British PM and Irish Taoiseach visit First World War memorials in Belgium

Posted on centenarynews.com on 20 December 2013
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The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his Irish counterpart, Enda Kenny, visited First World War memorials in Belgium on the 19th December 2013.

The Irish Embassy in Belgium said that the joint visit by the Prime Minister and Taoiseach to First World War graves and memorials represented "another key milestone in the deepening of British-Irish relations".

The Prime Minister & Taoiseach with Commonwealth War Graves Commission historian Glyn Prysor

The visit comes ahead of the Centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in August 2014 and as Britain and Ireland prepare to mark their own decade of centenary commemorations between 2012 and 2022 relating to Ireland's independence .

                                               The Prime Minister and Taioseach

David Cameron took the opportunity to announce an additional £5 million of funding to restore First World War memorials during the Centenary, saying that "we simply should not tolerate damaged war graves in our country".

        The UK Prime Minsiter with schoolchildren from Pent Valley College at Tyne Cot Cemetery

During the visit, the leaders travelled to sites where many Britons - including Irishmen fighting under the British flag - fought and died during the conflict.

                              The Prime Minister and Taioseach at Tyne Cot Cemetery

Visit

- The Island of Ireland Peace Park at Messines which is a memorial to the 50,000 Irish war dead near Ypres in Flanders.

- The grave of William Redmond, nationalist politician and Member of Parliament in the Irish Parliamentary party. He was commissioned as a captain in the Royal Irish Regiment, with whom he served 33 years. He went to France on the Western Front with the 16th (Irish) Division, in the winter of 1915-16.

- The village of Wytschaete where the 16th (Dublin) and 36th (Ulster) divisions advanced together and fell in the attack on Messines Ridge.

- The Menin Gate Memorial dedicated to British and Commonwealth soldiers whose graves are unknown.

- Tyne Cot Cemetery – the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world.

Source: Irish Embassy in Belgium press release

Date of press release publication: 19/12/2013

Images courtesy of 10 Downing Street

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News