Saturday, April 07, 2007

war graves

Established by Royal Charter in 1917, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission pays tribute to the 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars.

search the Debt of Honour Register online datbase which lists the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars and the 23,000 cemeteries, memorials and other locations worldwide where they are commemorated.
The register can also be searched for details of the 67,000 Commonwealth civilians who died as a result of enemy action in the Second World War.

The primary objective of this website is to inform people of the omissions and errors in the records held by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Whilst much of the Commission's work is to be commended, we believe it is failing in key areas of its responsibilities. The efforts of the Commission's dedicated staff and contractors world-wide, who work tirelessly at maintaining its cemeteries and memorials are not brought into question.

An estimated 45,000 names are missing from the Commission's registers

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is charged with the duty of commemorating any officers and men from Great Britain and her Empire who so courageously and selflessly laid down their lives in the service of their country. There are an estimated 45,000 of "The Fallen" missing from the Commission's registers and memorials throughout the world.

Compounding this unfortunate situation, the records of those who the Commission do commemorate are marred by a very large number of errors in their name, rank, unit, date of death, age and next of kin. It is obvious that many errors have been in place since the Commission's founding, but in more recent years, the matter has been further complicated by the defective OCR (Optical Character Recognition) computer scanning of its records, resulting in a corrupted electronic database.

Forgotten Heroes
FAQs/The Details
RND Gallery
Errors & Omissions

A listing of corrections & additions accepted by the Commission can be viewed on the Amended Records page.

There are two basic causes of errors in the Commission's records:-

(Type 1):

Errors made by the OCR computer scanning (Optical Character Recognition) of the Commission's registers in the early 1990's.

The Commission's computer database is riddled with OCR problems, all of which can be easily rectified by reference to the original (hardcopy) register entries. The OCR technology was evidently not sufficiently advanced to accurately copy the Commission's registers. The result of this "disaster" is that a very high percentage of the computer database records are flawed. The Commission is well aware of this problem and has recently expanded its DVT (Data Verification Team) to begin this mammoth task.

(Type 2):

Long-standing errors, which date back to the compilation of the IWGC registers in the 1920's.

It is suspected that the next of kin supplied erroneous information to the IWGC in many cases, & they, not wishing to upset the families, merely accepted the information without question. These errors are by far the most difficult to rectify, as they require both documentary evidence & a good understanding of British Military history. Many errors can be seen to be logical, i.e. the Collingwood Bn. R.N. Div. did not arrive at Gallipoli until 30/5/15. Therefore, a man who died of wounds 7/5/15 aboard a hospital ship off Cape Helles, cannot possibly have been serving with the Collingwood Bn. (who were at Blandford Camp in Dorset on this date) and therefore must have been serving with another unit (see Fred Machen in the lists below).

The corrected record relative to the casualty is displayed in black text, with a description of the database error/omission in red text. All corrections are fully supported by original documentation. Historical notes for the guidance of the reader are provided at the head of each section.

similar errors exist in records of US Veterans:-

in USA Nationwide Gravesite Locator

Information on veterans buried in private cemeteries was collected for the purpose of furnishing government grave markers

veteran graves site:gov - Google Search

Veteran’s Grave Registration index cards - Google Search Final Resting Place (broken links but good article):
"A Congressional act of 1879 allowed for a tombstone to be placed on the graves of soldiers buried in private cemeteries. An index of the headstones was created on what were originally 3-inch by 4-inch cards.

The cards name an approximate 166,000 soldiers and have been microfilmed and are available in National Archives and Records Administration Microfilm Publication M1845, which you can find at the National Archives and the thirteen regional branches. Information about the microfilm is available in the National Archives Information Locator system.

The names contained on the cards are generally those of Civil War veterans. There are a very few non-Civil War names contained in the index.

Claire Prechtel-Kluskens' article on 'Headstones of Union Civil War Veterans' in the Spring 1999 issue of the FGS FORUM discusses these records in detail and indicates the range of names contained in each roll. If you are looking for 'lost' soldiers this index may be quite helpful, as it is national in scope and you don't need to know the place of burial or death to search the index.

Finding Relatives in Military Cemeteries

Beginning in 1861, military veterans could be buried in one of the many national or federally-administrated cemeteries. The largest of these cemeteries is the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., but there are many others as well. Records of almost all these soldier and veteran burials were in the custody of the Cemetery Service, National Cemetery System, Department of Veterans Affairs"


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