World War I: Anniversaries

Department for Culture Media and Sport written question – answered on 27th January 2015.

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Photo of David Simpson David Simpson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what progress his Department has made on refurbishment projects and national events announced in 2012 to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Photo of Helen Grant Helen Grant The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The DCMS leads the Government’s programme to mark the centenary of the First World War. We organised three major events on 4 August 2014: the Service for the Commonwealth at Glasgow Cathedral; an Act of Reconciliation at St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons, Belgium and a Service of Commemoration at Westminster Abbey.

We have recently announced our plans to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign on 24/25 April 2015. We are planning a further 4 national events to commemorate anniversaries: 31 May/1 June 2016 Battle of Jutland; 1 July 1916 Battle of the Somme; Summer 2017 Passchendaele and the end of the conflict.

In addition Government has:

· Helped fund the refurbishment of the Imperial War Museum London which opened its iconic new First World War Galleries in July 2014;

· Made funding available to restore the graves of Victoria Cross recipients buried in the UK and funding for restoration and repair of First World War Memorials and graves;

· Provided £1.6m for the restoration and enhancement of the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme;

· Established a £20m First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund to ensure that these buildings are in good repair to play their significant role in the First World War Centenary commemorations;

· Developed a programme to lay Commemorative Paving Stones in the home localities of Victoria Cross recipients;

· Established 14-18 NOW, a three year cultural programme which will deliver UK wide events that has so far included Dazzle Ships and Lights Out on the 4 August 2014;

· Developed with the football authorities the Football Remembers education programme to commemorate the 1914 Christmas Truce;

· Created a £5.3m educational programme to send two pupils and a teacher from every maintained school in England to the battlefields of the Western Front; and

· Facilitated the British Muslim, Hindu and Sikh communities to run a programme of activities to honour the contribution of troops from the Indian subcontinent, focusing on the centenary of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.

In addition, The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded a £12.2m grant to conserve and interpret HMS Caroline, Britain’s last surviving warship that saw service at Jutland. This will be opened in time for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland in 2016. Since April 2010 HLF has also awarded over £60 million to more than 1000 projects to enable communities to mark the Centenary.

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