The National Army Museum will be working with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Army to investigate cases of First and Second World War soldiers and officers who are currently not commemorated as war casualties.
Every year, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission receives a steady stream of claims from descendants and others who believe their loved ones’ names should be recognised. These missing names predominantly relate to soldiers and officers who died of their injuries away from the battlefield.
Many of these casualties died whilst still in service, but casualties who were discharged as unfit because of their injuries and subsequently died may also be eligible for commemoration.
The Museum will be working with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Army to establish each individual’s eligibility for official recognition of their sacrifice.
The initiative will form part of the National Army Museum’s extensive First World War Commemoration activities: nam.ac.uk/ww1
David Bownes, Assistant Director of the National Army Museum, said: “Restoring honour to the casualties of the World Wars is a deserving enterprise and one that the National Army Museum’s experts are well-equipped to investigate and substantiate.”
The Commission’s Commemorations Policy Manager, Nic Andrews said: “The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is looking forward to working with the National Army Museum and to ensuring those servicemen and women who died in the two World Wars are commemorated in a manner befitting their sacrifice.”
A British Army spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring all those who died as a result of their Service in the World Wars receive the recognition they deserve for their sacrifice and bravery. The partnership with the National Army Museum and Commonwealth War Graves Commission will ensure that all those in the Army who gave their lives will be honoured.”
All three organisations are involved and committed to ensuring that the courage and sacrifice of soldiers and officers who died as a result of their service in the First or Second World Wars is not forgotten. The process will be shared across the three organisations in the following way:
The first stage – All enquiries regarding commemoration in the first instance should be made to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 2 Marlow Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6.
The second stage – The National Army Museum will act as adjudicator, tasked with researching the cases to corroborate whether they died as result of their service. The Museum’s recommendations will then be sent to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which will inform the enquirer of the decision. The Museum is unable to enter into correspondence with members of the public about individual cases.
The last stage – In the event of an appeal, the Army will make the final decision.
This work was previously undertaken by the Army who received up to 300 cases every year. From January 2014, the National Army Museum will be employing two full-time members of staff to investigate and verify each case, with the initial project set to run between 2014 and 2016.