Epic commemoration of World War I

2014 will be the first of four years of ceremonies and events to mark the 100th anniversary of World War I. The war broke out in June 1914, with Britain entering on August 1914. Until November 11, 1918, when the armistice was finally signed, millions of people died in the devastating conflict.

A hundred years later it is time to remember and commemorate those who lost their lives with ceremonies and events taking place throughout the four-year period.

The 430 men who served in the First World War and were awarded the Victoria Cross for their service, will each have their names engraved in a paving stone and displayed in their home town, the Belfast Telegraph.co.uk reports.

Each stone will have a digital sign code, giving people the chance to find out more information about that person. The first stones to be laid in August 2014, will commemorate Charles Garforth of Willesden Green in London and Sidney Godley of East Grinstead. The program plans to include foreign servicemen who have been awarded the Victoria Cross for fighting and supporting Britain during World War I.

The program received a significant contribution of £50 million from the Government to support the events and activities which will run for four years beginning with August 4, 2014, 100 years since Britain joined the war. The Government has also organised a £5.3 million educational project, giving the fantastic opportunity for a teacher and two students from every state school in Britain to travel and visit World War I battlefields and learn about those who fought there.

On the list of events is a Christmas Day Truce football match, to remember the great match between the British and German teams of soldiers.

Epic commemoration of World War I

The Heritage Lottery Fund has contributed with £34 million, including a £6 million community project for young people. £1 million donated by the National Heritage Memorial Fund will go to HMS Caroline, the only warship which survived the Battle of Jutland.

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a £5 million funding to repair and protect memorials in the United Kingdom and overseas, where British servicemen and women are buried.

“Nearly all of us in Britain have some family connection with that conflict, and it is the many millions of small, personal stories that resonate as loudly for us as the big, world-changing battles and campaigns,” said the Prime Minister who lost 5 members of his family in the war. He also said that he feels a strong connection with those members of his family who died during the war.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE