Revd Bill Young - Sabbatical 2017; "Aspects of Remembrance"
Revd Bill Young - Sabbatical 2017; "Aspects of Remembrance"

National Memorial Arboretum

I visited the National Memorial Arboretum near Alrewas in Staffordshire in September 2017. At that time there were more than 330 memorials of various sorts on site.

 

Central to the site and on a mound rising above it like a pre-historic barrow is the national Armed Forces Memorial. This records the names of the over-16,000 personnel of all forces, all ranks who have died in service since the end of the Second World War. The memorial structure is augmented by two bronze sculpture groups. In one, the ‘Gates’, a fallen serviceman is tended by his comrades, and one figure points through a ‘gate’, a slit in the walls, to the rising sun. In the other sculpture, the Stretcher Bearers, Four service personnel (the kit denoting Navy, Army, Air Force and Marines) carry a fallen serviceman aloft on a stretcher. The central group is flanked by a distraught woman (the bereaved partner) and a young child at her feet. And also by grieving parents, the woman in a state of collapse and the man supporting her, looking helplessly and grimly at the scene. This evokes but in no way replicates the Kollwitz statues at Vladslo cemetery in Belgium.

 

I sought out the ‘Shot at Dawn’ memorial, which commemorates the 309 British and British Empire soldiers shot during the First World War for desertion, cowardice, striking a senior officer, disobeying an order, throwing away their gun or sleeping on duty. A statue of a 17-year old soldier is surrounded by concentric arcs of stakes, each representing and named for one of those shot.

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All photographs were taken either by me or by members of my immediate family and are copyright.  They are however available to download or copy for use for any non-profit-making purposes.  A report of their use would be appreciated.

 

No book illustrations, maps, postcards or other scanned material used in my "Aspects of Remembrance" presentation are included here.

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