The Princess Royal, accompanied by her husband Sir Timothy Laurence, has visited the Commonwealth War Graves’ Commission in northern France. Princess Anne officially opened the new visitors’ centre during the couple’s trip to Beaurains on June 25th where they heard about the ongoing work to honour all those who fell in conflict.
The princess and her husband toured the new centre which aims to give visitors an in depth look at the CWGC’s efforts to commemorate the Commonwealth casualties from World War One and World War Two. Called the CWGC Experience, the centre explains the process of finding and recovering those who were killed in the conflicts as well as detailing the identification process that goes on for all those who fell. Visitors will also hear about reburial and memorials as well as seeing the work of those who care for and maintain cemeteries.
The centre, which opened to the public on June 26th 2019, also highlights the commission’s work around the world. The Princess Royal met some of those involved with the new centre and members of the Commission during her visit.
Sir Timothy Laurence is Vice Chair of the CWGC and has carried out extensive work with them. During the visit, he talked about how the commission wanted to show how it took care of its cemetries as well as highlight the intricate and often painstaking work that goes into ensuring Commonwealth casualties are remembered.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission was set up in 1917 and looks after cemetries and memorials in over 150 countries and territories around the world. Its principles are that every casualty should be remembered with their name on a headstone or memorial and that those commemorations should be permanent and uniform, with no distinction between soldiers on the base of rank, nationality or creed. It was set up by Sir Fabian Ware who, having served with the Red Cross during World War One, became determined that none of those who lost their lives should ever be forgotten.