Wales Remembers the First World War – First Minister’s visit to Belgium & France05 / 09 / 2013
First Minister, Carwyn Jones has announced he will visit Belgium and France later this month to begin Wales’ programme of commemoration to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War in 2014.
During his trip the First Minister will visit Ypres to see the proposed site of a new memorial at Langemark to commemorate Welsh soldiers who fought during the First World War. There has long been a public campaign and fund-raising by both Welsh and Belgian people for a lasting tribute to Welsh soldiers here.
He will also visit the Mametz Wood Memorial, a bronze statue of a Welsh dragon dedicated to the 38th (Welsh) Division who fought in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Earlier this year the Welsh Government announced £7,000 to refurbish the memorial.
The First Minister, who is leading the commemoration of the First World War for Wales, Cymru’n Cofio Wales Remembers 1914-1918, said:
“I’m proud to be leading Wales’ commemoration of the First World War. The centenary of the start of the war in 1914 marks an important opportunity for us to remember all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the First World War.
“My trip to Belgium and France is a chance for me to pay my respects to the people of Wales and from across the world who fought and lost their lives, often far from home and loved ones, and outline some of the ways we as a nation will mark this significant anniversary.”
The First Minister will also visit the grave of Hedd Wyn – one of the most high-profile casualties of the battles fought in this area – and will attend the last post at Menin Gate.
The First Minister will visit Langemark and Menin Gate on the afternoon and evening of the 18th September and Mametz Wood on the morning of the 19th September.