MP Greg Barker has been urging local schools and constituents to visit Commonwealth war graves to gain greater understanding of the Great War and its impact 100 years on.
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 was supported by Greg who visited Commonwealth war graves at Bexhill Cemetery on Friday.
Greg was joined by pupils from Glenleigh Park Academy and Bexhill High, The Mayor and Mayoress of Bexhill, Cllr Brian Kentfield and Mrs Susan Kentfield, the Chairman of Rother District Council, Cllr Bridget George, representatives of the Bexhill and Little Common Branches of the Royal British Legion, and Rev Robert Coates, of St Augustine’s Church.
Following a tour of the Commonwealth war graves led by Dickon Mansbridge, of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, came some words from Rev Coates and the Last Post sounded out by bugler Graham Hall, a member of Bexhill’s Royal British Legion.
Greg commented: “The Centenary of the outbreak of the First World War is a time, not just for reflection and commemoration but also an opportunity to educate a new generation of young people about the extraordinary events of a hundred years ago and to bring to life some of the personal stories from this remarkable time. Working with local groups and students gives us all an opportunity to explore how we would like to secure this legacy for generations to come. Visiting the graves of the fallen is a simple but profoundly important way to commemorate the outbreak of the war.”
Earlier this year, 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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