About the Project:
This work of art was commissioned in 2016 to commemorate the opening of the new Remembrance Centre. The prime image was taken by the artist in the Merchant Navy Convoy Wood. It is composed of more than 5000 photographs and is over 4 metres wide. Many of the portraits are of visitors and their families were taken on site or submitted online during a public campaign. It also includes images collected from the archives of the National Memorial Arboretum. The work says something about the place, remembering and memorialising, but also wishes to celebrate the here and now and our collective presence.
The National Memorial Arboretum’s new Remembrance Centre was opened in autumn 2016 features a fascinating exhibition on Remembrance and what it means to us as individuals as families and as a society. Between October 2015 and April 2016 images were collected to use in this commission. Many have a unique story or have been taken at the Arboretum. Visitors are also able to view them in detail via a digital zoom facility.
Sarah Montgomery, Managing Director of the Arboretum, said: “With more than 300 memorials set in 150 acres, the Arboretum is a wonderful, visual tribute to those who have served and continue to serve our nation. It is, however, people and their memories and associations that make the Arboretum such a special place. It is this that we hope to convey through this poignant exhibit, which will tell thousands of stories.”
For more information about the Arboretum’s new Remembrance Centre, visit www.thenma.org.uk
The National Memorial Arboretum is the UK’s year-round centre of Remembrance and a maturing 150-acre Arboretum.
“My 98 year old Chelsea Pensioner Father is the 2nd oldest in the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
He was a POW for 3 and half years, captured in Singapore and spent his time working on the dockyards, for the Japanese, in Saigon, Vietnam.
He says his time as a POW was nothing near as bad as the poor fellows who worked on the railway and who worked down the mines in Japan. He never complains about anything, not even when he is in pain, he still loves joining in all the activities in the Royal Hospital, even taking up pottery recently.
He never declines an opportunity to go out and we regularly go to concerts, the theatre and restaurants. For his 98 birthday this year we had breakfast up the Shard.”
“Beberley Smyk of Toronto. Canada lost her twin Donna aged 17, she was strived ever since to help others in the same predicament, get over their Tooling Grief… being and inspiration to many others ever since.”
This picture she comissioned in Rememberance to her Twin, Donna
“My son Aaron James McClure was killed in Afghanistan August 2007 and his name is proudly on the Wall. His 3 brothers Lewis, Daniel and Ryan attended the Rededication of the Afghanistan memorial this year, it was the first time my sons had been to visit.
The photo I am adding is of the first moment that I captured all Aarons 3 brothers when they finally saw their brothers names etched on the wall. Very emotional time for all of us….and a memory captured forever in time.”
“George narrowly escaped being captured by the Germans in Greece in April 1941.
He was sent to the Far East and was in Java just before the Japanese invasion. Nearly evading capture George was brutally treated before being sent to Java and Sumatra.
He ended up in Changi, and was later ant to work on the Thai/Burma railway before returning to Changi where he was eventually liberated.”
“I enclose a photograph of my grandfather returning on HM.Submarine E2 from the Dardanelles following a highly successful month’s patrol of the Sea of Marmora in 1915.
My grandfather – Stoker Petty Officer Percy Adams is pictured extreme left of those standing, and following this patrol, was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for “Distinguished service in submarines in enemy waters”.
His submarine was, on one occasion, caught in anti-submarine nets, and was being bombed from the surface warships – causing structural damage which resulted in fuel oil leaking into the submarine’s fresh water tanks, but after freeing themselves from the nets, they continued to attack and cause havoc to enemy shipping.
You can see on the photograph – from the state of their dress – that life on submarines was no picnic and I salute all the brave submariners who suffered such privations to serve King and Country.
Sadly, my hero, (my grandfather), later transferred to new submarine HMS.K4 with his captain-Lt Cmdr. Stocks DSO, and they were both killed when K4 was lost with all hands during exercises off the Isle-of-May on 31st January 1918.”
REMEMBERED WITH GRATITUTE
“My father. Bob Greenshields 18 years old in 1945 in his Fleet Air Arm flying gear. Ready to look for U boats in the North Sea.
We hung this photo over his hospital bed in 2011 in the hope that the staff would see the young man who served his country until the 1970’s in the Royal Navy.”
“My Great Grandfather – Captain John Hill was an officer in the Salvation Army. During WWI he and the family received an appointment to the corps at Felixstowe in Suffolk.
On the 11th day of November 1918, on learning that Peace has been declared, John Hill stood alone on the steps outside the Salvation Army Hall with his cornet and played “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow” as loud as he could! This made a tremendous impact on all those that heard and was never forgotten by the local community. (Major) John Hill lived to be 101!
He is seen here with his cornet (left of the bass drum) with the Soham Salvation Army band (taken in 1915).”
“This is my husband and I on Remembrance Day. He is Royal Artillery and I am RLC.
This is a picture of our first Remembrance Day together.
When we first met we had only been together 4 months and I went to Afghanistan for 7 months, Simon then proposed on my R&R.”
“On 30 October 1943 Sgt Jim Chance was flying as rear gunner in a Wellington Bomber on a mission to bomb Perugia aerodrome in Italy. As they crossed the coast of Italy they experienced engine trouble and crashed in the mountains near Ischia Di Castro.
All his crew members were killed while he sustained back injuries, believed to be burns. He approached an Italian shepherd, after three days hiding, who put him in touch with Italian partisans and South African flyers, who the Italians were also hiding in caves.
They were fed by the Italians until 11 June 1944 when they were able to escape to allied lines. His parents meantime had been advised that because no of news they ad to assume he was dead, which then led to a telegram from King George 6th.
Later when he returned to Britain they received further news from the MOD that he was home. He never talked about his injuries which by then we large scars.”
Jim Chance was the uncle of my wife Linda
“Remembrance Sunday 2015 with my husband who has served 7 years in the army, two tours of Afghanistan.
Also in the picture is our daughter.”
“This is me at my first veterans parade after completing 20 years in the Army. It was the first commemorative parade for Afghan veterans. I have completed two 7 months tours in Afghanistan.
During the latest one in 2012 I was only the third and, what turned out to be the last female OC to lead combat logistic patrols.”