Metal silhouettes of soldiers have been erected at iconic locations across the UK to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Featuring 6ft tall outlines of the British “Tommy”, the moving tribute is part of the There But Not There campaign.
Appearing at many locations across the country, including the sentry boxes at the Tower of London, the Giant’s Causeway in Bushmills, County Antrim, Hearts Football Club in Edinburgh and the Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon, Wales, each soldier stands with his head bowed, carrying his rifle, with a poppy on his chest.
Seven of the Hearts football players lost their lives in the conflict, while many Welsh miners also died while laying mines on the Western Front and digging the network of underground tunnels aimed at attacking the German trenches from below.
Made from an aluminium frame filled with clear Perspex, the striking sculptures were the brainchild of former British Army officer General Lord Richard Dannatt. The campaign is aimed at raising £15 million for armed forces and mental health charities.
The Tommies symbolise those who fought and lost their lives in World War I – hence the name of the campaign, There But Not There, as they represent the hundreds of thousands of British and Commonwealth soldiers who never returned. The mighty figures suggest that they are here in spirit.
They are currently touring the nation in the run-up to Armistice Day on 11th November, when the two-minute silence at 11 am will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.
The campaign is supporting a new charity called Remembered, which will split the proceeds equally between a number of causes, including Walking With The Wounded, The Royal Foundation: Heads Together, Combat Stress, The Commonwealth War Graves Foundation, Help for Heroes: Hidden Wounds and Project Equinox: Housing Veterans.
The charity is urging community groups to contribute by buying similar-scale large silhouettes for their local war memorials. Smaller 10-inch statues are available for the public to purchase in memory of their own ancestors who lost their lives in the conflict.
Lord Dannatt said that people who bought the Tommies’ silhouettes were not only marking the sacrifice made by the soldiers, they were also supporting today’s veterans and the Armed Forces community.
Educate and heal
The military personnel today who will be helped by the charity campaign include veterans of the war in Afghanistan, including those who have been physically wounded and suffered emotional scars.
The charity will be helping the injured, wounded and sick look beyond their injuries and illnesses so that they can regain their purpose in life and reach their full potential.
The aim of the project is to commemorate, educate and heal. A schools’ education programme has been launched to coincide with the metal soldiers’ campaign, to create a greater understanding and respect for the reason why so many members of the Armed Forces lost their lives at this time.
The 2018 Tommy campaign follows the 2014 ceramic poppies surrounding the Tower of London, representing the 888,246 British and Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during World War I.
As thousands of people gather at Remembrance Sunday services, at churches and cenotaphs across the nation, Pipecraft will be observing the 2-minute silence to honour the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, so that future generations might live in peace.
We will remember them.