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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

CWGC Unknown Soldiers.


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Hello, is there anything that recorded the unknown in the CWGC cemeteries please? I know you can find the total numbers of unknown numbers in a cemetery but what I'm specifically looking for is a list of what the headstones actually state i.e. some will say a Corporal of the Great War or a private of the Lincolnshire Regiments etc.  Is there anything available that records those sorts of details?

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You can find that information on the GRRF files (I think I saw it on the headstone schedules also, I checked some but can't find examples now where the regiment is listed).


Some examples of those GRRF's :


Unknown British Soldiers from RIR and RIF:




Unknown soldier and officer from the RAF:




Finding and collecting these documents is a lot of work but these are available from the Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group. Richard Laughton and some others did the job for a lot of cemeteries.

The GRRF's are here:



Is this what you are looking for?



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22 hours ago, Gus1914 said:

Is there anything available that records those sorts of details?

Yes, but it is not consistent because the details of the "unknowns" are not displayed on the CWGC website in a searchable form.


What I think you would need to do is to look at the known burials at a particular cemetery and see what information is recorded for them. Using Luc's two examples, you would find these documents against the CWGC records for the known men listed. But to build up a picture of the whole cemetery, you would probably need to look at the records attached to all the known men.


I think the way I would approach an exercise to detail as much as possible about a particular cemetery would be first to draw up a plan of it, noting the location of all the graves (easily done from the CWGC records).I would then mark up the known burials on the plan. That in turn identifies where the unknowns are. it would then be a matter of looking at the attached records (if any) for the known burials adjacent to each unknown to see what information was recorded. Time consuming but do-able.


May I ask if this was just a casual enquiry or if you have a specific cemetery in mind for a specific reason?





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