MSP seeks assurances on WW1

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THE CENTENARY of the entry of Great Britain to the First World War will be on August 4, 2014.

On that day in 1914, an ultimatum having run out, Prime Minister Asquith of the Liberal Party declared war on the German Empire.

Dr Nanette Milne, Scottish Conservative MSP for the North East, has written to councils across the area to ask what plans are being developed to mark the anniversary.

In a letter to the chief executives of Angus, Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, and Dundee City Council she has asked what plans and support will be put in place to help communities to organise events to commemorate the centenary.

Scottish Conservatives have called on the SNP Scottish Government to match the UK Conservative Government scheme to send high school pupils and teachers to tour battlefields including the Somme, Verdun and Fromelles between 2014 and 2019.

Dr Milne has also written to the War Memorials Trust to ask what support they require in Scotland to preserve our war memorial heritage.

She told the Montrose Review: “Every Scottish family will have had a family member who has fought for their country in the First World War.

“The men who gave their lives in the Great War will remain heroes forever.

“The last British Veteran has now died but their bravery and suffering must never be forgotten.

“The UK Government has already announced some initial plans to commemorate this historic centenary on August 4, 2014, including a new flagship scheme to give thousands of schoolchildren the opportunity to visit the Great War battlefields, as well as a £50 million fund to help support community events.”

Dr Milne continued: “I have no doubt whatsoever of the impact that visiting a battlefield can have on our young people. Under the UK Government proposals English children will learn, at first hand, about the sacrifices made by individuals and communities to secure our nation and protect our liberty.

“This tangible experience will reinforce what they have learnt in the classroom.

“The Scottish Government has been able to find significant funds to support the re-enactment of the Battle of Bannockburn. I am sure there will be an expectation amongst the Scottish public that significant funds can be made available to commemorate the First World War just as has been the case south of the border.

“There is also a lot which local councils across Scotland can do to support communities with the organisation of events to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, such as the refurbishment or local World War One Memorials, support for the planning of local exhibitions, as well as the development of community and school events.”

• Britain was at war from August 4, but the assassination on June 28 of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by a Yugoslav nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia, was the trigger to the war.