To commemorate the centenary of the Great War, Never Such Innocence was founded to give British children an opportunity to use poetry and art to pay tribute to those who were involved in the war.
In this fourth and final year, Never Such Innocence have been visiting RAF stations across the country. They have used these roadshows to encourage local schoolchildren to consider the 'war in the skies' as part of their contribution to the competition, to mark 100 years since the formation of the world’s first independent air force.
On Friday 19th January a special roadshow was hosted at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), by Sir Tim Laurence, President of NSI and Vice Chairman of CWGC.
Prime Minister Theresa May was the special guest at the event where over 80 children from five local schools performed poetry and songs.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Our history is part of what makes us as a country and it is important we remember that history. Never Such Innocence is doing important work so that young people remember the sacrifice that was made so that they could have a future, and to reflect on what this means for our world today. I encourage children and schools across Maidenhead to contribute by submitting poems, songs and music to the competition.”
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission was established towards the end of the First World War.
Financed by the United Kingdom, India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa the organisation is charged with recording and maintaining the graves and memorials of Commonwealth military personnel killed during the two World Wars.
The Commission is responsible for 1.7 million deceased service personnel across 153 countries, maintaining their graves and memorials erected in their honour.
The Commission is also responsible for continuing to identify the remains of service personnel who were initially buried in unmarked graves.
Recently this has involved working to identify two WWI Royal Flying Corps aviators who had previously been buried in unmarked graves, and reinterning them in marked graves. Through the use of archival research, anthropology and forensics, the Commission also works to help identify newly discovered remains that have been unearthed.
Sir Tim Laurence said: “I am delighted to be hosting today’s event, encompassing two organisations that I represent, NSI and CWGC. Hearing the poetry and songs of the children is always very poignant and I much look forward to meeting children from across Maidenhead today. With 2018 being the final year of the Centenary it is tremendous to see children from around the world playing their part.”