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CWGC at the heart of First World War Centenary

12 October 2012

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission will be one of the UK government's principal partners, along with the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Imperial War Museums, in marking the centenary of the First World War.

The four-year programme of commemoration, announced by Prime Minister David Cameron,  will include events to mark anniversaries across the period, including the start of the war in 1914, the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and the Armistice in 1918.    

The government intends that the centenary will have an enduring educational legacy, which will allow student ambassadors and a teacher from each maintained school in England to visit the battlefields and do research on people local to their school who fought in the war.

The CWGC is at the centre of the government's plans. It is committing major internal resources to a coordinated programme that will facilitate the staging of commemorative events at the cemeteries and memorials of the First World War; enhance the understanding and experience for the visitors to the cemeteries and memorials; and leave a lasting cultural legacy

The Commission is at the heart of international co-ordination and planning for the centenaries and is in constant and close communication with governments and related organisations in the UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, India, France, Germany, the Irish Republic and elsewhere.

The Commission has begun work on a massive interpretive programme, with visitor information panels being erected at some 500 cemeteries and memorials across the battlefields of the First World War. Each of the panels will explain why  the cemetery or memorial is placed where it is; an explanation of what happened in the surrounding area during the Great War; and some historical context. The panels will also feature Quick Response codes to allow visitors to access the stories of some of the individual casualties commemorated at the site.