Commonwealth War Graves Commission — Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:16 pm on 22 June 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne Chair, Sexual Violence in Conflict Committee, Chair, Sexual Violence in Conflict Committee 8:16, 22 June 2015

My Lords, I speak as honorary Commonwealth war graves commissioner for the federal Republic of Iraq. I thank very much indeed the wonderful team at Maidenhead, where I worked particularly with John Nicholls. In the rather unprepossessing situation of the federal Republic of Iraq, already an entire cemetery at Basra has been almost 99% recovered. That is absolutely magnificent. Moving on to Maysan, that is rather more difficult as the governor there was in the process of building over the war graves. We are now about to recover 4,000 war graves in Maysan. I thank the Maidenhead people very much indeed, and I bring to your Lordships’ attention the fact that the people of Basra and Maysan are just as proud of these graves as we are; they really care. This is a matter of local pride and national heritage. We have a shared sacrifice and suffering, and in that a shared future. It is for that reason that I particularly thank the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth of Drumlean. In Maysan province, for example, we had a guardian who, with his father, his grandfather and his great-uncle, has been looking after every single piece of paper since the early 1930s. That is the commitment that the Iraqi people have made to the war graves of the Commonwealth.