“The Commonwealth War Graves Commission ensures that 1.7 million people who died in the two world wars will never be forgotten.
The Commission owes its existence to one man, Fabian Ware. At the beginning of the First World War, he was too old to join the army so he went to France in command of a Red Cross unit. Ware realised there was no organisation recording where British casualties of the war were being buried, so he and his unit began to record all the graves they could find.
The Commission received the backing of Parliament for two of its most controversial decisions. These were firstly that bodies would not be returned home (‘repatriation‘), but would be buried or commemorated near the place where they had died, and secondly that all the headstones would be the same size and shape, regardless of the background, age or rank of the individual buried there.”
After the war ended families or next of kin of lost soldiers were allowed to add a personal inscription of remembrance to their headstone. These messages could be a maximum of 66 characters long (including spaces) and cost 3.5 pennies per letter.
These images show some of the inscriptions of remembrance on the graves of identified soldiers from the Somerset Light Infantry. All the graves are in the Somme region of Northern France.