Probation Service helping CWGC in the upkeep of graves.


CWGC Press release:

Raising the Standard: War Graves in the UK

War graves can be found in almost every single burial ground the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, some 170,000 casualties in over 12,500 locations.

Many of the men and women who died in the United Kingdom were laid to rest by their families in their local churchyard or cemetery. The Commission relies heavily on local and church authorities to maintain the graves on our behalf and standards of care vary greatly.

Recently, our Commissioners expressed concerns about the standard of maintenance in some UK sites. Following this, the Commission’s team of inspectors visited every site in the country and rated its overall standard of care. The vast majority of sites were acceptable but unfortunately a small number gave cause for concern. It is these burials grounds which the Commission must target and which we seek help in improving the appearance, not only of the war graves but of the whole location.

The Commission is continuing to make contact with various voluntary organisations, local groups and army cadets to see if they would be able to help us in initial clearance followed by ongoing maintenance of the poorly maintained sites containing war graves. We would also like to encourage schools and local communities to take interest in the war graves located in their local churchyards and cemeteries.

The National Probation Service is one organisation which is very enthusiastic about the Commission’s Community Involvement Project. They feel it will provide offenders with an opportunity to gain a historical perspective of the bravery and sacrifices of their ancestors, whilst also ensuring that appropriate respect is given to them in their final resting place. Work has already started in South Wales, Greater Manchester and Hampshire. Their main role will be to clear the overgrown and neglected sites. Once the initial tidying up work has been done, teams of offenders will then continue to provide ground maintenance to these sites.

A spokesperson for the National Probation Service’s Unpaid Work team in Greater Manchester said,
“This is a unique project for us, and one we are very proud to have the opportunity to be involved with. We aim to provide a high standard of work that will ultimately be of all-round benefit - to the burial grounds involved, the War Graves Commission, the community and the offenders.”
For information on the National Probation Service’s Community Payback scheme click here (

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