WWI centenary plans announced

David Cameron has announced plans to mark the centenary of the Great War. National commemorations will be held on the anniversary of the first day of conflict on the 4th August 2014 and for the first day of the Somme on 1st July 2016.

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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.


PM: 'Remembrance must be the hallmark of our commemorations'

The Prime Minister said "remembrance must be the hallmark of our commemorations" as he announced plans for the centenary of WWI.

I am determined that Government will play a leading role with national events and new support for educational initiatives.

These will include national commemorations for the first day of conflict on the 4th August 2014 and for the first day of the Somme on 1st July 2016.

And together with partners like The Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the custodians of our Remembrance, The Royal British Legion, there will be further events to commemorate Jutland, Gallipoli and Passchendaele, all leading towards Armistice Day in 2018.

Thinktank: We need decide if Remembrance Sunday 2012 will be special

We all need to decide if Remembrance Sunday in 2014 is going to feel pretty much like any other Sunday where Rooney plays for Man United [sic] against Arsenal... and all the garden centres and supermarkets open just as usual.

Or should this be a special Sunday where we close the shops and have a football-free day and find ways to bring us together and understand our history and the country we have become?"

– British Future director Sunder Katwala
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