The Unknown

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Researching the Unknown Soldier or the Grave with No Soldier's Name is not new to the Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group. Two members of the CEFSG have successfully researched a file, matched the remains to a soldier previously identified as having an unknown or lost grave, and thereafter arranged to have a commemorative headstone placed at the grave site with the proper details.

A number of new reports have now been completed for soldiers that previously had no known grave. These are listed by rank in the section entitled: Investigative Reports Completed.

The CEFSG is also currently investigating a number of UNKNOWNS that are listed by the CWGC Agency in Ottawa as having no known grave, when they died in Canada. We have diverted some of our attention from the graves sites outside of Canada to look at these soldiers, so as to assist the CWGC Agency with their work. It is our hope that the Agency will then be able to allocate more time to review of the CEFSG reports on the main UNKNOWN Project described herein. For a list of the Soldiers in Canada that are being researched, please visit the CEGSG Board at this location: CWGC Canadian Agency: List of Soldiers Hunted

If you have any questions about how to use the information we have assembled to identify and UNKNOWN - do not hesitate to ask!

Topics Covered

The following major topic areas are covered in the FORUM of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group:

The Unknown: Information & Resources

What you need to know to carry out your research on the "Unknown". This includes access to information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), databases of information that have been prepared by the Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group (CEFSG) and other related information. The CEFSG data is significant as it has taken pages available on a "one click at a time" at the CWGC site and made it available in "Binders" and "Spreadsheets" that are linked to details. For example, the Vimy Spreadsheet separates the names on the Vimy Memorial into RANK and then links each name in the separate TABS to the "Circumstance of Death" records from Library and Archives Canada (LAC). The individual "Grave Registration Report Forms" and "Concentration of Graves - Burial Returns" are collected for an individual cemetery and coallated into a "Binder" for the cemetery that can be viewed or printed as a PDF document. All of these are available on the CEFSG MediaFire site.

The Unknown: General Questions, Answers & Comments

If you have general questions about how to go about finding information about an unknown, this is where to make your post. Here are some example questions:

  1. How do you find the grave sites of the unnamed soldiers?
  2. How can you tell if a soldier is not in a named grave?
  3. Where are the records about how they died?
  4. Where are the records of the cemeteries where they are buried?
  5. What are "Grave Registration Report Forms"?
  6. What are "Concentration of Graves - Reburial Reports"?
  7. How do you go about finding out who is in the grave?
  8. What do you do if you think you know who is in the grave?
  9. Who approves the changes to a grave marker?
  10. Can someone help clarify an issue for the research?

Identified Unknown

For a person (soldier, nurse, etc.) to be listed in this section it means that they had first been unnamed, someone had done the research to match the grave site to the person, a report had been submitted to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and then the report was approved. This is not a quick process!

The requirements of the CWGC are very specific. This is what they provided in February 2015:

  • Procedure: All new identification cases need to be assessed in the first instance by the Canadian Agency (CA) and submissions should go to their office directly. After an initial assessment, if the Agency feels that the case is compelling, they will then pass all the documentation to the Commemorations Team at the Commission's Head Office. Head Office will then review the case and inform the CA of their findings. The Canadian authorities will then decide whether or not any changes to the arrangements for commemoration are required and inform the Commission accordingly.
  • Guideline Criteria for Submission: Cases need to present clear and convincing evidence to prove the identity of a casualty and must not be based on assumption or speculation. The Commission's Commemoration Team will also consider whether the findings of a better informed contemporary investigation are being revisited and if there is any new evidence to consider. By way of example, it is unlikely that the Commission would support a revision of the arrangements for the commemoration where it is apparent that no new evidence is being presented and, a better informed previous decision is being revisited some 100 years later.

Reported Unknown

To be listed in his section means that one of the researchers has completed a report for a case where they believe they have conclusive evidence as to a specific case. These are not always cases of naming a person in a grave site. Here are some of the examples:

  • The identity of the person in the grave can be matched to the grave.
  • The person listed as being in the grave is not the person enterred therein.
  • The markings on the grave stone are incorrect (name, rank, battalion, date, etc.)
  • Prior research identified the remains but the marker was not changed.
  • The person marked for that grave site did not die in the war.

The report to the CWGC must be comprehensive and contain copies of all the evidence being used in the case. There are a number of reports already posted to the CEFSG shared site which can be used as examples. We also have a "standard report form" that you can use, developed once we saw the number of cases that could be solved. If you have questions about how to present the report or you want others to help you with the report, just ask (post to the forum). We would suggest that you always have your report reviewed by others before you submit it to the CWGC, as it is better to have it challennged by a friend to make sure the reasoning is sound.

Investigating Unnown

The investigation into the unknow can be relatively simple or incredibly complex. Some of the cases just "fly off the page" when you are looking at the records. For example, in some cases the records might say "Lieutenant of the 199th Battalion, March 1916". It may be there was only one Lieutenant of the 199th killed in 1916, or perhaps even during the war, so that is a simple case. The next case might however turn up that there were 8 Sergeants of a battalion that were possible candidates, so you have to check all the dates, where they were during that period, whether they were battlefield casualties or exhumations, etc.

Some of the items you check during an investigation might be:

  1. Lists of casualties that are not identified for a grave site.
  2. "Circumstance of Death" records that tell how, when a where the casualty was killed.
  3. Attestation Papers and Serice Records for details about the persons rank, service unit and details of service at the time of death.
  4. Battle Records, War Diaries and Maps that show where the unit was at the time of the casualty.
  5. Detailed Trench Maps to determine if the location of the body matches what is recored in the Concentration or Exhumation reports.
  6. Details of personal effects, clothing, badges, and other items mentioned in the records.

When you think you are done, ask yourself if you could also prove or question whether you have come to the right conclusion. If there is any doubt, stop and revisit the case - for cetainly anyone else will do the same.

Cold Cases, Closed Cases & On-Hold Cases

Not every investigation is going to end with conclusive evidence that the person listed as having an unknown grave can be matched to a grave site. In fact, the opposite is more often the conclusion. However, it is not wise to abandon a research project and delete it, as others may have additional resources or the information available may change. In some cases it is just best to file the report "On Hold" so someone else can look at it or compare it to their findings on a related case.

There are some examples already:

  1. A case may have been started and 5 people became candidates, just too many to resolve with the information available.
  2. You had put a case on hold regarding a Lance Corporal but there were 2 possibilities, but on another case you found 1 of the 2 candidates. That means the remaining one is now the only candidate for the case on hold.
  3. Cases on hold may be waiting for field information. This might be having someone check exactly what is written on the grave marker or taking a photograph for you to use as evidence.
  4. You may have to wait in some cases for more records to become available. For example, not all cemeteries have all the CONCENTRATION or EXHUMATION reports available on-line. You might also need to wait for a Service Record from Library and Archives Canada.
  5. Some will become "Closed Cases" because it is clear that there is no way to ever find any more details about what happened.

Resources Available

We will add resources, with links when possible, to where you can find information for your research.

Pubic Resources

Library and Archives Canada

  1. Attestation Papers & Service Records
  2. Archived War Diaries or New War Diaries Site (most prefer the old version)
  3. Circumstances of Death Registers (also available in searchable format on
  4. Commonwealth War Graves Registers (also availalbe in searchable format on

Veterans Affairs Canada

  1. Canadian Virtual War Memorial
  2. Books of Remembrance

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

  1. Unnamed Soldiers
  2. Find a Cemetery
  3. Find War Dead
  4. Graves Registration Report Form
  5. Concentration of Graves (Exhumation and Reburial) Burial Return
  6. Special Exhumation Reports
  7. Headstone Registers
  8. Locations of Cemeteries
  9. Cemetery Schematic

Photographs of Grave Sites

  1. Find A Grave
  2. Maple Leaf Legacy Project
  3. CWGC Photograph Partner

Map Collections

  1. Google Earth
  2. McMaster Trench Maps]
  3. UK National Archives British Trench Map Atlas: DVD Purchase
  4. UK National Archives British Trench Map Atlas: On-line Video Demonstration
  5. Imperial War Museum
  6. Canadian War Museum Map Archive
  7. Linesman Software - Great War Digital
  8. Textual Maps
    1. Nicholson Maps & Sketches
    2. Livesay "Canada's Hundred Days" (not currently digitized - refer to book)

CEFSG Resources

  1. Existing Reports on the Forum
  2. Memorial Databases (Spreadsheets)
    • The Vimy Memorial
    • Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial
    • Beaumont Hamel (Newfoundland) Memorial
  3. Ted Wigney Cemetery Codes
  4. Grave Photograph Collections
  5. Nominal Rolls Collections
  6. Map Collections
  7. Compiled Public Information
    1. GRRF Binders
    2. COG-BR Binders
    3. Special Exhumation Binders
    4. War Diary Transcriptions

One of the most useful items in the CEFSG toolbox for Naming the Unknown is the Vimy Spreadsheet referenced above. It is based on the downloaded data from the CWGC web site, then modified to sort by name, rank, death, unit, etc. Separate tabs are made for each rank so that they can be used independent of the others. A great deal of work went into making this modified database, as it now has the CEF proper unit names and split into battalions and companies. Use of the tabs, as shown along the bottom of the spreadsheet is important:

Vimy Spreadsheet Example.jpg

As the project continues, the names in the RANK tab are being linked to the "Circumstance of Death" records, or if not available the Great War Registers. To expedite the use of this modified form, the Majors and Captains were completed first foloowed by Lieuteants, NCOs and others. Individual links are made as well on a case-by-case basis. All of the COD cards are in the shared MediaFire site and can therefore also be downloaded in bulk. The spreadsheet can be downloaded or viewed on the MediaFire site, as shown in the example below for the linked Majors:

Major Image.jpg

The Investigation Process

The following sections describe the process that has been used on a number of cases to date. It is not a defined process, only one that has been used by certain CEFSG investigators to date. The process is evolving as more cases are investigated and new lessons learned!

The Discovery Process

The primary steps to finding a case to investigate start with the review of the cemetery details. In the cases selected to date, the concentration has been on the cemeteries logged by Norm Christie in his "For King & Empire" series of books. Each of these books contains a summary of the cemeteries related to main battle periods in which the Canadians participated. An up-to-date list is maintained on the CEFSG Forum, so please check the Cemetery Listings.

Key to the investigative process is knowing which soldiers are UNKNOWN, that is they exist somewhere in an unknown grave, either in a cemetery with an unnamed headstone or still on the battlefield. Bodies are still being recovered from the Great War battlefields, even as we write this text:

In the case of the Canadian Soldiers that are missing, the first step is to check who is actually missing from the primary areas. This is simplified by using the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site to download the casualty details for each of the main monuments to the unknown:

An extensive amount of work has already been completed by the CEFSG using the Vimy Memorial data base, which has been made into an Excel Spreadsheet with the unknown sorted by rank, battalion, name, date of death, etc. We are in the process of going one step further by linking the names of the unknown to the "Circumstance of Death" files for each casualty - starting with the Officers. This spreadsheet is publicly available on the shared MediaFire site run by the CEFSG (see here for details).

The names of the soldiers to be investigated is found by researching the Graves Registration Report Form and the Concentration of Graves (Exhumation and Reburial) Burial Return documents provided by the CWGC for each cemetery. We found it to be a tedious task to identify all the missing soldiers pages via the CWGC web site, so we undertook to download all the pages for any one cemetery and assemble these into PDF Binders, which can then be viewed on-line or downloaded for off-line inspection. This has been a tedious project and it is not complete. However we have completed the primary cemeteries for the Norm Christie list of cemeteries in France, with a few completed by special request for Belgium. All of the binders are available via the CEFSG shared MediaFire site here:

Here for example are the two pages for the GRRF and then the COG-BR documents that we used to investigate the UNKNOWN SOLDIER from the 48th Highlanders (15th Infantry Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force). This is all that was necessary to know that we could start the search:

Cropped section of the Graves Registration Report Form:

GRRF Example Unknown McDonald Crop.jpg

Cropped section of the Concentration of Graves Form:

COG-BR Example Unknown McDonald Crop.jpg

Building the Research Binders

The process used to create the GRRF and COG-BR BINDERS is detailed in separate pages of the CEFSG Wiki found here:

  1. Making a GRRF or COG-BR Binder
  2. Graves Registration Report Form
  3. Concentration of Graves (Exhumation and Reburial) Burial Return

You will find detailed instructions on the step-by-step process to build a GRRF, COG-BR or even a SPECEXH binder in the first topic. It may seem like a complicated process to start, but easy once you have done it the first time. The details on how to do it are in this Wiki just as a "memory refresher". It is a unique process as described, as it relies on using the best components of a Google Chrome Browser mixed with the best of the Mozilla Firefox Browser. All you need in addition to that is the capability to assemble PDF files from the images.

If you are researching a particular cemetery where we have not already completed the binders, you can also send a message and see if we can do that for you. If time permits, that is no problem.

Please note that the CWGC also posts "Headstone Schedules" on the web site, which to date we have not used in great detail but may be of use in the future. The CWGC states that these documents provide details of what was actually inscribed on an individual’s headstone. Their main purpose was to help manage the enormous programme of headstone production and engraving the Commission embarked on in the immediate aftermath of the First World War.

Researching the Facts

The exact process used to research an UNKNOWN varies depending on the information that was presented in the Graves Registration Report Form and/or the Concentration of Graves (Exhumation and Reburial) Burial Return. Our initial searches have concentrated on Officers and NCOs (Non-Commissioned Officers) as here is generally more information provided, there were less casualties than with the ORS (Other Ranks) and we have collected a number of their Circumstance of Death files.

In some cases, the GRRF may only indicate that it was an "Unknown Canadian Soldier" (UCS) but in some cases it may give enough detail to say it was an "Unknown Officer 18th Bn. Canadian". If it is just an UCS there is no practical way to match the remains in a grave site to a soldier, unless there is enough detail in the COG-BR to identify a rare case. For example, the map co-ordinates for the remains may be so restrictive that there was only one Canadian at that site, such as a burial at a local communal cemetery. If the rank is provided, the list is much shorter and if the rank and unit details are provided, then there is a good chance you can make the match. Having the day of the death and the details of the intial burial site greatly enhance the matching process. However, what initially looks like a good chance project can quickly go south when multiple casualties occured for that unit at that date and location. For example, a GRRF or COG-BR listing for an "Unknown Corporal, 87th Battalion, at map co-ordinates 36C S21 b5.5 might look promising, until you follow through and find it was the major attack at Hill 145 on Vimy Ridge on April 12, 1917. The number of unknown corporals may just be too large to solve the puzzle.

Not all the cases have had extensive detail to find the soldier. In one particular example, all that was know was the initials. A search of the CEF records showed that although there were a number of Canadian soldiers with those initials, there were only a handfull that had been killed in action, and in fact only one who had no known grave. That is a rare find, but it did happen. Don't overlook a case until you follow it into the system - you might just be surprised. In addition, don't be disappointed if a case comes to a quick close because there were too many options. Just park that case and come back to it later.

It is important to keep in mind as well that the investigations are much like a giant jigsaw puzzle. For example, again a real case, you might have been working on an unknown Corporal of a specific battalion but had 3 names of unknowns that were all posssible. A few weeks later you might be working on another cemetery and find sufficient details to link the name of a Corporal from that same battalion to a grave site in the cemetery you are now researching. Your list has now been cut from 3 possible Corporals to 2 candidates. A month later, another researcher matches a Corporal of the same battalion to a known exhumation site that was some distance from where your Corporal was found. You now have facts that can be used to match the 2 remaining Corporals to separate grave sites. What was once a 3 Corporal case that had little chance of success, is now a case of 3 Corporals matched to grave sites.

Over the process of investigating a number of cases it became apparent that there were certain key pieces of information that were critical to solving a case. We used these items to prepare an index of what attachments would logically appear in a report on the investigation of an unknown. Although this is certainly not a compete list of all the available resources, it is certainly a good start.

Circumstance of Death File

The Circumstance of Death file (COD) is one of the key research items in the process, if it exists, as it provides details on how the soldier was killed, whether he was wounded and died later, or if he was missing and presumed to have died. It might even indicate that the soldier was taken prisoner and died sometime later. The rear of the file quite often gives either descriptive text or trench map co-ordinates for the initial burial location (i.e. in a trench 1/2 mile south of town and/or at trench map locations 36C T16 a6.4).

From the web site references of Library and Archives Canada and we have the following information:

  • The Circumstances of Casualty registers can be divided as follows: Soldiers and Nursing Sisters of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) who died during the First World War in France, Belgium and United Kingdom. These registers, often referred to as the “Brown Binders”, record all known information about the death and burial of an individual and, therefore, may include details about the circumstances of death. Initial burial location is recorded, but many bodies were exhumed and re-interred after the war in cemeteries established by the Imperial War Graves Commission (now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission). Approximately 20,000 members of the CEF, however, have no known grave and their names are inscribed on one of two monuments: the Vimy Memorial in France and the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium. For those who died in the United Kingdom, the registers also indicate the name and location of the cemetery. Researchers should note that there are some missing records in this series: all surnames from Cozni to Crossley, the letter “D” to the surname Davy, and all names after Sims to the end of the alphabet. Some information on these casualties can be found in the Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919 collection.

Ledger forms vary some, but they may include the following details on 2 pages:

  • name
  • rank
  • unit
  • service number
  • death date
  • place of death
  • circumstances or cause of death
  • cemetery/place of burial
  • location of cemetery
  • location of grave or burial (if known)
  • religious affiliation
  • name and address of next of kin (if known)


CEF Commonwealth War Grave Registers

The Commonwealth War Graves Registers were created after the Circumstance of Death records were completed and fortunately information that is missing from the loss of the COD files is often found in the CWGR files. The details of the circumstance of the casualty are not provided, but the initial grave references in most cases are provided.

From the information provided by Library and Archives Canada and we have the following description:

  • This database contains records from the War Grave Registers for service personnel of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) who died during the First World War in Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. The registers, also known as the "Black Binders", were created at the end of the war by the Department of Militia and Defence, the forerunner of the Canadian Department of National Defense. These registers were used to record the final resting place of the soldier, nurse or other individual, and to record the notification of the next of kin. If the body was never recovered, these records contain the official memorial on which the individual’s name would be found. Of the quarter million men sent into battle, 60,000 never returned. Many of their records are included in this database, although Canadian soldiers who died in Canada or the United States are not included.

The records contain:

  • Name
  • Unit number
  • Service number
  • Date of death
  • Cause and place of death
  • Date and place of burial
  • Name of nearest relative

It is important to note that each record contains two images (the front and back sides of the original register).


Part II Daily Orders / Service Records

Battalion records often contain details on the casualties of the day. We will add to this section as more information becomes available as to what exactly might be reported in the Part II Daily Orders.

The following is an example of an entry in the Part II Daily Orders for the 15th Infantry Battalion recording the death of Lieutenants Reeves, Wylie and Haldane:

Part II Daily Orders Example.jpg

Here for example, is what was recorded on the back side of the service record of Private T Holmes #47866 of the 15th Infantry Battalion. Note that the record reports that this information was prepared by men of the P.P.C.L.I. to document where he was buried and with what effects. Unfortunately, as this case details, the material was removed from the body so that upon later exhumation there was no record of whose remains were recovered. The system was changed some years later so that the men had two (2) identification disks so that one could be returned to the unit and the other left with the remains.

Holmes T 47866 B.jpg

Area Maps

It is often useful to use Google Earth, Google Earth Overlays or Battle Maps to show the general area where the action was taking place relative to where the body was recovered. In this simple example, the location of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade of the 1st Canadian Division is shown in relation to the area around Hill 70 and Lens in August 1917 (an extract of the Nicholson Map Collection):

Nicholson Area Map Example Lens.jpg

Trench Maps

Following up on the use of the Area Map, as shown above, then it is often beneficial to focus on the details of a trench map to show where the action took place and a body was exhumed prior to reburial. In this example, we are looking at the top area of the Area Map where the 15th Battalion was involved in the attack on Hull 70 in August 1915. It is common to annotate the trench maps to highlight the issues in the research report:

Trench Map Example from Lt. McDonald.jpg

Likely & Excluded Canadidate Lists

How you present the likely candidates and the excluded candidates depends on the complexity of the case. I some instances we have extracted the information from the CWGC web site and put it into a more detailed spreadsheet to show who was included and then which ones were excluded. In the simpler cases it may be possible to use an image of the page from the CWGC web site directly:

Inclusion Exclusion Lists.jpg

Grave Stone References and Details

As a final task it is important to document what is on the existing grave stone and what changes are required. For example in the case of Lt. McDonald described above:

Grave Stone Example for WIki Unknown.jpg The details:
  • On the basis of all of the evidence gathered for this investigation, it is a clear and irrefutable conclusion that the remains in Plot 14 Row C Grave 11 at St. Mary’s A.D.S. Cemetery are those of Lieutenant Donald Wallace McDonald.
  • The headstone that sits at that grave should be changed to read “Lieutenant D. W. McDonald, 15th Bn. Canadian Inf. August 15 1917”.
  • For historical purposes, a note should be added to the COC-BR file indicating that there is an error in the entry of the exhumation locations and that the remains have been identified.

Submitting a Report

The initial reports that were submitted to the CWGC were descriptive reports. Shortly after the project was initiated, a form report was developed as it became obvious that there would be a number of reports and that a means to enter the data during the research program was required. These are only examples, as it is up to any investigator as to how they feel best in presenting the information.

A number of examples can be found in the section that follows showing the Investigative Reports Completed.

The following is an example of the first and second pages of a simple report filled in using the master format:

Report Page 1 Example.jpg Report Page 2 Example.jpg

Finding the Family

Our first project into the case of Lance Corporal Jenkins resulted in the CWGC Maidenhead stating that they did not want to release information about a case until the family had been identified. The CEFSG genealogists immediately went to work to find the Jenkins family, which resulted in the following: (Helen Russell)

  • L/Cpl Morgan Jones Jenkins was the oldest of a family of seven children of John Jenkins and Elizabeth Florence Capenhurst. While his DOB was often recorded as 1888, the registration is for Q2 1886 in Pontypridd, Wales. His siblings included Margaret Elizabeth (1888-????), John Powell Jones (1889-1957), Hilda Mary (1890-1957), Richard (1892-1916), David Jones Capenhurst (1893-1916), William Thomas Herbert (1894-1931). John and Elizabeth Jenkins lost three sons in the war - Richard served in the BEF; Morgan and David with the CEF.
  • I have been researching the other siblings in the hopes of finding living relatives. I think that Margaret might have died as a child. She was in just one census. The youngest son, William, died in Saskatchewan in 1931, but I found virtually no family history for him.
  • Hilda Mary married Joseph Morris Cornes in Wales in 1918. They had three children. The youngest one was married, and might have had children but it was not possible to be sure from the records.
  • John P J had a very successful career as a physician. He served as such in the army. He was awarded an OBE. He married Muriel Mary Everett in 1922 in Wales. They had three children. Dr J Richard E Jenkins was married (Joan E Jones), but I did not find that they had a family. A daughter Elizabeth died as a young girl. The other daughter, Jean Mary, married another physician, David Callum Carmichael Stark. They immigrated to Florida in 1965.

The oldest living relative appears therefore to be Jean Mary Jenkins who married David Stark. Unfortunately he died in Naples, Florida, on 11 Mar 2015, just 10 weeks after we had discovered the grave site of Lance Corporal Jenkins - so he never knew. His obituary states that they had three sons, a daughter, and six grandchildren. His wife is still alive.

The CWGC has been advised as to the whereabouts of the family but we have had no feedback on the case as of this date (April 24, 2015) some 4 months after the file was submitted.

The Implementation Program

The implementation of the results of any investigations is part of a "learning curve" and so we can report on this further as the project is implemented.

Public Availability

One of the most important aspects of this work was the intent to share the process, the resources and the results with other military researchers, family genealogists, interested media and the general public. This applies not only to fellow Canadians but anyone internationally that wishes to use the process. The process described herein is equally suited for researching all other Commonwealth Countries. The variation arises only in that those groups have to replace the information described for out Canadian Memorial databases.

If you choose to use the information and process described by the CEFSG we only ask that you acknowledge the source of the information (i.e. the CWGC Binders created by the CEFSG) and advise us as to your use of the resources and process. We are also readily available to assist others that are undertaking their own projects to "Name the Unknown.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The CWGC has set out a process by where research groups can submit their reports for review by the Commission team. Details of this are provided above in the section titled Identified Unknown. The CEFSG does not hold back on the release of the research reports pending the review by the CWGC, as that is optional and at their time and pleasure.

The CWGC Agency in Ottawa has advised the CEFSG that with the start of the 2015 Inspection Schedule, they may have time to review one (1) of the investigation reports that has been submitted since December 2014. As of this date we have not received any information regarding the review of any of the case files submitted to the Canadian Agency or the Head Office in Maidenhead, UK. For those that have submitted requests or minor corrections to the CWGC you will be aware that is generally many months (4+) before you receive a reply.

Veterans Affairs Canada

It was our initial understanding that if the CWGC agreed to a fact finding exercise that resulted in the changes to the commemoration of a soldier that the final decision rested with Veterans Affairs Canada, as the Canadian funding source for any changes. We have been advised that is NOT the case and that Veterans Affairs Canada does not participate in the process. As of yet we have not resolved that question, as Canada's funding to the CWGC comes from somewhere in Canada and VAC appears on the surface to be the likely government department.

On the CWGC site the following is posted about Canada:

  • The War Dead of Canada: The 110,358 war dead of Canada are commemorated in 75 countries around the world. Outside Canada, the countries in which the largest numbers of Canadian war dead are commemorated are France (47,500), Belgium (15,800), the United Kingdom (12,700), Italy (5,700) and the Netherlands (5,700). There are 2,837 CWGC locations in Canada where 18,440 Commonwealth War Dead are commemorated by name.
  • CWGC Canada Agency: The Canadian Agency of the Commission is responsible for fulfilling the Charter tasks in the Americas (including the Caribbean). This includes the care of 20,400 War Dead commemorated in 3,350 cemeteries and on ten memorials.
  • Canada's Funding Commitment: The Commission seeks to provide value for money and respect the environment in which the cemeteries and memorials are located. In 2010/11, the Commission received over £55 million in funding, provided by the partner governments of the Commonwealth nations who share the cost of the Commission's work proportionately to the number of their graves. Canada's annual contribution was 10.07 percent of the total or approximately £5.6 million ($10.3 million dollars).


If the CWGC agrees with the findings of the CWGC Agency in Ottawa then they may change the commemoration details. We will not be able to provide further information on this component until a case has moved through the system.

Investigative Reports Completed

A number of the reports have now been completed and so they are being moved to their own pages. This list will be updated as more reports are completed. In some cases a report may be withdrawn after it is completed if additional information becomes available. That may be permanent or temporary but in either case the report is moved to the bottom list "Reports Removed from Submission". If the name appears below, without a hyperlink to the soldiers page, that means the report has been prepared and is still in the internal review process. In each case, once a report is released a standard notice is been added to the "Canada War Graves Registers (Circumstance of Casualty), 1914-1948" of this general format:

  • SOLDIER NAME was one of the men examined under the Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group (CEFSG) project of "The Unknowns". This project matches grave sites in France and Flanders with men listed on the Vimy Memorial or the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. To see the file on RANK SURNAME please follow this link: INSERT LINK FROM THIS PAGE


  • Major George David Lynch (moved to "Corrections" list below)



Sergeant Majors



Lance Corporals

Privates, Troopers, Gunners, Drivers

Buried Near This Spot

Headstone Corrections

Reports Removed from Submission