Julian commemorates Great War with visit to Commonwealth graves

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert will visit Commonwealth graves in the city on Friday (May 2) to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Julian will visit four plots in Cambridge City Cemetery in Newmarket Road before travelling on to further graves at Mill Road Cemetery.

His visits support a national initiative which aims to give people a greater understanding of the scale and magnitude of the Great War and its impact on today’s society.

The initiative has been launched by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), the All-Party Parliamentary War Heritage Group and the “In From the Cold Project” which maps over 300,000 Commonwealth war dead across the country.

Julian has urged Cambridge schools and residents to visit the city’s Commonwealth war graves to learn more about this period in history.

“The centenary of the outbreak of the Great War is not just about remembering and commemorating those people who lost their lives fighting for their country but also to educate a new generation about the events that happened 100 years ago.

“Around 10 million military personnel lost their lives and another 20 million were wounded in just four years. And behind those figures there are stories of the brave men and women who left behind families and friends to fight for their countries.

“By visiting the war graves in our city we can not only commemorate their lives and their sacrifice but also explore how we can secure their legacy for generations to come.”

Deirdre Mills, CWGC’s Director of UK Area said:  “More than 300,000 Commonwealth servicemen and women are commemorated in the UK. Many died in military hospitals whilst being treated for their wounds or fell victim to the flu pandemic as the conflict drew to a close. Their graves reflect both the local impact of the war but also its wider historical significance.

“To highlight some of the personal stories of those who are buried or commemorated in our graves, we are installing over 100 visitor information panels throughout the UK during the centenary.  The panels incorporate QR codes which, when scanned with the latest smartphone technology, enable visitors to read these stories and understand the historical context.”

This month the CWGC is working with schools to launch a Local War Graves Visits programme in six locations including Cambridge.

Teachers will be able to take advantage of the CWGC’s network of volunteers to take them around CWGC sites and war graves, highlight key hotspots, and assist them with lesson planning.

CWGC has also 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 the people that are commemorated in its cemeteries and memorials.

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