Margaret Curran, MP for Glasgow East, has urged schools and community groups to visit their local Commonwealth war graves to gain a greater understanding of the magnitude of the First and Second World Wars and the impact they have had on today’s society.
The call follows a national initiative spearheaded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), the All-Party Parliamentary War Heritage Group and the ‘In From The Cold Project’ that maps over 300,000 Commonwealth war dead by each Parliamentary constituency. The initiative is supported by Ms Curran who recently visited 4 Commonwealth war graves in her constituency.
Margaret said: “The Centenary of the outbreak of the First World War is an opportunity, not just for reflection and commemoration, but also to educate a new generation of young people about the extraordinary, and terrible, events of the past. I am pleased and humbled to have been able to attend four local war grave sites, both to pay my respects to those that lost their lives in the two world wars and hear about the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). I would encourage local community groups and schools to consider visiting the graves or learning a bit more about them on the commission’s website.”
Deirdre Mills, CWGC’s Director of UK Area states that: “The Centenary is an opportune time for us to re-engage and connect with local communities and young people, and explain how the people who are buried in our graves got to be there, who they were, and where they were from. To highlight some of the personal stories of those who are buried or commemorated in our graves, we are installing over 100 visitor information panels throughout the UK during the Centenary. The panels incorporate QR codes which, when scanned with the latest smartphone technology enable visitors to read these stories and understand the historical context.”
Following the launch of the Local War Graves Visits programme, which has been piloted in 6 locations and will be rolled out across the UK in the coming months, teachers will be able to take advantage of the CWGC’s network of vetted and fully trained volunteers to take them around sites and war graves, highlight key hotspots, and assist them with lesson planning.
At the Education Show in mid-March, CWGC launched an online Virtual Cemetery education portal that provides schools and teachers with a comprehensive range of resources and support materials linked to the graves and memorials in their home town. The virtual cemetery website www.cwgc-virtual-cemetery.org is an interactive tool which enables pupils and teachers to view images and videos, learn more about CWGC’s work across the globe, and – most importantly – the people that are commemorated in its cemeteries and memorials.
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Notes for editors:
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (www.cwgc.org)
- CWGC maintains the graves of the 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during the two world wars. It also holds and updates an extensive and accessible records archive.
- CWGC operates in over 23,000 locations in 153 countries across all continents except Antarctica.
- A series of high-profile worldwide events will take place to mark the centenary of the First World War, many of which will take place at Commission sites. The Commission will ensure that these sites are maintained to the highest standard and is installing information panels at over 500 sites to enhance the visitor experience.
- The CWGC provides teachers and youth workers with a comprehensive range of educational resources and support materials so that future generations remain engaged in the work of the CWGC and continue to remember those who died in the two world wars.
- CWGC graves and memorials can be found in 13,000 locations throughout the UK. These range from individual headstones in remote countryside to distinctive, larger groups of graves in big urban cemeteries run by local authorities.
On 15th August Ms Curran joined Iain Anderson, Regional Supervisor of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, on visits to war graves at:
- Glasgow Sandymount Cemetery Glasgow
- Glenduffhill Jewish Cemetery
- Tollcross Central Churchyard
- Glasgow Eastern Necropolis
Margaret Curran, MP for Glasgow East, has urged schools and community groups to visit their local Commonwealth war graves to gain a greater understanding of the magnitude of the First...