NZ visit in build-up to war commemorations

Dr Andrew Murrison will visit in a fortnight.  Photo / Getty Images
Dr Andrew Murrison will visit in a fortnight. Photo / Getty Images

The British minister charged with organising World War I centenary commemorations will visit in a fortnight and says New Zealand will be included in the biggest series of commemorations in modern history.

Dr Andrew Murrison, a government minister who is charged with advising Prime Minister David Cameron on the commemorations, attended a wreath laying with Prime Minister John Key in London yesterday at the new World War II Bomber Command memorial in Green Park.

He will visit New Zealand in a fortnight to plan World War I commemorations from 2015 and said that those would be very much Commonwealth-focused.

Dr Murrison said the commemorations would be the largest in modern history.

Gallipoli would also play a significant part. Dr Murrison said it was now strongly associated with the Anzac forces and both New Zealand and Australia had a strong sense of national identity from it.

However, he said Britain had also played a part and would commemorate that. Mr Key said that the big one for New Zealand was Gallipoli and he hoped to attend it in 2015 if he was still Prime Minister.

There are marks of New Zealand's efforts in the wars around Britain - an archaeological dig is under way in Staffordshire to excavate a concrete model of the Messines trenches built by returned New Zealand servicemen and used for training.

There are also plans for a statue of the New Zealand-born plastic surgeon Archibald McIndoe, who developed new techniques for dealing with facial reconstruction and burns for the war wounded.

- NZ Herald

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