Fabian Ware: Royal Automobile Club Volunteer

Royal Automobile Club, Fabian Ware, War Graves Registration

Visionary Fabian Ware, Royal Automobile Club volunteer and founder of War Graves Registration.
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Director of War Graves Registration Commission

The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) was founded in 1897 and in August 1914 a group of RAC volunteers offered their services to the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). Known as the Royal Automobile Club Corps of Volunteer Motor Drivers, twenty-five RAC members were attached to the BEF. Using their own vehicles the volunteers provided chauffeur and messenger services for the British General Staff.

A month later, in September 1914, other RAC members offered themselves and their vehicles to assist the British Red Cross in the transport of casualties becoming the British Red Cross’ Motor Ambulance Department. One volunteer, Fabian Arthur Goulstone Ware, was previously the editor of the Morning Post (1905 – 1911) and, prior to 1914, a consultant for the metals and mining firm of Rio Tinto Ltd. conducting negotiations with France regarding zinc.

Royal Automobile Club

Royal Automobile Club Badge.
(Wiki image)

Ware commanded a motor ambulance unit that was engaged in searching for British wounded and missing in Northern France. The unit soon added medical staff and a mobile light hospital and found themselves working extensively with the French. After dealing with some 12,000 casualties the unit was disbanded. However, during this time of operational service, Ware had become cognizant of the lack of any war graves registration records…no active recording or marking of war graves of those who had been killed was taking place.

Ware set about to create an organization to deal with these omissions and in 1915 Ware and his team were transferred to the British Red Cross. With the new organization Ware, in May 1915, became a Temporary Major though his contract recognized his work in this area had commenced in February 1915. The new organization worked quickly and by October 1915 over 31,000 graves were registered increasing in May 1916 to 50,000. About this time Lieutenant Colonel Fabian Ware was made Director of War Graves Registration and Enquiries, subsequently promoted to Major-General, and continuing in this position until war’s end.  For his work with the Commission Fabian Ware was created a Companion of the Order of the Bath (1919) and Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (1917).

During the course of the war it was recognized that this important work needed to be continued and maintained post-war. Fabian Ware would continue to be part of this vision.

About The Author

Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and in Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was further amazed by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and with time he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he learned Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.


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