Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Sir Fabian Ware: Founder of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Too old to be accepted for army duty, Fabian Ware arrived in France in command of a mobile unit of the British Red Cross in September 1914. He was quickly struck by the lack of any organisation responsible for the marking and recording of the graves of fallen soldiers and became determined that this should change. With his persistence the War Office realised that proper care of the war graves would boost the morale of troops at the front and comfort relatives at home. The work that Ware had started of recording and maintaining graves was recognised with the foundation of the Graves Registration Commission in 1915, which became a part of the army. As early as 1916 Ware encouraged help from distinguished horticulturalists at Kew and from the most famous architects of the day on how the cemeteries and memorials should be designed to best commemorate the sacrifice of Commonwealth forces. All this time he was campaigning ceaselessly for an official organisation to be set up to do this. On 21 May 1917 his diligence was recognised when the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission was established by Royal Charter with Ware as its Vice-Chairman. During the war, Fabian Ware was twice Mentioned in Despatches and ended the war as a Major-General. In 1920 he became a Knight of two orders in recognition of his tireless work during the Great War. After the war he explained his motivation saying, "Common remembrance of the dead [of the Great War] is the one thing, sometimes the only thing, that never fails to bring our people together."
Published on Jan 23, 2012
Too old to be accepted for army duty, Fabian Ware arrived in France in command of a mobile unit of the British Red Cross in September 1914....