Using Google Maps to plot War Cemeteries

I had a brainwave whilst browsing google maps the other day. Why not use the drop-pin feature on Google Maps to plot the location of War Cemeteries where Portsmouth casualties are buried?

Using the CWGC‘s directions, and with a bit of searching, I have begun to plot the locations of a number of war cemeteries, beginning with Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, Poland, Algeria, Tunisia, and some of the Far Eastern Countries.

Hopefully its something I will be able to use to help people locate exactly where they relatives are buried. It also helps us appreciate how the war was fought – in what countries, and the locations of war cemeteries as campaigns were fought.

Take a look at my customised map here.



Filed under portsmouth heroes, Remembrance, World War Two

20 responses to “Using Google Maps to plot War Cemeteries

  1. John Erickson

    I’ll give you fair warning. While accurate enough to locate a multi-acre cemetery, Google maps and Yahoo maps both put my house about 150 yards west of where it actually is. Of course, I am in the middle of a rural area where a basic cell phone is considered high-tech, so it may just be our bucolic area. And Google has yet to do a street-view “drive-by” as well. (The wonders of Ohio!)

    • James Daly

      John I’ve been zooming in as close as I can with the satellite view and in most cases you can locate the cemetery, as they tend to be quite conspicuous. The CWGC give quite good directions for the urban cemeteries, and the smaller rural ones are pretty easy to locate.

    • John Erickson

      That’s why I added the caveat that the inaccuracies are in our little Luddite corner of the globe! Just so you know, the big news story of last year was the installation of a sewer line (we all use septic fields for our sewerage currently). And it has taken them 2.5 years to move Wi-Fi 10 miles closer to us – and we’re still 12-15 miles from a reasonable signal! (We ain’t talking cutting edge here!) 😀

  2. John Erickson

    Heads up, lads. A 7.4 earthquake hit in the south of Pakistan, in the “horn” area just south of Kandahar in Afghanistan. No reports of damage or casualties yet. Just FYI.

    • John Erickson

      They’ve dropped the magnitude to 7.2, a fair amount but not significant to damage (the Richter is a logarithmic scale – 7.2 to 7.4 is multiple times the energy of 6.2 to 6.4, say). No damage reported yet in Karachi. I’m trying to dig info up online – this is all from US TV news. (Take it ALL with a grain or two of salt!)

    • James Daly

      Hi Peter, thanks for the link. Thats exactly the kind of thing I would like to do for my database of Portsmouth casualties, albeit covering the world. A chap called Tim Backhouse has a great website called memorialsinportsmouth, with listings and photographs of all war graves actually in Portsmouth itself.

  3. Dave Young

    We must’t forget all those servicemen and women who died in defence of Malta and in the siege busting convoys, many of them buried at sea or just lost as their ships went down. There could so easily be a Portsmouth sailor amongst them. There was a great loss of life when HMS Barham went down dramatically after a direct hit with three torpedoes and the magazines exploding. An event often used in TV documentaries to this day.
    My Father was one of 40 to go through HMS Ganges in 1939 and he and one other sailor were disappointed to be sent to a Concrete Frigate Malta the other one going to Gibraltar. The 38 went to HMS Barham and all were lost. The other chap turned up at my Fathers funeral a couple of years ago and introduced himself with just his Naval number, just 2 numbers before Dad’s, so I knew instantly who he was! He said they were the luckiest two to survive the war, but they didn’t know it at the time. Dad was a 19 a year old Signalman in Malta in 1940/41 and his job was to raise the red flag on the signal tower to warm the population of an immanent bombing raid. He also went out in a small ship to help tow the badly damaged tanker Ohio into Grand harbour.

    • James Daly

      Hi Dave, there are about 4 or 5 Malta Cemeteries with Portsmouth men on my list that I’m working through. And then there is also the Malta Memorial. I’m also currently working on a chapter for my upcoming book featuring Wing Commander John ‘Bucky’ Buchanan, the CO of a Beaufighter Squadron on Malta in 1942.

  4. Dave Young

    Hi James, thanks. I was reading a book on the Siege of Malta whist on holiday in Madeira a couple of years ago. I was reading a passage, aloud to my wife as we sat in the sun, about a German bomber being shot down and spiralling into the sea trailing thick black smoke, when the elderly man next to me on his sun lounger opened his eyes and said in poor English with a German accent “don’t mention the war!” I resisted the temptation to say “you started it”, so we both broke out in laughter and we didn’t mention the war again.

  5. Dave Young

    No, but we had!

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