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CWGC the headstones are scattered throughout many church graveyards and cemeteries. It can be  difficult to track them all down as some have disappeared and a few are pretty much overgrown and difficult to photograph face on. I fear some may have been destroyed or taken to be used as building material as most are made of Portland stone.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission principles

Each of the dead should be commemorated by name on the headstone or memorial.
Headstones and memorials should be permanent
There should be no distinction made on account of military or civil rank, race or creed

CWGC Stones & Epitaphs

The headstones of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) stand out from all other organisations due to the amount on information that can be found on them. An important aspect of this information is the epitaph, the inscription chosen by the relatives of the deceased.

The maximum number of letters was fixed at 66 and at first a charge of 3˝ pence was made per letter. When it became apparent that this was beyond the means of many people the charge became 'voluntary'.

New Zealand does not not allow an epitaph.

When the CWGC inquired what the relatives would like to have inscribed on the grave, the CWGC made a few suggestions and these can be found regularly on headstones.

A lot of people however gave through the epitaphs words to their feelings. All human emotions can be seen through these words; sadness, despair, anger, pride, strength through Faith, etc.

The inscriptions are always in capitals and usually without punctuation.

The three categories of qualifying people

All had to have died between 04.08.14 and 31.08.21 inclusive.

1   Any serving Commonwealth military personnel who died of any cause whatsoever and in any location. Death can be categorised as - Killed in Action, Died of Wounds, Died of illness, Died in Accident, Died of Homicide or Suicide and Died from Judicial Execution.

Cause of death and the location are immaterial.

2   Any former Commonwealth military personnel who died within the qualifying dates after leaving service of any service related injury or illness. The cause of death has to be proven to have been caused by their service within the dates. Not always easy and often impossible to prove to the authorities' satisfaction.

The military authorities were often not informed of post-discharge deaths or did not accept the death was service related.

3  A member of one of the Recognised Civilian Organisations (Mercantile Marine, Red Cross etc) who died within the dates BUT in addition they had to have died both on duty AND of a war related cause.

No person who died after 31.08.21 can qualify as a WW1 War Grave - ever - as stipulated in CWGC's Royal Charter.

The same rules apply to WW2 but the dates are 03.09.39 to 31.12.47 inclusive.

In the UK and other home countries not all War Graves have CWGC headstones. The relatives could choose to have one or not but that does not affect their status as official War Graves.

The Cross of Sacrifice and the Stone of Remembrance

In any cemetery with over 40 graves, you can find The Cross of Sacrifice designed by the architect Reginald Blomfield to represent the faith of the majority. By using a simple cross embedded with a bronze sword and mounted on an octagonal base, Blomfield hoped to, in his words, ‘keep clear of any of the sentimentalities of Gothic’.

Cemeteries with over 1,000 burials have a Stone of Remembrance designed by Lutyens to commemorate those of all faiths and none. The geometry of the structure was based on studies of the Parthenon and steers purposefully clear of shapes associated with particular religions.

Individual graves are marked by uniform headstones, differentiated only by their inscriptions: the national emblem or regimental badge, rank, name, unit, date of death and age of each casualty is inscribed above an appropriate religious symbol and a more personal dedication chosen by relatives. Where there is risk of earth movement, graves are marked instead by bronze plaques on low pedestals

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