French and UK ministers discuss Somme centenary

Jean-Marc Todeschini, Minister of State for Veterans and Remembrance at the Defence Ministry, meets Culture Secretary John Whittingdale to discuss organization of the major Franco-British ceremony on 1 July 2016

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28 September 2015

Jean-Marc Todeschini, Minister of State for Veterans and Remembrance at the Defence Ministry, had a meeting in London on Monday 28 September 2015 with Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, who is responsible for organizing the First World War centenary in the United Kingdom.

The two ministers discussed the organization of the major Franco-British ceremony on 1 July 2016 in Thiepval, Somme department, to mark the first day of the Allied offensive on the Somme in 1916.

Some 10,000 French, British and Commonwealth guests are expected to attend the international ceremony in the Somme, which will go ahead in the presence of the most senior civilians and military authorities.

For the first time, the 1 July ceremony in Thiepval will be organized jointly by the French and British governments, with the support of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and the Royal British Legion (RBL).

On Monday 28 September, Mr Whittingdale officially launched the ballot organized by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which will enable the British government to allocate places to members of the British public wishing to attend the Battle of the Somme ceremonies.

For his part, M. Todeschini announced the creation of a dedicated email address (somme2016@centenaire.org) for members of the French public wishing to take part in the Thiepval ceremonies on 1 July 2016.

The task of organizing the 1 July ceremony has been entrusted to the British DCMS and the First World War Centenary Partnership, a Public Interest Grouping created in 2012 by the French government to prepare and organize the First World War commemorations.

Published on 30/09/2015

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