War graves from First World War to be restored ahead of centenary.

War graves in Motherwell and Wishaw are to be restored in time for the centenary anniversary of the First World War.   The Commonwealth War Graves Commission plan to restore 12 graves in Motherwell's Globe Cemetery. A new memorial at Old Manse Road in tribute to two Great War graves will also be erected as part of the refurbishment. Chris McLean, director at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, said: “There’s a couple of sites in the area where we’ve identified the 12 graves and at one of the sites we’re going to put the headstones back on the actual grave. “At the other site, where there were two graves, we couldn’t identify the exact location with any certainty but we’re going to put up a special memorial with the two names of the people buried there. “In the UK there are around 130 sites which had war grave memorials but for a variety of reasons the headstones have been removed and are no longer commemorated onsite. “What we've done previously in these circumstances was put up a memorial at every cemetery but decided a couple of years ago to try and reinstate graves as close as possible to where they actually rest. “We’re now going through the process with grave records to do a change of commemoration. Once that’s been approved then we’ll go ahead and start fabricating the headstones and reinstate them by the end of the year.” More than half a million men from across Scotland served during the First World War. The Prime Minister announced last year that there would be £50m spent on events to mark 100 years since the outbreak of war in 2014, Armistice Day in 2018, and the dates of major battles in between. There will also be a £5m educational programme for school pupils, including trips to the battlefields, and support for an overhaul of the Imperial War Museum. The commemorations will include the centenary of the first day of conflict on August 4, 2014, the start of the Battle of the Somme on July 1 2016, and further events to mark Jutland, Gallipoli, Passchendaele and Armistice Day in 2018. Motherwell and Wishaw MP Frank Roy heralded the Commonwealth Graves Commission's decision to restore local graves. He said: “Men and women from all over our area died serving their country in both World Wars and the immense sacrifice which they made should never be forgotten. “Those who died during the First World War paid the ultimate sacrifice in defence of our country and lost their lives often at a very young age. “It is a great injustice that they have lain in unmarked graves for almost 50 years. I am also pleased that following discussions with North Lanarkshire Council arrangements have been made to improve the general maintenance of these two burial grounds.” Ken Forbes, NLC Open Spaces and Cemeteries manager, said: “The council is working closely with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on their plans to restore First World War graves; specifically their plans to install a new memorial within the burial site at Old Manse Road and replace 11 memorials in the Globe cemetery ahead of the 100th anniversary of the conflict. “We will also support these initiatives through our cemeteries maintenance programme, helping to create a fitting tribute.” SOURCE: STV Motherwell          



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