We received a letter recently from someone asking for help locating the name of their father (a Second World War Navy casualty) on a war memorial. She had visited the two large Commonwealth War Grave Commission memorials in the area but had been unable to locate his name on either.
The answer to the query can be found in the fact that the enquirer had recently discovered her father was buried in a nearby Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is the official body responsible for commemorating each individual from the Commonwealth who died in the First and Second World Wars with either a headstone (where the grave exists) or a memorial inscription (where no body was recovered).
The CWGC commemorates each individual once and once only. If a grave exists, the individual will not additionally be listed on a memorial. This also means that if a body is subsequently located, identified and buried, that person’s name will actually be removed from the relevant memorial.
The purpose of these CWGC memorials is to allow people to be commemorated where no grave exists, rather than as a list of all those who were killed, which explains why this enquirer was unable to find her father’s name.
Her father’s name may still be listed on a non-CWGC memorial where he lived or served and that is something we can help to search for.