Commemorations: Parliament and World War One

As part of Parliament’s centenary commemorations for the First World War, a series of events have been planned to highlight the role Parliament played during the conflict. This includes remembering Members, staff and women who served or influenced Parliament during this period and ultimately the 24 Peers and 22 MPs who died in the conflict.

On Remembrance Sunday the Clock Tower was lit up with the projection of a giant poppy with falling petals. Each petal represented a WW1 battle, with all the battles of the conflict included. It was a visual and timely reminder of the sacrifice that soldiers made from 1914-18.

Parliament will also be delivering a wider programme and publication that will detail:

  • How Parliament operated during WW1 and key legislation passed
  • MPs, Lords, House staff & women who served or influenced Parliament during WW1. This will include a cross range of Members both in terms of political party, geographical location and those who opposed WW1
  • Interesting facts and info-graphics on Parliamentarians serving in WW1

The profiles range from D.D. Sheehan one of seven Irish Nationalists who served on the front line, to Lady Dorothie Feilding one of the most decorated ambulance drivers of the First World War. The online material will be gradually released over the centenary period and the first profiles of Lords, MPs, House and staff and women are now available. The www.parliament.uk/ww1 site contains a wealth of other information on how Parliament operated during WW1 and the key figures involved in decision making.

The House of Lords is also hosting a display in which current and former members of the Lords remember family members who fought in the war. The display will be in the Norman Porch, House of Lords, from November 2015 to February 2016. Visitors to Parliament will be able to view it on tours. To find out more please see the Parliamentary Archives blog.

In addition the Curator’ Office have made available a display online of First World War Campaign Medals.

One of the key aspects to the commemoration activities is public involvement and we wish to engage as many people and organisations as possible. If you have any feedback or suggestions for commemoration activities please contact papers@parliament.uk

Image: Big Ben, Remembrance Day Poppies by Nicholas Moulds, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Chris Blanchett