Exhibition celebrating the CWGC's first 100 years

To mark the centenary of the CWGC’s foundation by Royal Charter in 1917, a ground-breaking exhibition will be staged at CWGC Brookwood Military Cemetery near Woking, Surrey.

It will be opened at 11am on Saturday 20 May by Brian Blessed OBE and will run for six months.

For Then, For Now, Forever celebrates the first 100 years of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Curated by CWGC Archivist Andrew Fetherston, it will be staged in the Grade 1 listed Canadian Records Building at Brookwood Military Cemetery – the largest CWGC site in the UK with more than 5,000 burials and 3,500 commemorations on the Brookwood Memorial.

The exhibition tells the history of the CWGC from its foundation during the First World War through to the present day, using historic objects and artefacts from our archive and collections.

Many of the exhibits have never been publicly displayed before. They include an original First World War grave marker and a petition from the 1920s addressed to our then-President, HRH Edward, Prince of Wales. The petition contains more than 8,000 signatures – predominantly from mothers who had lost sons in the war – asking the Commission to reconsider the use of a uniform headstone in favour of a cross.

These and other objects tell the sometimes difficult story of how the vision of one man -- Fabian Ware -- came to forever change the way we remember the war dead.


The exhibition was opened by Brian Blessed OBE at 11am on Saturday 20 May in the presence of the CWGC Director General, Victoria Wallace and special guests

Throughout the day were a range of activities for visitors:

  • Afternoon of talks from leading historians and writers
  • Guided tours of Brookwood Military Cemetery
  • Horticultural and stonemasonry displays by the CWGC Brookwood team

With visitors joining in the marquee for our inaugural Brookwood Series of free talks:

  • 12.00  Professor Mark Connelly, University of Kent
  • 13.00  Dr Lucy Noakes, University of Brighton
  • 14.00  Sarah Wearne, author of Epitaphs of the Great War
  • 15.00 Alexandra Churchill and Andrew Holmes, authors of Somme: 141 Days, 141 Lives

The exhibition will also be supported by a series of special events during its first week – including more Brookwood Series talks from senior CWGC staff and guest speakers on topics from horticulture to history.

The Brookwood Series

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The exhibition will be open from 20 May to 19 November

How do I get there?


The Canada Building, CWGC Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey GU24 0JB

Open 7 days a week, 10.00-16.00*


*closed on 23 May 2017

Want to volunteer?

Find out more about CWGC Brookwood Centenary Exhibition Guides & Stewards volunteering opportunities below: