Archive for July, 2016

German and Staffordshire teenagers unite to commemorate the Great War

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

 

Young people from Germany and Staffordshire with Derek Ellison, President of Hednesford Royal British Legion, Janet Eagland, Chairman of Staffordshire County Council, John Richards, Chair of Hednesford Royal British Legion, and Robert Plumb, Hednesford Royal British Legion.

Young people from Germany and Staffordshire with Derek Ellison, President of Hednesford Royal British Legion, Janet Eagland, Chairman of Staffordshire County Council, John Richards, Chair of Hednesford Royal British Legion, and Robert Plumb, Hednesford Royal British Legion.

Many people may not be aware that but a small part of Staffordshire land belongs to Germany. The German Military Cemetery on Cannock Chase, which is the only one of its kind in the country, holds the graves of 5,000 German and Austrian soldiers who lost their lives during both World Wars.  It is a poignant and respectful place that honours the shocking impact  world wars had on our nations.

This week, teenagers from across Staffordshire again welcomed students from Bremen, in Germany, for a two week exchange programme to commemorate the Great War.  Amongst the sightseeing and activities to take in the very best of our county, the young people will clean and tend the graves at the cemetery besides researching the lives of some of the soldiers buried there.

The exchange is a fitting way for our younger generations to build friendships and take part in the commemoration efforts of the county. This is an annual exchange, running since 1962 and is a partnership between the County Council and the German War Graves Commission.

The teenagers will also visit the National Memorial Arboretum, the Staffordshire Regiment Museum and lay wreaths at the German Cemetery and Coventry Cathedral.

Two weeks ago we marked the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme and it is still a poignant time for remembrance. I’m very pleased our young people get this chance to spend some time with their new continental friends and practice their language skills while learning about such an important part of our history.