1917 the Imperial War Graves Commission was established by Royal Charter. Now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission(CWGC), its duties are to mark and maintain the graves of the members of the forces of the Commonwealth who died in the two World Wars and later conflicts; to build and maintain memorials to the dead, whose graves are unknown, and to keep records and registers.
The partner governments are Australia, Britain, Canada, India, New Zealand and South Africa, and there are war graves in 140 countries. The work is founded on principles which remain unaltered; that the dead should be commemorated individually by name either on a headstone on the grave or by an inscription on a memorial; that the headstone should be uniform; that there should be no distinction made on account of military or civil rank, race or creed.
The cemeteries are places of peace and beauty and carefully tended rose and perennials grow in setting of lawn, trees and shrubs. Similarly the American Battle Monuments Commission administers, operates and maintains 24 overseas US cemeteries and 15 monuments under its care. If you wish to visit a particular grave in France, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, North Africa - indeed almost anywhere - it is probable that Holts Tours can help you.
The CWGC is responsible for the graves and memorials of 1.7 million Commonwealth men and women who gave their lives in the two world wars, managing over 21,000 sites in 150 countries. Tyne Cot is the largest CWGC cemetery for the 13,000 soldiers who gave their lives on the battlefields between Ypres and Passchendaele. CWGC Memorials to the Missing commemorate the dead who have no known grave; the largest of these is the Thiepval Memorial on the Somme. There are also graves maintained by CWGC in local graveyards and many small cemeteries along the way.
Special Visits - it is possible on most tours to arrange a number of special request visits to Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries and Memorials provided that the visits are agreed in writing at the time of booking. If you let us know the location of the cemetery or memorial we can advise you about the appropriate tour. Sprays, wreaths and poppy crosses made by the Royal British legion are available on request. The number of these visits is limited on each tour, so please make your request as early as possible.
You can discover the exact location of the cemetery and grave or memorial from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 2 Marlow Road, Maidenhead,
Berks, SL6 7DX
Telephone: 01628 634221
The American Battle Monuments Commission, 2300 Clarendon Blvd., #500 Arlington, VA 22201 USA
Once you have this information please contact us and we will let you know which is the most appropriate tour for you to make your special visit.