Commonwealth War Graves Commission announces plans to mark Centenary

Posted on on 05 August 2013
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The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has announced details of "projects and new initiatives to mark the historic four year period" of the First World War Centenary.

The Commission is in the process of restoring First World War headstones in time for the Centenary, and in the past year has inspected over one million graves.

Production of replacement headstones has quadrupled to almost 22,000 a year and the legibility of inscriptions on individual headstones has been checked.

Structural renovations of cemeteries, as well as "horticultural operations" are taking place in the next year "to ensure the war dead are commemorated to the highest possible standard".

A plan to install information panels at 500 locations around the world has also been undertaken. The panels "combine traditional interpretive techniques with the latest in smartphone technology, to tell the personal stories of some of those who died".

In 2014, the Commission will make available unreleased archive documents on its website, including previous place of burial data.

A series of "high-profile events" will be taking place at Commonwealth War Grave sites across the globe during the Centenary period, including on the 4th August 2014 at St. Symphorien Military Cemetery in Belgium, when an international service attended by dignitaries will be held.

Peter Francis, Head of External Communications at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission explained, "The next four years will mark not only the centenary of the Great War, but also a hundred years since the Commission's founding in 1917".

"Set out nearly a century ago, our mission of perpetual commemoration remains unchanged, but ensuring that our locations are ready for the centenary presents both a challenge and an opportunity". 

"During these four years, the Commission is focused on ensuring that our preparations not only honour the fallen but actively engage a generation for whom the war is not even a distant memory."

Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission press release

Date of press release: 05/08/2013

Images courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News