Flemish Minister-President Geert Bourgeois (left) and CWGC Vice-Chairman Sir Tim Laurence signed the funding deal as events took place in Belgium to commemorate the Battle of Messines Centenary (Photo © Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

CWGC given €3.9m to restore Flanders cemeteries

Posted on centenarynews.com on 15 June 2017
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The Flanders Government is giving the Commonwealth War Graves Commission more than €3.9 million towards restoration projects at 24 cemeteries in the Ieper (Ypres) area.

Both sides say the funding will help to ensure continued remembrance of those who fell in the First World War after  Centenary events close in 2018.

Almost 31,000 members of Commonwealth forces are commemorated at the sites. 

The agreement, signed during last week's ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Messines in June 1917, comes ahead of some of the biggest events of the centenary programme, commemorating the Third Battle of Ypres-Passchendaele.

Flemish Minister-President Geert Bourgeois emphasised his government's commitment to safeguarding the region's Great War heritage.

"This heritage is the last bridge between the present and the past," he said. "Reinstate, restore and preserve cemeteries, so that we can keep commemorating the thousands of casualties, long after 2018."


Welcoming the investment, CWGC Vice-Chairman Sir Tim Laurence said: "Throughout our history, the cemeteries and memorials have evolved naturally, ageing gracefully but remaining true to their founding design and purpose of ensuring those who died will never be forgotten.

"However, work is now needed to ensure the very high standards expected by visitors to the sites. We are delighted that the historical, cultural and commemorative significance of these sites, and the work of the CWGC in maintaining them, is recognised in the signing of this agreement today."

The plans include better accessibility for less mobile or disabled visitors, and new information panels

Work will start this year at Potijze Chateau Ground & Lawn Cemetery and Artillery Wood Cemetery, both situated near Ypres. CWGC says the sites will remain open to visitors as much as possible.

"For a century, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has cared for the graves, memorials and cemeteries of those who died in both World Wars," Sir Tim Laurence said.

"This generous grant will enable vital conservation work to take place, ensuring our cemeteries remain a fitting tribute to those who died and places to visit and remember for generations to come."

For the full list of cemeteries, see the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

Images courtesy of CWGC

Posted by: CN Editorial Team