David Cameron sets out First World War centenary plans

 

Andy McSmith
Thursday 11 October 2012 18:56
Comments

The date 4 August 2014 has been marked down as the beginning of a huge programme of commemorative events to mark the centenary of the great war, David Cameron announced today.

He said that more than £50 million has been allocated for the commemorations, which will include a series of events which, Mr Cameron promised, would be "properly funded and given the proper status they deserve".

The amount allocated to for the expansion of the Imperial War Museum is to be doubled, from £5 million to £10 million, and schools in England will get £5.3 million to pay for thousands of children to visit the battlefields of Belgium and France between 2013 and 2019.

The programme of events will be overseen by what Mr Cameron described as a "world class board", whose members will include the Culture Secretary Maria Miller, the former Defence Secretary George Robertson, the former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell, the former chief of the defence staff Jock Stirrup, the former chief of the general staff Richard Dannatt, the historian Hew Strachan and Sebastian Faulks, author of the World War I novel Birdsong.

"It is absolutely right that these commemorations should be given such priority," the Prime Minister said. "Our duty with these commemorations is clear - to honour those who served, to remember those who died, and to ensure that the lessons learnt live with us for ever. And that is exactly what we will do."

A YouGov online poll of 1,700 British adults, commissioned by the think tank British Future, found that more than 80 per cent think that on Remembrance Day 2014, bells should be rung across the UK and flags should fly at half-mast, and just over half thought major sports events should be moved to another day.

It was on 4 August 1914 that the British government's ultimatum to Germany expired and the country was drawn into the bloodiest conflict in European history. During the following four years and three months, an estimated 703,000 Britons were killed and more than 1.6 million injured - figures dwarfed by the losses suffered by Germany, Russia, France and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in