The Duke of Cambridge will attend two events this month to mark the centenary of the First World War. The first engagement will take place at War Memorial Park in Coventry on 16th July while the second will see the Duke return to London for an event at the Imperial War Museum the following day.
As president of Fields in Trust, the Duke of Cambridge will visit the War Memorial Park in Coventry on 16th July to mark the Memorial Park being the first to be dedicated as part of Fields in Trust’s ‘Centenary Fields’ programme, which is in partnership with the Royal British Legion.
The aim of the programme is to safeguard in perpetuity the war memorial parks, playing fields and other green spaces in the UK given to mark the sacrifice of those who sacrificed their lives during the First World War.
On the day, Prince William will lay a wreath at the base of the War Memorial before seeing children engaged in a number of sports activities and poppy planting. The visitor centre at the park will also welcome His Royal Highness for a reception before he delivers a short speech and unveils a plaque to commemorate the park as part of the Fields in Trust campaign.
The Centenary Fields programme is a new project from Fields in Trust and is in partnership with The Royal British Legion and Poppy Scotland and it will operate from 2014-2018. It will commemorate the First World War in local communities and each site that is dedicated as part of the programme will receive a commemorative plaque indicating its status and its partnership with Fields in Trust, The Royal British Legion and the Local Authority.
The Duke of Cambridge became president of Fields in Trust in April 2013 after The Duke of Edinburgh retired from the position after 64 years. The Duke was also Patron of the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge which safeguarded open spaces to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
The War Memorial Park in Coventry was opened in July 1921 as a tribute to the Coventrians who died during the Great War. Coventry Council used money donated by the public to buy the land from the Lords of Styvechale Manor. During the Second World War, the park was used as a site for barrage balloons and anti aircraft guns.
On the following day, the Duke of Cambridge as Patron of IWM Foundation’s First World War Centenary Campaign will visit the Imperial War Museum in London to open its new First World War galleries.
The IWM was established while the First World War was still being fought, to ensure that future generations would not forget the toil and sacrifice by those affected by it. A hundred years on, the IWM continues to collect and record the stories of those affected by war in Britain and the Commonwealth.
Imperial War Museums’ new First World War galleries will open this summer to mark the start of the centenary, the galleries will however be a permanent fixture and visitors will get the chance to discover the story of the war, how it started, how the allies won and the global impact the war had.
With over 1300 objects on display ranging from weapons, uniform and equipment to letters, diaries, keepsakes, trinkets, photographs and film and art, every object on show will tell stories not just of destruction, suffering and loss but also of endurance, innovation, duty and devotion, comradeship and love.
The atrium of the IWM has also been transformed to reflect the centenary, the space will be filled with newly curated displays of objects, film and artwork from the museum’s rich collections to tell the story of the conflict from 1914 to the present day.
The Duke of Cambridge became Patron of the IWM’s foundation First World War Centenary in December 2010 and the £40 million transformation has been made possible with donations from funders, sponsors, trusts, foundations and individuals. A donation of £6.5 million was made by the Heritage Lottery Fund and £5 million from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
The Imperial War Museum is a family of five museums, which includes the IWM London, IWM North in Manchester, IWM Duxford, the Churchill War Rooms and historic ship HMS Belfast. They seek to provide for and to encourage the study and understanding of the history of modern war and wartime experience.
Photo Credit: Sergeant Alison Baskerville RLC/Defence Images