A Poignant Memorial

by Gerry Lynch last modified 07 Nov, 2015 08:41 PM

Pewsey Vale village makes unique memorial to eight men who never came home from war

It seems a long way from the mud and horror of the Western Front to the picturesque village of Wilcot, home to just 250 people in rural Wiltshire. With its thatched-roofed pub and square-towered church nestled in the Vale of Pewsey, it seems the very essence of bucolic Middle England.

Yet, it has one of the most poignant memorials to the horrors of the First World War, eight ceramic poppies, originally part of the display at the Tower of London in 2014, secured in a locally commissioned oak base. A touching commemoration of the eight men, none of them officers, whose names are memorialised in the village’s Roll of Honour for what people once thought would be the war to end all wars.

 “I thought the display at the Tower of London last year was the most important piece of public art in this country in my lifetime”, says Tim Hollier, a worshipper at the village’s Holy Cross church, who made the piece happen, “As I stood there, I thought of the ‘pal’s regiments’ from the same towns and jobs who never came back, and most of all about the eight men from Wilcot.

“I thought it was time to bring them home”, he continues, his voice cracking with emotion.

Almost the entire village contributed to making a specially carved piece of oak to mount the poppies on. It was unveiled at Holy Cross on Remembrance Sunday in 2014, with three of the families who still live locally in attendance.

“It got a wonderful reception”, concludes Tim, “We have always been very clear that the memorial belongs to the whole village, not just the church.”

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