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WWI & WWII Researching

There are many instances coming to our attention concerning children and grandchildren, particularly of WWII veterans, who are researching their father or grandfather, who served in the European Theater during WWII.

Believe it or not, some do NOT know where their father is buried !! Mother never told them. She was traumatized at the time, and just said that "Daddy just went away and never came back". Now they are finding out the "Daddy" was a "Hero" and never came home because he is "buried over there somewhere"!! They do not know the circumstances of his death, do not know which unit he fought with, nor the actions in which he was involved, and why were they not brought back home after the war. Many puzzling questions are being asked, and each one deserves an answer. But, where are the answers ??

When a soldier was killed, he remained on the battlefield, in place, until their unit's medics came along, pronounced him dead, and they in turn notified the Graves Registration Unit. If by chance the soldier was not dead, he was evacuated to the nearest Aid Station or Hospital, where eventually he recovered or died. Again the Graves Registration Unit removed the body to its own facility.

The G.R.U. made positive identification of the body, recorded the condition of the body, obvious wounds and/or the cause of death, and was inventoried for personal effects.

The body was then removed to a rear area, where further identification was made, a medical examination made, and personal effects packaged and secured, and later sent to the nearest next of kin, with the usual greeting from the U.S. Army, "We regret to inform you…".

As soon as possible and practical, the body was placed in a body bag, which sometimes consisted of only a mattress cover, and buried in a shallow grave of a temporary cemetery, although carefully marked and identified.

After establishment of our many U.S. Military Cemeteries and Memorials throughout Europe, all of the bodies in these temporary cemeteries were re-interred into the permanently established sites, and those temporary cemeteries were closed.

Starting in 1947, a repatriation of bodies program was initiated and up until the 1960's, it was possible to have bodies returned to the U.S. at government expense, for private burials near the decedent's home. It was the decision of the family as to whether they wanted the body brought home or not. Of course a big percentage did, but the rest chose to let their "loved one" rest among his buddies near where he fell for the cause in which he believed, and for which he fought Since that time, further removal of bodies has been prohibited.

Next-of-kin may request information on veterans who were Killed in Action, (KIA), and in many cases, can get a detailed file on the handling of the body from the time of death until burial in a U.S. Military cemetery and/or removal to the U.S., and in some cases, information on where the body was re-interred in the U.S.A.

This information is contained in an "Individual Deceased Personnel File", (I.D.P.F.), and may be obtained as follows:

Write to the agency below, requesting the "IDPF" on: Veteran's full name; Army Serial #; Unit if known; Date and Place of death if known; and your relationship to the deceased veteran. The more details that are furnished, the quicker they can research this information and get a reply back to you. It will take perhaps 6-8 weeks to obtain this data.

U.S. Army Human Resources Command
200 Stovall Street
Alexandria, VA 22332-0404

Click here for a "Form Letter" to use as a guide

All of the Cemeteries on foreign soil are under the jurisdiction of the "American Battle Monuments Commission" in Arlington, VA.

Each cemetery has been granted use of the site, in perpetuity by the host government, to the United States, tax and rent free.

There are eight (8) WWI U.S. Cemeteries in Europe, mostly in the NE of France and SE of Belgium, and one in England, as follows:

Aisne-Marne Belleau Woods, France - 2,288 Graves 1,060 Missing
Brookwood Brookwood, England - 468 graves, 563 missing
Flanders Field Waregem, Belgium - 368 graves, 43 missing
Meuse-Argonne Romagne, France - 14,246 graves, 954 missing
Oise-Aisne Fere-en-Tardenois, France - 6,012 graves, 241 missing
St. Mihiel Thiaucourt, France - 4,152 graves, 284 missing
Somme Bony, France - 1,837 graves, 333 missing
Suresnes Suresnes, France - 1,541 graves, 974 missing

There are twelve (12) WWII U.S. Cemeteries in Europe one (1) in England, one (1) in North Africa, and one (1) in the Philippines as follows:

Ardennes Neuville-en-Condroz, Belg. - 5,310 Graves, 462 Missing
Brittany St. James, France - 4,410 graves, 498 missing
Cambridge Cambridge, England - 3,811 graves, 5,125 missing
Epinal Epinal, France - 5,255 graves, 424 missing
Florence Florence, Italy - 4,402 graves, 1,409 missing
Henri-Chapelle Aubel, Belgium - 7,992 graves, 450 missing
Lorraine St. Avold, France - 10,489 graves, 444 missing
Luxembourg Luxembourg City, Luxem. - 5,076 graves, 370 missing
Manila Manila, Philippines - 17,206 graves, 36,279 missing
Netherlands Margraten, The Netherlands - 8,302 graves, 1,722 missing
Normandy St. Laurent-sur-Mer, France - 9,386 graves, 1,557 missing
North Africa Carthage, Tunisia - 2,840 graves, 3,724 missing
Rhone Draguignan, France - 861 graves, 293 missing
Sicily-Rome Nettuno, Italy - 7,862 graves, 3,094 missing

A white marble headstone marks each grave - a Star of David for those of the Jewish faith; and a Latin Cross for all others.

At the memorials in these Cemeteries, are inscribed the names of the Missing, who in the respective regions, gave their lives in the service of their Country, but whose remains were never found or not identified. A small non-denominational chapel forms a part of each WWII Cemetery & Memorial.

No further burials may be made in the Cemeteries under the ABMC's jurisdiction, except those remains which may, in the future, be found on one of the battle fields. Occasionally a body is found after all of these years, and is respectfully buried in the nearest Cemetery to where the body was found. (Unless the family requests otherwise).

Cemeteries are open to the public every day of the year, usually from 9 - 5.

Only fresh cut flowers and arrangements are allowed to be placed on gravesites.

An American Superintendent is stationed at each Cemetery, and all administrative personnel speak English, and can assist in location of grave sites.

Upon request of the "next-of-kin" the ABMC will furnish, at no cost, photos as follows:

  • WWI Cemeteries: A black and white photo of the appropriate headstone, or inscription on the Wall of the Missing.

  • WWII Cemeteries: A colored litho aerial photo of the Cemetery, and a black & white, (most probably a colored Polaroid photo) photo of the appropriate headstone or inscription on the Wall of the Missing.

A brochure listing all of the Cemeteries and Memorials, giving a description of each, as well as directions to the facility and other pertinent data, and a separate and special brochure on each facility may be obtained from the ABMC as follows:

American Battle Monuments Commission
Courthouse Plaza II, Suite #500
2300 Clarendon Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201

In some of the above Cemeteries, many of the local people have adopted a grave of a soldier who is unknown to them, but he is "their adopted son", in thanks and honor for his sacrifice in giving them their Liberty and Freedom in 1944-5. It is just amazing that these people still give thanks and pay tribute to their heroes after all these 56 years!!

For the Normandy Cemetery, see the following website:

A new website has recently been opened by the A.B.M.C.. This website gives one the opportunity to locate the grave of any person buried in an overseas cemetery. It can be found at: Click on "About War Dead". This page will give you a picture and details of each Cemetery; Rank and Army Serial # of any individual that you may be seeking, (You provide correct legal name), burial site, and it will give you the grave location within the Cemetery.

Another facility that researchers may be interested in, is the storage facility of most of our US military records, where you can possibly get information on the combat records of a veteran. In order to facilitate such a search, you must supply: Name, Rank, Army Serial #, Dates of Service, Branch of Service, and specific unit and dates for which you want records. The wait may be as long as 12 months of longer - they are notoriously slow!

National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100


General historical and Army unit histories may be available from:

U.S. Army Military History Institute
22 Ashburn Drive
Carlisle Barracks,
Carlisle,PA 17013-5008

Books may be obtained from here on loan through your own Public Library on an inter-library-loan basis, if available at time of request.

Another repository of importance is our National Archives, where many military records are stored, and copies of such material can be obtained for a nominal cost of copying and postage.

National Archives & Records Administration

8601 Adelphi Road #4002
College Park, MD 20740-60011

Listed below are the names and addresses of some of the European Cemeteries & Memorials, with e-mail addresses. All Superintendents are very cooperative in replying to individual requests. If you'd like a printable, MS Word version of this list, click here.

68, RUE DU 19 JANVIER 92380 - GARCHES, France
APO Address : PSC 116 APO AE 09777



American Cemetery
02400 - Château-Thierry
France David M. Atkinson, Supt.
No Assistant Superintendent

Flora Nicolas - Cemetery Associate

American Cemetery
Brookwood, Woking, Surrey
GU24 OBL England Frank S. Kaufmann, Supt.
No Assistant Superintendent

Derek Odell - Cemetery Associate TEL: 00.44.1483.473.237
FAX: 00.44.1483.481.533
FPO Address: American Cemetery (ABMC)
PSC 821, Box 84 FPO AE 09421-0084

American Cemetery
8790 - Waregem
Belgium Saad Eddine Kaddi, Supt.
No Assistant Superintendent

Christopher Sims - Cemetery Associate TEL:
APO Address: ABMC/US Embassy Brussels
PSC 82, Box 002 APO AE 09724

American Cemetery
55110 - Romagne-sous-
Montfaucon, France Joseph P.P. Rivers, Supt.
Scott Desjardins, Asst-Tr.

Dominique Didiot - Cemetery Associate

American Cemetery
CD 2
02130 Seringes-et-Nesles
France Jeffrey E. Aarnio, Supt
No Assistant Superintendent

Nathalie Le Barbier - Cemetery Associate TEL:

American Cemetery
54470 - Thiaucourt
France Jacques R. Adelée, Supt.
No Assistant Superintendent

Nadia-Ezz-Eddine, Cemetery Associate TEL:

American Cemetery
02420 - Bony
France Craig P. Rahanian, Supt.
No Assistant Superintendent

Murielle Defrenne, Cemetery Associate TEL:

American Cemetery
190 Blvd Washington
92150 - Suresnes
Abdelhamid Faqir, Supt.
No Assistant Superintendent

Gabrielle Mihaescu, Cemetery Associate



American Cemetery
4121 - Neupre
Belgium Hans H. Hooker, Supt.
James L. DeGiusti, Assistant

Joris Vincent - Cemetery Associate TEL:

APO Address: ABMC/Ardennes
PSC 82/Box 126 APO AE 09710

American Cemetery
50240 St-James
France Gérald V. Arseneault, Supt.
Alan L. Amelinckx, Asst-Tr.

Maurice Lemardele, Cemetery Associate TEL:

American Cemetery
Coton, Cambridge
CB3 7PH England David W. Bedford, Supt.
Anthony A. Barclay - Assistant

Arthur Brookes, Cemetery Associate TEL: 00.44.1954.210.350
FAX: 00.44.1954.211.130

APO address: PSC 47, Box 882 APO AE 09470

American Cemetery
88000 Dinoze
France Robert T. Cavaness, Supt.
Wilfred J. St. Pierre, Assistant

Dominique Jambois, Cemetery Associate TEL:

American Cemetery
159 Rue du Memorial Americain
4852 Hombourg, Belgium Alvin V. Nagel, Supt.
Dwight E. Anderson, Asst-Tr.

Caroline Oliver, Cemetery Associate TEL:

American Cemetery
Avenue de Fayetteville
57500 St. Avold
France Horace E. Thompson, Supt.
Walter E. Benjamin, Assistant

Valerie Muller, Cemetery Associate TEL:

American Cemetery
Val du Scheid, 50
2517 - Luxembourg
Grand Duche Leland B. Atkinson, Supt.
Keith K. Stadler, Asst-Tr.

Erwin Franzen - Cemetery Associate TEL: 00.352.43.17.27
FAX: 00.352.42.03.05
APO Address: American Embassy Luxembourg
Unit 1410, APO AE 09126

American Cemetery
6269 NA, Margraten
The Netherlands Michael S. Yasenchak, Supt.
William Haggerty, Assistant

Frenk Lahaye, Cemetery Associate TEL:
APO Address: 254 bsb Unit 21 602
APO AE 09703

American Cemetery
14710 Colleville-sur-Mer
France Daniel L. Neese, Supt.
Assistant - Bobby O. Bell

Cemetery Associates:
Jean Sylvie & Katia Lemerre TEL:

James M. Woolsey, Director Assistant: Paula J. Bauer
Same contact as NOAC

Note: Superintendents may be changed occasionally.
If you'd like a printable, MS Word version of this list, click here.

For more information on the ABMC Website, the following address may be helpful:

On it you will find:

Various Services Offered
Details about Cemeteries
Listing of War Dead
Dates of Ceremonies
And Other Items


  1. Name, location and general information concerning the Cemetery or Memorial; Plot, Row & Grave # if appropriate.

  2. Best route, directions and modes of travel in-country to the Cemetery.

  3. General information on accommodations in the area.

  4. Escort services within the Cemetery.

  5. Memorial for Relatives.

  6. Letters of Application for Fee-free passports for next-of-kin travelling overseas, to visit a Grave or memorial site. These must be processed well prior to planning the trip.

  7. Photos of Headstones or Tablets of the Missing, on which the serviceman's name is engraved.

  8. Large color lithographs of WWII Cemeteries & Memorials, to which photos of Headstones or Tablets of the missing are attached.

  9. Arrangements for floral decoration of Graves and Memorial site.

Copy of form for request is included later on this page.



Requests for similar information concerning burials of WWI & WWII British or Canadian veterans in the Ypres, Belgium area is as follows:

Mr. Jeremy Gee, OBE, Director
British Commonwealth Graves Commission
NE Europe Area Phone: (32)-57-200-118
Elverdingestraat 82 FAX : (32)-57-218-014
B-8900 Ieper, Belgium e-mail:

Through this agency, the addresses for contacts in other areas may be obtained.



American Battle Monuments Commission
Arlington Court House Plaza II
2300 Clarendon Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22202

ABMC European Region
American Embassy, Paris
APO AE 09777

ABMC Mediterranean Region
American Embassy, Rome
PSC 59, Box 100
APO AE 09624

ABMC Pacific Region
American Embassy, Manila
Fort Bonifacio
APO AP96440

This office maintains the register of WWII dead. It may furnish the name of the cemetery where the soldier is buried stateside:

Department of the Army
2461 Eisenhower Ave.
Alexandria, VA 22331-0482

Information on individual service records for US Air Force personnel:

Tyndall AFB, FL 32403

Information on individual service records for US Navy and Marine personnel:


Chief, Bureau of Medicine & Surgery
Code 332
23rd & East St. NW Corps
Washington, DC 20372-5120

Information for US Coast Guard personnel:

GMVP 1 - 12
United States Coast Guard
Washington, DC 20593

Operational Archives Branch Information on ships, naval units etc:

Naval Historical Center
Washington Navy Yard
901 M Street SE
Washington, DC 20374-5060

National Memorial of the Pacific Known as the "Punchbowl". Maintained by an Army veteran's association, which makes available grave locations, a map of Grave site and a Polaroid photo of the Grave marker or memorial:


2177 Puowaina Dr.
Honolulu, HI 96813

Mr. Robert King Maintains a list of U.S. Army Veterans Associations and provides a complete list for a nominal fee:

4406 Rolling Brook Ct.
Alexandria, VA 22306

Superintendent of Documents Prints and distributes all kinds of printed material and books that are published by U.S. Government, at a nominal cost:

US Government Printing Office
Washington, DC 20402

The agency that handles all requests for replacement, or original issue, of Medals to which one is entitled, and copies of Discharge/Separation Forms, if necessary:

National Personnel Records Center
Entitlement to Awards Division
9700 Page Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63132

Camp Blanding Museum Has available most all Official Medals at a nominal cost. Limited other decoraions, memorabilia & history books:

5629 SR #16 W
Starke, FL 32091

American Ex-Prisoner of War Membership Directory, Alpha & by Unit, of P.O.W.'s belonging to Assoc:

3201 E. Pioneer Parkway, #40
Arlington, TX 76010-5936

Some of this Data has been taken from A.B.M.C. Documents, and other sources which are in Public Domain. Compiled by Frank W. Towers.

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