War Graves Week is coming to Oxford

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) will be bringing War Graves Week to Oxford and offering free tours at Botley Cemetery on 25 May and 27 May.

War Graves Week is an initiative aimed at encouraging people from the local community to come together and discover the World War heritage on their doorstep – learning about the stories of those commemorated by the CWGC in Oxford and the skills, dedication and expertise of those CWGC staff and volunteers who work to keep their memory alive.

The free guided tours will take place at 14:00 on 25 May and 10:30 on 27 May at Botley Cemetery and will give people in Oxford the chance to discover the remarkable stories of the men and women of the Commonwealth forces that died in the First and Second World Wars who are buried in their community.

More than 740 casualties from World War One and World War Two are buried at Botley Cemetery.

The tour will cover both the history of the CWGC and Botley Cemetery’s unique story. This is a fantastic opportunity to observe the CWGC architectural features and visit individual graves to learn something of their personal stories. Buried at Botley there is a 16-year-old Irish Soldier, service women, and the only Greek soldier buried in the UK. The tour will also highlight the stories of those who made the ultimate sacrifice from beyond the UK, as there are graves of service personnel from the Commonwealth, Germany, Italy, and other European countries.

The tours will be led by local resident, Dick Richards, who is a volunteer for the CWGC.

Director General of the CWGC, Claire Horton, said: “Behind every name on a war grave or memorial in Oxford is a human story waiting to be discovered and War Graves Week is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

“As world leaders in commemoration, our mission is to ensure those who died in service, or as a result of conflict, are commemorated so that they, and the human cost of war, are remembered forever.”

The CWGC is encouraging the people of Oxford to seek out the stories in their local area and book onto a free tour this War Graves Week. To book a tour, visit www.cwgc.org/wargravesweek