War Graves Week to bring to life stories of World War casualties with free tours at Portsmouth Naval Memorial

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PORTSMOUTH residents will be able to learn about the heritage on their doorstep as part of a national War Graves Week dedicated to World War casualties.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is launching its second national awareness week and offering free tours at Portsmouth Naval Memorial on May 28.

War Graves Week, to be held from May 21 to May 28, aims to encourage people from across the country to discover the World War heritage on their doorstep.

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It will give people in Portsmouth the chance to discover the remarkable stories of the men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the First and Second World Wars and are buried in their community.

War Graves Week is coming to Portsmouth.War Graves Week is coming to Portsmouth.
War Graves Week is coming to Portsmouth.

Residents can learn about the stories of those commemorated by the CWGC in Portsmouth and the expertise of those CWGC staff and volunteers who work to keep their memory alive.

The focus of this year’s War Graves Week is the Ordinary People, Extraordinary Times project, which visitors can learn about on the tours.

The free guided tours running at 10am, 11.30am, 2pm and 3pm.

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One story that will feature on the tour is that of the Reverend Christopher Tanner.

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Christopher served in the Royal Navy, but died of exhaustion after aiding 30 soldiers to safety and oversaw the removal of over 60 men from the sickbay after having to abandon ship aboard HMS Fiji in 1941.

Following success on the rugby pitch playing for the Barbarians and England rugby teams, he decided to join the navy and became ordained in 1935.

For his bravery he was posthumously awarded the Albert Medal, he is the only English rugby player to receive this award.

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The tours will be led by Will Reid, who is a public engagement co-ordinator for the CWGC.

He said: ‘We’re delighted that the CWGC’s War Graves Week will be taking place in Portsmouth. For us at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, remembrance and the sharing and caring for World War heritage is a daily duty. Behind every name on a war grave or memorial in Portsmouth is a human story waiting to be discovered and War Graves Week is the perfect opportunity to do just that.’

To book a tour, visit www.cwgc.org/tours

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