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Chatham Naval Memorial

New Information Panels to be Unveiled at Chatham Naval Memorial

29 October 2013

On 31 October 2013, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence KCVO CB ADC(P) will unveil new information panels at the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent. Combining smartphone technology with traditional interpretive techniques, these interactive panels engage new generations in the sacrifices made by servicemen and women in the two world wars.

Sir Tim Laurence, who is the Royal Naval Commissioner with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, will also tour the memorial and meet with families of some of the men commemorated there, local dignitaries, naval cadets and Commission staff responsible for the memorial's care.

The panels at Chatham are among 500 the Commission is installing worldwide as part of an initiative to provide more information to the public during the Centenary of the First World War. More than 100 of the panels are being erected in the UK, to provide information about the many thousands of Commonwealth war dead who are buried or commemorated here.

Each of the panels carries information about the cemetery or memorial and a QR (Quick Response) code which, when scanned with a smartphone, provides access to further information, including the personal stories of some of the casualties buried or commemorated at that particular location. Included in the QR codes on the Chatham Naval Memorial panels are the stories of two men who died on board the HMS Jervis Bay - Captain Edward Fegen VC and Thomas Rainsbury, whose nephew will be present at the unveiling. 

Sir Tim said, "The Commonwealth War Graves Commission believes this initiative will help visitors gain an understanding of why these memorials exist, why it is important to visit them and maintain them, and who these men and women were. It will help bring home to all of us the great sacrifice made by the servicemen and women who went away to fight in two world wars. It is a powerful way to combine traditional forms of remembrance, with new technology, to ensure we never forget."

Councillor Josie Iles, the Mayor of Medway, said: "Medway has a unique connection with the Royal Navy through Chatham Historic Dockyard. I am pleased that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has used the very latest communication technology to bring to life the stories of those service people from Medway who gave their lives during the two world wars."