Remembrance Service marks First World War centenary

ROME - The annual Commonwealth Remembrance Day Service will take place on Friday Nov. 9 at the Testaccio Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, in Via Nicola Zabaglia 50. The service, which shall be held to honour the Allied war dead, will commence at 10.45 a.m. and is open to the public. It will have a particular poignancy, as this year marks the 100th anniversary of the ending of the First World War.

 It will be attended by diplomats, ambassadors and military personnel from several nations, including Commonwealth and African countries. Representatives of many Embassies and international groups will lay wreaths, and school children will read a prayer. At 11a.m. there will also be a two-minute silence.

 After the ceremony, journalists and Embassy representatives are invited to meet for a drinks reception at the residence of the British Ambassador.

 There are many Commonwealth war graves in Italy, all directed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Among the most important are those in Monte Cassino, Anzio and Rome. Cassino War Cemetery contains graves and memorials of more than 4,270 Commonwealth Servicemen of the Second World War.

 The Rome War Cemetary was started shortly after the city fell to the Allies. It was used primarily for burials from the occupying garrison, but a few graves were also brought in from other parts of Italy. Some soldiers and airmen who died as prisoners of war in Rome are also buried there.

 Rome War Cemetary was designed by Louis de Soissons, and contains 426 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.