The UK War Heritage Group

Posted on on 02 November 2011
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The UK War Heritage Group calls on the Government to undertake more action for the Centenary.

The Group, which consists of Members from both Houses of the UK Parliament, exists to promote and support the protection, conservation and interpretation of war graves, war memorials and battlefield sites.

After the meeting in July 2011, the Group wrote:

"Discussions focussed on disparity between Britain's so-far lack-lustre plans for centenary events compared to the Commonwealth, Europe and America.  

Australia has already formed a national committee, on which two former Prime Ministers serve, France is opening a new national museum on 11th November 2011 on which President Sarkozy also make a major announcement about how France plans to mark the Centenary.  Even the US, a country that did not enter the war until 1917, is passing a bill through Congress to create a national committee to organise centenary events.  Britain on the other hand has still to announce any Centenary plans.

The Group is concerned at the absence of a unifying lead being taken by the British Government as compared to other national organisations and museums such as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Imperial War Museum already planning 2014-18 events.  

The War Heritage Group is concerned that whilst contributing to the country's centenary commemorations, these groups can only have a limited impact  saying that "As a result of the IWM’s educational remit, its role is somewhat circumscribed". Likewise, the group says that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, in charge of maintaining 2,500 war cemetaries and plots worldwide, has a limited role nationally due to its pressing responsibilities to prepare for greater visitor numbers during the Centenary.

The War Heritage Group has stated that, 'For both organisations, most endeavours will necessarily be educational, and given that the First World War is part of the national curriculum, schools and academia are already planning how they will respond. In France and Flanders major commemorative and study projects are at present being put in place'.
As such, the hope is that pressure exerted by the Group will encourage the Government to announce plans and undertake action for Britain's 2014-2018 commemorations."

To visit the War Heritage Group's website click here.

To view our interview with the Chair and Treasurer of the WHG, click here.

Images courtesy of the House of Lord's website.

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