How do I search the catalogue?

There are two main ways to search the catalogue: quick and advanced searching.

Quick search

The quick search is accessed via the "Find a record" search box on the Home page of the CWGC Archive catalogue page.
Some popular search terms have been pre-populated and can be selected from the list shown beneath the search box.

Advanced search

The advanced search enables you to perform more selective searches on different criteria, including across specific date ranges, or limiting the search to only return items with digitised content.

Refine advanced search criteria

By default, a search will look for the word or words you have entered. However you can choose to change the default search criteria by clicking the "Refine Search Criteria" option. There are three ways to refine the search option:
With all the words
With at least one of the words
Without the words

How can I find information on a particular cemetery or memorial?

The simplest way is to type the cemetery or memorial name into the Title search field. You do not have to be strictly accurate in how this is done. For example, if you were looking for records relating to The Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial a search for "Ypres Gate", "Menin Gate", "Ypres Memorial" or "Menin Memorial" would all return records in the search results (along with any other records which contained those search terms in its title).

I would like to find out more about my ancestor who died in the First or Second World War. Where can I find this information?

The CWGC archive catalogue mainly contains records relating to the Commission and its history, and the cemeteries and memorials we maintain. To find records relating to the individuals we commemorate you can search our online casualty database where digitised copies of our records can be viewed.

Have any records in the collection been digitised?

Yes, a number of the records in our collection have been digitised and are available to view in the catalogue. These digitised records are indicated by a thumbnail image attached to their catalogue entry.

To find records which only contain digitised content, you can use either the ‘Records with images’ or ‘Scanned records’ search boxes under Advanced search. Simply enter an * into either search box, and a list of items with be returned. ‘Scanned records’ will mainly return items where an individual file, comprising of multiple documents, has been scanned and digitised, while ‘Records with images’ with mainly return individual items (such as individual photographic prints or staff cards).

I have found records in the catalogue that I am interested in. How do I access them?

If the records have been digitised, you will be able to view images or download PDF versions of the material through the items catalogue entry. If no digital version is available, you will need to book an appointment to view the items in person at our archive. The CWGC archive is located at our headquarters at 2 Marlow Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 7DX, United Kingdom. You can book an appointment by emailing enquiries@cwgc.org. Please provide details of which items you wish to see, including the file reference and title, and we will book an appointment for you. We kindly ask that you provide us with as much notice as possible of your intended visit, typically at least 10 days.

The Archive is open to visitors on the following days and during the following hours:

DayOpening times
Monday10:00 - 16:30
Tuesday10:00 - 16:30
Wednesday10:00 - 16:30
Thursday10:00 - 16:30
Friday10:00 - 16:00

Please note: The Archive is closed at weekends and during public holidays.

Is it possible for you to undertake research for me?

Unfortunately we do not have the resources to undertake extensive research on your behalf, although we are sometimes able to provide answers to very quick and simple queries. If you are unable to visit the Archive in person, you may be able to appoint a professional researcher to visit and undertake research on your behalf.

Can I request copies of records in the catalogue?

We are unable to provide copies of the records shown in the catalogue, but we do welcome researchers visiting the Archive and using their own digital cameras to copy material. Such copying is done on the understanding that the material is to be used for their own private research and is not to be shared or published without the prior consent of the CWGC.

How do I reference items in the catalogue in a piece of academic research?

We advise the following conventions for referencing documents held in the CWGC Archive:
Name of repository, the full alphanumeric catalogue reference (Ref No)

For most items within the CWGC archive collection, there will be two reference numbers. One, referred to as the ‘File Number’, will be the original file number assigned to the record at the time it was created.

The second reference number, referred to as the ‘RefNo’, will be the unique reference number applied to the item when it was listed in the CWGC online archive catalogue.

For referencing purposes you are encouraged to use both numbers, e.g.

  • CWGC Archive, CWGC/2/2/1/331 (WG 1831/273)
  • CWGC Archive, CWGC/1/1/10/B/72 (ADD 2/2/1)

When citing photographs, please include the name of the repository, the name of the cemetery/memorial, and the photograph number.

For example:

CWGC Archive, Cassino War Cemetery, 21100_001

When citing architectural plans, please include the name of the repository, the name of the cemetery/memorial, and the alphanumeric file reference in the drawing's filename.

For example:

CWGC Archive, Royal Berks Cemetery Extension, B76-001

Why can't I find items listed after a certain date?

The CWGC archive does not have strict and formal closure periods for its records, but treats all requests for access on a case by case basis, assessed on their own merits. While much of the archive collection is open to the public, it may sometimes be necessary to apply restrictions or closures to some material, for reasons of confidentiality and sensitivity, or compliance with GDPR. For example, Commission Meeting minutes are subject to a 30 year closure period, so the most recent minutes are unavailable for public consultation.