The Commonwealth War Graves Commission



As each generation passes, our personal connections to those who passed away in the first and second World Wars become more distant. And the work of the CWGC becomes less relevant. This is the challenge we faced with War Graves Week. How can we create a modern, relevant connection to our past?

Our solution was to bring the people that lived on our streets, back to our streets. Our campaign centred around a new web application we built, allowing users to search by postcode to discover the people who lived in their area who died in the first and second World Wars.

Trying to map the exact location of people’s homes from a time when postcodes didn’t exist presented a huge technical challenge. However, extensive work on their data, along with some clever customisation of the Google APIs allowed us to create a service which calculates the nearest casualty to your postcode, displaying it in Google Street View, creating an immediate, personal, local connection to the past.

Users can click through to learn more about the people on their streets, and download, print and display a commemorative tribute to them for War Graves Week.

In order to generate word-of-mouth in the areas where War Graves Week events are taking place, we surprised the residents of 24 streets with handwritten ‘letters home’ from people who used to live there. Supported by local PR and geo-targeted paid social, our goal was to maximise engagement and local relevance nationwide – one street at a time.