I am pleased to hear my hon. Friend’s news. I have been watching the project with much interest. I know that it will be an important part of our commemoration. As I said in response to Mr Marsden, it is important to commemorate all elements of the centenary. The magic of Folkestone is the ability to plot the course of that final trip for so many thousands of servicemen as they embarked for France. Many, of course, never returned but many did—the majority did. Folkestone in those years held a particular place in the hearts of the service community, either because it was the point of embarkation or because, more happily, it was the point of return.
At 11 o’clock, the hour at which Britain entered the war on
The centenary is a marathon, not a sprint. Following
Big anniversaries, with their attendant large-scale national events, are pegs on which to hang the clothes of the centenary. The richness will come from 1,000 projects, from the flagship rebirth of the Imperial War museum on
The 14-18 Now cultural programme will add granularity and texture to the centenary and bring it alive. May I pick out its letter to an unknown soldier project, a literary memorial centred on the enigmatic statue of a soldier reading a letter on platform 1 at Paddington station? The statue makes us wonder what is in the soldier’s letter. Members of the public are now invited to write that letter. All sorts of celebrities have already done so, and MPs certainly should.
I recently sent a note to all right hon. and hon. Members about the centenary poppy campaign, which is a great way for MPs to get involved locally and in the process both proliferate wild flowers and raise money to help the Royal British Legion to support today’s service community. I urge colleagues to take up the Commonwealth War Graves Commission offer to visit its sites in this country. There is most likely to be at least one such site in or close to each UK constituency. There are at least two Commonwealth War Graves Commission commissioners in the House today. I know that they will underscore that point. It is a revelation to many of us how many Commonwealth War Graves Commission sites there are in this country. They are not by any manner of means all on the western front.