War Grave Introduction

War cemeteries and memorials where our Australian casualties are interred, or commemorated – Saluting their Service

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) honours the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the First and Second World Wars, and ensures they will never be forgotten.

The Commission is currently responsible for the care of the war dead at over 23,000 separate burial sites and the maintenance of more than 200 memorials worldwide. The vast majority of burial sites are pre-existing communal or municipal cemeteries and parish churchyards located in the United Kingdom, however the Commission has itself constructed approximately 2,500 war cemeteries worldwide. The Commission has also constructed or commissioned memorials to commemorate the dead who have no known grave; the largest of these is the Thiepval Memorial in France (Source: Wikipedia, 24 September 2018)

During the First World War, our local servicemen served in the two main theatres of war – the Middle East and the Western Front on the French-Belgian borders. Forty-two of our men died during the course of their military service, either as a result of enemy action, or from illness.

The Second World War saw our men serve in all the theatres of war around the globe – the South-West Pacific, North Africa, the Middle East, England and over the skies of Europe. Forty-one local men died during the war and are interred in the countries where they died or commemorated on memorials where they have no known grave.

Two members of the Victor Harbor RSL have, during the course of their private travels, endeavoured to photograph the war graves of Australian servicemen where their graves have been readily accessible. This project was started in 2008 by Ian & Janet MILNES when they set out to photograph the war graves of soldiers from the southern Fleurieu Peninsula, namely from the towns of Goolwa, Middleton Port Elliot, Victor Harbor and Yankalilla. Ian and Janet covered ground in France, Belgium and Germany in the first part of the project.

To date, Ian and Janet have photographed Australian war graves in the following countries:

Thailand – Kanchanburi War Cemetery (all the known South Australians);

Myanmar (formerly Burma) – Thanbuyazayat War Cemetery (all known South Australians), Rangoon War Cemetery, Taukkyan War Cemetery;

Singapore – Kranji War Cemetery (all known South Australians);

Norway – Bergen (Mollendal) Church Cemetery;

England – Harrogate Cemetery, Grantham Cemetery, Feltwell Cemetery, Runnymede Air Forces Memorial, Tangmere (St Andrew’s Church) Cemetery, Bath (Haycombe) Cemetery;

Japan – Yokohama War Cemetery;

Austria – Klagenfurt War Cemetery;

Germany – Cologne Southern Cemetery, Rheinberg War Cemetery, Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Munster Heath War Cemetery, Sage War Cemetery, Hanover War Cemetery, Becklingen War Cemetery, Hamburg War Cemetery, Kiel War Cemetery, Parchim Cemetery, Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Berlin South-western Cemetery, Niederzwehren Cemetery and Durnbach War Cemetery.

Iceland – Akureyri Communal Cemetery and Reykjavik (Fossvogur) Cemetery;

Hungary – Budapest War Cemetery;

Romania – Bucharest War Cemetery;

Bulgaria – Sofia War Cemetery.

In addition, many Cemeteries in France and Belgium have been visited at the specific requests of relatives in Australia during the course of the Centenary of the 1914-1918 war.

It is our goal to display the images of the war graves photographed on the Victor Harbor RSL’s website. The total number of images currently stored run into the thousands, so it will take some time to upload these.

The Victor Harbor RSL is happy to supply any of the images in their collection to relatives of the deceased soldiers, either on CD or as photographic prints. These images will be supplied gratis to the relatives.

Further information can be obtained from the following websites:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission https://www.cwgc.org

The War Graves Photographic Project https://www.twgpp.org/photograph/search

The Office of Australian War Graves  https://www.dva.gov.au/commemorations-memorials-and-war-graves/office-australian-war-graves/about-office-australian-war

If you have an enquiry relating to a casualty, we will be pleased to assist you where possible.


Victor Harbor Returned Services League Sub-branch
P.O. BOX 170,

Email – vhrsl@bigpond.com


26 September 2018