What started as a dream decades ago has turned into reality.
The world-wide honouring of our fallen Canadian soldiers in foreign lands and our native soil, by planting a Canadian Flag on their grave on Remembrance Day.
With over 100,000 Canadian Soldiers buried in 76 Countries it is by no doubt a daunting task and undertaken, but one that we as a Nation and our friends and allies around the world must do.
It is a mission that people world-wide can be a part of, from Canadian children that make up their own flags and place them on a Veterans grave in Canada, to people in foreign lands that had Canadian Soldiers help liberate their Countries.
There are several databases available, we will list 4 of them that we use to help us and you to locate our fallen.
The graves can be decorated at any time year round, whenever you can get to a grave please plant a flag and pay your respects.
Remembrance Day is preferred, plan a ceremony at the gravesite with others if you can. If you are wearing a Poppy this is a great time to also put the poppy at the graveside as well.
If you are in need of flags let us know, we can ship large quantities outside of Canada to you, they are paper flags and will bio-degrade themselves.
If you are in Canada, please visit a store locally and see what they have.
Please remember that we are a not-for-profit foundation.
Below is a list of the soldiers buried around the world, the list is not an exact set in stone number, as we have found graves of soldiers not in the database, right beside others. There is no one to blame for this, the agencies involved have done excellent work in building and maintaining the sites, one must remember the overwhelming numbers of fallen, and at times the records available and soldiers known to them is what was reported. Respect the work and the process, add what you learn and find.
Here is were you can find our fallen.
- The Commonwealth War Graves Commission. I can not begin to tell you let alone express the excellent work that Commission has done, their work is incredible in every aspect, take a look at their website, it is an excellent resource to begin your search. Here is a tip to search for our Canadian War Dead. Please note this database is WW1 and 2. Go to the landing page, and you will see a tab that says ” Advanced Search.”
Now you can see the power of the database and the several options available to you. Depending on our amount of soldiers buried you can search for lots of different things now. The two most important things to do are to click on the Country they are commemorated in, this is the 3rd box and will give you a drop down menu. Then click on Canadian Forces which is half way down the page. From there you can see who is buried in your specific Country that you chose. You can then fine tune to exactly what you are looking for.
2. The Canadian Government has an excellent database of our fallen, the link will take you to this landing page.
Half way down the page you will see a drop down menu in the advanced section labelled Cemetery
if you click on the Cemetery tab it will list for you all the cemeteries that our fallen are in. Please note that at times you may find the names not to be exact, it could list it under the city name as well and or other criteria they used at the time. This is a very powerful search engine, look around at all that is available to you.
3. If you have an ipad, then head on over to Good Digital Culture and download their app. Please note this will work ONLY on an ipad, even though you can see it on a PC, you need an ipad to make it work. An iphone will not work strictlhttp://www.gooddigitalculture.com/portfolio/thefalleny ipads here folks. To download it, on your ipad go to the app store and search for ” The Fallen”. This app is an absolutely incredible resource and is a one of a kind in the world. It will give you a visual picture of were all our fallen are and is extremely powerful with many different things it can do. The great thing is you can take this with you on your travels and use it in real-time, one of our favourite applications to use and if you tie it in with a map app, you can see exactly were our fallen are in location to the countryside and local geography.
4. One database they has come in real handy is “Find A Grave” This is an absolutely massive website and membership is open to all people to take part in building this for all to see and use. We have found this to be extremely useful in that when you get to start to search for a specific fallen soldier, and in using all the above databases as well, we actually found 2 soldiers by the pictures submitted by civilians. Remember that most burial grounds have no on site staff, and lots, plots and section numbers can be non existent at times. In using this database, we have been lucky to use pictures and then look for specific geographical landmarks, ie trees, buildings, etc…to locate the grave site.
So, now you have seen the databases, and have found our fallen heroes near you or to a place you want to go, what is next you ask? How do I do this? Whom do I call? Who else can help me out?
Each cemetery has to be looked at by itself, they are all drastically different than each other.
Some cemeteries have an office out front, some are in a church yard, some are literally in the middle of a farmers field.
Here are some tips.
- Utilize the power of Google maps, it will show you the general location and from this you may get to see the cemetery up close and personal, for myself, I was able to zoom right in to the cemetery were my grandfather is buried in Normandy, the google car showed a lady pushing her baby buggy in the parking lot, it may not sound like a lot but its in the middle of no-were, I was glad to see people are there paying their respects.
- If your lucky to have staff at the cemetery they should/might be able to help you beforehand in locating were the grave sites are, trust me when I say that just because you have a plot number and location will not always mean you will locate the grave easily. When you call the cemetery, dont be surprised to hear that they never knew they had Canadians buried there! One cemetery even told me that they in fact did not have ANY Canadians buried there at all!!! I insisted that they did and even suggested that I did not think they he went anywere or left on his own free will. After I emailed to them a certificate from our government of the order for the grave marker did they start to believe me. After a few weeks they said ” We found him”. ” Insert your own laughter here, even in death we as a human race can find humour in things. In the cemeteries, some of the ones we have visited have been like small villages, with an incredible network of roads, hills, lakes, etc… Always give yourself plenty of time to locate the grave site, and take a walk around afterwards, on one visit we located a former President buried in the same cemetery!
- Some our places were we have soldiers buried also have government representation by ways of an Embassy or Consulate and they might also be able to assist you in acquiring flags and or assisting you in a graveside ceremony as well. A number of offices were even surprised to learn that Canadian soldiers were buried there at all. To locate a Canadian Consulate/Embassy please visit their website.
- When you have found a cemetery or area that would like to cover off, spend some time researching what if anything has been done there in the past, there are a handful of sites that have a ceremony each year, but with literally over 1,000 burial locations, 99.9% of them have had nothing done in the past.
- Bring a camera with you and take some pictures of your ceremony, and share them with us on our social media groups, and yours as well, part of our mandate is to make sure for generations to come that family and friends can visit a relative ” virtually”, so we will be asking you at some point to submit them directly through to our governments websites as well for their collections. You may also open an account with the ” find a grave” website and submit your pictures there as well.
Were do I find Canadian Flags?
If you are in Canada, this is easy, head to your local corner store/dollar store or shop online, pick up the phone and starting making some phone calls, lots of places sell flags.
Some teachers and parents are starting to make flags with their children, its a great idea and allows some great lessons to be taught at the same time!
We have also uploaded a Canadian Flag into our library that you can print off on a colour printer and then affix to a popsicle stick or something else you find suitable.
If you are outside of Canada we can assist you in shipping flags to you.
CANADA over 20,000 approx.
CZECH REPUBLIC 10
FAROE ISLANDS 6
GREECE AND ISLANDS 58
ISRAEL, PALESTINE incL GAZA 57
MYANMAR (BURMA) 81
RUSSIAN FEDE 32
SIERRA LEONE 10
SOUTH AFRICA 39
ST. LUCIA 9
TRINADAD & TOBAGO 7
TURKEY & GALLIPOLI 106
UNITED KINGDOM 12,704
76 COUNTRIES > over 100,000 FALLEN HEROES