Shaftesbury Town Council has set aside £2,500 to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.
This Armistice Day, 11th November, will be exactly 100 years since the conflict ended. Across the country, local authorities and community groups have been encouraged to buy six-foot high, metal silhouette figures representing the outline of a soldier. The sculpture is called Tommy and they are being sold as part of the ‘There But Not There’ 2018 Armistice project.
Their sale raises money for Remembered, a charity that is using the income to educate all generations about the 888,246 British and Commonwealth men who died during the Great War. Remembered is also distributing funds to charities that help former service personnel, including people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The charity’s partners include Help for Heroes and Walking With the Wounded.
Councillor Luke Kirton felt strongly that the Town Council should purchase one of the figures. “It’s an exceptionally important moment in history for the country, to remember those who sacrificed their lives so that we can have the freedoms that we have today. I think that our town should make the effort to be seen to commemorates that moment,” Luke told ThisIsAlfred.
Councillor Lester Taylor, who served in the Royal Navy for 25 years, agreed with his council colleague. “Our country is founded on our ability to look after ourselves, on our belief in our own sovereignty and our ability to go out and help other people when they need to regain their sovereignty. That’s what happened in both the First World War and the Second World War,” said Lester. “If you go into the church next door you will find a massive list, which is read from every year on Remembrance Day. It names all the people who died from this town and it is a long list for such a small place. The sacrifices which have been made over the years must be remembered,” he said.
The Tommy silhouettes will be surrounded by poppies and placed on the Town Hall balcony. Luke requested that it is floodlit at night. “We will put it up on the balcony the week before and for the week after,” he said.
The Council will also arrange for the cleaning of the three war memorials at Park Walk, Enmore Green and Butts Knapp. Mayor Piers Brown asked for a fourth, the Rifles’ monument, to be cleaned. The Council will place a wreath on each of these memorials.
The Royal British Legion in Shaftesbury is arranging commemorations and their volunteers have installed a ‘poppy’ memorial, made of red and black pebbles, listing the names of the local fallen. It’s at the side of the Royal Chase roundabout.