Fabian Ware
Major General
Major General
Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

 Sir Fabian Arthur Goulstone Ware KCVO, KBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

, CB
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

Order of St Michael and St George
The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is an order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later George IV of the United Kingdom, while he was acting as Prince Regent for his father, George III....

 (17 June 1869 – 29 April 1949) was the founder of the Imperial War Graves Commission, now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is an intergovernmental organisation of six independent member states whose principal function is to mark, record and maintain the graves, and places of commemoration, of Commonwealth of Nations military service members who died in the two World Wars...

Early life

Born at Clifton, Bristol
Clifton, Bristol
Clifton is a suburb of the City of Bristol in England, and the name of both one of the city's thirty-five council wards. The Clifton ward also includes the areas of Cliftonwood and Hotwells...

, he attended the Universities of London and Paris, obtaining a Bachelier-es-Sciences at the latter in 1894. He then spent ten years as an assistant master at several secondary school
Secondary school
Secondary school is a term used to describe an educational institution where the final stage of schooling, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age, takes place...

s, and as an occasional examiner for the Civil Service Commission and Inspector of Schools to the Board of Education.

In 1899 he started writing articles for the Morning Post
Morning Post
The Morning Post, as the paper was named on its masthead, was a conservative daily newspaper published in London from 1772 to 1937, when it was acquired by The Daily Telegraph.- History :...

. He became the representative of the Education Committee of the Royal British Commission at the Exposition Universelle (1900)
Exposition Universelle (1900)
The Exposition Universelle of 1900 was a world's fair held in Paris, France, from April 15 to November 12, 1900, to celebrate the achievements of the past century and to accelerate development into the next...

. He then obtained a job as Assistant Director of Education in the Transvaal, where two years later he was promoted to Acting Director of Education for the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony
Orange River Colony
The Orange River Colony was the British colony created after this nation first occupied and then annexed the independent Orange Free State in the Second Boer War...

. Shortly afterwards he was made Director of Education on the Transvaal Legislative Council under Viscount Milner
Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner
Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner KG, GCB, GCMG, PC was a British statesman and colonial administrator who played an influential leadership role in the formulation of foreign and domestic policy between the mid-1890s and early 1920s...

. Returning to Britain in 1905, he was appointed editor of the Morning Post, where he remained until 1911 when he became a director of Rio Tinto Limited.

First World War

When the First World War started in August 1914 he attempted to join the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 but was rejected because he was too old, and so with the assistance of Milner, he obtained command of a mobile ambulance unit provided by the British Red Cross Society. He was soon struck by the lack of an official mechanism for marking and recording the graves of those killed. He set about changing this and set up an organisation to do this, and in 1915 both he and his organisation were transferred from the Red Cross to the Army. By October 1915, the new Graves Registration Commission had over 31,000 graves registered, and 50,000 by May 1916.

War Graves Commission

As the war continued, Ware became concerned about the fate of the graves after the war. With the help of the (then) Edward, Prince of Wales
Edward VIII of the United Kingdom
Edward VIII was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and Emperor of India, from 20 January to 11 December 1936.Before his accession to the throne, Edward was Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay...

, in 1917, he submitted a memorandum on the subject to the Imperial War Conference. On 21 May 1917, the Imperial War Graves Commission was created by a Royal Charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

, with the Prince of Wales as its President and Ware as its Vice-Chairman, a role that Ware held until his retirement in 1948.

In 1937 he published an account of the work of the commission called The Immortal Heritage. The outbreak of the Second World War saw him appointed Director of Graves Registration and Enquiries at the War Office, whilst continuing in his role as Vice-Chairman of the Commission.

He died at home at Amberley, Gloucestershire
Amberley, Gloucestershire
Amberley, Gloucestershire is a small village near Stroud in Gloucestershire, England.-Places of interest:*A War memorial to the soldiers who died in World War II*Amberley Church*The Black Horse Pub*The Amberley Inn Hotel-External links:***...

 shortly after his retirement and is buried in the local Holy Trinity Churchyard. His grave has a CWGC-style headstone and is maintained by the commission. There are also memorial tablets to him in the Warrior's Chapel at Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 and in Gloucester Cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral, or the Cathedral Church of St Peter and the Holy and Indivisible Trinity, in Gloucester, England, stands in the north of the city near the river. It originated in 678 or 679 with the foundation of an abbey dedicated to Saint Peter .-Foundations:The foundations of the present...



  • CMG in 1917
  • CB in 1919
  • KBE in 1920
  • KCVO in 1922
  • Chevalier and later a grand officer of the Legion of Honour
  • Croix de guerre
    Croix de guerre
    The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts...

  • Commander of the Order of the Crown
    Order of the Crown (Belgium)
    The Order of the Crown is an Order of Belgium which was created on 15 October 1897 by King Leopold II in his capacity as ruler of the Congo Free State. The order was first intended to recognize heroic deeds and distinguished service achieved from service in the Congo Free State - many of which acts...

    of Belgium
  • honorary LLD (1929) of the University of Aberdeen
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