'The biggest single piece of work since the pharaohs - the role of the Imperial War Graves Commission, 1917-39' Since its creation in 1917, the IWGC was charged with finding fitting permanent solutions for 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 Season 2023 23 of 127 Speakers List 23.2 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 commemorate.


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 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.


The Royal Naval Association Club, 73-79 East Street, Southend on Sea, Essex,
19 Jun 2023 20:00