As part of the British Government’s First World War Centenary Programme, HRH The Duke of Kent and Senior Foreign Office Minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, unveiled commemoration plaques for the 175 men from overseas who won Britain’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross, for service in the First World War. Three soldiers from Pakistan received the military honour and they were amongst those being honoured in the ceremony.
The 11 bronze memorial plaques, which were displayed to the public for the first time in London this week, are inscribed with the names of the Victoria Cross holders and will be sent to the recipients’ home countries and displayed at a prominent location as a symbol of the gratitude that is felt towards them by the people of the United Kingdom. The plaque remembering the three Pakistani recipients of the Victoria Cross will be presented to the Government of Pakistan in Islamabad later this year.
Speaking about the event, Senior Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi said:
It is important to remember this was a truly global war, one which pulled in people from every corner of the earth. Sacrifices were made not only by people in the United Kingdom but by many millions across the world: whether it was the large proportion of Australian men who volunteered to fight in a war far from home, the 1.2 million troops from the Indian Subcontinent who took part in the war, or the essential support which came from the islands of the West Indies. It is truly inspiring that so many countries came together 100 years ago to uphold our way of life. This was a war which saw extraordinary courage and sacrifice from an entire generation.
This year, we are marking our gratitude to 175 men from 11 countries, including Pakistan, who demonstrated the utmost bravery “in the face of the enemy” during the First World War. These extraordinary men were awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for valour for their actions during the War. We shall honour them by engraving their names on bronze memorial plaques, to be presented to their home countries, sending out a powerful message that people of all backgrounds and faiths can unite in the name of a common cause.
I am determined that we ensure that people of all backgrounds and of all generations learn about the courage and heroism of their forefathers a hundred
Notes for editors
Other guests included descendants of the VCs being honoured, members of the British Prime Minister’s Advisory Board on the First World War, representatives of the countries concerned, and some young people from Youth United representing the various cadet forces in this country.
175 VCs were honoured from 11 countries. These countries are: Pakistan (3); Canada (70 VCs); Australia (66); New Zealand (16); South Africa (14); India (6); USA (5); Nepal (2); Denmark (2); Belgium (1) and Ukraine (1).
This is an extension of the HMG programme to honour UK-born VC recipients with a commemorative paving stone in their home town, you can find the information here
After the launch, the plaques will be sent to their countries where we intend for them to be displayed in a prominent public location.
Later in the year, the British Foreign Office will be publishing an online digital archive of all the overseas Victoria Cross recipients.
On 4 August 2014 it will be 100 years since Britain entered the First World War. Within government the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is leading plans to build a commemoration fitting of this significant milestone in world history. As the British Prime Minister David Cameron made clear when he launched the programme in October 2012, the main theme will be remembrance with a particular focus on bringing the centenary alive for young people. There will be a number of national events across the four years, as well as cross-Government programmes to help deliver this. Further details can be found here
Follow Foreign Office Minister Sayeeda Warsi on twitter
Follow the British High Commission Islamabad on twitter
Contact: Press Attaché, British High Commission, Islamabad; tel. 0300 500 5306