Alrewas: The Bevin Boys Memorial

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Located along Millennium Avenue at the National Arboretum stands the Bevin Boys Memorial. With only three weeks stock available, the country faced a crisis in coal production in 1943 which put our country’s ability to win the Second World War in jeopardy. The Prime Minister Winston Churchill charged Ernest Bevin, his Minister of Labour and National Service, to increase coal production. As a result, it was decided that one in ten men conscripts drafted to serve in the armed forces would work underground in British coal mines. The Bevin Boys, as they came to be known, undertook unskilled manual jobs to release more experienced miners to move on to coal production at the coal face. The memorial is dedicated to the essential and dangerous role of the 48,000 Bevin Boys.

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Created in stone from a quarry near Kilkenny, the rough surface of the memorial resembles the natural dark grey colour of coal, especially when wet. The Bevin Boys Memorial Project was funded by contributions from several councils and many individual private donors including the Bevin Boys Association and the Bevin Boys Association Reunion Group.

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Durham: Light Infantry War Memorial

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Located in Market Place in Durham centre stands the above war memorial. Honouring the Durham Light Infantry regiment, the bronze sculpture of a soldier symbolises the moment after the infantry buglers sounded the ceasefire in Korea in 1953. The sculpture is set upon a white stone plinth featuring the regimental badge and bears a dedication to all those who served in the regiment. A quotation on the rear of the plinth from Montgomery of Alamein reads “There may be some regiments as good but I know of none better.” The monument was unveiled in September 2014 and is the work of Edinburgh artist Alan Herriot.

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Craven Arms War Memorial

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Standing in St John the Baptist Churchyard in Stokesay is Craven Arms War Memorial. The memorial was unveiled on 29 July 1921 by Brigadier General Rotton C.B., C.M.G. and dedicated by the Venerable Archdeacon Lilley. Originally erected on Corvedale Road in Craven Arms, a rededication service took place on the 17th October 1999 when the memorial was re-positioned in its current location. The monument has a two stepped base of Hornton stone and depicts a WW1 rifleman sculpted from sandstone. Inscribed onto the sides of the plinths are the names of those who lost their lives in both World Wars and the names of those who fought but happily returned home are also listed. The monument is the work of the sculptor William G Storr Barber who served in the Great War with the Royal Marines. At the time the monument was moved in 1999, the War Memorials Trust contributed funds to renovate and conserve the memorial which included re-pointing, re-lettering and cleaning.

The memorial is Grade II Listed.

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Grasmere War Memorial

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Located on a low outcrop in Broadgate Recreation Ground stands the village war memorial. Dedicated to those who fought in both World Wars, the freestanding monument is of local slate and was designed by William Gershon Collingwood – secretary to John Ruskin. Born in Liverpool in 1854, Collingwood settled in Gillhead following an academic career at Oxford. Heavily influenced by John Ruskin and William Morris, he developed a life-long interest in Norse settlement, art and language which prompted his research into the Pre-Norman crosses of Cumbria and the north of England. An expert on Anglo-Saxon crosses, Collingwood also designed Ruskin’s grave in St Andrew’s Church in Coniston.

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Below the wheel head is the figure of a dove and below that a stag is trampling a dragon. An inscription below honours the men of Grasmere as follows: “In honour of the men of Grasmere who fought and in ever thankful memory of the men who died for God for King for home for freedom peace & right in the Great War.” There are no names listed on the memorial – the village dead are listed on a plaque in the nearby 12th century church of St Oswald.

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The memorial verse at the base of the monument reads: “These died in war that we in peace might live. They gave their best so we our best should give. Not for themselves, for freedom home & right. They died and bid us forward to the fight. See you to it that they shall not have died in vain.” The inscription was written by the poet, writer and conservationist Anglican clergyman Canon Hardwicke.D.Rawnsley who was the secretary of the memorial committee. Rawnsley had retired to Allan Bank in 1917 after serving as Vicar of Crosthwaite for 34 years. A close friend of Collingwood, it is thought likely that Rawnsley invited him to design the monument.

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Penrith: Black Angel Memorial

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On elevated ground over-looking Penrith Castle stands the war memorial known locally as The Black Angel. The monument was originally unveiled in 1906 in Corney Square and is dedicated to the men from Penrith who died during the Boer War in South Africa (1899−1902).

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The monument was moved to its current position in Castle Park in 1964 due to concerns from pollution damage. The central panel lists the names of those who lost their lives and is surmounted by a winged angel holding a wreath. The name, The Black Angel, also refers to the book of the same name by Colin Bardgett. The book details the stories and letters written by men of the Penrith Volunteer Company who fought during the Boer War. Not only is the book a military record, it contains a Roll of Honour and valuable information relating to local history. The Black Angel, both book and monument, are a memorial to the Volunteer Companies of Cumberland and Westmorland.

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With little camera exposure (below), the monument lives up to its name by taking the physical appearance of The Black Angel.

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Nithsdale: New Abbey War Memorial

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On the A710 next to Sweetheart Abbey stands New Abbey War Memorial. Dedicated to the memory of those lost in the Great War (1914-1918), the monument is of rough surfaced granite and set upon a stepped plinth. An ornamental sword adorns the cross shaft and the memorial lists thirty six names of those who lost their lives.

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Riga: Barikādes Piemineklis

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Located on Jēkaba Iela (Jacob Street) is a pyramidal memorial which was unveiled in 2007 by the State President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga. The monument is dedicated to those who lost their lives during the confrontations, known as The Barricades,  between Latvian and Soviet Union forces in 1991. The inscription details wording from a Latvian folk song.