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24 mars 2014 1 24 /03 /mars /2014 13:50
MOD identifies 10 First World War soldiers


22 March 2014 Ministry of Defence


Ten soldiers killed during the First World War who were found in France during 2009 have now been identified.


Defence Minister Lord Astor has announced that the remains of the 10 soldiers, found during construction work near the French village of Beaucamps-Ligny, have been formally identified after their surviving relatives provided DNA samples.

All those identified served with 2nd Battalion The York and Lancaster Regiment and were killed in battle on 18 October 1914. The discovery will now allow the surviving relatives of the soldiers, who were informed this week, to see their forefathers laid to rest 100 years on from the outbreak of the war.

Lord Astor said:

Our thoughts remain with all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country. Although these soldiers fell almost a century ago, the Ministry of Defence still takes its responsibility extremely seriously to identify any remains found, trace and inform surviving relatives, and to provide a fitting and dignified funeral so they rest in peace.

The headstone of an unknown soldier in a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery (library image) [Picture: Sergeant Jez Doak RAF, Crown copyright]

The soldiers will now be reburied with full military honours at a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in October. The ceremony will be organised by 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment which can trace its history back to the York and Lancaster Regiment. Work to identify a further 5 sets of remains found at the same time is continuing.

Commodore Ian Bisson, from the Ministry of Defence’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre, which identified the soldiers, said:

This has been a difficult but very successful piece of work for the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre team and we have identified far more of the fallen than we first hoped. We can still identify some of the remaining 5 sets of remains and would appeal to those who think they may be family members to get in touch with us.

2014 marks 100 years since the start of the First World War. The Ministry of Defence is part of a cross-government effort, led by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to build a commemoration fitting of this significant milestone in world history. Find out more: First World War Centenary.
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10 juin 2013 1 10 /06 /juin /2013 16:50
Third Battle of Ypres September 1917

Third Battle of Ypres September 1917

10 June 2013 GOV.uk


Historic centenary commemorated by 4-year programme of national acts of remembrance, UK-wide cultural initiatives and educational opportunities.


A service of commemoration for Commonwealth leaders in Glasgow Cathedral will start the series of national events to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War in 2014.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller announced details of the four-year plan today, which is to include national acts of remembrance and a scheme of Great War battlefield visits for schoolchildren, together with an extensive UK-wide cultural programme.


Marking the beginning of the First World War

The opening day of the centenary on 4 August 2014 will focus on 3 events:

  • a wreath-laying service at Glasgow’s Cenotaph following the special service for Commonwealth leaders at Glasgow Cathedral
  • an event at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons, Belgium – which has an equal number of British and German soldiers, and is where the first and last Commonwealth casualties of the war are believed to be buried
  • a candlelit vigil of prayer and penitence at Westminster Abbey finishing at 11pm – the moment war was declared

The centrepiece of the commemorations will be the reopening of the Imperial War Museum (IWM) London following the £35 million refurbishment of the First World War galleries. The IWM London was founded in 1917 to record the then still-continuing conflict.

Other activities in the four-year programme include:

  • national acts of remembrance to mark the first day of the Battle of the Somme (2016) and Armistice Day (2018)
  • an enduring educational legacy funded with £5.3 million from the Department for Education and the Department for Communities and Local Government, which will allow 2 student ambassadors, plus a teacher, from each maintained school in England to visit First World War battlefields and undertake research on people local to their school who fought in the war
  • at least £15 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, including a new £6 million community project fund to enable young people working in their communities to conserve, explore and share local heritage of the First World War
  • a grant of up to £1 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund to support HMS Caroline, the last surviving warship from the First World War fleet – the ship will have a secure future in Belfast, where thousands of people will be able to visit her and learn about her unique role in the First World War


£10 million cultural programme

There will also be a £10 million programme of cultural events as part of the centenary commemorations over the 4 years.

Jenny Waldman, the Creative Producer for London 2012, has been appointed director of this programme and will work with cultural organisations and partners across Britain to deliver it. She will report to a Centenary Cultural Programme Board, chaired by Vikki Heywood CBE, Chairman of the RSA and former Executive Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and including Tony Hall, Director General of the BBC.

An expert advisory panel, chaired by Maria Miller, will oversee the nationwide programme of events and educational initiatives.

Members include former Chiefs of the Defence Staff Admiral Lord Boyce, General Lord Dannatt, Field Marshal Lord Guthrie and Air Chief Marshal ‘Jock’ Stirrup, and novelists Pat Barker and Sebastian Faulks. Dr Andrew Murrison MP, the Prime Minister’s special representative in the planning for the centenary, is also a member of the panel.

Their remit is to provide expertise, innovation and advice for the creation of commemorations worthy of the historic centenary of the First World War.

Maria Miller said:

On 4 August 1914 we entered the war – a war like no other the world had seen. It is right we remember and mark the centenary of this momentous day in the world’s history, bringing its importance alive for younger generations and remembering the price that was paid by all involved.


Further information

  • Find out more about the UK’s approach to marking the centenary at the government’s new First World War centenary website, www.gov.uk/ww1centenary
  • Find out about the network of local, regional, national and international non-for-profit groups and organisations with plans to commemorate the centenary in the First World War Centenary Partnership, led by IWM.
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