Director General of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to introduce the new Anglia brochure
This year, as we launch our latest History brochure, we are honoured that the foreword has been written by Victoria Wallace, the Director General of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Here’s what she has to say….
It’s a pleasure to be able to welcome you as you start to plan your journey to the battlefields. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has been tending the graves and final resting places to over 1.7 million men and women who died in the two World Wars for over 100 years. But it is only over this recent period of the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War that we have truly understood our role as we approach the second century of our operations. People have been making pilgrimages to the battlefields ever since the end of the great war. They have been ably guided by operators like Anglia, but for the vast majority of those who travelled in the early days there was no need for them to find out more about those people who lie in our cemeteries. The visitors came in search of husbands, brothers and fathers and to honour comrades. Today each one of those men and women is beyond living memory and we have been proud to embrace the new mission of helping visitors to understand more about the people who made the supreme sacrifice for their countries.
There was some anxiety back in 2014 that all the commemoration of these anniversaries would quickly result in remembrance fatigue. I’m delighted that we have seen the exact opposite; as people find out more about the experience of their ancestors, or men and women from their own communities, remembrance becomes more meaningful and people are encouraged to explore further.
The Commission was established at the darkest part of the First World War when it became clear that a plan was needed to ensure that all those fell on the battlefields received a proper burial. Thousands were never recovered and their memory is enshrined in the great memorials to be missing, ensuring in the words that Kipling chose from the Bible to be inscribed on the great stones of remembrance in our cemeteries that “their name liveth for ever more.”
The cemeteries and memorials you’ll find during your visit are extraordinary examples of the best of 20th century art and design, each one responding to the landscape around it and providing beautiful havens of serenity and reflection for visitors. Today our dedicated teams ensure that they are well maintained, and we are glad that more people than ever are making the pilgrimage.
Whatever your motivation for this trip, whether you are a passionate military history enthusiast or interested in the history of a family member we very much hope you will find more information about us and about those we care for on our website, www.CWGC.org