“Poppies on The Green.” 29th Oct – 11th Nov 2014
A temporary memorial for the Childwickbury Fallen of WW1
“Have you news of my boy Jack?”
Not this tide.
“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
Not with this wind blowing and this tide.
This is the first verse of a poem written by Rudyard Kipling in remembrance of his son who was killed during the First World War. The loss it speaks of, that of a parent for their child is universally understood and which transcends religion, race and border.
As a member of the “Battlefield Trust”, a charity dedicated to the preservation of battle site heritage, I was keen to take the opportunity of this centenary year and find some way to mark the passing of the 16 Childwickbury men who lived and worked on the estate and who lost their lives in this same conflict.
Throughout various projects we often have cause to ask the questions, “Why we should remember?” And, “What form remembrance should take?” the simple truth is this, that loss, remembrance, and commemoration mean different things to different people.
With this in mind it was a challenge to find a fitting way to celebrate these men, who unlike so many others, have no permanent memorial. In the end however, it is the men themselves who speak the loudest.
For the two weeks leading up to Armistice Day, an installation of 16 large, identical poppies populated the village green and its surrounding area, a place the men would have known well. Each bloom beard the name, age and address of a single man. For these two weeks they stood sentinel, while present day residents and visitors went about their daily lives. Supported on rods made from wood gathered around the estate, they existed apart from the fabric of the green, in the village, but no longer of it. For a short while both time lines converging.
These memorial poppies invited residents, visitors and passers-by to take a moment to reflect and consider in their own private way not what separates us, but what binds us together, the fact that we, all of us, walk in their shoes.
The intention of this piece was not the glorification of war, religion or state, but was simply this, an opportunity to say their names aloud.
Andie Hill No1. Childwick Green. (Adaptation for bbrown)
Poppies: Rowlux, Glitter & Flex