As described in the last news item, our three memorial figures are now at Phoenix Marble and Granite, near Wimborne, where they are being measured up for fixing to their stone plinths. The Priory stone backing panels are also nearing completion and next week, all the constituent parts will be transported to the National Memorial Arboretum, where the site has been prepared. There, they will all be married up, placed in position and fixed, then the site will receive its final landscaping so it's all ready for our Dedication Ceremony on 17 September.
The photos show Phoenix staff at work, engraving the motto and regimental badges onto the stone panels, and the finished results.
Last year, when we first saw our sculptor Vivien Mallock's design for our National Memorial, we got a very good idea of what an inspiring monument to our regiments it would be. Now, after a complex sculpting and casting process, the figures representing our regiments at key moments in their histories have emerged from the foundry.
The three figures were on parade at the Project Workshops at Quarley in Hampshire on Friday 11 August, having finally been cast in life-sized bronze by the Talos Art Foundry, and we were able to appreciate fully the scope and excellence of Vivien’s creation as the photos show. ‘Somme’ and ‘Northern Ireland’ are complete, but ‘Kohima’ still requires its final patination - the application of a coloured finish - as can be seen by its still-shiny surface. To find out more about the whole casting process, you can read John Beresford's Technical Description.
On the same day, the BBC’s Simon Clemison visited the Workshops to film and interview Vivian and the Talos foundry’s Simon Furnell, who has been responsible for the casting. Simon also met Christopher Hodgson, whose great-uncle Lt William Hodgson served in the 9th Devons on The Somme in 1916 and wrote the famous poem ‘Before Battle’, Jenny Jeapes, whose father Lt Col Geoffrey White was 2IC of 2nd Dorsets during The Battle of Kohima in 1944, and Martin King and Mike Richardson from our Regimental Association.
Once the media event was complete, Colin Pape and Simon Young arrived to view the figures on behalf of our Regimental Trustees. Simon said:
'We’re almost there - it has taken three years to reach this stage; Trustees and Regimental Association members at the Talos Art Foundry on Friday were unanimous. The clay models six months ago were exciting enough, but to see them in their final form cast in bronze was incredible; the pose, the kit and especially facial expressions reflect the Regiment’s enduring spirit of understated excellence brilliantly. These three figures are all we hoped for and more.’
In a few days’ time, the figures will be transported from the workshops to our stone masons, Phoenix Marble and Granite in Wimborne, where the stone plinth and backing are being prepared. After some measuring up, all the parts will make the journey to The National Memorial Arboretum for assembly on site - all ready for the Dedication Ceremony on Sunday 17th September.
Simon Clemison in action Simon Furnell Simon Young and Vivien Mallock
Photos by John Gaye, Colin Pape and Simon Young.
As you can see from these three photos, work to construct our site at the The National Memorial Arboretum has started. You can see the area where the plinth will be located and the path to it.
Meanwhile, the three memorial figures are receiving their last week of attention at the Talos Art Foundry and our Regimental Trustees will visit shortly to view the result. Thereafter, the figures will leave for the Wimborne-based Phoenix Marble and Granite Ltd which is preparing the stone plinth and backing. After some measuring up, all the parts will make the journey to Alrewas for assembly on site - all ready for the Dedication Ceremony on Sunday 17th September.
As you can see from these photos taken in late June 2017 at Vivien Mallock's Studio and in the Talos Art Foundry, which is in the same complex, the wax figures described in the news item below are now starting to appear in bronze. Each section is 'bronzed' then reassembled to make the complete statues. Our 'artistic director' Simon Young says, 'Don’t be alarmed with the sparkle - that’ll go with patination'. To find out what 'patination' involves, please read John Beresford's Technical Description of the whole casting process.
We are all thrilled to start to see the actual figures emerge, and we'll keep you up to date with progress.
Photos 1 to 7: Details of 'Kohima'. Photos 8 to 10: 'Northern Ireland'. Click the photos for bigger versions.
On Tuesday 16th May, members of our Regimental Association visited Vivien Mallock's studio, near Andover, to see for themselves how our National Memorial project is developing. The team consisted of John Beresford, John Chubb, Brian Duff, Graham and Jane Gilley, Humphrie James, Martin King and Robert Steptoe. Mike Richardson went along as well to make the introductions. We received a warm welcome from Vivien and her business manager and husband Ross. After coffee, the visitors were treated to a full guided tour and demonstration of the process that will convert the clay figures into bronze.
First, Vivien told us something about her inspiration and intentions in creating our three memorial figures (Photo 1). We were all quite fascinated to see our three figures ‘up close’ in varied states of preparation. She and Ross then showed us how the full-sized clay figures are prepared for casting by being coated in various silicones. In Photo 2, Ross is briefing with Vivien to the left.
We then moved next door to the Talos Foundry, where the 'hot stuff' goes on (Photo 3 - stoking the fiery furnace). Ross gave us a splendid overview and various Talos staff explained the skills they employ to create wax models from the clay, then bronze figures from the wax. It is a long, exact and painstaking process in which many people take part, as you will see from the Technical Description (with more photos) enclosed with this article.
We gained a real understanding of, and great respect for, the complexity of the artistic and practical processes involved in all this, and the time required to complete them. It all comes together in September when the final bronze figures are married up with their stone backing and plinths at The National Memorial Arboretum.
Our visit was an outstanding success and we were all deeply impressed. After posing for the obligatory team photograph (Photo 4), some of us departed to a nearby pub for lunch. Later, Brian Duff emailed us to say, 'What a totally brilliant day - so interesting'.
John Beresford was clearly listening to all this very intently, and has kindly written a short article describing the conversion process in more detail, which we have illustrated with lots of photos taken whilst we were there.
Click here to read it - you'll find it very worthwhile!
Here are some of the Association team during the day. The third one shows what was in the white ceramic mould - the lower half of 'Northern Ireland', now in green wax! (click the photos for bigger versions):
The Chairman of our Regimental Trustees, Maj Gen Bryan Dutton, visited Vivien Mallock's studio on 3 May to check out the last of our three National Memorial figures; a soldier of the Devons at the Battle of The Somme in 1916. He was accompanied by Trustee Brig Simon Young and the Curator of The Keep Military Museum, Chris Copson. They found that Vivien has produced another outstanding work of art as you can see in the photos below. Simon told us:
'As you might expect he is excellent; he looks thoughtful and purposeful, but at the same time fully aware of that combat situation he’s about to launch into. His stance says it all'.
As a minor alteration, the figures's accoutrements will now include a gas mask pouch to be slung across the figure's shoulders, as worn by the soldiers that fought on the Somme.
Now that all three figures are complete, they will be divided into sections that will be cast in bronze and patinated; probably some time in late July or early August. As ever, we will produce further photographs of this development on this website. Keep looking!
These two photos show, in greater detail, the completed Kohima figure with the Northern Ireland figure encased in a pink ceramic mould, ready for casting in the foundry. The Somme figure is nearly complete and our Trustees will view the result on 3 May. We'll put some more photos on-line then.
On Monday 13th March, Regimental Trustee Simon Young, accompanied by our Regimental Association Vice Chairman Dorset, John Gaye, visited our sculptor, Vivien Mallock, at her studio to view the second of our three National Memorial figures; ‘Kohima’, which is now complete.
The photos below show a variety of views of this figure, depicting a soldier of the 2nd Dorsets at the Battle of Kohima in 1944. You can also see, in the background, wrapped in pink polythene, our previously completed Devon and Dorset Northern Ireland figure, now being dismembered for baking and casting in bronze. In one image, Simon and Vivien are adjusting the Kohima figure's Thompson machine-gun.
One photo shows, mysteriously cloaked in see-through polythene, the final figure; a Devon soldier on The Somme in 1916, which Vivien is now working on. That task should be complete in a month or so. The last photo is of Chris Emery, Managing Director of Wimborne-based Phoenix Marble and Granite Ltd; our stonemason. Chris is leaning against a slab of priory stone that will form part of the base and backing for our memorial.
The three life-size, bronze figures will be united with the stonework at The National Memorial Arboretum, once the site has been prepared.
Many thanks to John and Simon for their photos. Click them for enlarged versions.
Here are some more photos of our Devon and Dorset Regiment Northern Ireland figure, taken in January 2017 and kindly provided by Vivien Mallock.
On Thursday 12 January, the Regimental Trustees, led by Chairman, Maj Gen Bryan Dutton, visited the Hampshire studio of Vivien Mallock, our sculptor, to see how she is getting on with creating our memorial. As you will see, there has been some considerable progress.
As you will see from the photos below, the Devon and Dorset Northern Ireland statue is just about complete and the Trustees declared it outstanding. In addition, the Dorset Kohima figure is already taking shape and Vivien is now working flat-out on this one.
These figures are currently in clay and will be transformed by various complicated processes, into the final bronze versions, which will be exact copies.
The Regimental Trustees are: Bryan Dutton, Jeremy Archer, Rupert Jones (absent on duty), Colin Pape, Bill Sharpe, Richard Toomey, Simon Young and Secretary Geoff Nicholls. They were joined by Andrew Edwards, John Mellin and Mike Richardson, who are helping the Trustees within the Memorial Project.
Click the images for bigger versions. In the last photo, Vivien (on the right) takes notes.
Details of the future location of our Regimental Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum have been finalised, and we have secured an excellent location. It sits to the north east of the Golden Grove, adjacent to a new ‘informal’ path linking the Polish Memorial to the Land Train route. The overall size is approximately 100 square metres.
The memorial itself will be constructed in the south-west corner of the site, facing the Land Train route as shown in the plan photo.
Landscaping will be straight-forward, allowing for easy maintenance, and the site will be laid to grass with one path, wide enough for wheelchairs, leading to the plinths. The existing bushes and young trees that lie immediately behind will frame the site and enhance the memorial’s impact as it is approached via the Land Train Route.
The air photo shows the location of The Devon and Dorset plot within the Arboretum.
This memorial commemorates those who served in the county infantry regiments of Devon and Dorset. For over three centuries they enjoyed fine reputations for professionalism and drew on the strong relationships with the counties from which they recruited. The Devonshire Regiment is represented by a soldier fighting on the Somme in 1916 during the First World War; the Dorset Regiment by a soldier in 1944 at the Battle of Kohima as part of the Burma Campaign in the Second World War; and the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment by a soldier on patrol in Northern Ireland during the 1970s. In 2007, the Regiment merged with others to form The Rifles. The memorial reflects the strong bond and comradeship felt by members of these proud Regiments.
Click the photos for larger versions.
Back in April of this year, the cost of our National Memorial was estimated pretty accurately to be around £140,000. The Regimental Trustees set a target of £70,000, to be raised by the end of September next year.
We are now delighted to report that we have reached this goal already, with 11 months still to go. That is truly amazing!
That said, six months on we now know much more about the cost of insurance and maintenance contracts over the long term, and the approximate cost of the Dedication Ceremony next September. As the money continues to roll in, and some corporate and municipal organisations have indicated their intention to make us a gift in future, we are keeping our fundraising going. Every pound raised over the initial sum of £70,000 will go towards the actual cost of our memorial, and this will save the Regimental Charity having to dig further into Regimental funds needed elsewhere.
So, whilst we greatly appreciate the enormous generosity of all those who have already made a gift, we hope that those who haven't donated yet will do so in the weeks and months ahead. Remember, all contributors will be recorded by name, but not by amount, in our Donors Book at the end of the project. Don't let your name be left out!'
At its Annual Dinner on Friday 21st October, Gillingham Branch President, Andrew Edwards, presented Fundraising Manager Mike Richardson with hugely generous cheque from the Branch for £1,000 towards our National Memorial - an outstanding donation from the Branch which has an exceptional record in supporting many charities in the past, not least The Rifles Care For Casualties.
The photos show Mike and Andrew with the Big Cheque, and Mike thanking the Branch whilst wondering whether to break into a song ...
Many thanks Gillingham, we can always rely on you.
The very kind members of the Wessex Branch, Western Front Association have generously given us £250 towards our National Memorial appeal. On Saturday 8th October, Mike Richardson collected this from Chairman Martin Willoughby at the branch monthly meeting, in the form of a giant cheque. Mike thanked the assembled members warmly both for this generous gesture and for their support to our regiments in the past. He told them that in consequence, they were firmly embedded within our 'Wider Regimental Family'.
Interested in World War 1? You might consider joining the splendid WFA which has branches across the UK. Regular meetings with expert speakers are held, along with annual battlefield tours. The Wessex Branch meets each month in Pimperne which is convenient to those living in Dorset and thereabouts. It is an excellent organisation.
Check out the Branch website - click the logo.
Theodore Henry Veale, then a private soldier, won the Victoria Cross whilst serving with the 8th (Service) Battalion The Devonshire Regiment on the Somme. On 9th September 1916, The London Gazette published the following citation:
For most conspicuous bravery (East of Highwood, France).
Hearing that a wounded officer was lying out in front, Private Veale went out in search, and found him lying amidst growing corn within fifty yards of the enemy. He dragged the officer to a shell hole, returned for water and took it out. Finding he could not single-handed carry in the officer, he returned for assistance, and took out two volunteers. One of the party was killed when carrying the officer, and heavy fire necessitated leaving the officer in a shell hole.
At dusk Private Veale went out again with volunteers to bring in the officer. Whilst doing this an enemy patrol was observed approaching. Private Veale at once went back and procured a Lewis gun, and with the fire of the gun he covered the party, and the officer was finally carried to safety. The courage and determination displayed was of the highest order.
King George V invested Theodore Veale with his Victoria Cross at Buckingham Palace on the 5th February 1917.
On 20th July 2016, a ceremony was held in Veale's home town of Dartmouth to lay a commemorative paving stone in his honour. You can read a Dartmouth Chronical report on the event - click here.
Pte Veale's action that day inspired our sculptor, Vivien Mallock, to create the Somme figure for our Memorial. Members of the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment Association on parade at the ceremony distributed our National Memorial leaflets to those attending.
The photos show: The ceremony, the paving stone and Cpl Veale's grand-daughter Jenny.
At this time, we are commemorating the Great War events of 100 years ago; not only the Somme in 1916, but also the many other campaigns our armed forces fought in during those four years of bitter conflict.
As you read this, you may recall a forebear who served at that time, who may have been killed, wounded or survived. Perhaps you would like to honour and commemorate that ancestor in some way.
Dorchester-based Dave Bamber has offered to use his own moving poem'The Roll Call' for this very purpose. He will personalise the poem with the details of your World War 1 service relative and send it for you to keep as as your own enduring memorial. Anyone reading this item can apply.
You can read the poem, on which he has inscribed an example name, so you can see how it will look - click here.
Your personalised copy will be printed on a parchment-style paper.
Dave will charge £16.50 for this service, but will send £10 of that to us at the Devonshire and Dorset Regimental Charity as his contribution to our National Memorial to the County Regiments of Devon and Dorset. We are enormously grateful for this kind offer and hope that our readers will take it up.
To order your poem, you need to send a cheque to Dave for £16.50. Click here for Dave's address and all the details you need.
You will need to include the Number, Rank (only if these first two details are available), Full Name and Unit of the person to be commemorated, and your name and address for the poem.
It may be possible to add further detail, at no extra cost, with a one or two syllable name of a wife or sweetheart, and an injury.
Dave's fee covers return first class postage in a reinforced envelope.
This is a very generous offer to help our appeal and we hope that you will take it up; on behalf of your ancestor and also to support our National Memorial appeal.
There were two notable occasions in Exeter in July that concerned military matters and we were able to join in with both of them. First was the Shrouds of The Somme event in Northernhay Gardens, which you can see described in a BBC news report - click here. Helping to lay out the figures were Alan Hincke and Paul McCullagh, late 4 D and D (Photo 1). The event closing ceremony is on Thursday 7th July at which our Exeter Branch will parade, with standards.
On Saturday, Geoff Nicholls and Alan Hincke manned our travelling display on the Cathedral Green as part of Exeter's Armed Forces Day. They met many members of the public who took a great interest in our project, and distributed many leaflets. In addition, Exeter's Lord Mayor, Councillor Cynthia Thompson, dropped in to see them (Photo 2).
All this greatly assists our memorial fundraising by spreading the word and we are most grateful to Alan, Geoff and Paul for their excellent work.
You can read an extract from 'West Country Regiments on the Somme' by Tim Saunders MBE (late D and D) that vividly illustrates the part played by 2nd Devons during that fateful day, by clicking the book-cover photo on the right.
Our memorial contains a statue of a Devon soldier during that battle. Why not give us a donation to commemorate these brave men of Devon who fought for their country 100 years ago? Click the Virgin logo on the left and follow the instructions. It's easy, but it will mean a lot to our campaign.
And we will all be hugely grateful.
Our appeal has so far concentrated only on raising donations from our Association, and the excellent £30,000-odd that we have accrued so far (with Gift Aid) speaks volumes about the commitment and generosity of our members. But on Monday 23rd May:
On Monday 23rd May a strong regimental team assembled at The Keep Museum in Dorchester to host a media event that sigalled the launch of our National Memorial appeal to the public.
Managing the event were Mike Richardson, who looks after our fundraising, and Claire Vera, our Media Advisor. The BBC had filmed its piece a few days before, but the ITV News sent a correspondant, as did a number of newspapers and journals including The Blackmore Vale Magazine, The Dorset Echo and View From Newspapers.
Paddy King-Fretts followed, describing his the part his father Maj Paget King-Fretts (Photo on right) played as a company commander at the Battle of Kohima.
Finally, George and Richard Symes described what life was like for a soldier on the streets of Belfast in the 1970s.
All our presenters spoke of that close spirit of comradeship that they experienced during their service; comradeship that derives from the friends you served with, but also from their closeness to the families and communities of Devon and Dorset.
The group photo shows: Paddy, Mike, Vivien, Keith, Richard and George.
We are scouring the media to see what articles have emerged as a result. Here is what we have found so far, and we will keep updating this page with new ones as we find them. Watch the TV stuff now - it doesn't stay on-line for long!
|ITV South West - 21 May. Film about our Regimental Reunion.||BBC Spotlight - 23 May. Shown at 6.30 pm. Starts at 17.15.||BBC News - 23 May. That's the main BBC website for England!||The Rifles Network.|
|ITV West Country - 23 May. ITN News report.||BBC Radio Solent:.||Dorset Echo - 23 May.||Blackmore Vale Magazine - 24 May.|
|BBC South Today - 23 May. Shown at 6.30 pm. Starts at 13.15.||BBC Radio Devon: Starts at: 01.10.30.||Express and Echo - 21 May.||... and there's more on You Tube. Here's a clip - click here.|
The photo on the left shows BBC correspondent Simon Clemison, watched by Claire, zooming in on a silk map of Burma that Paget King-Fretts carried throughout the Burma campaign.
Now our media launch is complete, we will be sending a press release to many media outlets in Devon and Dorset, so more news items should appear in print and on-line on the days to come.
We will also be approaching organisations and individuals across Devon and Dorset to invite them to make us a donation. And we will also be communicating with our 'Wider Regimental Family': the relations, friends, colleagues and neighbours of Devon and Dorset soldiers of any generation.
The names of Devons and Dorsets are engraved on war memorials in cities, towns and villages across our two counties and anyone can donate in their memory.
Talk to your mates and persuade those who have not yet done so to 'make their move' and make a contribution now.
Spread the word to the 'Wider Regimental Family'.
Make sure your community, that will contain the families and friends of our soldiers, are aware of our campaign. They can donate and also become joint-owners of this very special memorial. They can search for 'devondorsetregiment' on-line, go into our website and follow the links.
Send us your ideas.
We would be delighted to receive your fundraising ideas and, where feasible, to put them into practice. You can email us at - click here.
On Saturday 7th May, a gang of your National Memorial fundraisers paid a visit to our memorial sculptor, Vivien Mallock, at her studio near Andover. On parade were Mike Richardson, Whippit Clark, Andrew Edwards with his wife Debbie, and John Gaye, and we were joined for the visit by John Clift.
We were taking advantage of an open day at the Project Workshops, a collection of artists of which Vivien is one. Vivien's studio is in the photo on the right.
On a bright, sunny day, we were warmly welcomed by Vivien and her husband and business manager Ross; a past member of The Army Air Corps, and were able to view at first hand the wonderful maquette (artist's model) that Vivien has prepared and which adorns our fundraising pages. The photo on the left shows Vivien with her splendid design.
First, the scated-down maquette is produced which gives the sponsor an accurate view of what the final product will look like. Once this is finalised, Vivien breaks the maquette down into its constituent parts, then copies each one in clay at the larger, life-sized scale that will form the finished product. These are put together as they are completed.
Finally, the clay statues are taken to the Talos Art Foundry, conveniently situated next door, divided into small enough parts to cast, and covered with layers of differing ceramics that make a smooth, hollow cast. These casts are filled with bronze and baked in the foundry. On completion, they are welded together to make the final statues.
On the right, Geoff Moate, the Talos Foundry Manager, demonstrates how maquettes are treated. He is holding a bronze model from which the ceramics have been partially removed. In the foreground is a small bronze piece he has cast.
The statues will travel to The National Arboretum where they will be mounted on the stonework plinths and backing at the site. All this should be finished by early autumn 2017 and we will unveil them at a Regimental ceremony.
On the left: Andrew Edwards, Whippit Clarke, John Clift, Mike Richardson and John Gaye have clearly enjoyed their visit.
So, say goodbye to the maquette - it has served its purpose and must now go to work. We hope to show you more of the process as our memorial slowly forms in the coming months.
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Our informtion leaflet above is available in pdf form, just click on the image to view and download it.
To make a contribution to our National Memorial appeal, please visit our Memorial Page, scroll down and see all the easy ways you can pay.
You can now text donations to The Devon and Dorset Regimental Association Charity
Text DDRA11 £? to 70070
Where ? can be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 10
For more information on how to donate to the Association charity click here
The Story of the Dorset Regiment in War and Peace 1939-67 - compiled by Christopher Jary.
Click the picture to read more detail and order the book.
For a review of this book by John Gaye click here
Stories of service by Devon legionnaires - compiled by Paddy King-Fretts. Profits go to the RBL.
Click the picture to read more detail and order the book.
For a review of this book by Colin Pape click here
Profits go to ABF - The Soldiers Charity.
Click the picture for a link to the ABF shop page where you can order a copy.
A celebration of the Royal Family at Christmas
Profits go to The Rifles Care For Casualties (C4C) appeal.
Click the picture for details.
For a review of this book by John Gaye click here
The Regimental Association of The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment
The Rifle's Exeter Office,
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