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Old Contemptibles Great War Pages

 With the impending 100 year anniversary upon us Hew Strachan has said: "the big challenge is not the principle of commemoration but the practice of education. The Imperial War Museum and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission have anticipated this. The former is developing new First World War galleries, not least thanks to the additional money announced by the Prime Minister in October, and is creating an online presence that embraces other institutions. The commission, by enhancing its provision of onsite information, is addressing the fact that visitors now come to be informed rather than to mourn. It is the institutions’ task to provide the framework within which these debates enhance knowledge and understanding – both of the First World War and of war more generally. The only other significant tranche of new government money contained in the Prime Minister’s announcement was £5 million to enable selected school pupils in England to visit the Western Front. Many already do so, and it is hard to see how this funding is going to change much, not least when it is not extended to the rest of the United Kingdom and given that it will be exhausted by 2019. The major challenge is to produce an educational legacy that lasts and is more pervasive, originating in the classroom and stimulated by big and new ideas. The plans for the centenary are still conceptually empty.

 Hew Strachan is the Chichele Professor of the History of War and a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He is a member of the World War I Centenary Advisory Board.


Mobilised           Dead              Wounded          Missing & PoW         Dead %           Wounded %           Missing & PoW

8,904,467          908,371          2,090,212        191,652                     10.20%              23.47%                  2.15%