Background

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)

Royal Charter established the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) as the Imperial War Graves Commission in 1917:

  • to mark and maintain the graves of the members of the Commonwealth who died in the First World War;
  • to build memorials to those with no known grave; and
  • to keep records and registers.

This work was founded on principles that have remained unaltered:

  • that each of the dead should be commemorated individually by name either on the headstone on the grave, or by an inscription on a memorial;
  • that the headstones and memorials should be permanent;
  • that the headstones should be uniform; and
  • that there should be no distinction made on account of military or civil rank, race or creed.

Canada and other participating governments agree to share the costs of maintaining the graves and memorials in proportion to the numbers of her war dead through the CWGC. Canada also shares proportionately in the costs of maintaining the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Pusan, Korea, and the Memorial to the Missing there, which bears the names of 16 Canadians. In addition, Canada independently funds other memorials such as the Vimy and Beaumont Hamel Memorials in France and the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

It is with pride that we extend an invitation to all Canadians to visit our memorials. The grounds surrounding them are immaculately maintained, and they afford an atmosphere of peace and serenity - an atmosphere appropriate to the memory of all who gave their lives for our peace and freedom and of those for whom the fortunes of war denied a known and honoured grave.

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