Victoria Cross recipients to be honoured in First World War centenary commemorations

By Sarah Jackson | 12 August 2013

With one year to go before the First World War centenary programme begins, a new way to honour servicemen awarded the Victoria Cross during the conflict has been announced.

Men of the Border Regiment resting in shallow dugouts near Thiepval Wood during the Battle of the Somme during August 1916.
Men of the Border Regiment resting in shallow dugouts near Thiepval Wood during the Battle of the Somme (August 1916)© IWM (Q 872)
Special commemorative paving stones will be laid in the hometowns of all those in the UK who were awarded the Victoria Cross for valour “in the face of the enemy” during the conflict.

A national competition to design the specially-commissioned stones will be presented to councils in areas where First World War Victoria Cross recipients were born.

“Laying paving stones to mark these Victoria Cross heroes will ensure that there is a permanent memorial to all the fallen who fought for our country," said Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

"The competition is a great way for people from all corners of the United Kingdom to get involved.”

Stones commemorating the 28 men awarded the medal in 1914 will be unveiled in 2014. The stones of recipients from 1915 will be unveiled in 2015, and every 100 years after an individual won the Victoria Cross.

There will also be a QR reader on each stone, allowing smartphone users to learn more about the recipient.

Details of other initiatives to mark the centenary of the First World War were also released today, including help for communities to refurbish their war memorials, Heritage Lottery Fund grants to support local peoples commemorations and a new Centenary Apprenticeship scheme.

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How do we find out where exactly the stones are to be laid and how we can get involved with our our own local VC recipient, both as a local history society and surviving family descendants?
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