British Military & Criminal History:

1900 to 1999.

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Home - Remembrance & Memorials

Introduction

Although only lasting the four years from August 1914 to November 1918, the Great War (later called the First World War) claimed an extremely high number of casualties. The UK lost far more personnel in the First World War, than in any conflict since including the 2nd World War.

The Cenotaph

The UK's National War Memorial - The Cenotaph in Whitehall (Stephen Stratford 2002)

I also include background information about several war grave cemeteries and other memorials, which contain the details of several service personnel referenced by this site. This information could not have been provided without the assistance of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's (CWGC) excellent web site. Any serious research can't be conducted without visiting this site.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Imperial War Graves Commission was formed in 1917. It was the only organisation to be charged with the commemoration of all the war dead from its member countries. Following the establishment of the Commonwealth, the commission was renamed to its present title. The The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has an extremely useful web site.

The cost of the Commission is shared between by its member countries (Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and United Kingdom), in proportion to the number of that country's personnel commemorated in the CWGC's cemeteries and memorials.

The CWGC is also responsible for commemorating the more than 67,000 Commonwealth civilians who died as a result of enemy action during the Second World War. Their names are listed on a roll of honour, housed near St George's Chapel in Westminster Abbey, London.

USSR Memorial in London

Memorial to USSR war dead of WWII located by the Imperial War Museum (Stephen Stratford 2005).

 

Memorial to Australian War Dead of both world wars near Hyde Park (Stephen Stratford 2006).

Unknown Soldiers

Due to the loss of live during the First World War (called the Great War at the time), it was felt necessary to commemorate the loss of live and the huge number of service personnel who have no known grave.

Several countries established the commemoration of a grave containing the remains of an unknown service person. Some countries such as the USA have an Unknown Soldier from several wars. Other countries, such as the UK and France, have one Unknown Warrior who represents those service personnel killed during World War One and subsequent conflicts.

With the advances made in DNA analysis and other scientific techniques, it is extremely unlikely that new graves containing unidentified service personnel will be possible.

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