, Australia and New Zealand were supported in anticipation of the ceremonies.

Prime Minister of Australia,Tony Abbott, with CWGC Vice Chairman Sir Joe French and Regional Supervisor David Bennett at Shrapnel Valley Cemetery, Gallipoli,Turkey


The 31 war cemeteries on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey stand as a permanent reminder of the human cost of the campaign fought here between 1915 and January 1916. Together with six memorials to the missing, they commemorate some 36,000 Commonwealth servicemen who fought and died here. Most of the cemeteries and memorials on the peninsula were designed by the Scottish architect, Sir John Burnet. Due to the climate and landscape, they look very different from those of the Western Front. To prevent masonry sinking into the ground, we use stone-faced pedestal grave markers instead of headstones, and a walled cross feature rather than the free-standing Cross of Sacrifice. Rubblewalled channels surround the cemeteries to protect them from flood water. The high proportion of unidentified casualties gives the cemeteries on the peninsula a unique character, while their names – Shrapnel Valley, Plugges Plateau, Lancashire Landing – are equally

evocative. Maintaining the cemeteries in the face of temperature extremes can be challenging. Rain, or lack of it, can pose difficulties to our horticultural colleagues at Gallipoli, but an abundance of wet weather made reaching one of the more remote cemeteries on the peninsula a challenge. The road leading to Lala Baba Cemetery repeatedly floods during the winter – making it impassable to all but the most robust four-by-four vehicle. In an effort to improve access the Gallipoli team managed a series of road repairs – liaising closely with the local authorities. The project involved levelling the road and then placing layers of crushed rocks and shells before compacting the materials. The new road got a severe but successful test following heavy rains in November and January, ensuring the graves here could be visited and remembered as easily as those in more accessible parts of the peninsula.

Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Gallipoli,Turkey

7th Field Ambulance Cemetery

At the Helles Memorial our works team facilitated the installation of the UK Government Lest We Forget commemorative stone, which would form a focal point of the UK and Ireland commemorative event held at the memorial on 24th April. The Nek Cemetery, Anzac, Gallipoli,Turkey

The event was attended by dignitaries from across the Commonwealth and Turkey – including Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and Prince Henry of Wales, President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President of Ireland, Mr Michael D Higgins. Also present were descendants of men who took part in the Gallipoli campaign – just some of the tens of thousands of pilgrims who paid their respects over 24th and 25th of April.

cercis siliquastrum tree, as a joint expression of the CWGCs and the Australian Government’s commitment to the next 100 years.

At dawn on 25th April, events began at ANZAC Cove, Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair as 10,000 Australians and New Zealanders marked the sacrifice of their nations at Gallipoli. Ahead of the commemorations, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited Shrapnel Valley Cemetery and alongside CWGC Vice Chairman, Sir Joe French, took part in the planting of a new

At The Nek Cemetery, one of the most iconic sites for visiting Australians to the peninsula, a complete renovation including new turf, full border replanting that included Andalucian roses, and replanting to the banks of the boundary of the cemetery was completed. Feedback from visitors proved the efforts of the team were greatly appreciated.

The Helles Memorial, Gallipoli,Turkey

Replacing the tree at Shrapnel Valley was just one element of the large scale horticultural renovations that took place ahead of the commemorations. Many of the sites were re-levelled, re-turfed and replanted, part of the constant care the team deliver.

Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and Prince Henry of Wales with CWGC Historian Dr Glyn Prysor at the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli,Turkey

Putting Haidar Pasha on the map Although many of our cemeteries and memorials receive thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of visitors a year, others attract far fewer – something the Commission is keen to address over this centenary period.

Cemetery (known as the English Cemetery) in the heart of Istanbul, when the Commission hosted the first joint British, Commonwealth and German remembrance event to be held at this unique place.

The same is true in Turkey, where the cemeteries on the Gallipoli Peninsula are well established places of pilgrimage, but where a hidden commemorative gem, in the heart of Istanbul, is scarcely known.

The ceremony was attended by representatives from the CWGC, the British Consulate in Istanbul and the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfßrsorge (German War Graves Commission), as well as members of the public and media.

The eve of the Gallipoli commemorations afforded an opportunity for us to raise the profile of Haidar Pasha 17

Anzac Day in the UK The UK Government hosted an Anzac Day parade in London, at which the CWGC was represented by Commissioner Mrs Ros Kelly AO and Director General. As always the Australian and New Zealand Governments held dawn services and a memorable service in Westminster Abbey, attended by Her Majesty the Queen. At Harefield (St Mary) Churchyard, near London in the UK, the graves of more than 100 Australian servicemen who died during the First World War were restored by a team of stone masons from our United Kingdom and Northern Area (UKNA).

patients brought to Harefield’s war hospital during the war. The UKNA team had to brave some unseasonably cold weather as they either re-engraved the stone inscriptions or inserted new lead lettering inlays. Once the structural work was complete, the entire site underwent a full horticultural renovation ahead of the annual ANZAC Day service, during which local children lay flowers on the graves.

The war graves at this churchyard have a unique scroll-concept design, chosen by ANZAC

Australian High Commissioner to London, His Excellency the Hon Alexander Downer AC, came to see the work for himself and took the opportunity to chat with some of those involved. Headstone and horticulture renovations at Harefield (St. Mary) Churchyard, UK

Royal Scots remembered in Edinburgh The cemetery also had a new Visitor Information Panel installed ahead of the ANZAC Day commemorations. The panel uses smartphone technology to reveal the personal stories of some of the men buried at the cemetery. Sadly, just twenty-four hours ahead of the ANZAC Day commemorations, vandals defaced the panel, sprayed graffiti on an entrance feature and sawed through the flagpole. Undeterred, our UKNA staff carried out emergency repairs and completed in time to allow the service to continue.

CWGC Commissioner, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, joined HRH The Princess Royal, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, descendants and dignitaries in laying a wreath at Edinburgh (Rosebank) Cemetery in memory of those members of the Royal Scots who died in the Quintinshill (or Gretna) rail disaster on 22 May 1915 while en route to Gallipoli. Of the 271 First World War dead buried in Rosebank, the majority died when their troop train, carrying some 500 soldiers from the 1/7th Battalion the Royal Scots, collided with a stationary local train which had been left accidentally on the main line. Following the impact, the wooden coaches full of soldiers caught fire. A minute later, the Euston to Glasgow express ploughed into the wreckage. The catastrophic chain of events led to the death of more than 220 men, with nearly 250 injured. It was, and still remains, the worst rail disaster in the UK. On 24 May 1915, the majority of the dead were brought to Rosebank Cemetery and buried with full military honours. The Gretna Memorial screen walls, built and maintained by the CWGC, serve as their headstone. Ahead of the commemorations the memorial was renovated and two names were added to the bronze panels to ensure all those who died could be remembered together.

New memorial on Lemnos Ahead of events on Gallipoli, the CWGC was pleased to support a Canadian Government request to create and install a new memorial in Portianos Military Cemetery on the Greek island of Lemnos – where two Canadian nurses who died of disease are buried. The memorial was created to honour the service and sacrifice of nurses from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, whose selfless service in the many hospitals established at Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign, saved so many lives. The new memorial, designed by the CWGC and made from Nabresina stone from a quarry near Trieste in Italy, took as its

inspiration the cap badges of the nations the nurses cared for. These were carved by our stonemasons at our facility at ANZAC Cove in Turkey. The Commission’s Director General, Mrs Victoria Wallace, joined His Excellency Robert Peck, Canada’s Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic, at the unveiling of the new memorial and a visitor information panel, which featured the stories of the two nurses. Matron Jessie Jaggard, and Nursing Sister Mary Frances Munro, were among 70 Canadian nurses stationed in Lemnos to treat thousands of wounded and sick Allied servicemen from the fighting at Gallipoli. Doctors and nurses were confronted daily with poor sanitation, illness, and the life threatening injuries of soldiers. The heat, poor diet and scarce water inevitably caused illness throughout the medical personnel. Sadly, Jessie and Mary succumbed to disease and were buried at Portianos Military Cemetery in 1915.

The Maple Leaf is engraved by hand and (top) the finished memorial at Portianos Military Cemetery. Bottom Left CWGC Director General Victoria Wallace unveils information panels at East Mudros Military Cemetery with British Ambassador HE John Kittmer and the New Zealand Ambassador HE Patrick Rata

Working in Greece Portianos is one of two cemeteries maintained by the Commission on Lemnos, both of which underwent extensive renovations during the period. As at Gallipoli, the Commission’s cemeteries on Lemnos look very different to those found in France or Belgium. Pedestals, rather than the more familiar CWGC headstones, mark the graves – an approach adopted due to the risk of earth movement. At both Portianos and East Mudros the Commission’s Mediterranean Area staff undertook

the complete renovation of more than 1,100 grave markers. This included the construction of new concrete foundation beams for better support and the replacement and cleaning of grave plaques. Following the structural work, both sites underwent horticultural renovations. This work was severely put to the test during winter storms which brought down trees at Portianos and led to flooding in East Mudros. Following the storms, a new drainage system was installed at the cemetery, while replanting restored both sites to their former glory.

Restoring an icon -

Elsewhere in Greece, a similar project was completed at Doiran War Cemetery, where more than 1,300 pedestal grave markers were replaced. The nearby Doiran Memorial also underwent a restoration. The project included cleaning the memorial and replacing or repairing stonework. The Doiran Memorial marks the sacrifice of the British Salonika Force during the First World War. The Commission is looking ahead to the centenary of the campaigns in this part of Greece in 2017 and working with local partners to raise awareness of this often overlooked aspect of First World War history.

Described by architectural historian Gavin Stamp as “The absolute, ultimate pure monument”, in July the Commission started work on one of the most important projects ever undertaken by the organisation – the restoration of the Thiepval Memorial on the Somme in northern France, ahead of the 100th anniversary commemorations of the Battle of the Somme in 2016.

AboveThe Doiran Memorial undergoes a full structural renovation Below Replacing grave markers at Sarigol Military Cemetery, Greece

Thiepval is the largest Commonwealth war memorial in the world. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and unveiled in 1932 and bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. More than 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.

Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, said: “We must never forget what happened in the Battle of the Somme.The restoration of the Thiepval monument will mean new generations will be inspired by the incredible stories of courage and sacrifice, by all those soldiers who gave their lives for us.”

The Thiepval Memorial Like all historic monuments, the memorial is subjected to the elements, and although regularly maintained, there comes a point for every structure when more extensive work is required. The work at Thiepval addresses a number of issues with the memorial, in particularly, drainage and water ingress. The restoration has been divided into two phases – Phase One tackles the memorial’s roofs and pointing and will help keep the structure watertight. Phase Two (which will start after the 100th anniversary commemorations in 2017) will

see a complete overhaul of the memorial’s internal rainwater drainage system. The new drainage system will contain, remove and discharge the water away from the memorial. The project, which will include lighting the memorial for the first time, was supported by a LIBOR grant from the UK Government, faciltated by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport which provided, £1.6 million towards the restoration and enhancement of the memorial as part of the First World War commemorations.

A conser vation approach to The work at Thiepval has highlighted the need to take a long term view of the care of our structures. This is vital to ensure that any intervention prevents further damage or deterioration, rather than just fixing symptoms, and that the sites themselves continue to fulfil their core function – commemorating the war dead. As such, the Commission is embarking on a more conservation minded approach to the management of our sites. For our cemeteries and memorials this takes the form of detailed condition surveys, assessing the scale of future work required,

together with written Conservation Management Plans and Statements. These will guide the long-term care of the Commissions cemeteries and memorials. This approach also feeds into the way that we care for the one million plus headstones for which we are responsible. After the First World War, a distinguished panel of experts was assembled to advise the Commission on legibility. Among their number was Lutyens and MacDonald Gill and their view was that ‘Inscriptions may be carved in stone for many uses, but the monumental

cemeter y management inscription is usually designed to be a record for those who care to search for it rather than an announcement to the world – not so much an advertisement as a confidence’. The legibility of headstone or memorial inscription is central to what the Commission does and it has always been recognised that headstones would need periodic re-engraving or replacement. In recent years, we have had no choice but to replace many thousands of headstones that had suffered irreparable erosion, but

now that this programme is complete, we are working harder at maintaining our headstones in-situ through less invasive interventions and periodic re-engraving – only replacing when it is absolutely necessary. The headstones will still provide legible and fit provision for the commemoration of the war dead, but this approach will clearly define those standards of legibility and ensure we use that valuable and finite stone resource, in a sustainable way.

Overcoming challenges - Eritrea On occasion, our staff have to overcome more than just the elements to maintain the graves of the fallen. Sadly, unrest, politics, war, and mindless acts of vandalism can frustrate our best efforts. But no matter what we may be faced with, we remain determined to overcome such difficulties. Our team in Africa did just that with a project in Eritrea. Keren is a small town located approximately 90 kilometres west of Asmara. During the Second World War, it was an Italian stronghold and the scene of the most decisive battle of

the war in East Africa, when in February and March 1941, a combined British, French and Commonwealth force defeated an Italian army almost twice its size. Those who died in the battle are buried and commemorated at Keren War Cemetery (440 graves) and by the Keren Cremation Memorial which stands within the cemetery and commemorates 285 Sikh and Hindu soldiers whose remains were cremated in accordance with their faith. Three East African soldiers are also commemorated on the memorial.

As Richard Hills, the CWGCs Director for Africa and Asia Pacific Area, said: “The completion of the new memorial demonstrates the CWGCs commitment to remember those who died during the two world wars – no matter where or how they died.”

Safe travel in Eritrea is not straightforward, but with support from His Excellency Mr David Ward, British Ambassador to Eritrea, who drove members of our team to the cemetery in his own vehicle to enable them to work safely, a major renovation project could be completed. The first phase saw a new fence erected around the cemetery – thus securing the boundary. Once complete work could begin on rebuilding the memorial which had been struck by lightning – thus displacing and damaging much of the stonework. New stone was ordered from Italy and shipped to Eritrea, but erecting the memorial proved challenging, as was finding a crane in this part of Africa that could lift the stone into the cemetery. Through a combination of ingenuity, determination, patience and skill, the memorial was completely rebuilt.

Using technology to remember The CWGC has been swift to embrace new technology when it can add value or contribute to our primary objective of commemorating the war dead. From launching our archive records online, to the use of the latest smartphone apps, the Commission is keen to explore all means that can help reach new audiences and help them to discover and remember the fallen. In October 2015, the CWGC launched its first smartphone App. Our War Graves App is designed to make it easier to find and visit the cemeteries and memorials the Commission looks after in 23,000 locations and 154 countries. With the new App, the public can access directions to cemeteries or use a ‘what is near me’ function to see sites containing war graves wherever they are. The App was launched to the general public with a week-long promotional event at the Eurotunnel building in The CWGC stand at the Eurotunnel terminal


Folkestone during the busy UK halfterm break. It has proved very popular, with more than 9,500 downloads. The Commission also supported the creation of an App by the Last Post Association in Ieper – who developed it as part of the events marking the 30,000th sounding of the Last Post at the Menin Gate in July 2015. The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing records the names of 54,897 soldiers of the Commonwealth, whose bodies were never found.

the fallen Since 1928 (with the exception of the war years between 1940 and 1944), the Last Post Association has organised a daily ceremony under the Menin Gate, during which this bugle call is played. No matter what the weather, its team of volunteer buglers are at the memorial every evening to play their moving farewell tribute to the fallen. The buglers are recruited from the local fire brigade, a practice that dates back to the ceremony’s origins.

30,000th Sounding of the Last Post,Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium

Archives Online The Commission’s website plays a primary role in fulfilling one of our core tasks – the keeping of, and making publically available, the records of those who died during the two World Wars. Following last year’s release of First World War documents, the Commission made public, for the first time, the records of almost 600,000 Second World War casualties. The release coincided with the 70th anniversary of VJ Day. The digitised records cover British, Irish and other Commonwealth casualties from the Second World War, together with records for most other nationals commemorated at CWGC sites: this includes the records for German soldiers. The documents give a unique insight into the process of commemoration undertaken by the armed forces and the CWGC during and after the war, and include details of personal headstone inscriptions, date of death, rank, regiment and even some documents which show the journey of the deceased to their final resting place. Just a sample of the hundreds of thousands of documents made available for the first time

Reburials and Rededications

Top Left: Burial service for the air crew from Avro Anson flight L7056 at Victoria (Royal Oak) Burial Park, British Columbia, Canada on 10 November, 2014 Top Right: Burial of Driver John Joseph Kennell at Arnhem (Oosterbeek) War Cemetery,The Netherlands on 16 September 2015 Bottom Left and right: Burial of an Unknown Australian Soldier at Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia on 10 September 2015

One fortunate consequence of the general accessibility of records on the internet is that an increasing number of previously unknown graves can be identified through the efforts of dedicated researchers, historians and members of the public. During 2015, the year a number of rededication services were held – from Padstow in Cornwall to Leeuwarden in the Netherlands. There were also a significant number of reburials. Every year approximately 30 sets of remains are discovered. Each case is investigated by the relevant government and the individual given a funeral with full military honours regardless of identification or not, in one of the Commission’s cemeteries. For the families, it often brings to end a painful chapter in their history and gives them somewhere to visit and to remember.

Burial of an Unknown Soldier of the Welsh Guards at Guards’ Cemetery, Lesboeufs, France

The Commission’s Finances Our Financial Accounts - the year to March 2015 The Commission’s accounts are prepared in line with best practice in the Charities sector. The Commission’s funding comes primarily from the six Member Governments (UK, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa), in proportion to the casualty figures for the two World Wars: this funding is for the care and upkeep of the cemeteries and memorials commemorating the 1.7 million war dead. The Commission also receives agency funding from these governments for the care of military graves from other periods and for war memorials.

underlying working capital – at £1.5m – is in line with the target of £2m by March 2016.

Without the pension deficit, the Commission’s overall balance sheet value would be £12.5m.

The balance sheet shows a deficit of £6.1m, having been in surplus of £6.7m at March 2014. The reason is a sharp increase in the deficit shown on our pension scheme: a deterioration of £13m in the year, taking the deficit to £18.6m. The background to this is the effect of the recent three yearly valuation, which reflected a collapse in the forecast interest rates for the pension fund’s investments. Three factors must be considered here:

Finally, the external auditors have expressed an unmodified audit opinion that the accounts show a True and Fair view.

Strategically, the Commission’s funding has been agreed in principle by each of the member governments, through to March 2018: this is reviewed annually.

- Firstly, the Commission is in the process of reviewing its pension arrangements with a final decision being imminent. - Secondly, the liability will not be required in cash in the foreseeable future. - Thirdly, with the liquidity of the Commission being sound and with future funding being secure, this has no bearing on our ability to continue our work.

In the year, the Commission met each of its financial targets. The accounts show a surplus of £1.3m on income of £67.5m. The Commission’s working capital has dropped to £0.9m, but when receipts from the sale of our office in Rome are included (they were due in March, but came in after the year - end), the

The full accounts are available on the Commission’s website. Colin Kerr Director of Finance (to May 2015)

Dawn service at the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial and Military Cemetery, France


War Graves and Memorials in the Commission’s care

Cemetery Or Territory

Albania Algeria Antigua Argentina Australia Austria Azerbaijan Azores Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belgium Belize Bermuda Botswana Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory British Virgin Islands Bulgaria Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Chad Chile China,


Commonwealth War Dead Commemorated On Memorials

Total Commonwealth War Dead Commemorated By Name (Columns 2 & 4)

Other Nationalities

Non Burial War Grounds Graves



47 2,041 2 15 11,841 583 0 51 51 0 1,415 23 102,593 10 140 0 25 9

0 122 0 0 16 16 0 1 0 0 27 0 48,604 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 1,059 0 47 0 9 0 0 0 102,468 41 0 162 0 0

47 2,041 2 15 12,900 583 47 51 60 0 1,415 23 205,061 51 140 162 25 9

0 34 0 0 858 2 0 1 0 0 46 2 3,942 0 0 0 0 0

0 71 0 3 8 58 0 1 3 105 5 0 69 11 2 0 1 0

2 13 1 2 904 2 0 3 2 2 3 9 617 1 12 0 5 1








240 47 14,347 9 4 5 1,829

3 1 11 0 0 0 622

0 0 4,115 0 0 0 4,577

240 47 18,462 9 4 5 6,406

1 0 301 0 0 0 81

12 4 2 0 0 0 1,947

2 4 2,839 1 1 5 23

29 22 1 0 2 3

0 0 0 6 0 0

0 8 0 0 0 0

29 30 1 0 2 3

0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0

1 6 1 1 2 1

(including Hong Kong)

Congo Congo (Dem. Rep.) Costa Rica Cote d’ Ivoire Croatia Cuba 34

Cemetery Or Territory

Commonwealth Identified

Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Egypt Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands Faroe Islands Fiji France Gambia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Grenada Guatemala Guinea Guyana Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland, Republic of Israel and Palestine


Commonwealth War Dead Commemorated On Memorials

Total Commonwealth War Dead Commemorated By Name (Columns 2 & 4)

Other Nationalities

Non Burial War Grounds Graves

321 223 999 13 3 24,653 10 953 15 409 33 56 75 357,151 199 31,753 612 653 12,397 4 1 2 6 1 173 232 13,211 2,607 552 13,040 3,067

3 34 116 0 0 1,296 0 49 0 12 0 3 0 116,724 4 1,368 3 2 2,370 1 0 0 0 0 3 2 521 655 13 8,930 54

58 0 0 0 0 27,751 0 0 0 0 0 0 34 217,880 69 32 1,219 100 5,676 0 0 0 18 0 0 0 48,865 442 3,580 41,061 42

379 223 999 13 3 52,404 10 953 15 409 33 56 109 575,031 268 31,785 1,831 753 18,073 4 1 2 24 1 173 232 62,076 3,049 4,132 54,101 3,109

6 8 26 0 0 1,612 0 6 0 3 0 0 0 15,239 3 244 8 34 512 0 0 0 0 0 38 9 66 189 26 745 3

606 0 0 0 0 4,638 0 25 1 60 21 2 11 493 10 6,622 58 1 1,110 1 0 0 7 0 0 8 251 10 13 1,467 15

9 2 130 1 2 24 1 5 2 4 1 4 2 2,920 1 49 8 2 31 3 1 2 1 1 3 6 109 6 2 15 679








(including Gaza)

Second World War Veteran and former Prisoner of War Jack Jennings with our Head Gardener Krishnan Raja at Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore.


Cemetery Or Territory

Italy Jamaica Japan Jordan Kenya Latvia Lebanese Republic Lesotho Liberia Libya Lithuania Luxembourg Macedonia, Republic of Madagascar Madeira Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Monaco Morocco Mozambique Myanmar (Burma) Namibia Nepal Netherlands Netherlands Antilles New Caledonia 36


Commonwealth War Dead Commemorated On Memorials

Total Commonwealth War Dead Commemorated By Name (Columns 2 & 4)

Other Nationalities

Non Burial War Grounds Graves



44,793 153 1,718 0 4,183 32 1,705

1,909 0 55 0 77 4 12

4,467 82 20 0 4,019 0 0

49,260 235 1,738 0 8,202 32 1,705

70 32 80 0 32 0 74

158 2 173 32 316 0 10

123 8 4 1 31 1 7

0 12 7,056 2 26 118

0 0 1,471 0 0 6

996 0 0 0 0 0

996 12 7,056 2 26 118

0 0 264 0 3 0

0 0 546 0 0 0

0 2 6 1 8 1

311 6 209 2,328 0 3 3,377 1 5 37 2 61 185 10,946 427 1 18,275 11

3 0 3 2,670 0 0 9 0 0 0 0 2 6 1,104 0 0 1,259 0

0 0 125 2,294 70 0 2,347 0 0 57 0 0 93 26,904 0 0 1,026 0

311 6 334 4,622 70 3 5,724 1 5 94 2 61 278 37,850 427 1 19,301 11

1 0 10 1 0 0 243 0 0 0 0 2 1 622 217 0 281 0

0 1 12 2,172 0 0 3,697 0 0 74 0 7 1 12 0 0 11 0

1 1 6 35 0 2 13 1 1 4 1 5 6 6 40 1 475 3








Cemetery Or Territory

Commonwealth Identified

New Zealand Nigeria Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Panama Papua New Guinea Peru Philippines Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Romania Russian Federation Samoa San Marino Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Society Islands Solomon Islands Somalia


Commonwealth War Dead Commemorated On Memorials

Total Commonwealth War Dead Commemorated By Name (Columns 2 & 4)

Other Nationalities

Non Burial War Grounds Graves

2,915 983 5 955 2 999 15 6,155

2 29 0 193 0 0 0 1,646

570 3,667 0 0 0 574 0 2,287

3,485 4,650 5 955 2 1,573 15 8,442

2 38 0 1 0 0 0 2

0 77 0 7 48 0 1 4

435 32 1 74 4 2 1 7

6 2 1,172 51 2 170 365

0 0 54 0 0 7 13

0 0 5 0 0 0 243

6 2 1,177 51 2 170 608

0 0 41 0 0 1 36

0 0 25 8 0 1 3

1 2 5 5 1 3 5

12 2 1 23 493 76 444 4,464 4 5 280

0 0 0 0 16 0 9 859 0 0 22

0 0 0 0 0 289 1,392 24,676 0 0 317

12 2 1 23 493 365 1,836 29,140 4 5 597

0 0 0 0 18 0 22 25 0 0 4

0 0 0 0 11 0 135 1,438 0 0 19

1 1 1 2 3 1 4 4 1 1 2

8,312 109 1,653 2

20 6 10 0

334 0 344 0

8,466 109 1,997 2

136 2 61 0

22,947 9 273 1

1,119 20 10 1

(including Somaliland)

South Africa Spain Sri Lanka St. Christopher and Nevis

Sangro River War Cemetery, Italy


Cemetery Or Territory

Commonwealth Identified

St. Helena and Ascension Island St. Lucia St.Vincent Sudan Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syria Tanzania Thailand Togo Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey (including Gallipoli) Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man United States of America Uruguay Vanuatu Venezuela Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Totals 38


Commonwealth War Dead Commemorated On Memorials

Total Commonwealth War Dead Commemorated By Name (Columns 2 & 4)

Other Nationalities

Non Burial War Grounds Graves








44 18 395 0 149 136 1,274 3,271 6,323 1 3 105

0 0 0 0 47 0 114 86 188 0 0 0

0 0 1,346 77 0 0 10 51,635 11 0 0 40

44 18 1,741 77 149 136 1,284 54,906 6,334 1 3 145

0 0 20 0 0 0 20 167 2,208 0 0 1

4 3 427 5 0 0 0 11 1 0 0 3

1 6 1 1 11 1 2 12 2 1 2 1

7,750 9,487

809 13,581

1,954 27,132

9,704 36,619

5 29

12 148

11 38

373 2 0

2 0 0

127 0 0

500 2 0

2 0 0

6 0 12

10 2 1















8 2 1 298 70 543

1 0 0 3 0 8

0 0 0 76 661 132

8 2 1 374 731 675

0 0 0 11 1 14

0 0 0 513 0 54

1 1 1 2 1 21





41,245 55,544


Breakdown of numbers of war dead by forces Nationality

1914-1918 War

Both Wars

1939-1945 War


Identified Burials


Identified Burials


Identified Burials


Casualty Count

Australian Canadian Indian New Zealand South African United Kingdom

38,891 45,533 8,256 11,770 6,690 480,494

23,258 19,463 65,649 6,290 3,036 407,364

28,586 37,304 18,218 9,042 10,019 244,843

12,096 8,064 68,811 2,888 1,888 138,915

67,477 82,837 26,474 20,812 16,709 725,337

35,354 27,527 134,460 9,178 4,924 546,279

102,831 110,364 160,934 29,990 21,633 1,271,616









There are 212,175 unidentified Commonwealth war burials, (187,744 from the First World War and 24,431 from the Second World War). This brings the total Commonwealth war burials to 1,151,416. The names of 67,170 civilians of the Commonwealth, whose deaths were due to enemy action in the Second World War, are commemorated in the Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour located near St. George’s Chapel in Westminster Abbey, London. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have identical Memorials to the Missing in the Bombay and Chittagong 19391945 Memorials, each commemorating the same 6,469 casualties, and the Delhi and Karachi 1939-1945 Memorials, each commemorating the same 25,867 casualties. The statistics are quoted only within the commemoration figures for India. Tending borders at Karasouli Military Cemetery

Tanzania and Kenya have identical Memorials to the Missing in the Dar es Salaam, the Mombasa and the Nairobi African Memorials, each commemorating the same 49,572 casualties. The statistics are quoted only within the commemoration figures for Tanzania. The Commission maintains, on an Agency basis, the graves of 40,745 Foreign Nationals within or cemeteries or elsewhere. This includes: German French Polish Dutch Belgian

19,073 7,364 4,454 3,864 707

Of the 55,544 Non War Graves, 52,889 are maintained on behalf of the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence. 39

Trustees Of The Imperial War Graves Endowment Fund As At 31 July 2015 CHAIRMAN Julian Cazalet Stephen Burley Air Chief Marshal Sir Joe French KCB CBE SECRETARY Colin Kerr CA

Trustees Of The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Superannuation Scheme As At 31 July 2015 CHAIRMAN Michael Jonson OBE Philip Noakes Chris Farrell Pitmans Trustees Limited SECRETARY Sue Kettle


Principal Officers At Head Office


Head Office

Director General: Victoria Wallace Commonwealth War Graves Commission 2 Marlow Road Maidenhead Berkshire SL6 7DX United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0) 1628 634221 Fax: +44 (0) 1628 771208 For Casualty & Cemetery Enquiries: E-mail: Tel:+44 (0) 1628 507200 Web Site:

United Kingdom and Northern Area Director: Deirdre Mills United Kingdom Area Commonwealth War Graves Commission 2 Marlow Road Maidenhead Berkshire SL6 7DX United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0) 1628 634221 Fax: +44 (0) 1628 771208 E-mail:

Channel Islands, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, United Kingdom, Demark, Norway and Sweden

Western Europe Area

Director: Ian Hussein Belgium Office Commonwealth War Graves Commission Elverdingestraat 82 B-8900 Ieper Belgium Tel: +32 (0) 57 22 36 36 Fax: +32 (0) 57 21 80 14 E-mail:

France Office

5 -7 Rue Angèle Richard CS1019 62217 Beaurains France Tel: +33 (0) 3 21 21 77 00 Fax: +33 (0) 3 21 21 77 10 E-mail: France (including Corsica), Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Luzembourg, Monaco, Switzerland,The Netherlands, and Poland

Mediterranean Area

Director: David Symons Commonwealth War Graves Commission PO Box 40970 TT 6308 Cyprus Tel: +357 24819460 Fax: +357 24661969 E-mail: Albania, Algeria, Austria, Azerbaijani Republic, Azores, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Israel and Palestine (including Gaza),Italy, Jordan, Lebanese Republic, Libya, Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, Madeira, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Spain, Sudan, Syria,Tunisia,Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen

Africa, Asia and Pacific Area

Director: Richard Hills Africa, Asia and Pacific Area Commonwealth War Graves Commission 2 Marlow Road Maidenhead Berkshire SL6 7DX United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0) 1628 634221 Fax: +44 (0) 1628 771643 E-mail: All other countries and territories not listed elsewhere


Office of Australian War Graves Department of Veterans’ Affairs GPO Box 9998 Canberra ACT 2601 Australia Tel: +61 (0) 2 6289 6477 Fax: +61 (0) 2 6289 4861 E-mail: Australia, Norfolk Island, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands


Secretary-General: Brigadier General David Kettle (Retired) Canadian Agency Commonwealth War Graves Commission 66 Slater Street, Suite 1412 Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P4 Canada Tel: +1 613 992 3224 Fax: +1 613 995 0431 E-mail: Web Site: The Americas (North, Central and South America including the Caribbean)


Honorary Liaison Officer: Lieutenant General Ravi Eipe (Retired) c/o Africa, Asia and Pacific Area Commonwealth War Graves Commission Head Office 2 Marlow Road Maidenhead Berkshire, SL6 7DX United Kingdom

New Zealand

Heritage Operations Ministry for Culture and Heritage PO Box 5364, Wellington New Zealand Tel: +64 (0) 4 499 4229 Fax: +64 (0) 4 499 4490 E-mail: New Zealand, New Caledonia, Samoa, Society Islands,Tonga,Vanuatu

South Africa

Director: Juan Maree South African Agency c/o Africa,Asia and Pacific Area Commonwealth War Graves Commission Head Office 2 Marlow Road Maidenhead Berkshire, SL6 7DX United Kingdom South Africa, Namibia, St. Helena and Ascension Island, Lesotho, Swaziland

Acknowledgements The Commonwealth War Graves Commission would like to thank all staff who have supplied images for the annual report and the following for their kind permission to reproduce images. Front Cover, Henk Deleu; Page 8, Margaux Capoen ; Page31 Corporal Malcolm Byers, National Defence, Canada


Front cover: ANZAC Dawn Service at 5th Australian Division Memorial, Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood, Belgium

Annual Report 2014-2015  

New Annual Report details a year of progress and remembrance. The CWGC's 2014-2015 Annual Report details the many commemorations the CWGC h...

Annual Report 2014-2015  

New Annual Report details a year of progress and remembrance. The CWGC's 2014-2015 Annual Report details the many commemorations the CWGC h...