Explorer Scout inspires First World War remembrance

Gemma Coton

An Explorer Scout has inspired The Royal British Legion’s campaign to commemorate servicemen from the Commonwealth who died in battle during the First World War. Every Man Remembered, a digital memorial, was launched to mark the First World War’s centenary this year.

Three years ago, Gemma Coton, an Explorer Scout from Warwick, visited the battlefields of Flanders with her Unit. Aged 14 at the time, she noticed that some of the graves had no poppy crosses on, while others had lots: 'I’d been walking round this enormous cemetery, thinking about the nameless gravestones, some with the identities of their regiments on, some just completely blank.

'I know that not everyone can be remembered as individuals, but I felt it was a shame for some people to have dozens of poppies and crosses while others had no one left to remember them.'

She contacted The Royal British Legion and her comments have led to the launch of the Every Man Remembered project. The project’s aim is to encourage the public to find out about the servicemen who died during the First World War and commemorate them online.

Dr Stephen Clarke, Head of Remembrance at The Royal British Legion, says: 'We’re asking the British public to commemorate every one of the 1,117,077 men and women who died during the First World War. You can look up a family member, namesake, or make a random search – the important thing is that not a single one of them is left without a dedication and recognition of the role they played.'

Visit Every Man Remembered to find out more.

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