The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #27606   Message #342313
Posted By: Steve Parkes
17-Nov-00 - 09:32 AM
Thread Name: WWII Memorial, finally!
Subject: RE: WWII Memorial, finally!
Liz (and everyone else) - here's some good news from the Wolverhampton Express & Star

New memorial for shot soldiers
By Heather Slater

An arboretum near Lichfield is the only place in Britain to set up a memorial for soldiers executed during the First World War.

An 8ft 6in statue is in place at the National Memorial Arboretum, in Alrewas, to commemorate the 306 British and Commonwealth soldiers shot at dawn by their own side for cowardice and desertion.

Now the arboretum is asking people to "adopt a soldier" to help complete the £6,000 memorial project.

Arboretum staff hope to surround the sculpture with 306 wooden posts, each carrying plaques bearing the names of executed soldiers.

The sculpture was donated free of charge by Birmingham artist Andy Decomyn but the posts and landscaping will cost £6,000. Funding will be possible if enough people adopt a soldier for £20.

Jackie Fisher, of the National Memorial Arboretum Appeal, said: "The monument is there, not to pass judgement upon what happened, but because all those who were executed have been recognised as victims of the war.

"The stigma of their execution has been removed from them and from their families.

"The arboretum is there to help future generations enjoy the trees but also to reflect upon what happened in the war.

"Those men are part of that story and are still victims of war."

The monument has been sited on the banks of the River Tame, the first place where dawn breaks over the arboretum.

The statue is modelled on Private Herbert Burden, of the 1st Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers, who was shot at dawn for desertion aged 17.

John Hipkin, of the national Shot At Dawn campaign, is battling the Government in a bid to win a pardon for executed soldiers.

Mr Hipkin said Alrewas was the only place in the country to have a memorial to executed soldiers.