- 410Commonwealth cemeteries
- 20French military cemeteries
- 13German military cemeteries
Established by Royal Charter in 1917, the then Imperial War Graves Commission was created to carry out the essential work of maintaining the graves of members of empire armies who died during the two World Wars and other wars throughout the British Empire, later the Commonwealth.
Its other fundamental task is to maintain the many memorials and monuments. Most cemeteries have a Cross of Sacrifice with a sword set onto it, and the Stone of Remembrance bearing a carved quotation from Ecclesiasticus, “Their name liveth for evermore”.
Almost every cemetery has a shelter area for visitors. The overall result is a very striking architectural feature.
Ministry of Defence staff are responsible for maintaining the French cemeteries, which are striking in their uniformity and plain style. The lay-out usually includes “ossuaries” (mass graves) and a flag pole flying the French flag.
The “Sépultures de Guerre” website allows you to research and locate the place of burial of men from the French army who died during the First World War and other conflicts.
The Memoire des Hommes website will give you extra information about the soldiers who “died for France”.
The prime object of the United States War Graves Service, set up by Federal decision in 1923, is to maintain the cemeteries containing the graves and memorials of the 218,000 men and women who died during various conflicts.
The Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge is a humanitarian organisation set up in 1919 to identify the graves of German soldiers in other countries and to preserve and maintain them.
Black crosses mark the graves of the soldiers given individual graves (four names to one cross).
The largest of the German cemeteries can be found between Vermandovillers and Foucaucourt-en-Santerre.The cemetery was built by the French in 1920 and over 22,000 German soldiers are buried in it, including 13,000 who lie in 15 mass graves.
Manfred von Richthofen, the famous Red Baron, was buried for a short time in this cemetery of Fricourt. 17,000 German soldiers are buried in this cemetery.