Young people in Wales must be placed at the heart of the nation’s commemorations of the First World War if we are to build an enduring cultural and educational legacy.
That is the message from Wales Office Minister Baroness Randerson who will tomorrow (27 June) attend the launch of the ‘Wales at War’ (W@W) initiative - a digital campaign led by the National Library of Wales and funded by the Armed Forces Covenant, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Welsh Government.
The project is designed to develop inclusive learning and heritage activities as part of the commemoration of the First World War in Wales. W@W will create a major digital resource via a dedicated platform/app, and aims to engage young people in historical research, compiling biographies of the fallen of the war as listed on their local community war memorials.
Baroness Randerson will join the First Sea Lord Sir George Zambellas, and the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones at the event, which will be held on board Royal Navy survey vessel HMS Enterprise, which will be docked alongside Britannia Quay in Cardiff Bay.
The UK Government is also delivering a four-year programme of national events to honour the lives, bravery and sacrifice of all those who served in the war.
Wales Office Minister Baroness Randerson said:
The First World War is a local story as well as part of our nation’s history. Every city, town and village was touched by it: by the soldiers who fought, the people who stayed behind, and the businesses that helped with the war effort.
I’m delighted to be a part of this important event. The ‘Wales at War’ initiative will make an important contribution to our aim of ensuring that the ultimate sacrifice that so many of our recent forebears had to make is understood and appreciated by those growing up today.
The launch event is being held on the eve of the sixth annual Armed Forces Day (28 June), where young cadets, veterans and serving members of the armed forces will gather in Cooper’s Field in Cardiff to champion the Services’ achievements throughout the decades.
Next month, Baroness Randerson will gather representatives from businesses and charities supporting the Armed Forces Communities at an event at the Wales Office in Cardiff. The meeting will build on the work of the Big Society Advisory Forum and will aim to seek the views of the Armed Forces community on the existing and potential support for Armed Services veterans in Wales.
Notes to Editors
Wales at War (W@W)
The Wales at War app will include a First World War timeline with a distinct Welsh flavour; a Theatres of War element, depicting where Welsh service personnel fought, and using primary source materials to depict their living conditions and experiences, and a war memorial section which will include details of war memorials throughout Wales. The project will engage young people in historical research, compiling biographies of the fallen of the war as listed on their local community war memorials.
Further information concerning W@W can be found here
UK government First World War Centenary plans
In October 2012, the Prime Minister set out the Government’s plans to mark the centenaries of the First World War commencing in 2014. These plans include a £35m refurbishment of the First World War galleries at the Imperial War Museum (IWM); The Government’s principal partners in the commemorations will be the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the IWM, but will encompass support for a multitude of other initiatives, large and small, as they come together in the months and years to come.
The programme begins with events marking the anniversary of the declaration of war on 4 August:
- the Day will begin with a national service commemoration at Glasgow Cathedral, focussing on the Commonwealth contribution to the war
- at dusk there will be a beautiful event focused on the theme of reconciliation at St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Belgium.
- at 11pm to mark the moment war was declared Westminster Abbey will lead a national candlelit Vigil inpsiring communities up and down Great Britain to turn off their lights – with the exception of a single light source symbolising the light of hope and resilience which saw the country through the ensuing 4 years
Heritage Lottery Fund
HLF provides funding to help groups, communities and organisations mark the centenary by exploring, conserving and sharing the heritage of the Frist World War from memorials, buildings and sites to photographs, letters and literature. A variety of grants are available from £3,000 - £100,000 upwards.
Successful projects will include:
- researching, identifying and recording local heritage;
- creating a community archive or collection;
- developing new interpretation of heritage through exhibitions, trails, smartphone apps etc;
- researching, writing and performing creative material based on heritage sources; and
- the new programme can also provide funding for the conservation of war memorials.
HMS Enterprise is an Echo class survey vessel, launched in 2003. She is a watch rotation ship and has a crew of 75 men and women, with 50 onboard at any one time. This class of warship is designed primarily for military data gathering, principally with the use of multi-beam sonar, providing defence with a rapidly deployable, organic military data gathering capability for the collation of geospatial information. She is armed with two 20mm cannons, 2 Mk44 miniguns and 4 General Purpose Machine Guns.
Having spent much of the last six months dealing with simulated war and damage scenarios by Devonport-based FOST (Flag Officer Sea Training) personnel, or in a busy maintenance period in Falmouth, the Ship’s company are keen and raring to put their skills to good use on operations following the visit to Cardiff.
The ship will sail from Britannia Quay on Saturday 28 June at 1800.