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HRH The Duke of Cambridge Visits CWGC Living Memory Project To Remember UK War Graves

10 November 2016

His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge visited war graves in Willesden New Cemetery, London today to see the work of Living Memory, a Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) initiative that aims to encourage communities to discover their local CWGC war graves and memorials, explore the stories behind the names of those who gave their lives during the First World War and remember their sacrifice.

Launched earlier this year to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme – one of the defining events of the First World War – the CWGC, working in partnership with the Big Ideas Company, sought 141 groups to hold 141 events between 1 July and 18 November to mark the 141 days of the Somme Offensive.

To date, more than 650 groups, from Premier League football clubs to schools, have requested information about the project and 230 events have taken place in cemeteries the length and breadth of the UK.

At the cemetery, The Duke met groups from local schools and community groups who have become involved in the Living Memory project in Willesden, and heard about the ways in which they are remembering the fallen.

His Royal Highness then visited a number of First World War CWGC war graves across the site, before observing a minute's silence and laying flowers at the cemetery's Cross of Sacrifice for Remembrance.

Colin Kerr, the CWGC’s Director of External Relations said: “The CWGC was honoured to have an opportunity to share some of the amazing projects that Living Memory has inspired with His Royal Highness.

“Within three miles of your front door, is the final resting place of someone who fought and gave their lives for us in the two world wars. The CWGC wants more people to discover these places, explore their rich history, cherish them and remember them.

“Our message, this remembrance time and always, to those who lie here in Willesden and those who are commemorated in thousands of Commonwealth War Graves Commission sites up and down the United Kingdom is this: the sacrifice you made will never be forgotten.”

Virginia Crompton, CEO Big Ideas Company said, “It’s been a brilliant experience working with communities here in Willesden. They have taken the war graves to their hearts and are Living Memory Champions, just like hundreds of other groups taking part right now across the country.

“This year more than 250 groups have joined the project to mark the Somme Centenary. There are war graves in every corner of the British Isles but almost all of us are unaware.

“It’s a great honour to have the opportunity to introduce the Duke of Cambridge to the project in Willesden New Cemetery – his visit will shine a light on this important and inspiring story.”

For more information, contact Peter Francis, Media and Marketing Manager: 07766 255884 or 01628 507163, 

Notes for editors:

1. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) commemorates the 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during the two world wars. It also holds and updates an extensive and accessible records archive.

The Commission operates in more than 23,000 locations in more than 150 countries.

The CWGC cares for war graves and memorials at 12,000 locations in the UK, which together commemorate more than 300,000 men and women who died during the two world wars as a result of their injuries, accident or sickness.

Get to know the Commonwealth War Graves Commission





2. Photo and other credits

Please ensure that all photos, videos and other materials are credited to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission or CWGC.

3. Big Ideas Company Ltd ( )

Big Ideas Company Ltd (BICO) develops and delivers public engagement and participation projects, specialising in projects which bring groups together and create new experiences and relationships. Other BICO projects include Living Shakespeare, a British Council partnership with the BBC and the Open University and India Remembers with United Service Institution of India and CWGC.

4. The Living Memory Project

The Living Memory project is jointly funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department for Culture Media and Sport and the CWGC.

Living Memory is a partnership between the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and Big Ideas Company Ltd (BICO) working on a not for profit basis.

The Living Memory project inspires and supports UK communities to connect with the 300,000 CWGC war graves and memorials in the United Kingdom.

The project provides resources, activities and an expenses scheme to help groups discover their local heritage and champion local graves to mark the Somme centenary from 1st July – 18 November 2016. Hundreds of community events are taking place across the UK and their local CWGC graves of more than 150 Somme casualties in the UK have been identified by groups.

During November, The FA, The Premier League and the English Football League are calling on every level of football to locate their nearest CWGC graves and lay flowers in order to raise awareness of this important call to action.