George V with IWGC founder, Fabian Ware (3rd right), at Tyne Cot cemetery in 1922
Photos: Courtesy Imperial War Museum collections
Since its creation in 1917, the IWGC was charged with finding permanent solutions to the commemoration of the Empire's war dead. Driven by the energy and vision of its founder, Fabian Ware, the IWGC worked tirelessly to commemorate appropriately the known dead, the unknown and the missing. Such a gargantuan task demanded imagination, patience and immense skill to win over the doubters and protesters, ensure funding, smooth relations with foreign governments, and then operate across the globe. By concentrating on the Commission's work in France and Belgium, the talk show how it rose to these challenges creating cemeteries and memorials in a devastated landscape, how its employees, the vast majority of them veterans, dedicated their lives to the service of the dead, often living in primitive conditions, and the reactions of those who came out to visit where loved ones or comrades were commemorated.
About the Speaker: Mark Connelly is Professor of Modern British History at the University of Kent. His main research interests are the memory of war, the image of the armed forces in popular culture and aspects of operational military history. His publications include The Great War: memory and ritual, Steady the Buffs! A Regiment, a Region and the Great War, (with Tim Bowman and Ian Beckett), The British Army and the First World War and (with Stefan Goebel), Ypres. During the course of the centenary he was director of the Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded, Gateways to the First World War, a multi-university centre aimed at encouraging public engagement with the centenary. He also works closely with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the In Flanders Fields Museum, Ieper/Ypres.