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Requiem for Empire: Fabian Ware and the Imperial War Graves Commission
chapterposted on 2014-04-30, 00:00 authored by Bart ZiinoBart Ziino
More than one million soldiers of the British Empire died in the First World War. The Imperial War Graves Commission, created in 1917, had as its mandate the obligation to care for their graves and memorials, in 1850 cemeteries in more than 100 countries around the globe. Its founder, Fabian Ware, hoped and expected this Commission to have even more enduring effects, yet the political origins of the organisation remain little understood. This chapter looks beyond the monuments erected by the Imperial War Graves Commission to the ideals and intent of its creators. It argues that the driving force behind this major commemorative work was not a desire to represent any fundamental break with the past, but an attempt to produce an institution that symbolised imperial cooperation and memorialised the war and its dead in a way that would continue to place the British Empire at the centre of world affairs.