Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is an intergovernmental organisation of six independent member states whose principal function is to mark, record and maintain the graves and places of commemoration of Commonwealth of Nations military service members who died in the two World Wars. The Commission is also responsible for commemorating Commonwealth civilians who died as a result of enemy action during World War II. The Commission was founded by Sir Fabian Arthur Goulstone Ware and constituted through Royal Charte in 1917 named the 'Imperial War Graves Commission'. The change to the present name took place in 1960.
The Commission, as part of its mandate, is responsible for commemorating all Commonwealth war dead individually and equally. To this end, the war dead are commemorated by name on a headstone, at an identified site of a burial, or on a memorial. War dead are commemorated uniformly and equally, irrespective of military or civil rank, race or creed.
The Commission is currently responsible for the continued commemoration of 1.7 million deceased Commonwealth military service members in 154 countries. Since its inception, the Commission has constructed approximately 2,500 war cemeteries and numerous memorials. The Commission is currently responsible for the care of war dead at over 23,000 separate burial sites and the maintenance of more than 200 memorials worldwide. In addition to commemorating Commonwealth military service members, the Commission maintains, under arrangement with applicable governments, over 40,000 non-Commonwealth war graves and over 25,000 non-war military and civilian graves. The Commission operates through the continued financial support of the member states: United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa. The current President of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is Prince Edward, Duke of Kent.
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References / notes
- Peaslee, Amos Jenkins (1974). International Governmental Organizations 2 (3rd ed.). London: Martinus Nijhoff. ISBN 90-247-1601-2.
- CWGC Annual Report 2012–2013. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 2013-12-28.
- Gibson, T. A. Edwin; Ward, G. Kingsley (1989). Courage Remembered: The Story Behind the Construction and Maintenance of the Commonwealth's Military Cemeteries and Memorials of the Wars of 1914–18 and 1939–45. London: Stationery Office Books. ISBN 0-11-772608-7.