Person NameWare; Sir; Fabian Arthur Goulstone (1869-1949); newspaper editor and the founder of the Imperial War Graves Commission
ForenamesFabian Arthur Goulstone
Epithetnewspaper editor and the founder of the Imperial War Graves Commission
SourceCommonwealth War Graves Commission, ‘Sir Fabian Ware: Founder of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’, (Date accessed: 21/04/2017); Philip Longworth, The Unending Vigil, (London: Constable & Company Ltd., 1967); CWGC Archive, Add 7/13/1, 01/01/1985; CWGC Archive, 29th Annual Report, 1947-48
Biographical NoteMajor-General Sir Fabian Arthur Goulstone Ware KCVO KBE CB CMG was a newspaper editor and the founder of the Imperial War Graves Commission, now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Born on 17 June 1869 in Clifton, Bristol, Fabian Ware attended the University of London and the University of Paris, where he obtained a Bachelier-es-Sciences.

By the time of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, at the age of forty-five, Ware had already achieved distinction in several careers. He had originally been a teacher and a publicist on educational reform, before becoming Director of Education for the Transvaal in South Africa under Viscount Milner, who influenced his ideals of imperial co-operation. He was editor of the Morning Post and also an adviser to the Rio Tinto Company.

Ware was too old to fight and so offered his services to the British Red Cross. With Milner’s assistance, he was appointed as a commander of a mobile ambulance unit, provided by the British Red Cross Society. Ware became concerned with the lack of an organisation for marking and recording the graves of the fallen and strived to rectify this. In October 1915, Ware and the men under his command were transferred from the Red Cross to the Army, thus establishing the Graves Registration Commission. As early as 1916, Ware encouraged advice from distinguished horticulturalists at Kew and from some of the most famous architects of the time on how cemeteries and memorials should be designed to best commemorate the Commonwealth forces.

On 21 May 1917, Ware was appointed as Vice-Chairman of the Imperial War Graves Commission, established by Royal Charter. By the end of the war, Ware had been twice Mentioned in Dispatches and had been made the rank of Major-General. In 1920, he became a Knight of two orders in recognition of his work during the First World War. Sir Fabian Ware’s commitment and determination helped the organisation grow and establish itself as the official organisation for commemorating the Commonwealth forces who had died during the First World War.

Ware returned to the War Office following the outbreak of the Second World War to continue his duties for the Commission. Through the assistance of Winston Churchill, he also acquired an agreement for the Commission to keep a record of civilian casualties and to oversee the work of the Commission for commemorating Second World War casualties. Sir Fabian Ware retired from the position of Vice-Chairman in June 1948.

Major-General Sir Fabian Ware died on 29 April 1949, aged 79. He is buried in Holy Trinity Churchyard, Amberley, where his grave is marked with a Commission headstone. There also several commemorative plaques to his memory including in Westminster Abbey, Gloucestershire Cathedral and on the exterior of his former home in London.

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