During World War I and II, more than 100,000 Australian men and women of the Commonwealth forces lost their lives. There are more than 66,000 Australian war dead in identified graves around the world, with another 35,000 whose remains were never found, cremated or lie in unidentified graves.
Information about war graves can be found via the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Office of Australian War Graves:
The National Archives of Australia holds a number of records and photographs relating to war graves for World War I and II servicemen and women. Listed below are the most relevant series of records.
World War II war graves record cards
Date range: 1939–47
Index cards recording military personnel who were killed or died while on active service in World War II. The cards are in alphabetical order by the surname of the service person.
Cemeteries index, alphabetical series
Date range: 1939–471921–85
Index cards to official graves of, and memorials to, servicemen and women, and some civilians whose deaths were considered to be war-related.
Crematoriums index, alphabetical series
Date range: 1921–85
Index cards recording details of servicemen and women whose deaths were considered to be war related and who were cremated.
War graves registration sheets (includes overseas and prisoner of war cemeteries)
Date range: 1939–47
World War II graves registration sheets recording cemeteries, memorials, headstones and cremations of Australian servicemen and women killed in action or listed as missing in Australia and overseas. A minority of registrations relates to cemeteries, memorials and cremations of members of the Allied Forces. Others relate to internees and prisoners of war who died in Australian internment camps. A small section of the registrations refer to the reburial of World War I personnel and internees in World War II cemeteries, and some civilians who died in war-related incidents. The registrations are primarily organised by geographical location of burial or reburial, memorial, headstone, cremation or broadly by the area where the soldiers went missing.
Garden of Remembrance index (Sets 1 and 2)
Date range: 1921–85
Index cards recording veterans whose death was considered to be war related.
Advices of deaths, reported by Directorate of War Graves Services
Date range: 1939–48
Films illustrating the work of the Imperial and Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Date range: 1917–
Lantern slides illustrating the work of the Imperial War Graves Commission
Date range: 1948
Slides providing a pictorial history of the work of the Imperial War Graves Commission, which cared for the graves of servicemen. The Imperial War Graves Commission was started by Fabian Ware and established under Royal Assent in 1917. The work includes locating World War I war graves of Australian, British and New Zealand servicemen and women.
Black and white photographs of war graves funerals of RAAF officers
Date range: 1942–45
The black and white photographic prints depict funerals of RAAF officers who died while serving with RAAF squadrons, RAF Operational Training Units, RAF Conversion Units and RAF Pathfinder squadrons in Europe and England during World War II.
Black and white photographs depicting Australian World War I graves, cemeteries and memorials including at Jerusalem, Sailly-Le-Sec, Bellerglise, Polygon, Mt St Quentin, Pozieres and Amiens.
This series consists of various black and white photographs relating mostly to World War I. The photographs have been grouped into categories including Amiens, Australian Memorials, Belgium/France, Port Said and Jerusalem War Cemetery. A small number of photographs are unidentified or in miscellaneous categories.
Correspondence files, multiple number series, some with 'AGS' [Australian Graves Service] prefix
Date range: 1916–
This series deals with the provision, erection and maintenance of graves and memorials of members of the AIF killed in World War I.
Files relating to policy towards graves of Australian soldiers in Europe
Date range: 1915–17
Files dealing with the policy towards Australian soldiers buried in Europe in World War I.