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First World War Commemoration

Volume 608: debated on Thursday 21 April 2016

10. What steps his Department is taking to ensure that events to commemorate the centenary of the first world war take place in all regions and constituent parts of the UK. (904608)

We recently launched an appeal to encourage communities, businesses, organisations and individuals across the UK to mark the centenary of the battle of the Somme on 30 June and 1 July. We will continue to find ways to encourage commemoration of this most poignant first world war event through media activity and direct approaches. Guidance is available on the Government website, and special information has been published by the Royal British Legion, which contains information on hosting a Somme remembrance event.

The first world war was, of course, an enormous UK-wide effort, where millions of men and women served our nation with distinction. What additional advice can the Minister give the Welsh Government so that the people of Wales, in particular young people, can mark and honour the great sacrifices made in the first world war?

The Wales Remembers 1914-18 programme was launched in January by the First Minister. It shows details of the commemorative events taking place in Wales and further afield during 2016. There will be an overnight vigil at the Welsh national war memorial in Cardiff on 30 June to commemorate the centenary of the battle of the Somme, and Caernarfon castle will host the “poppies weeping window” from 11 October to 20 November.

On 25 June the armed forces day national event will be held in Cleethorpes. Does my right hon. Friend agree that armed forces day is an opportunity not only to mark the continuing bravery of our armed forces, but to link it to the sacrifices of the past?

My hon. Friend makes a very good point. We are so grateful to those who continue to serve in the armed forces for what they do, but we must never forget those who gave sacrifice in the first world war.