Honouring the Victoria Cross Heroes of the First World War

Blogger: GemSen We are now one year away from the centenary of the First World War and details of the commemorative programme of events are gradually filtering through.
The latest thing to be announced is that a number of commemorative paving stones will be laid in the hometowns of every UK soldier awarded the Victoria Cross ‘in the face of the enemy’ during the conflict. This will mark the centenary of not only the First World War but also the outstanding bravery and service of these heroes who valiantly fought for their country. The total of 28 stones will provide a legacy in local communities promoting their local heroes, and will hopefully encourage a better understanding of the First World War. A fitting tribute to First World War heroes, the stones will be specially commissioned and unveiled next year to commemorate the medals awarded in 1914, and others will be laid in every year up to 2018. Speaking about the latest plans, Eric Pickles, Community Secretary, also announced that there will be a national competition to design the paving stones, which will have QR barcodes so that people can use their smartphones to learn more details about the recipients. This will bring the history from a 100 years ago to life in modern society. “It is our duty to remember the British and Commonwealth troops who lost their lives fighting in the Great War and laying paving stones to mark these Victoria Cross heroes will ensure that there is a permanent memorial to all the fallen who fought for our country,” said Mr Pickles. And it doesn't stop there - other plans to restore war memorials around the country have also been announced and a website will be launched to enable people to obtain funding and support to ensure that all memorials are in good condition by November 2018. Lottery funding is also helping communities who are commemorating the centenary in exciting and imaginative ways and the first grants under its new £6 million ‘First World War – Then and Now’ small grants programme are just being announced. Another recent development is a campaign to get 100 employers signed up to the new Centenary Apprenticeship scheme in 100 days. This apparently aims to get companies who existed 100 years ago and who focus on crafts with a modern application, to join the scheme. The companies will then be able to badge the apprenticeship with the Centenary logo. Culture Secretary Maria Miller said:
“The First World War had a fundamental effect on the course of our history, but as time passes, the living links that connect that terrible time and present day have dwindled. So it is really important that we mark the centenary which, saw some of the darkest days in our history, and remind everyone of the sacrifice that was made - and how it has affected all our lives today.”
Source: www.gov.uk Find out more with Forces War Records... Do you know enough about your ancestors who fought in the First World War? Why not log on to Forces War Records and find out more  - there could be a war hero in your family just waiting to be discovered, and remembered... Why not delve into our ‘historic documents’ library and read some of the interesting War diaries that we get sent - there’s nothing quite like reading a personal account of war, as history unfolds itself through the eyes of somebody who was actually there. Forces War Records are fortunate to receive such amazing real life war stories involving lashings of courage, and now you can read some of them - completely free of charge. Discover interesting facts about your ancestors, become more knowledgeable about history, and reveal some of the fantastic characters involved in war...What are you waiting for?
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