Thursday, June 20, 2024

Augmented reality to transform the way people learn about those who died during both world wars

AUGMENTED reality to transform the way people learn about the men and women who died during both world wars.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) will be deploying new augmented reality technology at 10 cemetery locations during War Graves Week to tell the stories of the fallen.

War Graves Week, which launches on Saturday, is an initiative aimed at encouraging people from the communities across the UK to come together and discover the World War heritage on their doorstep – learning about the stories of those commemorated by the CWGC and the skills, dedication and expertise of those CWGC staff and volunteers who work to keep their memory alive.

The smartphone technology from Memory Anchor will enable people to go on walking tours of 10 cemeteries complete with biographies and photographs of some of those commemorated enabling them to engage with history in stunning augmented reality.

Director General of the CWGC, Claire Horton CBE, said: “We’re delighted that people will be able to use this wonderful app at our cemeteries to discover the stories of the fallen. When I used Memory Anchor for the first time at Brookwood Military Cemetery, it was quite an emotional experience. I learned about many brave and remarkable people including Private Kathleen Gray who was working as a cook in the then top-secret Bletchley Park during the Second World War. For security reasons, Kay, as she was known to her family and friends, never told anyone where she worked supporting the pioneering code-breaking team whose efforts shortened the war by up to two years. She tragically died of lung cancer in November 1945, just a couple of months after the end of the war, at the age of 32.”

The smartphone technology will be available at: Brookwood Military Cemetery, Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery, Manchester Southern Cemetery, Cambridge City Cemetery, Seaford Cemetery, Plymouth Naval Memorial, Cannock Chase War Cemetery, Tower Hill Memorial, Edinburgh (Comely Bank) Cemetery and Cardiff (Cathays) Cemetery.

“With this launch, the CWGC is leading the charge in digital commemoration, starting right here in the UK” said Memory Anchor Co-founder Ryan Mullens who has flown into the UK from Canada for the CWGC launch during War Graves Week. “Ultimately, this is a new way to share human stories. There’s so much power in a story, and when we can recognise ourselves in a story it forges an unforgettable connection with the past.”

“What’s so inspiring about this partnership is the scale of commitment that the CWGC brings to preserving these remarkable human stories and sharing them with others on a global scale,” added Memory Anchor Co-founder Matthew Cudmore. “With this launch, we enter War Graves Week with the shared belief that behind every gravestone is a story just waiting to be told.”
For those who prefer traditional tours, free guided tours will take place up and down the country and will give people the chance to discover the remarkable stories of the men and women of the Commonwealth forces that died in the First and Second World Wars who are buried in their community. To book a tour, visit

The CWGC is encouraging the people all over the country to seek out the stories in their local area and try the new smartphone augmented reality technology or book onto a free tour this War Graves Week.


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