Royal recognition for photographic project

HONOUR Steve Rogers will receive an award from the Duke of Kent
HONOUR Steve Rogers will receive an award from the Duke of Kent

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A HORNDEAN man is set to accept an award from the Duke of Kent on behalf of hundreds of volunteers who have sourced and archived photographs of war graves.

Steve Rogers is co-ordinator of The War Graves Photographic Project.

The volunteer group has sourced and archived more than 1.7 million photographs of war graves from around the world.

And tomorrow, the efforts will be honoured by His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent at St James’ Palace.

The Duke, who is President of The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, will present Mr Rogers with a President’s Commendation in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the work and aims of The Commission.

Mr Rogers said: ‘What initially started out as a hobby has turned into an immense archive of over 1.76 million images, which has only been achieved by the effort of many people who felt the need to become involved.

‘It’s a great honour. It’s good that we have got some recognition after a number of years.

‘There have been a number of people from around the world helping to photograph all the graves.

‘We aren’t advertising it, we aren’t funded. It’s just through word of mouth.

‘Many people get very emotional seeing all the photos even if they didn’t know the man or woman.

‘A lot of them are getting old and can’t travel so to be able to get a photograph is the next best thing.

‘It’s a good feeling to be able to get that recognition for all the hard work that has been done.’

The Commission’s Director General Alan Pateman-Jones said: ‘The project provides a valuable service to families, scholars and researchers seeking to obtain a copy of the photograph of a grave or memorial – virtually anywhere in the world.

‘This service has only been made possible through the efforts of a dedicated group of 900 volunteers, who recognise the importance for families to see where their loved ones are laid to rest or commemorated.’

Visit twgpp.org to see the photos.