How War Graves of the First World War Have Reshaped the Memory of Conflicts

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A presentation by Dr Sarah Ashbridge, exploring how the war graves of the First World War have reshaped the memory of recent and historical conflicts.

The cemeteries and monuments to the missing, erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), represent a major shift in the culture of commemoration for those who die in service. The Commission has transformed military burial traditions into an international operation which continues to frame the ways in which we remember the First World War and the wars which have followed since.

In this webinar, Dr Ashbridge will discuss the evolution of battlefield burials and the establishment of the Imperial War Graves Commission (now CWGC) cemeteries. Today, the Commission has cemeteries and memorials in over 150 countries, many of which are used to host commemorative events, such as the Last Post ceremonies at the Menin Gate.

Dr Ashbridge will also consider how the burial of the fallen from the First World War has shaped the way that we remember the conflict, and how this historical experience has framed the expectations that we have for the repatriation and burial of soldiers who have died in more recent wars, such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dr Sarah Ashbridge is a Research Fellow in Military Sciences at RUSI. She is a military historian and forensic archaeologist, and has recently conducted studies into the operational response to fallen soldiers, the 1906 Geneva Convention, and the archaeological legacy of war in Western Europe.

The webinar will be moderated by Professor Michael Clarke, Distinguished Fellow, RUSI.

How to attend

This event is open to RUSI members only.

To become a member, please click here.

To take part, you must pre-register no later than 9 February using the ‘Register Now’ button above. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

If you have any questions, please e-mail Sabrina Downey, Events Director, at

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