Friday, 14 August 2015

CWGC adds further WW2 records

New on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site linked to WW2 deaths are:

  • Grave Registration Reports (GRRs), standard forms which detail graves for which the Commission is responsible within a particular burial ground. They provide basic details of the individuals, such as name, service number, rank, regiment, unit and date of death, and are listed in Plot, Row and Grave order.
  • Registers produced by the Commission on a cemetery-by-cemetery or memorial-by-memorial basis containing an entry for each individual, with details of their rank, regiment, unit and date of death. Many of the entries also include additional information such as next of kin details.

Using these I discovered the inscription on my uncle Edward Cowan's gravestone and that the flying boat in which he died had an RCAF pilot aboard.

Here's the CWGC announcement.

13 August 2015
The digitised records cover British, Irish and Commonwealth casualties from the Second World War, together with records for most other nationals commemorated at CWGC sites: this includes the records for German soldiers. The release of the CWGC's Second World War records follows the successful release of the First World War archive in August 2014.

The documents give a unique insight into the process of commemoration undertaken by the armed forces and the CWGC during and after the war, and include details of personal headstone inscriptions, date of death, rank, regiment and even some documents which show the journey of the deceased to their final resting place. The records are freely available to the public through the CWGC website at

Andrew Fetherston, the CWGC's Archivist and Records Manager, said: "The release of our Second World War archive online opens a new avenue for members of the public to investigate and remember the individuals we commemorate."

"With the addition of these documents, alongside records relating to non-Commonwealth casualties buried in various sites around the world, it will now be possible, for the first time, to see the original records of all 1.7 million individuals the Commission commemorates."

"The archive will greatly enhance the experience of searching the CWGC's records and will mean that millions of people across the Commonwealth could discover more about their relatives who fought and died during the Second World War."

The CWGC is hosting a live Q&A session across the organisation's Twitter and Facebook platforms on 17 August at midday to give the public the opportunity to ask questions and receive tips on how to get the most out of the archived documents. To take part people simply need to tweet their question to @CWGC using the hashtag #CWGCarchive or post it on the timeline at

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