Duke of Kent opens new museum at HQ of Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Posted on centenarynews.com on 16 December 2013
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The Duke of Kent has opened a new museum at the headquarters of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in the UK, aimed at encouraging people to learn more about the organisation's origins and its work worldwide.

Created in 1917 during the First World War, the CWGC maintains the graves of 1.7 million servicemen and women who were killed in both world wars.

A number of unique artefacts are publicly available for the first time at the museum in the Commission's recently refurbished headquarters in the Berkshire town of Maidenhead.

Royal passport

They include a passport issued to King George V in 1922 for a pilgrimage to the newly-built cemeteries of the First World War.      

Also on view is a sign from the very first war cemetery at Forceville, on the Somme battlefields of northern France.

The Duke, who's President of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and a cousin of Queen Elizabeth, inaugurated the museum on 11th December 2013 (pictured below).

Speaking at the ceremony, the Duke said: "Our efforts to commemorate the fallen of two world wars will come into sharp focus during the forthcoming Centenary of the First World War -- a conflict which brought the Commission into being -- and the upcoming anniversaries of the Second World War."

"It is my sincere hope that ever growing numbers of the public will come to know the Commission over this period, visit this new facility and value the work that it does."

The CWGC operates in more than 23,000 locations in 153 countries spread across all continents, except Antarctica. 

Many of the high-profile events marking the forthcoming Centenary of the First World War will take place at its sites.

Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commisssion

Date of press release publication: 11/12/2013

Images courtesy of Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News