Lord Clark of Windermere tabled this Question for short debate:
4 March 2013
FIRST WORLD WAR: CENTENARY - QUESTION FOR SHORT DEBATE
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
Lord Faulkner of Worcester: I speak as chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on War Heritage.
I will refer to an issue that was brought to my attention earlier this year: the looting of three Royal Navy cruisers that were sunk in the North Sea off the coast of the Netherlands in September 1914. HMS "Hogue", HMS "Cressy" and HMS "Aboukir" were torpedoed by the Imperial German submarine "U-9" while on active service and lie at a depth of 33 metres. The majority of the crew of the three ships, around 1,500 naval personnel, lost their lives in the action; therefore, the wrecks are their war graves.
10 November 2011: House of Lords debates Armed Forces sacrifice
Lord Selkirk of Douglas moved that this House takes note, on the eve of Remembrance Day, of the debt which our nation owes to all those who have sacrificed their lives in defence of the realm.
Chairman of the Group, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, spoke on two matters of particular concern during this debate:
Following my Question on 22 March to the noble Lord, Lord Astor, I was invited by Professor Hew Strachan to a seminar on preparations for 2014 at All Souls College, Oxford. It was attended by the DCMS and MoD Ministers, Ed Vaizey and Andrew Robathan, plus a large number of representatives from France, Flanders, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and India, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Imperial War Museum.
From listening to those discussions, it was very clear that other Governments are far more advanced with their planning than are ours. The Government of Flanders, in particular, has an amazing programme planned for 2014 and beyond" read contribution from Chairman of All-party Group in full
22 March 2011: Chairman asks Question on plans for commemorating the outbreak of the Great War
A meeting of the All-Party War Heritage Group on 21 February gave Mr Kris Peeters, minister-president of Flanders,the opportunity to outline how his government proposes to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War in 2014.
The meeting was attended by eminent war historians, representatives of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the Royal British Legion, the Guards Museum, the Guards' Chapel, the Imperial War Museum, the Flemish and Belgian governments, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
It was clear to everyone that the Flanders government have already given much thought to this centenary, and their plans are well advanced. They include a number of events in Flanders itself, a memorial concert at the Chelsea Hospital, an aerial photography research project being carried out by the University of Ghent and the Battlefield Museum in Ypres, the signing of the 'Flanders Fields Declaration' which commits its signatories not to forget 'this cataclysmic event', and most imaginatively – and generously – of all, the creation of a permanent garden of remembrance in front of the Guards' Chapel in Birdcage Walk in London, the earth for which will be brought over from Passendale by the Flemish administration. This garden will replace the present pond which is an inappropriate and unsafe eyesore.
By asking the Question on 22 March, chairman of the Group, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, hoped to acquaint colleagues in the House of Lords with what is already being planned in Belgium, to find out what plans the British government has for commemorating this centenary, and also to solicit support for the Guards' Chapel garden.
Some useful links
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- Imperial War Museum
- UK National Inventory of War Memorials
- War Memorials Trust
- The War Graves Photographic Project
- The Battlefields Trust
- Centre for Battlefield Archaeology
- The Western Front Association
- British Commission for Military History
- United Kingdom Parliament