5 facts about the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation

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Get to know us a little better with five key facts about the Foundation.

CWGF: Five things you should know

We’re part of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

We are the charitable arm of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. We help support the work of our parent organisation through outreach projects and by putting on a wide range of events, talks, and programmes each year.

This way, we can act as an extra boost for the Commission, helping a shine a spotlight on the brilliant work it does to commemorate the millions of servicemen and women who gave up their lives fighting in the World Wars.

We help keep the stories of the Commonwealth’s war dead alive

1.7 million casualties are commemorated in some form by the Commission, whether buried in our unique cemeteries or remembered on CWGC memorials if they have no known grave.

These men and women gave everything for future generations. It’s up to us to help preserve their legacies and keep their stories alive.

How do we do that? We have many different projects, initiatives, and events. It’s our goal to inform and inspire people of all ages to stop and think about the fallen of the World Wars.

Whether that’s one of our fundraising remembrance events, through our guest speakers and Guides programmes, or our volunteer projects, we have lots of ways in which we engage with the public.

For more information, visit our Projects page.

We run commemoration and volunteer projects across the UK

Most of our initiatives and projects are currently focused on the UK. However, we’re soon due to be spreading our reach internationally with some exciting new projects. Stay tuned for more news.

The Commission looks after many sites across the UK. From the monumental Portsmouth Naval Monument to Brookwood Military Cemetery to singular graves in churchyards, we have a lot of sites to look after.

Many of our projects give our volunteers, supporters and members the opportunity really get stuck in.

Take our Eyes On, Hands On project. Generously sponsored by Annington Homes, Eyes On, Hands On, lets those with an active interest in our work become our eyes in their local area. Our trained volunteers head to their nearest cemetery to do inspections, do a spot of cleaning if necessary, and provide early notice of any problems or issues to help us maintain our UK war graves.

We also put on several different events each year, such as our Evening at Brookwood concert evening or our December Carol Service. These gatherings help us look at remembrance from different angles with attendees coming together to embrace our shared history.

We help inspire the next generation

We believe it is essential to ensure the importance of commemoration and the memories of the war dead are kept alive.

This is especially poignant as the vast majority of the servicemen and women the CWGC commemorates were only young themselves. Indeed, many teenagers volunteered to fight in both World Wars (can we rephrase – sounds like the same teenagers fought in both!).

So, how do we engage with the younger generation? It’s through innovative and engaging projects and our inspiring volunteers once more.

Our guest speakers, for instance, head into schools and colleges to spread the word about what we do. Their knowledge of our casualties and their stories helps them bring history to vivid life.

We also put on more interactive exhibitions to help stimulate interest and the imagination.

Take our Noor Inayat-Khan: A Woman of Conspicuous Courage exhibition at Runnymede.

Through displays and talks, we tell the story of one of the most remarkable women of the Second World War; one of the first female operators to be sent to Nazi-occupied France, sacrificing herself for the cause of freedom.

We are constantly planning and tinkering with more ways to reach younger history lovers. Keep visiting our site for information on future fundraising and awareness projects.

We were founded in 2017

One hundred years after the Commission was founded, the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation was born.

Since then, we’ve been supporting the CWGC with all the wonderful work we’ve touched on above. We have lots of plans for the future so please come back for more updates soon.

If you wish to support our work, why not become a member? Your generosity will ensure we can continue to commemorate the Commonwealth’s war dead and tell their amazing stories for years to come.