Earlier this month (Remembrance Day to be exact) the Commonwealth War Graves Commission signed an agreement with the Flemish government which will mean closer working ties between the two parties in the run up to the centenary of the Great War (2014-2018). The result of which will be brand new visitor centre in or near the Flemish town of Zonnebeke and a shed-load more visitors to the region to learn and understand how and why Europe went to war, to provide additional interpretation on the key events of the war.
The Commission’s Director General, Alan Pateman-Jones said: “The Commonwealth War Graves Commission owes a debt of gratitude to the Flemish and Belgian governments and the people who do so much to enable us to honour the memory of those who died. Their vision and efforts have helped make this partnership possible.
The new centre will create a visitor landmark in the heart of the First World War battlefield region of Flanders. It will provide the public with a fascinating insight into the work of the Commission and the importance of this work in remembering the fallen of two World Wars.”
The centre will also house a purpose-built headstone manufacturing operation which visitors will be able to view in action. The Commission’s main headstone production centre is, and will remain, near Arras in France, but with an extensive programme of headstone replacement and repair taking place over the next 20 years. This additional manufacturing capacity will be invaluable.
It is proposed the new centre will be operational in time for the centennial commemorations of the First World War.
For more information visit www.cwgc.org