Skip to main content

First World War Commemoration

Volume 628: debated on Thursday 14 September 2017

The Government have delivered successful national commemorations marking the centenary of the outbreak of war on 4 August 2014, the battle of Gallipoli in 2015, and the battles of Jutland and the Somme in 2016. In July this year, we commemorated the centenary of Passchendaele, the third battle of Ypres, and I was fortunate to be able to attend. It was a moving occasion and my thanks go to all those involved in helping, including national citizen service graduates.

Thornbury will be marking the centenary of the first world war by hosting south Gloucestershire’s Armed Forces Day for the first time. Will the Secretary of State consider visiting Thornbury to see the work that is being done and to meet and thank the volunteers who are working so hard to make that day a fitting tribute?

It is fantastic to see so many communities around the country commemorating world war one and having armed forces days for the first time. I pay tribute to Thornbury for that. I will, of course, look at my tours and see what I can do to accommodate it.

The Secretary of State will know that many of the poppies that surrounded the Tower of London to commemorate the centenary of the beginning of world war one are now forming a “poppy wave” over the old navy war memorial in Plymouth. Does the Secretary of State agree that the synergy of fantastic art by the artists Paul Cummings and Tom Piper, and sympathetic lighting, can be a way to reconnect war memorials with modern communities, especially young children?

The tour of the poppies around the country is one of the most wonderful things. They were in Hull for its City of Culture and next year they will be in Stoke-on-Trent, which I was very pleased to note as it is very important for the ceramic poppies to appear in the home of the Potteries. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that this is one of the most wonderful installations, which can be seen by so many people around the country.