War Graves Photographic Project

March 16 2016 


Photographic Project

There will be very few readers who are not familiar with the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). It is not so well known that working in association with them is The War Graves Photographic Project (TWGPP), a voluntary group whose aim is to extend the work of the CWGC by photographing every war grave and memorial worldwide. This joint venture was formally announced in November 2007 with the TWGPP website going live in February 2008

The ethos of TWGPP is very simple: to enable families and researchers to obtain, via its website, a photograph of a grave or memorial which many cannot personally visit.    

Initially the project’s brief was confined to Commonwealth graves or memorials for WWI and WWII but the scope has now widened to include all nationalities and all conflicts providing the casualty died in service.

Currently the website contains well over a 1.79 million images from 23,000 cemeteries or memorials in over 150 countries. Photographing the beautifully maintained CWGC cemeteries is one thing. Tramping through the undergrowth of often neglected churchyards or vast corporation cemeteries looking for a single - or scattered headstones - is another story altogether as volunteers can testify with many a frustrating or amusing story.

The project has over 1000 volunteers worldwide from all walks of life. All that was required was motivation, a digital camera and the CWGC location data supplied by the project’s coordinators. It is probably a fair assessment to say that this is a project which owes its ultimate true worth to modern technology: the facility to download from camera to computer to website with comparative ease and speed.

Requests are dealt with on a  daily basis by Project Request Co-ordinator Sandra Rogers; the success rate is high given the numbers in the archive and the numerous letters of thanks are both poignant, heartwarming and in many instances heartbreaking. These can be viewed on the sites ‘Thanks’ Tab http://twgpp.org/thanks.php

With the 100th Anniversary of WWI commencing this year many local societies and schools are utilising the facility to prepare exhibitions and local publications to remember the men and women that are commemorated on local memorials. It is hoped that many families will discover this vast archive and find relatives who may have faded into obscurity.

Adding images to the website is an ongoing task and revisits to many cemeteries are being conducted by new volunteers to update the archive. Ultimately, when complete, the archive will form a lasting record of all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. 

Further information about the project, can be viewed at www.twgpp.org