Remembering our War Dead

The debt of honour owed to those who gave their lives in the service of their country can never be repaid. However, it has been Australia's longstanding practice, through the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and the Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG), to see that every one of our war dead is officially commemorated.

War dead are commemorated by a memorial headstone at a gravesite or an inscription on a Memorial to the Missing, or a cremation memorial, or a memorial plaque at a crematorium, or a memorial plaque in an OAWG Garden of Remembrance.

Further, Australia undertakes to maintain these commemorations in perpetuity.

Principles of official commemoration

Equality and uniformity are the governing principles behind the way in which Australia commemorates its war dead.

Boer War

Australian units formed in each of the colonies (later States) and after Federation under Commonwealth companies fought in the Boer War between 1899 and 1902. Most of the 606 Australians known to have died during this conflict rest in graves in South Africa.

World War 1 &
World War 2

Where did they fall? Where do they lie? Where are they commemorated? Investigate the great tragedy of the over 100,000 Australians who died during the world wars.

Korean War

Our 346 war dead from Korea lie mainly overseas, with eleven here in Australia. The 44 missing in action are commemorated on a Memorial to the Missing in Korea.

Vietnam War

Since 1966, Australian war dead have been repatriated to Australia, if practicable. The majority of the 521 servicemen and women who died during Vietnam are commemorated at their grave or crematorium niche or at Gardens of Remembrance throughout Australia. However, 25 are commemorated at gravesites in Malaysia and Singapore.

Other conflicts

Post-war conflicts and campaigns, from the Malayan Emergency and Indonesian Confrontation to recent campaigns such as Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor, have cost Australian lives. Every one is officially commemorated, some in cemeteries and on memorials overseas, the more recent here in Australia.

War cemetery features  

Memorable features – the Stone of Remembrance or the Cross of Sacrifice overlooking rows of uniform headstones – identify Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) war cemeteries anywhere in the world.

Visit a memorial or cemetery

Planning a visit? See here for things you need to know.

Maintenance

All Australian war graves, other official commemorations and Memorials to the Missing are regularly maintained and will continue to be maintained in perpetuity.

Search Roll of Honour  

This Australian War Memorial database contains details of Australians who died while on active service with Australian forces.