2014 will mark 100 years since the start of the First World War, and the UK government is working alongside partners, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Imperial War Museums, on a series of national remembrance events and schemes.
As part of these efforts, it was revealed today that commemorative paving stones in honour of World War One Victoria Cross winners will be laid in their hometowns across Wales and the rest of the UK. And a new website is also being launched giving information on how to secure grants and funding for anyone wanting to refurbish local monuments that have fallen into disrepair.
In total, 628 Victoria Crosses were awarded in the First World War, 16 of those to Welshmen. Among them was Seargent Ivor Rees, from Felinfoel, who enlisted into the 11th Battalion, South Wales Borderers, part of 115 Brigade, 38th Welsh Division. According to the Llanelli Community Heritage website, he survived the fighting at Mametz Wood to move with the Division to Ypres, where they took part in Battle of Pilckem Ridge. Under heavy machine gun fire, Sergeant Rees led his platoon to the rear of the gun position, and at 20 yards he rushed forward, shooting one of the crew, and bayoneting the other. He bombed a large concrete emplacement, killing five of the enemy and took 30 prisoners, including two officers, capturing a machine gun undamaged. He died on 12 March 1967 at Llanelli, where he is buried, and is remembered on Memorials in Havard Chapel, Brecon Cathedral and at Llanelli Town Hall.
Before the guns fell silent on Armistice Day on November 11 1918, nearly 10 million soldiers were killed, nearly a million of which were British and Commonwealth troops.
You can find out more about the First World War centenary here (www.gov.uk).
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