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First World War Centenary

Volume 583: debated on Thursday 3 July 2014

9. What steps he is taking to ensure that Commonwealth countries are included in the commemorative events planned for the first world war centenary. (904625)

The important contribution of all our Commonwealth partners will be commemorated as part of our centenary programme, starting with a service of commemoration on 4 August in Glasgow cathedral.

It is right that we honour the remarkable sacrifice of so many members of the Commonwealth during the first world war, including the 40,000 Indian and Anzac casualties at Gallipoli. Will the Minister assure me, as someone whose father fought and so nearly died in that controversial campaign, that the centenary events for Gallipoli next April will include full recognition of the contribution of the 27,000 French casualties and the 120,000 British casualties at Gallipoli?

As my hon. Friend will know, Gallipoli is one of our key dates in the Government’s programme. My Department is working very closely with the embassy in Ankara to ensure that the event at Cape Helles on 24 April next year marks the British and Commonwealth contribution appropriately. We are also working with the Gallipoli Association on a UK-led event, and I would welcome my hon. Friend’s input into its planning.