This weekend I had the privilege of attending the open day of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) at Brookwood Military Cemetery, near Woking.
Showing me around the site historian Lynelle Howson told me first-hand about the work of the CWGC and their determination to treat every deceased soldier as an equal. Headstones are of equal size and shape, no matter rank or regiment.
Only when you get close can you make out personal details such as religion, regiment, names, and ages. Some headstones include quotations, chosen by the soldier’s family. Walking along a row of headstones for young men who died together, aged 19, 20 and 21 years … well, what can I say?
The CWGC cares for 1.7 million casualties of the first and second world war, from Britain and the Commonwealth, in over 150 countries and territories across 23,000 locations.
The largest CWGC cemetery in the UK, Brookwood contains the graves of over 1,600 servicemen of the British Empire in the First World War and over 3,470 from the Second World War.
It is a fascinating, stunning reminder of the sacrifices made for us in the first and second world wars. The men and women resting here are well looked after.
HE WILL NOT AGE
HIS SONG IS SUNG
AND HE REMAINS
(From the grave of J.V.Eliis,
Canadian navigator, age 26)
Photo credit to Megan Maltby