Press release

Cabinet to discuss government plans to mark First World War Centenary

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The government finalises a programme of events to honour an epic period of history throughout 2014.

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The plans are being coordinated the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller, supported by the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for the centenary project, Andrew Murrison, who will present Cabinet with an update on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister said:

Remembrance Day is an important day to pay our respects to our Armed Forces and the sacrifices they have made for our country throughout the ages and across the globe. The nation owes them a debt and I hope today everyone will take the time to reflect upon that.

Next year we will commemorate one of the biggest sacrifices our Forces ever made as we mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. We have already announced some of the ways in which the government will be leading the tributes next year, from ensuring that school children learn about this important part of our history to protecting the memorial in towns and villages around the country which honour those who gave their lives to funding for the new First World War Galleries which will open at the Imperial War Museum London next Summer. This week Cabinet will be discussing our plans to make sure they are a fitting way to commemorate all the heroes of the First World War.

The government has contributed over £50 million of funding to support commemoration activities. The plans announced so far include:

  • a national series of commemorative events, starting on 4 August 2014 with: a service for Commonwealth leaders at Glasgow Cathedral; an event at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons, Belgium; a candlelit vigil at Westminster Abbey
  • commemorative paving stones to be laid in communities where Victoria Cross recipients of the First World War were born; the first paving stone will be laid on 23 August 2014 marking the exact date that the first Victoria Crosses were won
  • a £5.3 million educational programme providing the opportunity for 2 students and a teacher from every state school in the country to visit First World War battlefields and undertake research on people local to their school who fought in the war
  • a Christmas Day ‘Truce’ football match on the battlefields of Flanders to commemorate the anniversary of British and German soldiers ceasing fighting to play football in no man’s land
  • 2,500 local war memorials to be given the opportunity to win listed building status, reflecting their historical special interest, and Liverpool War Memorial to be upgraded to a Grade I listed building

Further projects announced include:

  • £34 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, including a new £6 million community project fund to enable young people working in their communities to conserve, explore and share local heritage of the First World War
  • up to £1 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund to support HMS Caroline, the last surviving warship from the Battle of Jutland; the ship will have a secure future in Belfast, where thousands of people will be able to visit her and learn about her unique role in the First World War
Published 10 November 2013