The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and Gateways to the First World War are looking for volunteer researchers to investigate CWGC files on First World War cemetery and memorial sites.
The CWGC commemorates 1.7 million members of the British, Imperial and Commonwealth forces who died in the First and Second World War. They are buried or commemorated in 23,000 locations in over 150 countries or territories around the world, with each individual cemetery or memorial site having a physical file on which information was recorded and stored. These files document the history of such sites, and the activities which have taken place at them.
The files typically contain some or all of the following types of material:
- maintenance reports
- details of structural changes
- public queries
- correspondence with next of kin of the casualties.
At present, the files are listed only by site name and covering dates – we have no in depth knowledge of what each file contains, and therefore their current use and accessibility to researchers is limited to queries about particular sites.
About the project
Volunteers on this project will be invited to take part in an initial research day at the CWGC archive in Maidenhead on Friday 16th March 2018, looking at the files, and, under guidance from the archive team, adding to the catalogue description of the file, to aid in its discoverability by future researchers.
Using information found in the archive files, the volunteers will then be encouraged to carry out further research on the cemetery or memorial site(s) in their local area, and the individual war casualties who are buried or commemorated there. Such information may then be published on the CWGC website as an article or blog, or form part of the permanent CWGC record (for example photographs of individual headstones or historic images of the individual casualties may be added to their commemorative record on the CWGC website). The volunteers will also have the opportunity to present their findings at an CWGC Archive event held in November.
How to get involved
Volunteers will need to be available for the initial research day on Friday 16th March between 11am and 4pm. Gateways to the First World War will reimburse reasonable UK travel costs.
To register your interest please email Prof. Lucy Noakes at firstname.lastname@example.org including details of where you are based. Please note that there are limited places available but further research days may be planned later in 2018. No prior research experience is required, just enthusiasm and interest in the project and the ability to attend the research day and commit one or two days more to researching in your local area.