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Frederikstad Military Cemetery

Smartphone technology helps remembrance of war dead in Norway

03 September 2014

The personal story of a First World War Royal Naval Officer, described as "the soul of honour and chivalry", has been revealed thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's (CWGC) use of QR Code smartphone technology.

Sub-Lieutenant Algernon William Percy is one of 82 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 51 of them unidentified, commemorated at Fredrikstad Military Cemetery in Norway.  Along with many of those buried at the cemetery, Algernon was killed during the Battle of Jutland in May 1916.

His story is one of those revealed through the CWGC's innovative use of QR (Quick Response) Codes on new information panels installed at the cemetery.

The panels at Fredrikstad are among 500 to be installed at CWGC locations worldwide. Each of the panels feature information about the site of the cemetery and a QR code.  When scanned with a smartphone, the QR Code provides access to further information, including the personal stories of some of the casualties buried or commemorated there.

The interactive CWGC Visitor Information Panels at Fredrikstad will be unveiled on Wednesday 3 September 2014 at 14.00 in the presence of Mr Colin Kerr, the CWGC's Director for the Centenary of the First World War and Lt. Col. Matt Skuse RM, Defence Attaché from the British Embassy in Oslo.

Mr Kerr said: "Like many of those Commonwealth war dead buried in Norway, Percy's body was originally recovered, buried and cared for by the Norwegian people. To this day, the people of Norway  take a very active interest in remembrance of the war dead, and the Commonwealth graves are well cared for in the communities in which they lie.
"These panels are part of a process to engage new generations in the importance of the Centenary of the First World War - a global initiative that 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.

"Today, thanks to the innovative use of smartphone technology, visitors to this site can also get a sense of the human stories behind the names carved in stone."

Algernon William Percy was born in Grosvenor Place, London, the only son of Lord Algernon Malcolm Arthur Percy and his wife Lady Victoria Edgecumbe. Percy was considered a delicate child and was taught at home until, in 1904, he attended Christ Church College, Oxford - where he studied for just a year.

At the outbreak of war, he enlisted and obtained a commission in the Royal Naval Reserve. He was employed on Patrol Duty on HMY Catania until he was transferred to HMS Queen Mary in January 1915. He was killed at the Battle of Jutland the following year. His body was recovered and buried with full honours by the Norwegian authorities.

Percy was a popular and respected member of the crew. A senior Naval officer wrote of him: "He had such a gallant big heart, always battling against delicate health and never flinching from anything because of it". His friend wrote: "He was the soul of honour and chivalry."

Click here for the full media release.