Rt Hon David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Minister for the First World War Commemorations, spoke in the Westminster Hall Debate yesterday (10 May) on the Work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). The debate was secured by Rt Hon Keith Simpson MP.
The purpose of the debate was to acknowledge the fantastic work of the CWGC in ensuring that the 1.7million people who died in the two world wars will never be forgotten. Not only do the CWGC maintain war cemeteries and memorials of both world wars, but it also plays a vital role in the commemorative ceremonies of the First World War.
Mr Evennett discussed how the CWGC is a key partner of the Government in the First World War centenary commemorations, and the role it is playing in the two national events this year to mark the Battle of Jutland and the Battle of the Somme. Mr Evennett then spoke of his own association with the commemoration of Jutland, as his grandfather, Clyde Turner, served on HMS Malaya during the battle.
The debate also highlighted the CWGC Living Memory campaign, which calls on communities to re-connect with the war dead buried in their own communities. Mr Evennett gave an example from his own constituency of Private William White, who was from Crayford and was wounded at Ypres. Private White died from his injuries and is buried in the churchyard of St Paulinus in Crayford.
Mr Evennett concluded the debate “by paying tribute to all those who lost their lives in or were affected by the two world wars. I also pay tribute to the dedicated staff who do such a fantastic job at the CWGC.”