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First World War centenary to touch 'every corner of the country'

David Cameron has outlined a programme of national commemorations to mark the centenary of the First World War. He said he wants a series of events that will touch "every corner of the country" in 2014 - along similar lines to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

As part of an educational legacy, the Prime Minister also said that children from every secondary school in Britain will have the chance to visit famous First World War battlefields.

ITV News' Europe Correspondent Emma Murphy reports from Ypres in Belgium.

First World War events to be commemorated

The full order of events commemorating the First World War will span from the centenary of the outbreak of war in 2014 until that of Armistice Day in 2018. Some of the commemoration dates include:

  • Outbreak of war, August 1, 2014
  • First day of conflict, August 4, 2014
  • Gallipoli Campaign , April 25, 2015-
  • Battle of the Somme, July 1 2016
  • Battle of Jutland, May 31, 2016-
  • Passchendaele, June 17, 2017-
  • Armistice Day, November 11, 2018

Schoolchildren to visit WW1 battlegrounds as part of commemoration

The WW1 galleries at the Imperial War Museum in London will undergo a £35m refurbishment Credit: IWM

Thousands of schoolchildren will have the chance to visit famous battlefields from the First World War (WW1) as part of a £5 million educational programme to commemorate the war.

Two student "ambassadors" and a teacher from each maintained secondary school in England will be invited to visit battlefields like the Somme, Verdun and Fromelles between Spring 2014 and Spring 2019.

The Treasury today committed an additional £5m to the refurbishment of the Imperial War Museum's WW1 galleries, to be raised from fines imposed on financial services companies for misconduct.

PM: Commemoration must 'capture our national spirit'

The Prime Minister stands in front of a painting depicting the Great War during his address at the Imperial War Museum Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

The Prime Minister said an advisory board of former defence secretaries, chiefs of staff and military specialists would bring together ideas for nationwide commemorations of the Great War.

He told an audience at the Imperial War Museum that his ambition was to have a "commemoration that captures our national spirit in every corner of the country".

"A commemoration that, like the Diamond Jubilee celebrations this year, says something about who are as a people," he continued.


PM: Future generations to learn of 'extraordinary sacrifice'

Prime Minister David Cameron said the World War One centenary commemorations will ensure that future generations remember and learn about the "extraordinary sacrifice" of the soldiers that died in the Great War. He said:

This was the extraordinary sacrifice of a generation. It was a sacrifice they made for us, and it is right that we should remember them.

The Centenary will also provide the foundations upon which to build an enduring cultural and educational legacy to put young people front and centre in our commemoration and to ensure that the sacrifice and service of 100 years ago is still remembered in 100 years time.

WWI centenary funding

  • The Government will give £5 million to a new Centenary Education Programme.
  • It will also give £5 million to the Transforming Imperial War Museum project, in addition to the £5 million it has already given.
  • The Heritage Lottery Fund has announced an additional £6 million to enable young people working in their communities to conserve, explore and share local heritage of the First World War. This is in addition to the £9 million they have already given to projects marking the centenary.
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