The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is looking for volunteers in Scotland for its Eyes On, Hands On project to ensure that war graves in their local area are kept clean and well-tended.

 Launched last year, the project was put on hold when the pandemic hit. Now it’s operating under government restrictions and volunteers are still needed in Inverness-shire, Aberdeenshire, Argyll, Caithnes, Ross-shire, Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders.

 Successful applicants will be given the know-how to spot war graves in their local area,
and asked to undertake periodic visits, usually once every six months, reporting on the condition of the graves. The information gathered from this growing network of volunteers is already helping CWGC to better direct its teams of gardeners and stonemasons to where they are needed most.

 While at this time volunteers are limited to visual inspections and taking photographs, as coronavirus restrictions are lifted CWGC will begin to train groups in how to safely undertake more work, such as cleaning headstones when needed.

 Among the volunteers already involved are veterans and serving military personnel, family members who lost someone in one of the wars, and teachers and history buffs. 

James King, CWGC’s area director for the United Kingdom, says: “Eyes On, Hands On is a fantastic opportunity for anyone looking for a way to get involved in their local heritage. Something as simple as visiting your local churchyard and sharing what you’ve seen can make a real difference to CWGC’s work of maintaining war graves.

 “So many of our volunteers have already made their own discoveries as they learn about the men and women whose graves they’re helping to care for, and we’d love to hear from anyone who is interested in joining us.

 “With war graves in more than 12,000 locations in the UK alone, there’s a chance for almost every local community in the country to play their part in our ongoing work behind Remembrance of the world war dead.”

 CWGC commemorates the 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during the two world wars. It operates from more than 23,000 locations in more than 150 countries and holds and updates an extensive and accessible records archive.

 For more information about Eyes On, Hands On, or to register an interest, visit: